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BULT IN 1924



The story begins over a century ago, in 1904, when Michele Armato arrived at the port of New Orleans in the hopes of making a start in an exciting, new country.

Though he was prepared for poverty, hard work and sacrifice, Michele was caught completely off guard by the total lack of one thing he had always taken for granted. Olive oil was nowhere to be found. So, with a handful of other enterprising Sicilian immigrants, he devised a plan to bring olive oil to the United States.

It started with an old friend back in Sambuca who owned a small olive grove. Next was a fellow who lived in the next town – both a barrel maker and a master at extracting the rich oil from ripe olives. Others were involved in transporting the oil overseas, and lastly came Michele, who was tasked with the final stage. He would assemble the necessary machinery to produce tin cans. This way, the olive oil, which arrived in massive casks, could be packaged for sale to his fellow countrymen.

His new business was such a success that it quickly outgrew the workshop on Union Street. Having fallen in love with the craft of tin making, Michele went in search of a location where he could expand beyond olive oil cans and open a full-fledged decorative tin factory. He chose Chicago as the home for his new operation, and in 1912 he left New Orleans and the Union Street workshop and founded Olive Can Company.



Though olive oil cans were its humble beginnings, Olive Can Company grew into a diversified decorative tin manufacturer under the guidance of Michele’s sons, Al and Philip. During the ‘40s and ‘50s, 80% of the nation’s sweets were produced within 100 miles of the city limits and Chicago was the undisputed epicenter of America’s candy industry. With a wealth of clients just a short drive away, Olive Can was in the ideal place to grow into a successful decorative tin manufacturer.

He worked with such confectionery stalwarts as Peerless Candies, Dove Chocolates and Fannie May, among countless others. It was under Philip’s watch that a large portion of Olive Can’s business turned to supplying a crucial part for a remarkable new product, the color television. The part in question was a lead-coated can designed to hold high voltage tubes.

Olive Can was benefiting greatly from the color television boom, and this new product had grown to constitute nearly half of the company’s sales. Olive Can kept expanding to meet the demand, and as it expanded it became more and more profitable. But as is frequently the case in the business world, a company’s fortunes can turn on a dime, and while one remarkable invention had ushered in a sudden era of prosperity for the Armato family, another threatened to end it just a quickly: The Transistor.  It was now 1966, and within two years, a TV tube can would roll off an Olive Can line for the last time. Into this uncertain future came Keith Armato.

Keith built Union Street Packaging Co. He helped to develop a market for promotional food tins, working with companies like Pillsbury, Carnation, Borden’s and Nestle.

Dominic now represents the fourth generation of Armato tin manufacturers. Now Union Street Tin Co. in Park Ridge IL.  with a little one on the way and a business ready to bring out new potential of this beautiful and unique space. 



In 1991 the building was purchased by a young couple ready to start a family. In 1997 the 2nd and 3rd floors were converted into 4 residential apartment units.



After 30 years, they were ready to pass the building on to a new young couple with a vision to light up the building

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