Advertisement of the Wahl & Lighthall Glue Works, 1865
Christian Wahl, Louis Wahl, and John Lighthall operated this glue factory in Bridgeport from about the time of the Civil War. In 1884 they sold the operation to Armour and Company, and it was thereafter operated as the Armour Glue Works.

One of the early problems with the level of industrial concentration in the Bridgeport area was what to do with the waste. In the beginning, refuse that couldn't be poured into the river was carted off and dumped onto the prairie or into marshes. As the population of the surrounding area grew, this method of waste disposal quickly became impractical. The glue works were a partial solution. Here it was learned how to make by-products into other useable items. The glue works was, in essence, a forerunner to the modern chemical plant. The Armour Glue Works grew into a huge operation. By 1911, it was composed of five distinct factories (two glue works, a hair processing plant, a sandpaper factory, and a soap factory), a power plant, storage warehouses, and several out buildings. The complex was situated on the South Fork of the Chicago river, between about Thirty-first and Thirty-second places and extended as far east as the alley to the west of Fox (Throop) street.

Nearby were the smaller soap factories of the Fitzpatrick Brothers at Thirty-second place and Waterville (now Benson) street and the Holman Soap factory on Fox (Throop) street near Thirty-first place. Another large glue works was the Peter Cooper Glue factory to the northwest of Thirty-first and Robinson street, which was then a street located to the west of Ashland avenue in today's McKinley Park.


Source: James T. Hair, comp., Chicago City Directory for the Year 1865-6 (Chicago: John. C. W. Bailey, 1865), p. 734f.

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