Badge #1305

Wanna see something cool?

Sure you do.

From 1933 to 1988, the Ford Motor Company operated a radiator manufacturing plant in the Town and Village of Green Island, New York. Every Ford vehicle manufactured during that time, from the Mustang to the Edsel, from the Lincoln Continental to the Mercury Cougar, contained a radiator that was manufactured in my current hometown.

And employees at the Green Island radiator plant all received special pinback badges. These badges matched up with their work identification numbers, so they needed these badges to get paid. Every Ford plant had their own distinct badge design and numeration – from Ford’s Michigan-based factories in Dearborn and in Rouge and in Highland Park, for example.

And Green Island’s factory also had their own custom badges. And last week, I acquired one.

Check this out.

Nice. Gotta love the stylized tugboat leading what looks like an ocean liner in what might be the Hudson River. And the biplane flying towards the smokestacks.

I don’t know who employee #1305 was, but I do know that if he or she lost this badge, they would have to apply for a new badge – with a new number – before receiving their wages.

Well, this was the design for the Green Island badge. I showed this piece off in my Facebook Village of Green Island group, and several members noted that they still had the badges of their fathers and mothers who worked at the radiator plant. These badges are treated like family heirlooms, and rightly so.

I should also note that when Ford left the area in 1988, they left their hydro-powered generators behind. The Town and Village now uses those generators to provide low-cost municipal power to the residents of Green Island. That’s right … every month I get a bill from the Town and Village regarding my electric use.

And most months, I can pay for my electricity consumption with the loose change in my couch cushions.

All thanks to the Ford radiator plant that existed in this area a century ago.