In recent years, former employees of Spaulding Fibre have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Laborers who were employed at the Wheeler Street plant in Tonawanda, New York, were at high risk for exposure to asbestos-containing materials. Spaulding Fibre’s origins date back to 1873, when brothers Jonas and Waldo Spaulding formed the Spaulding Brothers Company in Massachusetts. Shortly after, the company’s name changed to Spaulding and Sons when Jonas Spaulding and his family moved to New Hampshire and established leatherboard mills in Milton and North Rochester. The company’s success grew and the Spaulding Brothers’ added a vulcanized fiber operation in 1911 in Tonawanda, NY. The company, was once again, renamed Spaulding Fibre in 1927.
Spaulding Fibre’s Tonawanda Plant located on Wheeler Street started operations in 1912 with 40 employees. During its peak in the mid-1960s, Spaulding Fibre employed over 1,900 workers, with a $9 million dollar payroll. Unfortunately, labor woes, global economics and the de-industrialization of the Midwest and Northeast all took their toll on Spaulding Fibre leading to its demise in 1992 under its last moniker Spaulding Composites. The abandoned plant became an eyesore and a Brownfield site that was finally demolished in 2006.
Spaulding Fibre manufactured and fabricated industrial laminated plastics, hard vulcanized fiber, high strength glass filament-wound structures, fiberboards and specialty papers. From 1911 to 1992, Spaulding Fibre dominated Tonawanda’s employment and economic life. Spaulding Fibre became very well known for its Bakelite product (under the trade name Spauldite), which is a phenol formaldehyde resin material that utilized raw asbestos as a filler material, which was added in order to strengthen the product. Workers who handled raw asbestos or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at a high risk for injurious exposure, and at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Prior to 1983, Spaulding Fibre incorporated asbestos materials into the production of many of its products, including its Bakelite product also known as Spauldite. Because of its fire resistant qualities, asbestos sheets and fibers were cut, woven and mixed with other materials on a constant basis, filling the plant’s buildings with asbestos dust. In addition, asbestos insulation was used to cover pipes and duct work throughout the Wheeler Street plant. Spaulding Fibre employees represented by the Lodge 2106 International Association of Machinists (AFL-CIO), the tool room employees union Lodge 586 IAM, and outside contractors, including carpenters, iron workers, insulators, and electricians were often exposed to high levels of asbestos dust, a major risk factor for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases.
Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, has represented former Spaulding Fibre workers and retirees, as well as their families in their legal claims for mesothelioma and lung cancer. In the process of representing these workers and their families over the years, our firm’s attorneys have gained extensive knowledge of asbestos-containing products to which these workers were exposed. If you or a loved one were once employed at the Spaulding Fibre plant, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.