Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery

BourbonDrinker.com/Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery => The Year was 1966 and I had just gotten out of High school that spring and now had turned 19. Continental Distilling Had just finished opening The

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Offline Publicker

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The Year was 1966 and I had just gotten out of High school that spring and now had turned 19. Continental Distilling Had just finished opening The world Largest Bottling House in Linfield Pa at the Kinsey Distillery which they bought at Auction in Spring of 1940. I was that fall, lucky enough at 19 yrs old to get hired to work at Kinsey Distillery in Linfield Pa.
Kinsey also Had the worlds largest amount of aging whisky at that time on site 14 million Barrels!

The first day, I had to see the Company Plant nurse in the Old Yellow House out front of the plant. Her office was on the first floor and My Old Friend, Company Man, George Dill lived upstairs and part of the first floor.

Those days they checked your pulse and blood presure, got your information, color of your eyes and stuff and health trouble and you were done. I got talking to her and she said..."Young Man, what ever you do try not to get hurt after 2:00-PM as I have my Bourbon and Coffee at 2:00, for my health, as My Doctor told me too!"  Not knowing much havng come out of school in the spring...I believed her. Later on I realised she just plain enjoyed having a bourbon and coffee every day. She had a large coffee cup and had two shots every day in her coffee.

One day, a few months later, I stopped by to say Hi...it was after two and she was checking some guys heart with a old time very large stethiscope and she said to him "I don't hear anything" ...his eyes were rolling back so I covered my mouth and ran before I laughed. No one called her by her name we just called her Nurse and she was a good one untill 2:00-pm every day.

My first couple of years working for Publicker were in the Yard gang at Kinesy. We would mow the beautiful lawns, keep up the big flower beds, unload Coal for the boilers, sweep buildings, haul stuff to the dump, shovel snow in the winter and lots of other stuff.

One of my favorite places to sweep was the Old Dsp-Pa. 12 still building, which had not operated since 1951, but had full power, sprinklers and heat in it as Publicker believed under Mr. Si Neuman, company Chairman, in keeping things that could be used again in good safe shape.

Plant people 'clocked out' in the still building near the front Fermenters ...on a picture I am posting here, the front fermenter was full of fish ...guys had put the fish in from the river just a few hundred yards away. We would throw them Wonder bread while we waited to clock out and the fish were giant in size and would jump for the bread.

 I remember one day we Had to go and sweep and clean the Old Kinsey Bottle house which was used to mix and bottle all of Continentals Famous Liqeuers. We were getting a big order to make some Liqeuers for Jacquins as they could not get the order done without help. We offten did work(contract bottling) for other companys as we had more capacity then we needed. The Ladies had come over and they were excited as they loved that old Bottle House and called it Happy House because they could sneek a drink alot easier there then the Big 1966 Bottling House.  The Old Kinsey Bottle House ran from 1936 till 1979 when Publicker quit the Drinking spirits bussiness.

I am Posting the Only Picture I have of Dsp-pa-12 Picture 3 after Kinsey closed forever in fall of 1986, also a Picture of the Old Cyprus Fermenters picture 4 in the building, an aerial Picture taken in 1936 when Mr. Jacob G Kinsey still owned the Plant Picture 1.  It has Mr Kinsey's Office address in Phila. on the bottom.  I got a copy of this photo by borrowing it from my great, old friend Ludy's(91 yr old) and scaning it. His is the only one that exists, that I know of. Ludy worked at Kinsey from 1936 till 1980 and is one of the best guys I have known.  He is very knowledgible about Publicker/Continental.  This picture was later used in the Preview book when the Plant was sold at auction in 1940 to Publicker Industries. Mr Kinsey went bankrupt in fall 1939.

Sadly, in 2002 the people who claimed they were going to fix Kinsey up, knocked down the Old DSP-Pa 12 still. But, in my next post I will add some pictures from inside it that were in an original Book for the 1940 Auction, which, I also borrowed from Ludy.
 
I have added one  picture of myself  picture 2 with the last car I ever bought while working at Kinsey.  I was 23 yrs old and my Dad(also a Publicker employee) took this picture with his poloriod Camera one day when I came home from work at Kinsey.  My 1970 Chevy Nova.

