Pistons’ Namesake Factory Closing Down for Good

A little bit of NBA history will soon be history thanks to the current economic woes. The factory in which the Detroit Pistons got their nickname will be shutting its doors for good.

Fort Wayne Pistons logo

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that Zollner Piston, an auto parts maker that once employed 1,200 people, is now down to 38 employees. And when it once was supplying numerous car companies, Zollner now only has General Motors as a client. So the company that owns the plant plans on closing down the Fort Wayne, Indiana, facility & shifting the work to Wisconsin & Mexico.

Yes, that’s sad and all, but what does it have to do with basketball?

Well, Fred Zollner, the original owner of the piston-producing plant, was also one of the founding members of the National Basketball Association. And his Fort Wayne Pistons were one of the first teams in the new league, calling northeast Indiana home from 1949 until moving to the Motor City in 1957.

Now another piece of the NBA’s legacy will soon leave us. But the piston company hasn’t set an official date when they will cease operations - they still need to work out an agreement with the UAW. And the way those kinds of negotiations go on, there’s still slim hope yet Zollner won’t be zapped from existence!