Catasauqua Press

Sunday, October 22, 2017
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ESSROC AND LARRY OBERLYInvitation to the Coplay Cement dedication PHOTOS COURTESY OF ESSROC AND LARRY OBERLYInvitation to the Coplay Cement dedication
Dedication program Dedication program
Essroc, now Lehigh Hanson, today Essroc, now Lehigh Hanson, today

A new plant

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

The Coplay Cement Company had a long and prestigious history. Founded by David Saylor, it operated in the Borough of Coplay from 1866 to 1978. As the years passed, the plant’s equipment slowly became obsolete. The company had to make a serious decision: Should they modernize, should they construct a new plant or should they sell to a company that could resurrect the aging facility?

After much discussion and debate, the historic company decided to sell. In a letter to the stockholders, they said they decided to sell the plant and the famous Saylor name to Societe des Ciments Francais (SCF).

The tender offer was for 520,000 shares at $7.80 per share. The board of directors unanimously authorized the transaction.

Signing for Coplay was Chairman of the Board Louis M. Stamberg and President and Chief Executive Officer Paul A. Lentz. Mr. Lentz, a graduate of Northampton High School, started his long career at the Universal Atlas in Northampton. His father (do you remember?) was one of the owners of the Lentz Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealership on Main Street in Northampton. This writer had the privilege of knowing both of these fine gentlemen.

The French company decided to move to Nazareth and constructed an ultra-modern plant on the site of the old Nazareth Cement Company.

The dedication was held on July 8, 1978. The plant continued to be called the Coplay Cement Manufacturing Company. The president was Mr. George Uding.

Speakers at the dedication included Fred B. Rooney, U.S. House of Representatives; R. Maurice Doumenc, chairman of Ciments Francais; and Louis Stamberg, chairman of board. The new plant had employees from Coplay, Nazareth and Northampton and the area.

Dean Sandbrook, vice president of operations, was from Catasauqua. As a young engineer, he had worked with my father at the Universal Atlas, and they became friends.

In 1978, Essroc Italcementi purchased the facility. The ownership of Essroc ended in 2016 when the plant was sold to Lehigh Hanson.