Publicker
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« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 11:57:11 AM by Publicker »

Offline NickAtMartinis

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 07:52:14 PM »
Cool stuff!  Thanks for posting!
-- Mark

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." Gee Dubb -  First President of these United States.

Offline Big Tex

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 08:19:55 AM »
Thanks alot for posting here, Dave.  Your stories are fascinating and rich with history.
Defending my whisky principles like they were the Alamo.

Offline Publicker

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2010, 08:27:03 AM »
When I was bumped to the warehouses after about 2 years + in the yard gang one of the things we would do on break was roll dice. The plant was giant in size 199 acrea's then and we had a fleet of Old cars and trucks to drive around the place.

To haul the barrels that were in warehouses that did not have dump troughs we had 3 1941 Ford Flat ,trucks and a 1953 Dodge flat truck which also took us from one end to the other of the plant to work different Warehouses and for break and lunch. And at the end of the day to the time clock.

Back in the plant there was only one bathroom and it was in the Break room at O Warehouse which also was the Government Building and was built different then the other warehouses having some windows.
 I Have included 2 more pictures in the plant taken by me in the last couple of years. And a picture of my Explosion proof Phone vintage 1940 which is in my living room and works great. And a picture of some of the last Mash Bills from the Kinsey DSP-pa-12 Still which I found and framed dated Mar 1951.

 Kinsey was a great place to work and we were treated real good there and the years I worked there 600 people worked there about 250 plus in the Big 1966 Bottling house on 2 shifts which open in Mid Sept 1966 after years of turning old Warehouse U the worlds largest one floor whisky aging warehouse into the State of Art Continental Distilling Bottling House. They then closed the Old Bigler Street Bottling House In Phila in the Publicker / Continental Distilling Complex.

One of the Bottle lines Number A-1-F was run by an early computer system and could bottle and box 40,000 bottles a day! People from every Distillery would come to visit and look at the Modern Bottle House and we did much work for other companies using Our Spirits to do it.

Pictures are
1. A Old Areal picture of the plant from a broshure called the Place with space. This was the very last broshure with a aeril Picture of Kinsey

2.Looking down through whats left of the plant year 2009
there are 14 of these Explosion Proof warehouses and 7 Wood and brick ones built By Mr Kinsey

3. My 1940 Explosion Proof Phone from Explosion Proof Warehouse P Kinsey, works well if you call me and I answer in the living room I use it. It weighs 34 Pound 4 oz. Made of solid cast and screwed togther. The part you hold to speak is made of Bakalite and also is very heavy to hold!

4. One of the last Mash Bills from Kinsey including the amounts of incoming grain and the Mash bill on the right dated Mar 1951 Publicker closed the Still in early 1951 as they had so much capacity in Phila they did not need iit. 


I remember when we were doing the Jacquins oder going to a state store to get some Old Hickory and talking to a guy who when He found out I worked for Publicker braged He only bought Jacquins Liquors and would never drink ours I then informed him we did work for Jacquins to which he repleyed with their Spirits and I said no Our product was used. he just walked away.

My Years at Kinsey were happy days and I have much to write about yet here in the future.
Publicker
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Join The Swing To Kinsey The Unhurried Whiskey For Unhurried Moments

« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 11:10:37 AM by Publicker »

Offline NickAtMartinis

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2010, 09:40:55 PM »
That phone is great!  Explosion proof.  Interesting.
-- Mark

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." Gee Dubb -  First President of these United States.

Offline Publicker

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2010, 08:10:10 AM »
One of the most important concerns at the distillery was safety.  The Kinsey site was almost totally outfitted with Explosion proof switches, phones and light fixtures.  Anywhere there was Whisky and Whiskey fumes they would install safety measures.

The Phone I have is the only surviving one and was made in 1940!

When I get a chance I will post some of the different Explosion proof items with Pilot Lights, which I saved from the distillery for histories sake.  In my work office, I have 14 sets of pilot lights, all of them still functioning.

