• U.S.

MANUFACTURING: Profits from Waste

2 minute read

A New York Times, a Rupert Hughes novel, We Live but Once, an old hatbox— these and other heterogeneous waste materials the Clifton (N. J.) Paper Board Co. converts into paperboard for corrugated shipping containers, folding cartons, shoe boxes. Last week, after a few trial runs, the company’s newly modernized $2,000,000 factory was ready for full-blast operation. Clifton turned out 12,000 tons of paperboard in 1932; the plant is now good for 125,000 tons a year.

One of the biggest wastepaper converters in the East, Clifton is a family-owned business. The family is the Desiderios, father and seven sons. Frank Desiderio, a strapping, grey-haired Italian, arrived in the U. S. in 1904, penniless, unemployed, unable to speak English. On borrowed money he bought a pushcart, tramped Newark’s streets collecting wastepaper. In two years he had a horse and wagon, traded them for a two-cylinder Autocar in 1918. By 1926 the Desiderios owned a 100-truck fleet. When the old Clifton firm went bankrupt six years ago, they turned up with a batch of uncollected bills and a checkbook. By 1935 they had two more plants — in Whippany, N. J. and Durham, Pa. But their first is still their pride & joy.

Frank Desiderio, 64, is the boss, but his seven sons — Thomas, 39, Anthony, 37, Dominic, 35, Arnold, 33, John, 31, Salvatore, 27, and Michael, 22 — manage the $2,500,000-a-year business. Diminutive, flashy-eyed Tony, who started pushing the pushcart at 9, is President. All the Desiderios are hard workers, have no high-priced executives or stockholders to worry about. All three of their plants were in the red when they bought them; all three have thrived since.

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