Throwback Thursday: War turns junk into precious rusty stuff for Winona businesses – Winona Daily News

April 8, 2022 by No Comments

A business that has really boomed since the beginning of the war is that of buying and selling junk — euphemistically called scrap metal and tires — and Winona dealers have so much on hand they can’t get freight cars enough to ship it all away.

Scrap metals are among the most vital of salvage materials needed for war production, and plenty of metal is being carried from local yards into the maws of furnaces, foundries, and blast furnaces in Chicago and eastern points, dealers said today.

For instance, there are Sam Weisman & Sons who take in from 25 to 30 tons a day in scrap metal on an average. Mr. Weisman and his son, Herman, said they ship out “about two freight cars” full of carefully cut scrap metal every day. But, they said, they could use more.

They have their yard on West Second Street piled high with the rusty brown metal. Radiators, bathtubs, carburetors, and almost everything under the sun in metal sticks out of the heaps. There also are two large piles of old tires ready for shipment to reclaiming plants in Akron, Ohio.

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Comes in many ways

In the yard of Louis Miller, also on West Second Street, there are “about 50 tons” of the scrap metal waiting for freight cars so it can be shipped to Chicago. Philadelphia or other eastern points.

Workers there said the metal is unloaded from every type of conveyance, “trucks, cars, wagons and wheelbarrows.”

Gathering scrap metal in a different way by wrecking old cars and those that have been through collisions, the Service Auto Wrecking Company at 167 West Second Street sends out an average of one freight carload a week to various plants designated by the government.

Workers there said that business hadn’t picked up appreciably after the war, probably because owners are keeping old cars which would be junked if they could get new ones.

The company salvages all the parts that are usable from old machines and sends the rest on to the East as scrap metal. The last two destinations for freight cars were Chicago and Muskegon, Mich.

Volume Greater

The Miller Waste Mills on West Third street have been purchasing scrap metal of all kinds this year, and said that their volume of business in March was “much greater than last year at this time.”

A worker estimated the output last month at 400 tons, which would fill 10 carloads for metal cauldrons in the East. He said the main job in preparing the scrap for shipment was to “clean” the metal by removing iron from it. The iron parts are cut up and sorted.

Most of the discarded metal, he said, comes from truckers, farmers, and small industries around Winona. The war was credited with having increased the volume of business, and of course the salvage for victory campaigns.

Another dealer, Isadore Beckman, 117 Walnut Street, sells his scrap metal and waste paper to the Miller Waste Mills. He said he has had “a little more business” since the war began, but, pointed out that he deals mainly in hides and furs.


If you have any scrap metal on hand, these are the prices you might expect to get for it. Dealers won’t say …….



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