Sylvania Electric Products, Inc.
This building in Shawnee was built in 1951 to serve Sylvania Electric Products, Inc. Once Potawatomie County’s largest single employer, Sylvania closed it’s doors in 1961. 550 people were employed by the company at this Shawnee tube manufacturing plant when it closed. It had an employment peak of 1,002 employees in 1953, with 75% being women. The plant operated for only 10 years in the two-story modern plant valued at $3 Million. During the 10 years, an employee strike occurred, with a riot that sent several people to the hospital and eight people to jail. The rapid growth of technology and the low need for receiver tubes was blamed for the plants closing. Shortly after it’s closing, Thiokol Chemical Corp. moved in producing aerospace equipment including equipment used in the Apollo mission. Thiokol moved out in 1965, and Sylvania returned, refitting the plant for production of plastic and metal parts. Sylvania continued operation here for an unknown amount of time, before the building was sold and became a bargain thrift store and ebay auction house. Bargain World closed eventually, and the once thriving plant was silenced for ever.