Attendees flock to Made in Morristown opening
During Sunday’s opening reception for the “Made In Morristown Tennessee with Pride” exhibit at Rose Center, family members visit the booth of Meritor (formerly Rockwell International), featuring pictures of its precision forge processes and samples of its products: components of rear drive axles for Class 8 trucks. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday through March 28.
Morristown built it, and they came. The opening reception for the “Made In Morristown Tennessee With Pride” exhibit drew more than 150 visitors to Rose Center on Sunday afternoon.
“This is great,” said Randy DeBord, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce 2013 Chairman. “We have a lot of reasons to be proud of our city.”
“Rose Center Council for the Arts is very proud to be a Gold Star Member of the Chamber and very excited to partner with the Chamber to produce this event,” said Rose Center Executive Director Drew Ogle.
“It may seem unusual for an art gallery to host an industrial exhibit, but it is not. The two go hand in hand,” Ogle said. “Industrial recruitment and development are enhanced by a strong arts presence in a community. An arts community is strengthened and made more dynamic by the economic support provided by a strong industrial base. They are natural partners.
“If you doubt that what is on display here today is the work of creative artists, just consider this as you walk through the exhibit: Think of what a bland world this would be without the color palette of the folks at Colortech, or how boring the interiors of our cars would be without the designers at Lear, or how pedestrian our homes and offices would be without the products of Daniel Paul Chairs. Our industrial community and our artistic community are indeed one in the same.”
The exhibit was installed as a way to recognize the efforts of local workers and to educate both the general public and students about the far-reaching effect of Morristown’s industrial base.
Alex Whitt, age 9, a student at Alpha Elementary in Morristown, who attended the exhibit with his grandmother, Ann Combs, discovered a number of learning opportunities, just in one room of Rose Center, the Edith Davis Gallery.
Colortech uses a secret formula to create the specific hue of a familiar yellow milk jug; Colgate produces up to one million tubes of toothpaste per day; Meritor’s welded tubes can be found in nuclear installations around the world; and you still can’t check out at a grocery store register without a paper receipt roll made by NCR.
In addition to the sample products in easy reach for curious hands to pick up, the company exhibits provided brochures filled with information about their manufacturing plants located in Morristown, and Whitt had his hands full by the time he made it around the room.
When pressed to name a favorite, Whitt said, “It’s all neat, I can’t pick just one out.”
Whitt wasn’t the only one in learning mode on Sunday.
DeBord, co-owner of McFarland Medical in downtown Morristown, discovered that one of the popular products carried by the store, moon boots, are made by Ratcliff Manufacturing (formerly Lea-Wayne Knitting Mills), located “just down the road” from his business.
Like many products shipped out of Morristown, the moon boots are sold through a distributer — specifically, in Debord’s case, a hard-won medical supplier based in California.
When the doors opened at 2 p.m., the reception was standing room only and visitors continued to browse the galleries until well after closing time at 4 p.m. Heavy hors devours and beverages were prepared and served by Megan’s Corner Catering and More.
The exhibit will remain open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, through March 29.
Participating companies in the exhibit include: Adams Wood Products; Alcoa Power & Propulsion, Morristown; American Plastic Profiles; Citizen Tribune; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Colortech Inc.; Daniel Paul Chairs; FabriTech Manufacturing LLC; Forenta; General Electric; Hayter Printing, Die Cutting & Fabric Swatching; Helm Corporation; Jones Fiber Products Inc.; JTEKT Automotive Tennessee – Morristown; Lakeway Container; Lear Corporation; MAHLE Engine Components USA Inc.; Mason Machinings Inc.; McFarland Pharmacy; Meritor Inc.; NCR Corporation; OTICS USA Inc.; Ratcliff Manufacturing; Renold Jeffrey; Team Technologies Inc.; Tuff Torq Corporation; Valtimet Inc. and Lions Volunteer Blind Industries.
-By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer