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Catalog Number 2005.051.072
Object Name Print, Photographic
Collection Shuger Business Photos
Description Black and white photograph of the destruction of the Varnish and Resin Plant at 150 S. Cawerton Road due to fire, c.1948.
Year Range from 1948.0
Year Range to 1948.0
Print size 4 x 4
Condition Good
Search Terms Varnish and Resin Plant
Cawerton Road
Subjects Varnishing industry
Paint industry
Notes Morres Shuger was born in Romania c.1870 and went to Buenos Aires as a teenager. Morres came to Baltimore c. 1899-1900 with his wife Sophia and two children, Molly and Albert. Other children, Herman (b. 1901), Julius, Leroy, and Herbert, were born in Baltimore.

Morres worked for Bethlehem Steel as a machinist and inventor. After he amassed some money, Morres entered the real estate business with a partner, John Salmon (an Irishman). They started a building and loan business. One of the pieces of property that they had a mortgage on was a brewery in West Baltimore. The brewery failed and they inherited the building. According to the family legend, someone thought that this was the perfect place to manufacture paint. Morres did not know how to, but his son Herman had some experience. They hired a succession of chemists to help them manufacture paint.

All of the older brothers, Albert and Julius came into the business, each with a different area of responsibility. They all decided that Leroy should go to Johns Hopkins to become a chemist. The youngest brother, Herbert, learned finance. All of the brothers worked together as partners until Morres died in 1943.

Molly was an artist. She was awarded a scholarship to MICA and to study in Europe by the mayor [presumably of Baltimore]. Most of her work is in New York.

[See typed history of the company for further details]

Paints were originally for car finishes. The Baltimore Paint Company was the largest manufacturer of traffic marking paints and that they also made night reflecting paint.

Fire: 1948-1949 business had a large fire in its plant and destroyed a resin plant in West Baltimore. One spectator killed. resin plant solvent caught fire at 150 S. Calverton Road. Decided not to rebuild at the site, and purchased site at West Port, (Annapolis Ave, which was later re-named Hollins Ferry Road) where they started over. Became the biggest paint plant south of Philadelphia.

Purchased the Synkaloid Company in Atlanta and built a new plant (photo). Note: Synkaloid also had plants in Anaheim, Ca, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Dallas, TX, Jacksonville, FL

During WWII, Baltimore Paint & Color Works worked primarily in making military coverings and paints in camouflage colors for the Army Corp. of Engineers and US Navy.

Herman Shuger died in 1954 at 53 years old. Herman Shuger Memorial Award presented annually to the person in Baltimore who had done the most for the paint industry that year.

Baltimore Paint and Color Works was very active in the community. In addition to sponsoring baseball teams, bowling teams, softball teams, Boy Scout troops, the company sponsored a bus for community kids to take field trips.

Every year they had a company picnic. Early on they could not find places that would take black people. They would receive $10 each and were told to have a good time. Later, the business would not have their picnic at places that did not accept blacks. The business had a reputation for being accepting and hired a black secretary and chemist.
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