SALEM - A scrap chopper machine credited with putting Butech Bliss on the international map will become a centerpiece for the Industry/Transportation display at the Dale Shaffer Research Library.
"This is a critical piece of company history," Butech Bliss Vice President of Operations Chuck Jackson said.
Representatives of the Dale Shaffer Research Library visited the South Ellsworth Avenue plant this week to see the machine being donated by the Salem manufacturer. Due to its size, plans call for the machine to be placed outside of the building near the space being dedicated to industry and transportation.
Scott Mingus, left, of J. Herbert Construction, general contractor for the Dale Shaffer Research Library, discusses details with Butech Bliss Vice President of Operations Chuck Jackson while looking over the scrap chopper machine Butech is donating for the library’s industry and transportation collection. According to Jackson, the machine designed by company President John Buta and built in 1988 helped make Butech Bliss what it is today (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
Built in 1988 and designed by Butech Bliss President John Buta, Jackson said this particular machine can cut a piece of metal 1/4-inch thick into smaller, more manageable pieces, with the technology propelling the company into the worldwide market.
Machines just like this one are used all over the world. The company manufactures scrap chopper machines of all sizes now that can cut up to 1 1/2-inch pieces of metal and have taken people out of harm's way because they're no longer hand-fed.
Buta founded Butech in 1985 and the company has grown continuously since then, buying the former Bliss facility across the street and adopting the new name Butech Bliss. The company website at www.butech.com describes the Salem manufacturer as "one of the most trusted builders of rolling mills, coil processing equipment, extrusion/forging machinery and custom applications."
The donated scrap chopper machine weighs 3,600 pounds, measures 3 feet wide and 10 feet long and will be refurbished, with any broken parts replaced, and the whole machine cleaned up and repainted. A base will elevate the machine for easy viewing and a shelter will be placed over top of it to protect it from the elements.
"We're totally going to restore it - put it in mint condition," Jackson said, adding they'll also make it as safe as possible.
Butech Bliss Executive Assistant Ashley Johnson said a bronze plaque will include information about the machine and its history. Another plaque will list all company employees and the patent drawings will be included. Longtime company employee Arless Webb will work on refurbishing the machine and cleaning it up for display.
Visitors to the plant included Mickey Cope Weaver, design coordinator of the Industry/Transportation portion of the Dale Shaffer Research Library, library general contractor Scott Mingus of J. Herbert Construction, Salem Historical Society Building Committee Chairman Bill Ward and Salem Historical Society President David Shivers. While there, they saw a demonstration of a bigger version of the scrap chopper which quickly cut a 3/4-inch thick piece of steel with ease.
Weaver noted that Buta was recognized as a Citizen of Honor by the Salem Historical Society and he and his son Jock are both dedicated to preserving history in Salem, much like the library's namesake, noted Salem area historian Dale Shaffer who passed away in 2009. Shaffer bequeathed the money for the construction of the research library. East Alley, the street in front of the museum, has been renamed Dale Shaffer Way.
The library, which is slated to open Aug. 7, will feature a research library, the Salem Historical Society gift shop, meeting room, work room and a revolving display of items representing the history of transportation and industry in Salem.
"It's a way to preserve more and more of our history," Weaver said, adding at one time every house in America probably had something in it that was made in Salem. "Our town played a big role in the industrialization of America."
Besides the scrap chopper machine, they've secured a number of items which came from Salem companies such as Salem China, Mullins, Salem Tool and the Silver company. They've also secured photographs and a lot of signage. They would like to find some statuary from Mullins to go with the Mullins boat they have.
"We're trying to find key pieces to Salem's history," she said.
Anyone with items they would like to donate for the display should contact Weaver at email@example.com.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org