Major Industrial Advancements in Oklahoma During the Early 20th Century

One of our six API facilities is located in Oklahoma – a state that experienced rapid industrial growth shortly after officially becoming a state in 1907. From brick manufacturing and steel production to glass manufacturing and automobile assembly, each industry played a role in shaping the state’s economy, infrastructure, and technological advancements during this transformative era.

The early 20th century marked a period of significant industrial advancements in Oklahoma. The state witnessed a wave of economic growth and technological progress during this time, propelling it to the forefront of industrialization. It turned it into a hotbed of innovation and opportunity.

Oil Boom

One of Oklahoma’s most significant industrial advancements was discovering and utilizing vast oil reserves. In the early 20th century, the state witnessed an oil boom that transformed its economy and brought unprecedented growth. Oil production created immense wealth and attracted other businesses and industries to the region, stimulating job opportunities and driving economic expansion.


Similarly, the demand for bricks soared during the turn of the century, and Oklahoma’s abundant natural resources, particularly clay, and shale, made it an ideal location for brick manufacturing. Dozens of brick plants were established across the state around this time to help meet the rapid growth demand in urban cities. These brick factories supplied construction materials for local buildings and contributed to the growth of the region’s construction industry and infrastructure development.

Fabricated Metal

In the early 1900s, Oklahoma also saw the rise of metal fabrication, with over 60 “foundries and machine shops” opening within a few decades. Companies like Oklahoma Iron Works were crucial in supplying materials for infrastructure projects, such as bridges, roads, and buildings, and supported the growth of other industries, including construction and transportation.

Automobile Assembly

As the automobile industry gained momentum, Oklahoma witnessed the establishment of several assembly plants. Companies like The Tulsa Automobile Corporation and Oklahoma Auto Manufacturing Company set up facilities in the state, contributing to job creation and economic development. The growth of this industry not only provided affordable transportation options and stimulated related industries such as parts manufacturing and auto repair services.

Glass Manufacturing

Oklahoma also saw the emergence of glass manufacturing in the early 20th century, following the discovery of abundant locally-available materials such as high-quality glass sand. By 1918, 16 glass manufacturing plants had been established, producing items such as canning jars, bottles, and windows. These factories employed skilled workers and supplied the growing demand for glass products in the construction, packaging, and consumer goods industries.

Energy Production

Oklahoma also saw significant advancements in energy production and utilization to support growing industries during this time. The state’s rich natural gas reserves became a valuable resource during this period, and the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company was established in 1906 to extract and distribute it. This provided a reliable and affordable energy source for factories, homes, and public infrastructure, thus fueling economic growth and technological advancements.

The early 20th century brought about major progress that forever changed the landscape of Oklahoma, laying the foundation for future growth and setting the stage for continued industrial prominence. The state emerged from this transformative period as a dynamic and prosperous region, leaving behind a legacy of innovation, resilience, and progress that still characterizes Oklahoma today.

For more history lessons, check out Effects of the Industrial Revolution in Wisconsin, Effects of the Industrial Revolution in North Carolina, and The History of Manufacturing in Eau Claire.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Virginia

API has several locations around the United States to serve our clients in various regions best. One of these is in Virginia – a state that experienced rapid growth during the Industrial Revolution, leaving behind a thriving industrial sector.

The Industrial Revolution brought about significant changes worldwide, and Virginia was no exception. This pivotal historical period transformed the Old Dominion from a primarily agricultural society into a dynamic industrial powerhouse.

Industrial Enclaves

The rapid growth and development during this time period led to the establishment of industrial enclaves in Virginia, where clusters of factories and manufacturing facilities thrived. For instance, Richmond emerged as an important industrial center, employing thousands of new residents who moved to experience the newly urbanized area. This concentration of industries in specific regions brought about economic specialization and attracted a more highly-skilled workforce.

