Johns Manville Factory Worker Photos


One thing that has been suspiciously absent from the Manville blog is the Asbestos producing giant Johns Manville. I think up to now I’ve left it out just because its a negative stigma on the town, and I wanted this thing to be celebratory. But history is history… you can’t change it. All you can do is confront it in the best and most integral way you can. There are a lot of families with history wrapped up in JM, and many good times were had in the orbit of factory happenings. It was the catalyst for the town to expand. Neal Ranauro, my favorite Manville photographer was a photographer for JM. Who knows if most of these photos I have on this blog would have existed if JM never employed him. JM helped the town in so many ways… they even helped pay for the public schools. With that said it was also a monster. A black perpetual cloud cast upon the town forever. Even as a young kid, before I knew of all the court cases, health issues, and company cover ups… Before I knew there was a monetary formula that decided that it was better to just let their company workers work, get sick, and die than to stop production, I did know there was this decrepit old building, surrounded by a decrepit old green fence… I knew my grandparents and great grandparents worked there, and I knew it was a terrible place. I don’t want to take it to bummer town right at this moment, because THIS post is a positive one. One about hardworking industrial families, in a town that was still coming of age. Despite the tragedies that happened at Johns Manville there were lots of proud folks who spent their lives working hard to provide for their families, folks who believed in the power of what they were producing. This great photo collection came to me through Manville Councilman , and fellow Manville history buff, Richard Onderko. He also, got me digital versions of a couple of the JM “Quarter Century Club” celebration programs which will be making a near future appearance on this site. But for now enjoy these great JM worker photos. You can click on them to enlarge them. Thanks again Rich!


10 thoughts on “Johns Manville Factory Worker Photos

  1. hi,
    my spouse and i both were born and raised in manville 1950/51. she and i both worked at the research center, mid to late 60’s and my father was a guard many years up there, from i think back in the 50’s. we made many friends there over the years.
    these pics are great with all the familiar faces , however i’m having trouble putting names on all of them except for a few. thanks for sharing

  2. Hey Gene,

    It’s Rose Vivalo. How are you? Your Dad and our Dad worked together in Research as guards. Remember him well.

    Rosemarie Vivalo Hamilton

    • Rosemarie, are you a descendant of Julia Grant Vivalo? We are trying to trace our cousins through the Nicoletta and William Grande (Grant) family tree. I can be contacted through e-mail at I am a descendant of Francis Anthony Grant, who was Julia’s brother.

  3. Hi – It was a nice surprise to see my father’s picture – Patsy Abruzzesi – in the 6th small photo group of 6 photos above – He worked at JM over 50 years.
    Patricia Abruzzesi Adam
    Jacksonville, FL

  4. A number of my Pawlik and Bobrowski relatives worked at JM. Fred Bobrowski is in the JM Quarter Century Club blog pictures. I’ve been told that my great-grandfather Tony Pawlik Sr was the 9th person hired overall to work at JM. He was a security guard. I have a handful of JM pictures on my website, in the “Pawlik (Joyce)” folder.
    The Pawlik’s lived at the intersection of North 7th and North St, in the tall white house. My father (Art Carmon, son of Steve Carmon and Mary Pawlik) lived upstairs. Tony was also very active in the Russian church across the tracks on South 6th.

  5. I too worked at JM for 24 years (the rookie) in millwrights 1962-’85. Just thought that you should know that Neil Ranaro pic’s are stored in Temple university, need premission to view, why they got down there, don’t know…George

  6. I think my father is in the top left picture Stanley Shanoski does anyone have names of the men in the picture I really would like to know his birthday was yesterday and he has been gone 23 years.

  7. My mother, Helen Marchuk was born and raised in Manville. She worked at Johns Manville in the early 40’s during WWII in the brake lining section. She recalled coming home from work literally covered with asbestos dust.

    • Lucretia Lawson,
      I’ve been trying to help collect some information for my BF, Jeff Lawson, and was wondering if you are of any relation to a Benjamin and Josephine Lawson. Benjamin Lawson was Jeff’s grandfather and we know he worked at JM, but we are not sure if any of these pictures have him in them.

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