Jennifer Goold, Betty Bird and Associates
National Enameling & Stamping Company
1901, Light St., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The National Enameling & Stamping Co. (NESCO) complex was constructed in 1887 to serve as the works of Maryland's largest tinware manufacturer, the Baltimore branch of a nationally prominent manufacturer. The densely packed complex fills an almost five-acre site south of Wells Street at the industrial edge of South Baltimore. A remarkable spread of transportation arteries, including a major CSX rail yard, Interstate 95, and the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, are arrayed south of the site. The NESCO complex consists of 17 interconnected buildings and one structure that vary in height from one to five stories. The complex was organized to house three primary functions in discrete sections: the manufacture of tinware, the manufacture of enameled and japanned wares, and storage, warehousing, and distribution. Most components, which are in poor to good condition, consist of common mill construction with timber framing and brick bearing walls. Roof forms vary to reflect building uses. In a manner typical of industrial complexes, the NESCO complex has been altered over the years. Segments of the powerhouse and part of the production center, comprising a total of five components, have been lost to demolition. Alterations to the doorways are common, and most of the windows have been infilled. The interiors are largely unaltered, although no manufacturing equipment remains. The vast portion of the complex remains intact, and continues to embody the Maryland facet of a nationally significant firm and industry.
The NESCO manufactory, located on the industrial edge of South Baltimore, stands to represent its 70-year history as the site of the works of Matthai, Ingram & Co., later the National Enameling & Stamping Co. (NESCO). The NESCO works are historically significant because they housed Maryland's largest tinware manufactory, which was one of the most significant components of Maryland's industrial base in the late 19th through mid 20th centuries. The NESCO manufactory illustrates how the tinware industry evolved through the changing technologies that developed in the metal houseware industry from the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century. The plant ceased production of tinware and enameled wares in 1952.