Diversification of Industries

The Industrial Revolution also sparked diversification in Virginia’s industries. Alongside textiles, industries such as tobacco processing, iron production, and coal mining thrived. These industries propelled Virginia’s economy forward, contributing to its industrial prowess and shaping the state’s identity as a manufacturing hub. The state’s natural resources played a crucial role in the expansion of these industries, with Virginia becoming a leading producer of tobacco, iron, and coal.

Infrastructure Development

To support the growing industries, Virginia began investing heavily in infrastructure development. Bridges, roads, and canals were constructed, connecting different regions of the state and facilitating the transportation of goods. These infrastructure projects enhanced internal trade and improved access to national and international markets, boosting Virginia’s overall economic prosperity.

Streamlined Agriculture

While industrialization primarily focused on manufacturing, its effects also reverberated in Virginia’s agricultural sector. The introduction of new machinery, such as mechanical reapers and threshers, revolutionized farming practices and increased agricultural productivity. Farmers adopted advanced techniques and tools, enabling them to produce larger yields and contribute to the growing demand for food.

Shipbuilding and Naval Power

With its abundant natural resources and access to waterways, Virginia became a prominent center for shipbuilding during the Industrial Revolution. The growth of this industry contributed to the expansion of Virginia’s naval power, as shipyards along the coast produced vessels that played crucial roles in trade, exploration, and defense, thus solidifying Virginia’s maritime influence.

Improved Transportation

Transportation radically transformed during the Industrial Revolution, and Virginia quickly adapted. The construction of canals and the introduction of steamboat services revolutionized trade and commerce. The James River and Kanawha Canal, connecting Richmond to the western regions, facilitated the transportation of goods and stimulated economic development. Steamboats glided along Virginia’s waterways, enabling faster and more efficient trade connections with other states.

The effects of the Industrial Revolution in Virginia were transformative, reshaping the state’s economy, infrastructure, and society as it transitioned from an agrarian society to a manufacturing powerhouse, Today, Virginia’s industrial heritage continues to influence its thriving manufacturing sector, making it a vital contributor to the state’s economy.

For more history lessons, check out Effects of the Industrial Revolution in Wisconsin, Effects of the Industrial Revolution in North Carolina, and The History of Manufacturing in Eau Claire.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


Effects of the Industrial Revolution on Wisconsin

Wisconsin is known as the “toilet paper capital of the world,” largely thanks to the combination of its abundant natural resources and the results of new technology and innovations that emerged during the Industrial Revolution. This period profoundly impacted the state’s landscape and shaped its society and economy.

The Industrial Revolution was a period of rapid industrialization and technological advancements that started in the 18th century and had a profound impact on societies and economies around the globe. While commonly associated with major industrial regions such as England and the northeastern United States, the effects of the Industrial Revolution were also felt in other parts of the world, including the state of Wisconsin.

Early Days of Industrialization in Wisconsin

Even though Wisconsin was not one of the primary hubs of the Industrial Revolution, it still experienced significant changes during this period. In the early 19th century, the state’s economy was primarily agricultural, with farming and lumbering being the dominant industries. However, as the Industrial Revolution gained momentum in the United States, Wisconsin saw the emergence of new industries and technologies that would shape its future.

One of the key factors that drove industrialization in the state was its abundant natural resources, such as timber, water, and minerals, that fueled the growth of the lumber, mining, and manufacturing industries. Its major waterways, including the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, facilitated transportation and trade, making bringing goods to other regions easier.

The Emergence of New Manufacturing Industries

Thanks to abundant natural resources, Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector began to flourish during the Industrial Revolution. New industries such as paper and pulp, tanneries, breweries, meat packing, and steel production emerged, providing employment opportunities, driving economic growth, and encouraging urban development.

Cities like Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Green Bay became critical industrial centers, with factories and mills springing up along their rivers and harbors. Manufacturing growth also led to transportation infrastructure development, including railroads and canals, which further connected Wisconsin to national and international markets.

