Champion Hamilton mill chronology, 1893-2005
(Updated as of January 2006)
1893 Nov. 2 - Champion Coated Paper Company incorporated by Peter G. Thomson.
1894 April 15 - production began in coating mill on Seven Mile Pike (North B Street). Paper was purchased from other Hamilton mills and coated by Champion.
1894 May 4 - first coated paper is shipped from the mill.
1896 - Champion mill wired for electricity.
1897 - Champion bought the Eagle Paper Co. mill, Franklin, Ohio, and entered the paper-making business for the first time.
1897 Dec. 25 - Champion purchased glue plant at St. Charles, Ill.
1898 March 24 - Great Miami River flood damaged mill and stopped production.
1898 Aug. 3 - contract signed with Belt Line Railroad to ship paper by rail.
1898 Nov. 25 - Belt Line Railroad started service to the mill.
1899 Oct. 1 - new office building completed.
1900 March - according to an article in the American Printer, there were 21 paper-coating mills in the United States and Champion was "the youngest and also the largest" and "twice as big as the second mill, and larger in capacity than all the others combined."
1900 Dec. 4 - Champion announced it would manufacture paper in a new mill to be built in Hamilton.
1901 Dec. 22 - fire destroyed coating mill; $800,000 loss.
1902 June 7 - rebuilt coating mill resumed operation.
1902 June 7 - first paper made in Hamilton by Champion. New paper mill opened simultaneously with the rebuilt coating mill.
1904 May-December - 3-shift, 8-hour workday plan adopted in Hamilton mill for seven months.
1906 Jan. 6 - Champion Fibre Company incorporated as a separate company and the basis for a planned North Carolina pulp mill.
1907 - Champion entered the uncoated paper market with the opening of a second paper-making mill in Hamilton.
1908 January - Champion pulp mill opened at Canton, N. C.
1913 March 25 - Great Miami River flood inflicted heavy damage on mill.
1913 March 26 - fire destroyed coating plant to water line of flood.
1913 June 15 - rebuilt mill resumed operations after flood and fire.
1917 June 1 - company store opened in Hamilton mill.
1917 Dec. 1 - group insurance plan for employees and dependents introduced.
1919 July - Dr. Louis H. Frechtling became mill's first full-time industrial physician.
1922 June 1 - chemical building opened at Hamilton mill.
1924 - advertising department created.
1925 Aug. 21 - new office building completed on North B Street.
1925 Oct. 19 - knight logo used on shipment of paper for the first time.
1926 Jan. 27 - cafeteria opened in Hamilton mill.
1926 March 22 - knight trademark registered in U. S. Patent Office.
1926 - research department established at Hamilton mill.
1929 - Kromekote introduced; Champion obtained basic patent on cast coating.
1931 June 1 - Fleet Foot Tribe, a female hikers club, formed.
1931 July 10 - Peter Gibson Thomson, Champion founder, died. His son, Alexander Thomson, elected president.
1933 June 6 - Champion issued patent for the machine coating process.
1933 Sept. 28 - Champion Employees Association formed "to provide a medium whereby the employees may discuss matters of mutual benefit among themselves or with the management."
1934 - company store closed.
1935 Aug. 9 - all plants assumed new corporate name, Champion Paper and Fibre Co. with Logan Thomson as president. Alexander Thomson chairman of the board.
1937 Feb. 18 - Champion opened pulp mill at Pasadena, Texas, near Houston.
1937 spring - six acres leased for Camp Chapaco (later Thomson Park) as camp for Champion Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
1937 - Champion stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
1938 April 28 - Chaco Credit Union formed.
1938 Dec. 1 - operations started at clay (kaolin) plant at Sandersville, Ga.
1939 June 27 - Alexander Thomson Sr., Champion chairman, died.
1940 - Champion Service Association formed.
1941 Sept. 9 - first issue of CHIPS, mill newspaper.
1945 June - Champion Veterans' Club formed.
1946 - Ethel Lincks crowned first Lady Champion.
1946 - Champion Employees Activities Association formed.
1946 - Logan G. Thomson, Champion president, died; succeeded by Reuben B. Robertson.
1947 - Camp Chapaco, west of Hamilton, purchased by Champion and renamed Thomson Park in honor of founding family.
