While coin operated vending machines may now seem like a part of the distant past, they were once commonly used to sell all kinds of goods and products, including fortunes and songs. The beautiful Mills Novelty Company factory and administration building held one of the world's largest manufacturers of coin operated machines. The company was founded by Mortimer Birdsul Mills in the 1880's, though Mortimer would be awarded his first official patent for a coin-actuated vending machine in 1891. The groundbreaking patent allowed the customer to reconfigure what was sold in the vending machine and have it dispense like a typical coin slot machine.
The company would also later become popular for their slot machines and jukeboxes, which were produced inside the Fullerton Ave manufacturing plant in Chicago beginning in 1926. It is rumored that the building and company had ties to the infamous mobster, Al Capone, during this era. It is speculated that Capone may have used the Mills Novelty manufacturing operations to assist with shipping illegal booze around the country during the Prohibition period. The building had both a private ice cream parlor and barbershop added to the rooftop, perhaps to entertain the whimsy of a particular notorious gangster. Remnants of the barbershop and parlor still exist to this day and can be seen from the street side, appearing as tower additions to the rooftop facade.
In 1944 the company changed its name to Mills Industries Incorporated and the slot machine division would become owned by the Bell-O-Matic Corporation. The Bell-O-Matic Corporation was the world's exclusive distributor of Mills Bell Products, and they adopted the playful slogan "It's a Jewel of a Bell, this Mills Jewel Bell". U-Haul acquired the building in July of 1999 and opened for business in 2002 after the first phase of renovations were complete. The renovations included a stunning conversion, featuring 1930s bank-style decor for the center's showroom.
Au service des clients depuis 2002, cet emplacement a été construit par réutilisation adaptative d'un bâtiment abandonné. La réutilisation adaptative favorise l'aménagement intercalaire dans le but de renforcer les communautés. Parmi les bienfaits obtenus, la réutilisation a permis d'éviter :
- la fabrication et le transport de 224 tonnes de métal
- le coulage de 32 756 tonnes de nouveau béton
- 34 187 tonnes de débris de construction et de démolition
Energy-efficiency and waste-reduction programs at this facility provide the following estimated benefits each year for the Chicago community:
- réaliser des économies de 361 454 kWh par année
- 14 338 225 livres d'émissions de gaz à effet de serre
Production de l'acier La fabrication et le transport de 224 tonnes (203 tonnes métriques) d'acier ont été évités à ce jour
Énergie Économies de 361 454 kWh par année
Béton Coulage de 32 756 tonnes (29 724 tonnes) de nouveau béton évité à ce jour.
Émissions 14 338 225 lb (6 503 776 kgs) d'émissions de gaz à effet de serre ont été évitées
Débris pour les sites d'enfouissement 34 187 lb (31 023 kg) de débris de construction ont été évitées