Crown Cork & Seal to Shut Down Essex Plant

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Baltimore Design School, in a former Crown Cork and Seal Building
Baltimore Design School, in a former Crown Cork and Seal Building

Crown, Cork & Seal buildings may be familiar to Baltimoreans. The buildings that were once owned by the company that came about after William Painter’s invention of the Crown Cork bottle cap in Baltimore are now home to new creativity like the studios in the Copy Cat building in Station North, or the home of tech companies like the Emerging Technology Center in Highlandtown. Even the Baltimore Design School is in a former Crown Cork and Seal building.

The original company, however, is still alive as the global company Crown Holding. But it’s about to lose one of its last buildings in the Baltimore area.

The company, which was founded in Baltimore but is now based in Philly, filed notice with the state that it plans to shut down its plant in Essex, and lay off the 47 people who work there. The closure is expected to be complete by Oct. 30. The move comes shortly after CEO John W. Conway announced he will retire at the end of the year.

After the closure, the only plant left in the Baltimore area will be in Belcamp. That’s despite the company’s global reach in cans and packaging. So one of the only ways left to honor the company is to  the Crown Cork and Seal Building in Essex will be to redevelop the building into a new center of innovation.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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  1. This is truly a sad event. Its another last vestige of blue collar industry disappearing from this state. However ,this facility did not start life as a Crown plant.The building was being leased by the Continental Can Corportion as warehouse space for its cans. The decision to convert it to a can plant took place in the early 1970’s, and it remained a Continental facility until Crown Cork &Seal acquired it thru the purchase of Continental Can division around 1990. As a former Journeyman Machinist with this company for over 22 years, I am sad to see it closing. There are always a myriad of reasons that contribute to plants closing. The loss of customer base, failure to make significant capital reinvestment in newer, more efficient equipment ,and from my many years there ,the very real errosion of skill and general lack of mechanical aptitude in most of the labor force that was being tasked with the maintenance and operation of the equipment. This plant I’m afraid suffered from all of these factors and others as well ,and in the end it all became financialy more than the Company was willing to attempt to overcome to remain in operation.

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