Laying cornerstone for new Baltimore Plant –
November 20, 1946
Melvin H. Baker laid the cornerstone for the Baltimore plant at 2301 Newkirk Street. Baker was honored at a luncheon sponsored by the Advertising Club of Baltimore at the Emerson Hotel and at a dinner at the Belvedere Hotel.
Baker delivered a speech – "Why Baltimore?" at the lunch meeting. Excerpts from the speech:
"I am indeed happy to address this group of leaders here in one of our great marketing centers, and to introduce to you the Company behind this new plant. National Gypsum Company is expanding to make money, but the community must profit also, and in deciding to locate in Baltimore we are permanently investing here about six million dollars.
"We are only 21 years old, but we are one of the two largest producers of gypsum in the world. We manufacture wall paint, metal lath, lime, insulation board, rock wool and acoustical materials, 'everything for walls and ceilings.'
"Baltimore is central to a suitable market as it becomes one of our 24 plant cities in the United States and Canada. Your city is industry conscious. Its population is made up of stable people, more than 50 percent home owning. It has proved an excellent production record in wartime, and it has more than 150,000 people employed in manufacturing.
"Our plants are located not only with thought of economical manufacture, but with careful consideration of transportation costs – of raw materials in, and of salable products out. Baltimore is well situated as indicated by your rating as the third largest port in the United States. We recently purchased three 10,000-ton vessels to serve this and our other seaport plants. From Baltimore, we will serve the building needs of a population of more than 10 million.
"Your city and its trading area has been under-building since 1930; there is an extensive market for homes,
factories, schools and other public buildings. By manufacturing in Baltimore the building materials which you need in Baltimore we can save you much in transportation cost.
"We have some basic merchandising policies. All our products are trademarked 'Gold Bond'. We cannot for a moment let down on our quality. We distribute our product only through legitimate building materials dealers at one price known to all. Our merchandise must be as good as the best, but it must be priced no higher than the poorest competition
"Baltimore, many factors add up to our fortunate partnership. It is not just sentiment that prompts us to build the world's most modern gypsum plant here.
"Our industry has done, and will do, much to hold building costs within reason. In the period of the last ten years, economies of production and of distribution have just about offset basic increase. Based on dealer prices FOB factory the increased cost of plaster for a five-room house would be 58 cents. For wallboard, where the cost of fabricating is a large proportion, the cost would be $17.60 less today.
"We feel that now is the time for men of vision to show confidence. Leaders of Baltimore, we have taken our place among you, we believe in you, and we believe in your city. We hope you will like us."