Thursday, February 12, 2015

Silver Top

The name Silver Top might jog a familiar tone in your head. If you have ever driven on Pulaski Highway in the White Marsh area you might have noticed their show room on the West side of the road. You might have even seen their ad in many of the vintage trailer magazines. They have been around a long time. I got a complete tour of the Silver Top manufacturing facility. I like the Silver Top story and want to tell you a little about it. 


During the Second World War the Glen L Martin Company built planes at their Middle River plant. It was a major operation. They built the B 29 Superfortress. The Enola Gay and the Bockscar were built there. Glen L Martin Company built the B26 Marauder, the A22, and many flying boats. When the war came to an end there was a lot of surplus equipment and a lot of surplus talent. The government had programs to try and convert some of this war effort into domestic production. A worker from the line took full advantage of this situation and started Silver Top. He also took advantage of the post war mobile home craze and manufactured a product to support that trend.


Silver Top's founder, much like Airstream's founder, based his business on aircraft construction. Silver Top manufactures awning roof, sunroom, and car ports using what is called the bridge arch truss. Buzz, the founder's son in law, proudly runs the business today. Buzz was very gracious to show me around.


So back to this war surplus; Most of the machines used at Silver Top were surplus brought over from Glen L Martin after the war. This 16 foot long shear could very well have cut the wing panels that were used to build the Enola Gay. I am not saying this shear did, but it is very possible. Stuff like this makes me feel proud to be an American.


When these tools were made, they were made to last forever. 60 plus years later, they are still building America.


Every machine is immaculately taken care of. The body of every machine is painted the same industrial  grey. All the safety parts are the same industrial yellow.


From one end of the facility to the other, everything matches. Did I mention everything is immaculate?


A 14 foot metal brake. MASSIVE. 


I don't know what half of this stuff actually does. It impressed me however. The smell of mechanical victory hangs heavy in there air here.


I love sheet metal breaks. Here is a 14 footer, a 12 footer, a 10 footer, and a little tiny 8 footer all lined up.



This jig has been making bridge arch trusses for over 50 years. It was built by the guy who built all the wing jigs for the Superfortress. From swords to plow shares.



I do not like dewalt tools(a very long story I will not bore you with but yellow is not liked at FTW). This however is a De Walt. This is a real tool made when men cared. It was made to last forever. The 60 foot saw table clad in aluminum was fairly impressive too.





Some things still are made with pride in America. This visit gives me hope we can take this country back, one manufacturing facility at a time.



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