Razing Stearns & Foster

The last remnant of the historic Stearns & Foster Company in Lockland, Ohio, came tumbling today as the smokestack was toppled over.

Founded in Cincinnati in 1846, Stearns & Foster was the first factory to produce cotton wadding and soon expanded into batting, mattresses, and other related cotton products. In the late 1880s, a new factory was built along the Miami-Erie Canal in Lockland, which grew to eventually encompass 15 acres and one million square feet. At its peak, it could produce up to 200 mattresses and spring sets daily with a workforce of 1,200 employees.

By the 1990s, the Lockland complex operated with a skeleton crew of 75 workers. It was eventually closed by Stearns & Foster’s successor, Sealy, because of its limited manufacturing capacity and aging infrastructure. A few manufacturing lines were retained to produce fiber-fill and insulation for automobiles until that, too, was acquired by Leggett and Platt Inc., which moved all operations to Mason, Ohio, in 2003.

The former factory site caught fire many times over its lifespan and after years of disuse, is now all but demolished. The smokestack was the last visible reminder of what was once one of the region’s largest manufacturers.

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