Effects of Industrialization on Society and Labor

As the number of factories and mills in Wisconsin multiplied, urbanization increased, and a new working class emerged. Many people moved from rural areas to cities, searching for factory employment opportunities, leading to changes in population density, demographics, and living conditions.

Factory work often required long hours, low pay, and harsh working conditions. This eventually led to labor disputes and the rise of unions to advocate for workers’ rights. The working class faced challenges such as child labor, unsafe working conditions, and lack of job security. However, labor movements and organizations at the time fought for improved wages, working hours, and safety regulations, leading to important labor reforms in Wisconsin and the United States.

Technological Advancements and Innovations

The Industrial Revolution was also marked by significant technological advancements that transformed industries and improved production processes in various sectors. In Wisconsin, innovations played a crucial role in the evolution of industries such as paper and pulp, tanneries, and breweries.

Inventions such as the Fourdrinier machine, a paper-making machine, revolutionized the paper industry and made Wisconsin one of the country’s central paper-producing states. Additionally, the introduction of steam-powered machinery in factories increased production efficiency and expanded the scale of manufacturing. New technologies and innovations also led to the development of new products, creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and even more economic growth.

Environmental Impacts of Industrialization

While many reaped the benefits of new technological advancements, the dramatic increase in manufacturing processes significantly impacted the local environment. In Wisconsin, the logging and mining industries led to deforestation and soil erosion, causing ecological disruptions and affecting wildlife habitats. The growth of cities and industries also led to air and water pollution, which posed challenges to public health and environmental sustainability.

Over time, conservation measures, such as reforestation and sustainable logging practices, were implemented to address deforestation and preserve natural resources. Regulations were implemented to control pollution from factories and protect water quality. Today, Wisconsin continues to prioritize environmental conservation and sustainability in its industrial practices, with regulations and initiatives to balance economic growth with environmental protection.

The Industrial Revolution left a lasting legacy in Wisconsin, shaping its economy, society, and landscape. The rise of manufacturing created job opportunities, fueled economic growth, and transformed Wisconsin into an industrial state. Urbanization and technological advancements led to changes in how people lived and worked and contributed to the development of infrastructure and institutions that still characterize the state.

To learn more about the effects of industrialization in Wisconsin, check out The History of Manufacturing in Eau Claire.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


Effects of the Industrial Revolution on North Carolina

Did you know API has six plants across the US? One of them is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina – a state that boasts a rich history in manufacturing, thanks, in part, to the long-lasting effects of the Industrial Revolution on the area.

The Industrial Revolution was a period of rapid growth and change in North Carolina’s history. It began in the late 18th century and lasted until the mid-19th century. This era saw the transformation of the state from an agrarian society into a modern, industrialized state.

Growth of New Industries

One of the most significant impacts of the Industrial Revolution in North Carolina was the growth of the textile industry. Before the 1800s, textiles were primarily produced in people’s homes using hand-operated equipment. But, with the creation of textile mills, manufacturers could turn raw cotton, one of the state’s staple crops, into clothing at a much higher rate. The state became a major center for textile production, shipping products throughout the country.

The state’s economy boomed during this time, and new industries such as tobacco farming, gold mining, and furniture manufacturing emerged. With industry growth came new opportunities for education and advancement, eventually establishing the state’s first public university in 1789: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. New technical schools also opened to train workers on the up-and-coming in-demand skills.

Transportation of Goods

As new industries flourished, the need for more effective transportation for distributing goods grew. In 1818, North Carolina saw its first steamboat business set sail, followed soon after by numerous companies building and managing the ships. Over the next several decades, over 100 merchant steamboats passed through the state’s canals, employing hundreds of workers and carrying products to new consumer markets.

Railroads also began popping up throughout the state and became another common method of shipping goods. North Carolina’s first native railroad began construction in 1836, financially backed by the business interests of residents in each city. Spanning 161 miles from Wilmington to Weldon, the railroad was the longest in the world when it opened. Several more railroads opened in the following years, greatly expanding the reach of local merchants and reducing their transportation costs.