1958 April 12 - plans announced for Knightsbridge office in Hamilton.
1960 March 13 - Reuben B. Robertson Jr., Champion president, killed in traffic accident in Cincinnati.
1960 March 15 - Dwight J. Thomson elected chairman of the board and Karl R. Bendetsen elected president. Thomson, a grandson of Champion's founder, and Bendetsen had been vice presidents.
1960 May 26 - Dwight Thomson, Champion chairman, announced donation of land off Eaton Road to the City of Hamilton for recreational use (Twin Run Golf Course).
1960 Aug. 2 - Champion acquires factory and office structures along North Third Street in Hamilton from the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation.
1961 March 31 - "Black Friday" - about a third of production employees are laid off.
1961 Aug. 2 - waste treatment plant, 2.5 miles south of mill along the Great Miami River, began operation.
1961 Aug. 7 - general office began move from North B Street to new Knightsbridge offices.
1963 June 22 - Twin Run Municipal Course dedicated; built on land donated in 1960 by Dwight Thomson.
1967 Feb. 28 - Champion Papers Inc. merged with U. S. Plywood Corp. to form U. S. Plywood-Champion Papers Inc., with 31,000 employees and 130 manufacturing operations; headquartered in New York City. Karl R. Bendetson, chairman, and Gene C. Brewer, president.
1967 July - plans announced for a $100 million-plus pulp and paper mill on 1,800 acres on the Tennessee River, 2.5 miles from Courtland, Ala. Ground breaking April 1968.
1967 July 20 - official contract between Champion and Local 1967 of the United Papermakers and Paperworkers signed.
1967 December - student center at the new Hamilton Campus of Miami University is named the Champion Student Center in recognition of the financial contributions of the company and its employees to the campus.
1972 May 11 - shareholders approve changing the company name from U. S. Plywood-Champion Papers Inc. to Champion International Corp.
1973 May 23 - last time knight logo used on front page of CHIPS.
1984 July 31 - Champion International announced plans to acquire the St. Regis Corp.; Champion board approves agreement Nov. 20, 1984.
1989 December - Hamilton mill became the first paper mill in North America to recyle100 percent of its solid papermaking waste and boiler ash instead of dumping them in a landfill.
1990 - Hamilton mill earns national environmental award from the American Paper Institute and National Forest Products Association.
1990 May - Champion introduces Benefit, its first recycle grade of paper.
1991 - $45 million expansion of Knightsbridge completed.
1994 April - Champion observes 100th anniversary of starting production in Hamilton.
B Street mill employment reported as about 1,500.
1997 October - Champion International announced its intention to sell the Hamilton mill as part of a corporate restructuring.
2000 Feb. 17 - Finland-based UPM-Kymmene, Europe's largest forest products company, announced a merger agreement with Champion International.
2000 May 12 - International Paper Company announced it had reached a merger agreement with Champion International after UPM-Kymmene withdrew from the bidding. Transaction valued at about $7.3 billion,
2000 June 21 -- Champion International name disappeared. International Paper assumed control of Champion's worldwide operations, including the Hamilton mill, Knightsbridge and other Hamilton properties. Employment reported at 820 at mill and 560 at Knightsbridge. Also 220 people employed by International Paper at former Beckett Paper Co., which was acquired by International Paper in 1986.
2000 Sept. 5 -- International Paper announced plans to phase out operations at Knightsbridge.
2001 Jan. 8 - International Paper announced the sale of the B Street mill to a Florida merchant banking firm that would operate the facility as Smart Paper LLC.
Feb. 8, 2002 -- Miami University trustees approved the purchase of the former purchasing and engineering building, part of the Knightsbridge complex, from International Paper for $650,000. The property was reported at 1385 Peck Blvd. (later renamed University Blvd.).
April 2004 -- International Paper closed the sale of Knightsbridge to Harry T. Wilks of Hamilton, a $3.5 million transaction, according to county records.
Jan. 20, 2005 -- Knightsbridge was acquired from Harry T. Wilks by Mahendra Vora and Timothy B. Matthews for $6 million. It was renamed the Vora Technology Center or Vora Technology Park. At March 25, 2005, dedication ceremonies attended by Gov. Bob Taft it was described as "complete with a state-of-the-art data center, broadband infrastructure and fiber optic network" and "designed to be one of the best disaster recovery back-up centers in the nation."
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