I am posting 4 pictures starting with:
 
1. Picture of One of the Old Explosion proof warehouse signs. These were kept up by Charlie Seipler and Charlie was one of my favorite characters at Kinsey. He drove a Model A Ford frame with a 100 Horse Power Ford Flat head V8 in it.  It had no fenders,  Hood, or Roof with just a wooden bed to carry his tools and an old Chair to sit on, bolted to the frame.  He kept it in the Old Grain drying Building and every Morning I would get there early to see Charlie pull out, in his auto. There was a grain silo right behind the Grain house so you had to turn right and then Left to get to the road while running through the Plant.  Charlie would fly out, hit second gear, slide sideways, turn left, and hit Third gear... once he hit the road, you could see smoke pouring off the Pipe in his mouth.  He did this every day. He was a cool Old Guy!

2. This is a artist conception from a brosure they put out in the 1940's just before they went on the stock market the front is right but some of the back buildings are in the wrong place.

3. Here is one of the few pictures I have in the old DSP-pa-12 before it was knocked down of one of the  a mash tanks

4. Here is one of the things I saved and created from parts in the Plant.  This is an explosion proof Light fixture...wired with a 1940 explosion proof switch which is attatched to home made stand.  This was crafted by some of the guys I work with in shipping and wired by our company Electrician.  It stands in my hall at home.

I am attempting to save everything I can from Kinsey which had something to do with its operation. The Explosion proof lights were very important since the warehouses had blue whisky vapors from the top of the ceiling 22 ft to about 15 feet. Walking in one of them when they had been closed a few days was like walking into a Whiskey Vaporizer! I loved it, the smell was terrific. Even now, I can't believe that Kinsey is in ruin.
Publicker
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It Seems All The Nicest People Drink Old Hickory
America's Most magnificent Bourbon
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« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 12:23:27 PM by Big Tex »

Offline Big Tex

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2010, 12:28:30 PM »
Dave,
the pic of the Malt Mixer....was that wet malt or dry malt?  I would guess wet....basicly, cooked malt which is ready to be added to the corn and rye that has already started cooking.  So that the diastic power of the malt gets a good head start.  Do you think Ludy might have seen it functioning?
Defending my whisky principles like they were the Alamo.

Offline Publicker

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2010, 01:41:19 PM »
Yes I do think it was a wet mash tank and I would guess Ludy did see it operate as he worked there from 1936 till Mr Kinsey went bankrup fall 1936 and was called back by Continental Distilling in late 1940! Next time I talk to him I will ask doubt he could tell me much but He knew that still more then over living person. I knew it but never saw it working I have a picture of part of the inside from the old Auction book Ludy let me borrow last year and will post some pictures I have as I paid a book printery store to make me some exact copies.

1. In the book are pictures of the plant and everything that is up for Auction on this page is this picture of the mash tank area.

2. This is a picture of The Original Kinsey Bottling Line in the Old Kinsey Bottle House first floor there were 3 of these in there so Ludy told me. The Old Bottle house was used by Continental for Liqours till they left the bussiness in 1979. My Wonderful cases of Peanut Liqour were made and bottled in this building.

3.This is the rectifying Room in the old Bottle house back in the 1930's on the second floor of the Bottle House. These Pictures were taken for the Auction Book Ludy had from 1940.

4. Front Cover of this one of a Kind book, the only original one in exsistance. Continental Distilling bought the Plant in early 1940 and the rest is History. The Dsp-pa 12 ran till spring of 1951.

I have two more pictures of the Plant in the book I will post another day.
Publicker
=========================================Join The Swing To Kinsey The Unhurried Whisky For unhurried Moments

Offline Publicker

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2010, 06:05:51 AM »
I will never forget my first day in the Warehouse after being bumped off of the yard gang. My first Boss was Old Ben Myers, which everyone said
"you better hope you are not friends with someone he does not like as he carries a grudge often!"  Well, I met him and he said, "Ziegler is your Dad Clarence?"  My dad had worked at kinsey in the early 1950's when I was a kid.  I thought, oh boy, I am in deep trouble.  So I said Yes...he said, he was a good friend of mine when he worked here, I have an easy Job for you my friend!

 He gave me a powerful flashlight and showed me how to get the Holders out from under the barrels in the racks and I just stood in there and rolled barrels out of the racks every day.

One of the better jobs, it was dirty but no bending over for hours rolling them. Later that week he amazed me when He said, you are going to need to get your Whisky every day so I am going to show you how! He gave me a brand new 1/2 pint bottle  and said follow me. I was just 21 and had never really drank much in there and when I did someone had given me some.