Challenges in Society

The Industrial Revolution was not without its drawbacks, however. As new industries grew, so did the population of the area. People from rural areas flocked to the cities to work in the new factories, leading to the growth of urban areas. This growth, unfortunately, brought new challenges, including sanitation concerns and a lack of adequate housing.

Another significant issue of the time was the exploitation of workers. Factory owners often paid low wages and provided poor working conditions, leading to strikes and labor unrest. Many workers (some of whom were children) were often employed in dangerous and grueling work, and many suffered injuries or health problems. This eventually led to the organization of worker’s rights advocacy groups and sparked a demand for increased regulation and safety in the workplace.

Despite its challenges, the Industrial Revolution profoundly impacted North Carolina’s history. It transformed the state from an agrarian society into a modern, industrialized state, laying the foundation for its current economy. The factories and industries established during this period continue to operate today, providing ample jobs and economic opportunities for North Carolinians.

For more history lessons, check out Effects of the Industrial Revolution in Wisconsin and The History of Manufacturing in Eau Claire.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


Seven New Uses for Old Tires

Do you know what to do with those old tires lying around your garage or yard? Instead of letting them go to waste, you can repurpose them for various functional and creative projects.

Old tires have endless potential for creative and sustainable repurposing. By finding new uses for them, you can help reduce waste while taking advantage of readily-available materials. Here are a few fun and practical ideas.

Tire Planters

Give your garden a unique and eco-friendly touch by turning old tires into planters. Simply paint the tires in vibrant colors, stack them, and fill them with soil to create a fun and eye-catching display for your flowers or vegetables. Tire planters are a great way to upcycle old tires and help reduce waste and promote greener gardening practices.

Playground Surfaces

Old tires can be shredded and processed into rubber mulch or crumb, which can then be used as a safe and resilient playground surface. This provides a soft and shock-absorbent surface that can help prevent injuries from falls, making them an excellent alternative to traditional playground surfaces like wood chips or gravel.

Home Gym Flooring

Consider using old tires as a durable and sustainable flooring option to set up a home gym. Cut the tires into strips or mats, and arrange them on your gym floor to create a resilient, slip-resistant surface for your workouts. Not only will you be repurposing old tires, but you’ll also be creating a functional and eco-friendly workout space.

Tire Furniture

Get creative and turn old tires into unique, stylish furniture for your home or outdoor space. The possibilities are endless, from ottomans and coffee tables to chairs and swings. With some imagination and DIY skills, you can transform old tires into functional and aesthetically pleasing furniture that adds a touch of eco-chic to your living spaces.

Tire Art

If you’re into arts and crafts, old tires can be a fantastic medium for creating unique and eye-catching sculptures or art installations. With their sturdy and flexible nature, tires can be cut, painted, and arranged in various ways to create stunning and sustainable art pieces. This can be a creative way to express your artistic talents, from garden sculptures to wall art.

Tire Swings

Who doesn’t love a classic tire swing? Turning old tires into swings is a timeless and fun way to repurpose them. Hang a tire swing from a sturdy tree branch in your backyard, and watch your kids (or even yourself!) enjoy hours of outdoor playtime. Tire swings are a simple yet effective way to give old tires a new lease on life and create cherished memories.

Construction Projects

In some construction projects, old tires can be a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to traditional materials. For example, tires can be filled with compacted soil and used for building retaining walls, erosion control, or even as a road base. This innovative use of old tires can help reduce the demand for new materials and minimize waste in construction projects.

We hope these DIY recycled tire projects helped inspire you to create something unique! To learn how rubber for new tires is created, check out Five Quick Facts About the Rubber Manufacturing Industry.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


Supporting Employee Mental Health in the Manufacturing Industry

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it is estimated that 20% of adults in the US experience mental illness, which can affect every aspect of their daily lives, including work. Especially in the manufacturing industry, where there tends to be a stigma surrounding such concerns, it is important for employers to provide their team members with adequate resources and support.

