About Our Name – Radium City Brewing
Ottawa, IL has a rich history, much of which is celebrated throughout the area and posted proudly for visitors to admire. Within the tapestry of Ottawa’s history, however, is a thread that many are hesitant to discuss openly: the Radium Dial Company, which Ottawa was home to from 1922 through the mid-1930s.
During this time, many locals, mostly young women, were employed to paint watch face numbers with radio-luminescent paint so that the numbers would glow in the dark. In order to paint such small numbers, women sharpened the tips of their paintbrush with their lips, ingesting small doses of the radium-containing paint, which later was discovered to be poisonous. As a result, many of these women, later dubbed “Radium Girls,” fell ill, often fatally.
The brewing team, all area locals who had long heard stories about the tragic old clock factory, decided on the name Radium City Brewing as a tribute to these brave blue collar women, one of whom was a great aunt of one of the brewery’s founders. The great sacrifice that these women made in the pursuit of living out the American dream is a spirit with which the brewery relates, and it is in their honor that Radium City Brewery strives forward to make something of themselves and hopefully some damn good beer in the process.
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