He counted off steps along the racks and said, this is the one...follow me.  We went into the rack and a bit back...there was a space and a barrel that sat back blocked.  Well, he pulled the holder out, rolled it so the bung was at 10:00 o'clock and used a gadget to pop it out. Next, he reached in his back pocket and pulled a bastard file out and filed a U on each side of the bung.

Then, he put a bung cloth on the hole, put the bung back and knocked it in.  We used cloths alot, in fact, I think we may have invented them, anyway He said to me..."always put this cloth back it is your filter for pouring to keep char out of your whisky".  I was astounded!  Next, he took my bottle rolled the barrel forward a bit and a perfect stream of Whisky poured out.  It was Rye, which had been the very first whisky I had ever had at kinsey. It was darn good and was to be used for Rittenhouse Rye.

Another item I remember...the one old timer, I think John, used to always say...on a cold day when we were moving to another warehouse to dump barrels... "Dave Don't Forget Your Flask Its Cold Out There." 
 
Those were fun days and we all worked hard and 99 percent of us never drank too much and never took any home.  Mostly out of respect for our Jobs, which is the way we were taught, but also you can get in Big trouble taking it like that! So that was my first day in the warehouses.

Publicker
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Join The swing To Kinsey
 The Unhurried Whiskey For Unhurried Moments
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 08:35:44 AM by Big Tex »

Offline Big Tex

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2010, 08:36:43 AM »
Great stories and snapshot of life in the distillery, back then.
Defending my whisky principles like they were the Alamo.

Offline Publicker

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2010, 08:25:10 AM »
Here are a few pictures recently taken in warehouses C & Warehouse M! These were two of the 14 explosion proof warehouses each back in the day held 999,999 barrels of whiskey!
1. This is a shot of part of the heating and air venting systems that were in the warehouses to keep the aging process just right! This was the first floor air vent with fan it would kick in and out 24/7. Warehouse M
2.& 3. These are tanks in warehouse C they go to a pump and filter sump that goes to the Bottling house.
4. Barrles with the date 1971 and Rye mash sitting and rotting in warehouse C my restored barrel came from here a few years ago.

Each time I go to Kinsey it still amazes me that it is 1 not in bussiness and 2 that the rotten person that owns it walked away to leave it like this since 1986.

This would never have happen if Mr Si Neuman had not died He had plans to someday build a brand new still there and lots of other things. All gone when he died suddenly and a group led by Philadelphia Lawyers did a take oever which led to the end of Continental Distilling and finaly Publicker Industries.

Such a sad end for the Beautiful Kinsey Distillery as it was the most beautiful Distillery in the world when I worked there, everything from gardens and flower beds to trees and perfect lawns.
Publicker
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It Seems All The Nicest People Drink Old Hickory
America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

Offline Bigler street

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2010, 07:52:41 PM »
Great stuff Dave ..... I worked at Publickers Snyder ave Distillery and Bigler street facility in the 60's and 70's. I really enjoyed my 10 years with the company. I saw sy many times on a saturday drive thru the Bigler street plant with his 2 poodles!!  I was a beer still operator to start ended up many years as a steamfitter!

I miss the old place and wish that there were Photos of it other the the ones that EllenJ posted on her site. I would like to have contact with Ellen and correct a mistatement on her web site about the location of the Snyder Plant. In the 10 years I worked at the Bigler street location 4 people had died in accidents at various times!  I certainly missed the guys and I had one of the great foreman (Joe Hudak) 

I still have the union contract book from 1975 and always and interesting read! I hope to post many stories as well.. as you know Publickers had millions of them!   I enjoyed looking at your pictures of the Linfield plant!

Offline Bigler street

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2010, 08:08:45 PM »
Can someone explain how to attach photos to posted messages / replies! I tried the insert image icon to no avail.

Offline mozilla

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2010, 08:27:00 PM »
At the bottom of the message after you hit the reply button....you will see...Additional Options.  Click on that and you are set.
 
Also, ellenjaye....is Linda and John Lipman. 
 
Thanks for posting.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 08:31:14 PM by mozilla »

Offline Bigler street

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Re: Stories and History Of The Continental Distillery at Kinsey Distillery
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2010, 10:19:29 AM »
Thanks......I've tried the "insert image" icon but only get the following image!


 








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