Manufacturing can be a demanding and challenging industry to work in, and supporting the mental health of employees is equally as essential as ensuring physical safety. According to a study by the Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology journal, employees who work in manufacturing are 36% more likely to experience mental health issues than the national average. Offering proper resources allows for a safer, healthier, and more positive working environment for all employees.

Impact of Mental Health on Employee Well-being and Productivity

When employees struggle with mental health issues, it can significantly impact their job performance, productivity, and happiness. Stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout can affect employees’ ability to concentrate, make decisions, and engage in their work effectively. This can lead to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and higher turnover rates.

Additionally, untreated mental health issues can result in physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and sleep disturbances, which can further affect employees’ ability to perform their duties safely and efficiently. Therefore, addressing mental health in the workplace is crucial for ensuring the well-being and productivity of employees.

Benefits of Implementing Mental Health Initiatives in the Workplace

Implementing mental health initiatives in the workplace can benefit employees and the company. Here are a few areas that can be impacted positively through proactive measures:

  1. Improved Employee Well-being: Supporting employee mental health can improve their overall quality of life. When employees feel supported, they are more likely to seek help for mental health concerns and take steps toward self-care. This can reduce stress levels, improve mood, and increase job satisfaction.
  1. Increased Productivity and Performance: Employees who receive proper support are better equipped to focus, make decisions, and engage in their job responsibilities. This can lead to increased productivity, improved performance, and higher-quality work.
  1. Reduced Absenteeism and Turnover: Addressing mental health concerns in the workplace can help employees feel more comfortable and secure in their positions. When their mental health needs are adequately addressed, they are likelier to remain engaged and committed to their job.
  1. Enhanced Employee Engagement and Loyalty: Employees who feel supported and cared for by their employer are more likely to view the company favorably. Mental health initiatives can foster an ideal work culture where employees feel valued and appreciated, leading to increased organizational commitment.
  1. Positive Impact on Workplace Safety: Employees who struggle with mental health issues may be more prone to accidents or errors, posing risks to themselves and others. Companies can promote a safer working environment by helping to address mental health concerns.

Ways to Implement Mental Health Initiatives in the Manufacturing Industry

Employers can support employees by implementing programs that focus on mental health and well-being in various ways. These initiatives can help increase awareness of the importance of being mindful of mental health concerns and reduce stigma amongst coworkers.

  1. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): EAPs are confidential programs that provide employees access to professional counseling services for various mental health concerns, including stress, anxiety, depression, and more. EAPs can be a valuable resource for employees seeking help and support for their mental health needs, especially if they have limited access to these services outside of their job.
  1. Mental Health Education and Training: Providing employees with education and training on mental health topics can help raise awareness, reduce stigma, and provide them with tools and resources to manage their mental health effectively. This can include workshops, seminars, or online resources on topics such as stress management, emotional resilience, and work-life balance. These initiatives can equip employees with the knowledge and skills to better understand and manage any issues they may be dealing with.
  1. Flexible Working Arrangements: Offering alternative working arrangements, such as flexible hours or remote work options, can help reduce work-related stress and improve employee work-life balance. This can be particularly beneficial for employees dealing with mental health challenges and could benefit from more individually-tailored schedules or responsibilities.
  1. Supportive Work Environment: It is crucial to create a supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns without fear of stigma or discrimination. This can be achieved through regular communication, open-door policies, and the promotion of a culture of empathy and understanding. Employers can also provide resources and information on mental health services available to employees and actively encourage their use.
  1. Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness programs that promote physical and mental well-being, such as fitness programs, mindfulness sessions, or mental health awareness campaigns, can contribute to a positive experience at work and teach skills that can be used in their everyday lives.
  1. Managerial Training: Training managers on how to recognize and address mental health concerns in their team members can be highly beneficial for both the employees and their supervisors. This can include providing resources on how to have supportive conversations, offering accommodations, and creating a healthy work environment that fosters mental well-being.

