Although it is primarily a bedroom community today, there was a time when Hellertown was a bustling industrial center. Probably the best-known of its former industrial outfits were the Thomas Iron Company and Champion Spark Plug, however other businesses also located operated factories in the borough.
One of them was the Air Reduction Company, which in 1918 built a plant on Whitaker Street, on the edge of the community.
An article published in The Allentown Democrat on Nov. 22, 2018 highlighted the company’s specialty–in a somewhat rudimentary fashion–and noted that its product was in demand at the nearby Bethlehem Steel Company.
The Air Reduction Company, which was headquartered in New York City, was ultimately acquired by Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (which today is Air Products) in 1970.
On Jan. 1, 1971, The New York Times reported that “Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Allentown, Pa., a manufacturer of cryogenic equipment, industrial gases and other chemicals, has agreed in principle to purchase for cash the chemicals and plastics business of the Air Reduction Company, a New York‐based diversified manufacturing concern, the companies announced yesterday.”
Of additional note is the fact that the plant the company built in Hellertown over 100 years ago is still standing and still in use by a business. Today it is home to Gas and Air Systems Inc,. however the words “Air Reduction Sales Company” are chiseled into the east-facing side of the structure, forever to remind passers-by of its original purpose.
BUILDING $300,000 OXYGEN PLANT
A $300,000 oxygen plant is being erected between Hellertown and Cross Roads* by the Air Reduction company of 120 Broadway, New York. This company has in operation fifty plants extending across the country and has twenty plants additional now building. They have a process whereby they take the oxygen out of the air. The greater part of the product of the Bethlehem plant will be used by the Bethlehem Steel company.
About this column: Olden Days is a Saucon Source series in which newspaper articles in the public domain are used to recall area news from the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can help support “Olden Days” by making a voluntary contribution and becoming a Saucon Source member today. Learn more here. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, to receive the latest news delivered to your inbox three evenings per week.