#10 S. Morgan Smith Company; Industry Leader in Hydraulic Turbines

Smith788bSmith788a

I’ve shown the patent header and primary cut-away drawing from S. Morgan Smith’s first Turbine Water Wheel patent. Stephen M. Smith received this patent on December 26, 1876, while still with York Manufacturing Company. Smith retained rights to his new patent, named it the “Success” turbine and contracted with York Manufacturing Company to produce it.

Note the application for this patent was filed on December 9, 1876 and Patent No. 185,788 was granted on December 26, 1876. That is 17-days to go through the patent review and approval process at the United States Patent Office. Unheard of speed, compared to today; i.e. my fast-track patent took 1-year, 11-months, while all my other patents took slightly less then 3-years for the review and approval process.

In most cases, a start-up company marks the year they are established, by when they have their first customer.  Early S. Morgan Smith product catalogs note “Established 1877.” The Mill of Amos G. Jacobs in Paradise Township, York County, was that first customer of Smith’s newly parented “Success” turbine in 1877. Jacobs Mill was located at the current crossroads of Jacobs Mill Road and Beaver Creek Road; the mill no longer stands. Some erroneous information on the founding year of S. Morgan Smith Company is at this link.

At #10 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the S. Morgan Smith Company in the west end of York. The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on May 15th 1899 the S. Morgan Smith Company in York has 166 employees; all male. Of these 166 employees, 20 employees are under 21-years-old. The goods manufactured are recorded as “Water Wheels.”

S. Morgan Smith’s venture into Hydraulics

An 1875 event at the York Manufacturing Company was responsible for S. M. Smith’s initial venture into hydraulics. In 1874, S. M. Smith was a founder and selected President of the York Manufacturing Company, which took over the manufacturing of his patented washing machines; in fact he signed over the rights of his 1870 washing machine patent to the York Manufacturing Company as a buy-in to the new company.  Similarly Oliver J. Bollinger signed over the rights of his 1870 turbine water wheel patent to the York Manufacturing Company as his buy-in to the new company.

Oliver J. Bollinger resigned from the York Manufacturing Company to start his own company late in 1875, to produce his new and improved turbine water wheel; which he received a patent on June 1st, 1875. Bollinger’s original 1870 Turbine Water Wheel became an orphan within the York Manufacturing Company, and without any further improvements, it was expected sales would plummet with Bollinger’s improved turbine water wheel as a competitor.  S. M. Smith stepped in and took charge of this product.  Throughout 1876, S. M. Smith worked on improving the Turbine Water Wheel.  Smith gathered ideas for improvements from other turbine water wheels on the market and input from local millwrights, such as Jesse Krall, and applied for a patent on those improvements; i.e. the patent shown at the beginning of this post.

S. M. Smith resigned from the York Manufacturing Company in 1880, focusing on the further development of his turbine water wheels. His 1877 through 1880 ads indicated to send orders to S. M. Smith, York, Pa. Starting in 1881, the use of S. Morgan Smith first appears in directories and ads. Throughout the 1880s, Smith utilized several York machine shops, including the York Manufacturing Company, to manufacture his turbine water wheels. In 1890 Smith built a 50-foot by 150-foot facility at 500 Lincoln Street, as he begins to do his own manufacturing, and in the years to come, many additions were added, plus the factory was rebuilt; as the company grew.

It is easy to conjecture, that if Oliver Bollinger had never resigned from the York Manufacturing Company in 1875, S. Morgan Smith may have never started his venture into hydraulics. The ripple effect would be no S. Morgan Smith Company, however instead likely a York Manufacturing Company that specialized in hydro machinery, as improved by Bollinger. A resulting York Manufacturing Company may have never got into the manufacture of ice making machinery, and in turn there would be no York Air Conditioning; all hard to imagine, however possible if Oliver Bollinger had never resigned.

An early history of the S. Morgan Smith Company is told in George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA. Quoting from page 760 of Volume I:

About 1876, Mr. [Stephen Morgan] Smith turned his attention to hydraulics, and soon afterward invented the “Success” turbine, which has been well and favorably received by the milling interests. Other lines of business were taken up from time to time, and improvements made on this turbine water wheel, until at the time of his death his manufacturing establishment, devoted to the building of turbine water wheels and power transmitting machinery, was the largest of its kind in the country.

