Property of Chet Nowlen

Most the pictures and sketches shown on this BLOG are the property of Chet Nowlen. Prints are available for $10 each. Please note that your purchased prints will not have the wording "Property of Chet Nowlen". Accepted payment for local or Nashville, Tennessee areas is cash. For all others we only accept PayPal.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Proud The Past - Confident of The Future

Wow!  I had not seen this wall piece in so long
 I forgot that it even existed.

Itawamba Connections BLOG

Here's an interesting BLOG by Mona Robinson Mills.  It's a BLOG about Chicago Mill I found in my Google Search - check it out:

James Robinson - Greenville, Mississippi

Chicago Mill Rail Yard

I don't own any locomotive pictures that have the rights to post, however I do have some rail yard pictures that you may enjoy seeing:

If you would like to see some of CM&L Locomotive pictures click here.

Shooting Gallery from Lion Mfg. Co.

If you have watched the Chicago Mill YouTube video you probably noticed that I ask if anyone knew what is packaged in this box.  It's a shooting gallery made by Lion Mfg. Co.
Here are the specs on the back of this picture 
for the cleated plywood 
shipping container for this product.

Lion Mfg. Co.
"Shooting Gallery"
Wt. - Approx. 300#
42" x 23-3/4" x 86-5/8"
3/24 3-Ply plywood

Front and Back 2" x 5/8" Cleats

Sides                 1-1/2" x 7/8" edge cleats
                          2-1/2" x 7/8" middle cleats

Top                    1-1/2" x 7/8" cleats

Bottom              1-1/2" x 7/8" cleats
                           7/8" slats

              Top cabinet secured with end frames to stop shift from side to side and front to back.  End frames also hold down pedestal.  Side rails notched to receive rider.  Rider supports top cabinet and holds lower cabinet (gun rack) down.  Blocks nailed to rider to keep lower cabinet from shifting.  Lower cabinet sets in frame to witch is nailed four blocks, the ends of which bear against front and back of box and tube which ties pedestal uprights together.

Gun is placed in corrugated carton and tied to end frame at back of cabinet.
20-Ply Kimpak with Jute back, 3" wide used as padding.

Chicago Mill and Lumber Company

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Out on the Ledge

The local newspaper ran our picture in the paper.

My office was located on the second floor of the May Building on Washington Avenue in Greenville, Mississippi.  That's me standing on ledge filming the Christmas Parade coming down Washington Avenue.  Huey Bonner is also on the ledge with me and we are filming because his daughter, Peggy Bonner, is in the parade.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wood/Steel Boxes 2

Here is another one of Chicago Mill's Wood/Steel box designs.  The unique thing about this box is it is designed to nest for easy storage and it has the metal bar that swings over to make the boxes stack on top of one another when loaded with product.

Wood/Steel Boxes

Probably in the 1940's and 1950's Chicago Mill manufactured wooden boxes for the automotive industry that were a combination of plywood with metal edges attached to the plywood. We called this design "Wood Steel" boxes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

American Box Acquires Chicago Mill & Lumber Company

In 1983 Chicago Mill was owned by the Pritzker Family in Chicago, Illinois under a corporate conglomeration of which I cannot remember the name at this time.  Chicago Mill was sold to American Box Company out of Fernwood, Mississippi.  I was the only Chicago Mill employee that was transferred to Fernwood on a full time basis.  Bill Nye and Bill Hunt were kept on on a short term basis to help with the transition.

Chicago Mill specialized in the watermelon crate business and most of our watermelon crates were hinged collapsible crates.  I think American Box purchased Chicago Mill to gain a market share of the watermelon crates business.  The following sketch is a wire-bound crate watermelon version that I drew while I was with American Box.

In 1987 our competitors in a nearby town, purchased American Box and the name of the company became Great American Wirebound Box Company.  When we were acquired in 1987 I asked to not be offered a position with the new company.  I transferred back to the Greenville, Mississippi plant to help with the closed down of the Greenville operation.

Printing Dies

My job was drawing all the production drawings for four manufacturing plants and as purchasing agent for printing dies for these plants. In the early days most all of the dies were made of brass, as shown in these pictures. Later we switched to an aluminum alloy die that was much less expensive. For plywood box printing I purchased rubber dies mounted to a metal mounting plate. Most of our dies were purchased from Banner Die in Chicago, Illinois. My main contact at Banner was Frank Randazzo.  I really miss Frank as he was my mentor in the printing die world.


CM&L Logos

I was hoping to find some really good pictures that had the CM&L logo, but I haven't found any in my collection up to this point.  I did, however have a small wooden sample with the logo.  These pictures were taken with my cell phone.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Story

by Chet Nowlen

Many years ago I worked for Chicago Mill & Lumber Company in Greenville, Mississippi. I started June 16, 1969 as a detailed draftsman in the Order Department. I drew all the productions drawings for four different manufacturing plants. The responsibility of production scheduling was later added to me and eventually I was promoted to the Manager of the Order department.

I was hired by the Sales Manager Bill Nye.  Jerry Hillis was my supervisor as Manager of the Order Department.  Ralph Byers was the Director of Sales and was my mentor and source of encouragement.  I was only twenty years old when I was hired, but Mr. Byers took me under his wing and was instrumental in my success in this career.

Here are  a few of the names of people that I remember from the Chicago Mill days:
  • Jim Wiseman - General Manager
  • Warren McKay - Plant Manager
  • Bob Gray - Assistant Plant Manager and later became Plant Manager
  • Ralph Byers - Director of Sales
  • Bill Nye - Sales Manager and Director of Sales
  • Bill Glascock - Sales Manager
  • Joe Love - Assistant Plant Manager and Greenville Plant Manager -
  • Bob Rich - Talulah, LA Plant Manager 
  • Charles Miles - Helena, AR Plant Manager
  • Jerry Hillis - Manager of the Order Department -
  • Chet Nowlen - Detail Draftsman, Purchasing, Production Scheduling, and Manager of the Order Department
  • Charles Jackson - Inside Sales
  • Herby Kaye - Inside Sales -
  • George Black - Inside Sales -
  • Dick Bailey - Traffic Manager -
  • Mary Ann Bennett (Jim Wiseman's daughter) - Traffic Assistant and Traffic Manager
  • Jack Sallis - Traffic Manager
  • Bill Hunt - Estimator and temporary acting Manager of the Order Department when Jerry Hillis passed.
  • Frank Mascagni - Lab Manager -
  • Mickey Vaughn - Manager of the Order Department - Outside Sales
  • Bill Engel - Outside Sales
  • Mike Hodson - Outside Sales
  • Joe Russo - Outside Sales
  • Everett Weeks - Outside Sales
  • David Scales - Outside Sales
  • Jack Hanna - Outside Sales
  • David Azar - Assistant to Chet Nowlen in the Order Department
  • Steve Sorrells - Assistant to Chet Nowlen in the Order Department -
  • Judy Katawar - Receptionist
  • Clarice Harrington - Secretary to the Director of Sales
  • Walter Massey - Accounting
  • Dick Fox - Accounting
Please feel free to contact me if you remember any employee names from 1969 to 1987.