Toledo Battery Plant … on the job

New Toledo battery plant makes first shipment to Sears

September 28, 1981 (PD: 201609)


Toledo battery plant manager Bill Schmidt and the plant’s employees donned special t-shirts to commemorate the plant’s first shipment of batteries to Sears

On September 28, 1981, the Toledo Blade reported that Johnson Controls’ new battery plant in Toledo, Ohio had shipped out a few days earlier its first truckload of automotive batteries to several Ohio Sears stores.  Eventually, the plant was to supply batteries to Sears stores in Indiana and Michigan as well.

Johnson Controls was reported to have invested about $45 million in the new plant, which had begun limited production the previous April.  By the end of 1981, the plant was producing 8,000 batteries a day.  Only 1½ years later, in May 1983, the plant had shipped out battery number 1,000,000.

Plant employees at the time of the first battery shipment numbered 69, but by the end of the year the number of employees was expected to be 125.  Over 9,000 applicants had applied for the original jobs in March 1981, which reflected the high unemployment rate in the Toledo area at that time.

Today, Johnson Controls still operates a battery plant in Toledo, with over 600 employees.