In 1898, Mr. Smith organized the S. Morgan Smith Company, the management of which was largely turned over to his sons, while he spent much of his time in rest and travel. It was while on one of his visits to his son, Beauchamp, in Los Angeles, California, that he was taken suddenly ill with an attack of heart failure, and died April 12. 1903.

The following images are from a nineteenth century S. Morgan Smith letterhead. The letter, dated July 5, 1894, is from the collections of the York County Heritage Trust. A westward view of the factory is shown; by 1894, considerable buildings have already been added since the original 50-foot by 150-foot facility was built in 1890.

Images on S. Morgan Smith nineteenth century Letterhead, dated July 5, 1894 (Arranged by S. H. Smith from Collections of York County Heritage Trust)

Images on S. Morgan Smith nineteenth century Letterhead, dated July 5, 1894 (Arranged by S. H. Smith from Collections of York County Heritage Trust)

Precision Components Corporation (PCC), one of several York area offshoot businesses of S. Morgan Smith Company, is presently located at the site of the original the Smith factory. Their location can best be described as bounded by North Hartley Street, Manchester Street, N. West Street and Linden Avenue, with Lincoln Street bisecting the property.

Continue reading for more details on S. Morgan Smith and the various offshoot businesses of his company.

Continue reading “#10 S. Morgan Smith Company; Industry Leader in Hydraulic Turbines” »

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RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 21 . . Weddings . . Part 5

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 21 . . . Weddings add 2 blanks after GOLD

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 21 . . . Weddings

RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 5 of Chapter 21 . . . Weddings. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.

Continue reading “RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 21 . . Weddings . . Part 5” »

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Hickory Grove One-Room School; 99 percent Attendance

Hickory Grove One-Room Schoolhouse, Fairview Township, York County, PA (1941 Photo by Scott W. Knaub from the Collections of the York County Heritage Trust)

Hickory Grove One-Room Schoolhouse, Fairview Township, York County, PA (1941 Photo by Scott W. Knaub from the Collections of the York County Heritage Trust)

This photo of the Hickory Grove One-Room Schoolhouse in Fairview Township was taken in 1941 by Scott W. Knaub; a Superintendent of York County Schools. This schoolhouse is located on the northwest corner of Limekiln Road and Spanglers Mill Road; just south of the Yellow Breeches Creek. It is one of the three northern-most one-room schoolhouses in York County.

There was another Hickory Grove One-Room Schoolhouse in York County. That Hickory Grove Schoolhouse was located in Chanceford Township; on the west side of Ted Wallace Road and just south of Sechrist Road.

I’m writing about the Fairview Township Hickory Grove School, because I happened upon an 1887 newspaper article; touting 99% attendance for the month ending November 11, 1887. In 1887, the school year was 6-months-long; beginning in mid-October. Friday, November 11, 1887, marked the end of the first month of school.

In the late 1880’s, the countywide school attendance averaged in the low 80% range. Compared to the county average, attendance in city and borough schools was generally higher and attendance in rural schools was generally lower. That is likely why the 99% attendance in a rural school was newsworthy.

HickoryGrove1887The November 16, 1887, issue of The York Dispatch reported:

School Report of the Hickory Grove School.

The following is a report of attendance of Hickory Grove School, Fairview Township, York County, for the month ending, November 11, 1887.

Whole number in attendance, 44; average attendance, 43; per cent of attendance, 99; number of girls not missing a day, 20; number of boys not missing a day, 13; whole number not missing a day, 33. The following are the names of pupils attending every day during the month:

Girls—Grace Sweney, Susie Sweney, Carrie Sweney, Alice Haring, May Greenfield, Mary Kreitzer, Cora Kreitzer, Nora Harro, Gertie Wolf, Annie Casey, Lizzie Wrightstone, Carrie Snyder, Katie Eichelberger, Elma Hake, Gertie Hagarman, Susie Wrightstone, Minnie Shaffer, Annie Shaffer, Susie Davis and Grace Davis.

