TENNESSEE EASTMAN CORPORATION - Kingsport, TN
Posted by: vhasler
N 36° 31.625 W 082° 32.294
17S E 362286 N 4043512
Quick Description: Starting from wood alcohol, "The Eastman", as known locally, has expanded to be a worldwide supplier of chemicals, fibers and plastics.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 10/9/2010 3:17:15 AM
Waymark Code: WM9X4F
Long Description:The TENNESSEE EASTMAN CORPORATION (not open to public), 2 miles south of the Circle on State 81, is second in size of the 13 Eastman
plants. It consists of 82 buildings covering 372 acres on the Holston River and employs approximately 4,000 people. The plant produces large quantities of cellulose acetate for camera films, acetate yarns and plasters. Among its by-products are "charket," a concentrated fuel made from charcoal, and wood oils used as non-poisonous denaturants and insecticides.
----- TENNESSEE - A Guide to the State (third printing 1949)
Due to shortages experienced in World War I, George Eastman came to Tennessee in 1920 looking for his own source of "wood alcohol" (methanol) to use in photographic film production. At that time, methanol was manufactured by the destructive distillation of wood obtained from the heavily forested region, so he purchased a small existing plant located on the Holston River. The kilns also created the large byproduct mentioned in the travel guide, "charket", which was used for cooking on steam ships.
The need for a different film base than highly flammable nitrocellulose resulted in beginning production of cellulose acetate at the plant site. (Note: The manual feeding of cotton linters pictured on page 281 in travel guide has been replaced with automated systems.) With this basic "acetyl" chemical building block, the corporation created such materials as calcium acetate, sodium acetate, acetic acid and acetic anyhydride.
In order to reduce the cost of chemicals provided to Eastman Kodak, the corporation was allowed to expand into other chemical arenas, such as polyesters. Starting in the 1970's, this plant became a producer of PET plastics for carbonated beverages bottles, including the light green used for Mountain Dew.
Tennessee Eastman, in 1983, became the first U.S. manufacturer to develop and commercialize gasification and other technology to create chemical products from coal rather than starting with petroleum.
In 1994, Eastman Chemical Company was was spun off from Eastman Kodak as a completely separate corporation (NYSE listing as EMN). The 82 buildings cited in 1939 has grown to over 500 on a 435 acres site located on both sides of the Holston River. Direct employment at this site peaked around 16,000, thus represents a major employer in the region.
The coordinates are for a bridge overpass on South Eastman Road which gives enough elevation to see some of the plant. Like in 1939, public access into the plant site is not allowed for safety reasons.
For more information, check out the company website .