At API, we are committed to prioritizing the mental health of our employees and creating a supportive and inclusive work culture that values their well-being. We encourage all manufacturing companies to prioritize mental health and implement initiatives that adequately support their employees, creating a healthier and happier workforce.

To learn more about manufacturing jobs, check out Top Seven Reasons to Work in Manufacturing and The Beauty Behind Blue-Collar Work.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


Safety Considerations in Manufacturing

If you visit our manufacturing facility, you will undoubtedly see a lot of brightly-colored personal protective equipment and signs to remind employees of proper operating policies and procedures. This is done to help maintain a safe environment for anyone who steps foot in the plant and avoid unnecessary incidents.

Safety is paramount in the manufacturing industry, as it can often be more physically dangerous than many other jobs. While it may seem like a lot of extra time and effort to follow proper safety procedures, reducing risks can help limit workplace accidents and serious bodily injuries.

Identify Potential Hazards

Identifying hazards is the first step in creating a safe work environment. In most manufacturing plants, many potentially dangerous elements exist, including machinery and equipment, chemicals, heat, noise, and ergonomic issues. Conducting thorough risk assessments to identify potential safety concerns is crucial. This involves evaluating each step of the process and identifying potential harm or injury sources. Once identified, appropriate measures should be implemented to mitigate or eliminate these hazards.

Provide Proper Equipment and Training

Implementing safety guards on machinery, providing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and hearing protection, conducting regular equipment maintenance, and ensuring proper ventilation and exhaust systems are in place is the most effective way to reduce potential risks to employees. Proper training on the use of machinery, handling of chemicals, and other safety protocols should also be provided to all team members to ensure they are confident in their abilities to perform job tasks safely.

Design Tasks and Workspaces for Efficiency

Ergonomics is essential in planning manufacturing processes, as it involves designing workstations and job responsibilities to minimize strain on employees’ bodies. Typical in many factory and warehouse settings, tasks such as lifting heavy materials, repetitive motions, and prolonged standing or sitting strain employees’ bodies and may lead to musculoskeletal disorders or other injuries. Ensuring that workstations are ergonomically-designed, providing appropriate moving equipment, and teaching proper lifting techniques can help prevent accidents and promote physical safety.

Maintain a Clean and Organized Environment

Ensuring employees maintain clean and organized workstations is crucial for preventing trips, slips, and falls. You can help avoid accidental injuries by encouraging team members to store materials properly, clear walkways, and promptly address spills or other hazards. Employees should also be extra mindful when working with flammable chemicals and materials and understand how to handle and dispose of them to avoid fires properly.

Prepare for Emergencies

In addition to optimizing everyday tasks, it is also essential to be adequately prepared for emergencies. This includes having clear procedures for responding to fires, chemical spills, injuries, and other unanticipated situations. Regularly conducting drills and proactively training employees on emergency response procedures can help ensure that everyone knows what they should do if various circumstances arise. Having easily-accessible emergency exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and other safety equipment readily available throughout the facility is also essential.

Encourage Employee Involvement and Communication

Effectively creating a culture that promotes safety also involves engaging employees and promoting open communication. Team members should be encouraged to report any concerns, near-misses, or incidents they observe in the workplace. Regular meetings, training sessions, and reminders can reinforce proper practices and keep safety in mind for all employees. Additionally, involving employees in developing and reviewing safety policies and procedures can promote a sense of ownership and commitment to mitigating potentially dangerous situations in the workplace.

At API, the safety of our employees is our top priority. The rubber manufacturing processes can be complex and involve various risks, so it is essential to have robust safety measures in place to protect our workforce. We are proud to provide extensive training and proper equipment to ensure our team members have a safe and comfortable working environment to create our superb products.

To learn more about manufacturing jobs, check out Top Seven Reasons to Work in Manufacturing and The Beauty Behind Blue-Collar Work.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.