Boys—Roy Wolf, Charlie Hagarman, Willie Hagarman, John Greenfield, Harry Harro, David Harro, Abram Hess, Lloyd Wilt, Wilson Atland, Garfield Altland, Harry Davis, John Davis and Jennie Davis. The following were present every day but one:

Girls—Lizzie Beckley and Ettie Beckley.

Boys—George Rensel, Samuel Rensel and Ross Beckley.

Signed: G. A. Trimmer, Teacher

The Hickory Grove One-Room Schoolhouse, of Fairview Township, still stands today. It is utilized by a contracting business; as seen in the following 2015 photo:

HickoryGrove2015

Links to Index of York County One-Room Schoolhouses:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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Witmer’s Shady Dell One-Room School; artwork by Cliff Satterthwaite

Stephen A. Douglas Literary Society

1976 Painting of Witmer’s One-Room Schoolhouse by Cliff Satterthwaite

1976 Painting of Witmer’s One-Room Schoolhouse by Cliff Satterthwaite

Progress on the restoration of Witmer’s One-Room Schoolhouse continues along Stonewood Road in Springettsbury Township. Cliff Satterthwaite did a series of paintings of this one-room schoolhouse from 1971 through 1976; this particular painting was done in the spring of 1976, just as the leaves were coming out on the trees.

In my post Shady Dell One-Room School, I displayed and wrote about a 1902 Christmas Program for Shady Dell School in Springettsbury Township. Using the 1900 United States Census and knowledge of early property deeds in the area, I discovered the parents of children listed in the 1902 Christmas Program clustered in the area around Witmer’s One-Room Schoolhouse.

I had a newspaper clipping that included the wording “Witmer’s Shady Dell School,” however still have not discovered what newspaper it was from or the full date of the article; other than 1914 written on it. The surrounding text in the article gave no clue where this school was located.

The 1902 Christmas Program plus 1900 U. S. Census, combined with the article wording “Witmer’s Shady Dell School,” led me to the conclusion that early in its life, Witmer’s One-Room School was likely know as Witmer’s Shady Dell School. This post contains a few recently found articles, adding some support for that conclusion. The area where Witmer’s Schoolhouse is located can certainly be described as a shady dell.

June Lloyd wrote in her 2010 post Old Witmer School in Springettsbury Township Sold, “The York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives has a notebook with the 1913-15 proceedings of the Stephen A. Douglas Literary Society, Witmer School, Springettsbury Township.”

I looked at that literary society notebook, since it was from same time frame as the mystery 1914 article. The notebook only uses the wording “Witmer’s School.” The teachers and scholars of Witmer’s School in Springettsbury Township organized the Stephen A. Douglas Literary Society on November 21, 1913.

An article in the November 21, 1914 issue of The York Daily noted, “A number of young people from this place [Stony Brook] attended the entertainment given by the Stephen A. Douglass Literary Society, at Shady Dell Schoolhouse, on Wednesday evening.”

ShadyDell1914

Earlier the same year, an article in the February 25, 1914 issue of The York Daily noted:

Witmer, Feb. 24.—Washington did more for his country than Lincoln it was decided after a debate before the Stephen A. Dougless Literary Society, of the Witmer School, Springettsbury Township, last Friday. The affirmative speakers were: Beulah Throne, Chester Miller; the negative, William White, Edward White. The judges were Harvey Landes, John Ilgenfritz and Anna Strickler.

The following program was given: Singing, “Lincoln is Sleeping,” society; devotional exercises, Anna Strickler; reading “The Criminal Incompetence of the American Housewife,” Chester Miller; addresses, John Ilgenfritz, Elmer Fantom, Anna Strickler; essay, “How Lead Pencils Are Made,” John Ilgenfritz; recitation, “Cherry Pie,” Elsie Hoffman; “A German Dialect,” Elsie Glatfelter; reading, Mabel Kise; “Sheer Nonsense,” Chester Miller; journal, Mabel Kise; critic’s report, Chester Miller.

Witmers1914

The February 25, 1914, article notes “Stephen A. Douglass Literary Society, at Shady Dell Schoolhouse” and the February 25, 1914 article notes “Stephen A. Dougless Literary Society, of the Witmer School.” While these articles are only more circumstantial evidence, I still heavily lean towards the conclusion that early in its life, Witmer’s One-Room School was likely know as Witmer’s Shady Dell School.

