Delco Battery

Delco Battery

Muncie was once a city filled with industry, and one of the most notable names in our manufacturing history was Delco, a division of General Motors which manufactured automotive and military products.

The first Delco factory in Muncie, in operation from 1923-1926, was located on Kilgore and Perkins St., and manufactured electric lights for Harvester Tractors, but was closed after production was moved to another factory location.

The longest operating Muncie location opened at the site of a former automobile factory, which manufactured Inter-state, Sheridan, and Durant cars. At this plant, car batteries were to be produced, which, at the time of the plant’s opening, was a big step for General Motors, who had previously been buying batteries from other manufacturers The new factory was announced in March 1928, and the first battery made by Delco was completed in the evening of jul 23, 1928. 

Delco became known as one of the major employers of Delaware County, with a peak employment of 1,700. The plant thrived at the West Willard location, even announcing in late 1986 that a new plant would be built, and all operations would move there, initially focusing on the no-maintenance battery. The factory became Delphi Automotive Systems in 1995, after departments within General Motors merged.

The plant closed operations in fall of 1998, one of many industrial plants in the city to close, leaving close to 400 people without jobs. This closure came as a result of Delphi consolidating manufacturing resources. This new plant was torn down later that year, and the only, of the three factories, still standing, is the original factory on Kilgore and Perkins.


Delco Gallery (Photos from lost muncie and the star press)

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