I’m still on the lookout for a definitive source tying together the Witmer’s and Shady Dell school names in Springettsbury Township. If any of my readers can help, please comment.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 21 . . Weddings . . Part 4

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 21 . . . Weddings add 2 blanks after GOLD

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 21 . . . Weddings

RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 4 of Chapter 21 . . . Weddings. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.

Continue reading “RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 21 . . Weddings . . Part 4” »

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#11 York Card & Paper Company; The Battle of the Wall Paper Competitors, Part 2

Illustrations from 1898 dated Letterhead of The York Card & Paper Company (Collections of S. H. Smith)

Illustrations from 1898 dated Letterhead of The York Card & Paper Company (Collections of S. H. Smith)

These illustrations, related to the wallpaper manufacturer York Card & Paper Company, are from a 19th Century company letterhead. The September 16, 1898, letter informs a customer that the wallpaper they wished to order is not in stock. The factory viewpoint is as if someone is standing in the intersection of Carlisle Avenue and West Philadelphia Street, looking northeastward in York, PA. The elaborate two-story office is shown at the left side; it fronts Carlisle Avenue. The four-story factory, on the right side, extends back along the railroad tracks.

To understand The Battle of the Wall Paper Competitors, one needs to look no further than the 1903 Atlas of York, PA. I’ve shaded the buildings of The York Card & Paper Company.

Section of Plate 3 within Fred’k B. Roe’s 1903 Atlas of the City of York, PA (Annotations and Shading by S. H. Smith, 2014)

Section of Plate 3 within Fred’k B. Roe’s 1903 Atlas of the City of York, PA (Annotations and Shading by S. H. Smith, 2015)

In 1903, the neighbor of The York Card & Paper Company is a competitor; i.e. York Wall Paper Company. Many will remember The York Card & Paper Company site, on the corner of Carlisle and Linden Avenues, as the longtime location of the Ammon R. Smith Chevrolet dealership.

The story starts with the building of a small factory along Linden Avenue to produce cardboard and wallpaper. On May 16, 1893, that company incorporates as The York Card & Paper Company; a name in reference to their manufacture of CARDboard and wallPAPER. The demand for their wallpaper product far exceeded their production ability in less than one year. In 1894 they built a much larger four-story factory, stretching all the way to Carlisle Avenue. The company focus was now dominated by wallpaper production.

The original York Card & Paper Company factory was sold, however to their chagrin, the buyers wanted to start a competing wallpaper company. The upstart competitor even had the nerve to call their company: York Wall Paper Company.

The York Card and Paper Company filed a protest against the application for charter of the York Wall Paper Company with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the grounds of Similarity of Names. The ruling of the commonwealth follows:

A charter will be granted to a proposed corporation under the name of the York Wall Paper Company, notwithstanding a protest by the York Card and Paper Company on the ground of similarity of titles.

Neither company has an exclusive right to the name “York,” nor can the words “paper” and “company” be exclusively used by them.

Where it does not appear that there would be a present injury from the grant of letters-patent (the mere intention to injure or possibility of mistake not being sufficient ground for refusal, there being a remedy at law for any actual injury which may hereafter be sustained), letters-patent will be granted.

The refusal of the application of the York Wall Paper Company would practically decide that it could not designate by the title the kind of business it proposed to carry on.

The York Wall Paper Company was thus allowed to incorporate on January 10, 1895. The upstart company soon found themselves stretched to the limit; demand was also strong for their wallpaper products.

On November 12, 1895, a fire destroyed the small factory of the York Wall Paper Company and also threatened the large factory of their neighbor York Card and Paper Company. Before the end of the same month, the directors of the York Wall Paper Company had orders placed for new machinery to fill a larger factory to be built on the same site. The competitor’s new larger factory threatened to take business away from York Card and Paper Company. The rebuilt larger factory of York Wall Paper Company is the one shown on the 1903 Atlas of York, PA.

Continue reading for photos of The York Card and Paper Company factory through the years and discover how the wallpaper competitors ultimately joined.

Continue reading “#11 York Card & Paper Company; The Battle of the Wall Paper Competitors, Part 2” »

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In 1883, William Julius is fined for Fast Driving in downtown York; and vows Vengeance on Yorkers

Depiction of William Julius fast driving down West Market Street in York, PA on April 24, 1883 (2015 S. H. Smith modification of an image on a Duke’s Cigarette Insert Card, a Wikimedia Commons Image, by removal of seaside background)

Depiction of William Julius fast driving down West Market Street in York, PA on April 24, 1883 (2015 S. H. Smith modification of an image on a Duke’s Cigarette Insert Card, a Wikimedia Commons Image, by removal of seaside background)

On April 24, 1883, William Julius was fined for fast driving down West Market Street in downtown York. He tried to get even and ultimately ended up vowing vengeance on Yorkers. His story is told in the following article from the April 25, 1883, issue of the York Daily:

Yesterday William Julius, who hails from Adams county, desirous of showing the qualities of his fast nag, drove through the Square at a dangerous speed, nearly running over a girl at Jordon’s corner, and then drove at full speed down Market street to west of the bridge. Officer Hedrick witnessing the act followed Julius, arresting him and took him before Justice Patterson on a charge of fast driving. The Justice after a hearing imposed a fine of $10 and costs.

Julius who left the office in a rather unpleasant frame of mind, returned in less than two hours, and entered complaint against David Kauffman for fast driving. Kauffman was arrested and brought before the Justice.

The accuser failing to substantiate the charge, Kauffman was discharged and Julius was compelled to pay the costs. This decision of the Justice was too much for Julius’ good temper and he vowed vengeance, threatening to retaliate on all Yorkers who should visit East Berlin and make a plunge with their fast nags.

Other general interest posts from the late 1800s:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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Hauser Mill Warehouse in Stony Brook becomes the Mill for Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Op

Brick Mill Building at 3780 East Market Street in Stony Brook, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (2015 Photo, S. H. Smith)

Brick Mill Building at 3780 East Market Street in Stony Brook, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (2015 Photo, S. H. Smith)

The distinctive brick mill building at 3780 East Market Street, just west of the Ettline Victorian House, had its beginnings as a mill warehouse. The mill warehouse was purposefully situated adjacent to the busy road and railroad; it was used as a general warehouse and serviced the Hauser Grist Mill, located back a lane at this location. The following section of the 1876 Atlas of York County by Beach Nichols shows where the [1] Hauser’s Grist Mill was located with respect to the eventually built [4] Hauser Mill Warehouse.

Location of the Mills in Stony Brook, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA [1876 Atlas of York Co., PA by Beach Nichols (Plate 67); Mill Location Annotation by S. H. Smith, 2014]

Location of the Mills in Stony Brook, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA [1876 Atlas of York Co., PA by Beach Nichols (Plate 67); Mill Location Annotation by S. H. Smith, 2014]

During October 1875, Henry C. Hauser obtains the 105-acre homestead property of his deceased older brother John H. Hauser. These 105-acres encompassed the whole southeast corner of what is now East Market Street and Locust Grove Road; with frontage of over 1/2-mile along the south side of East Market Street. Sometime thereafter, Henry C. Hauser builds the Victorian house, now at 3790 East Market Street, and his mill warehouse, now at 3780 East Market Street.

I suspect that the Victorian house was built first, since in 1875, Henry and Nancy Hauser still had four young children living in their household; ages 6, 8, 11 and 13. The 105-acre homestead property also contained the [1] Hauser Grist Mill, which operated into the very early 1900s. Speculation is that Henry Hauser built the [4] Hauser Mill Warehouse because it afforded better exposure for his mill products, i.e. at the intersection of a busy road and the railroad, compared to the his grist mill, located off the beaten path, back a farm lane.

Several readers have questioned why I call this structure a “mill warehouse.” The newspapers, of the time, reference this building as Hauser’s Warehouse. For example the March 11, 1896 issue of The Semi-Weekly Gazette, in dispatches “From Stony Brook,” notes; “The well diggers at Hauser’s Warehouse got water at a depth of eighty-two feet. The water flows at the rate of 100 gallons an hour.”

In 1918, the building continues to be known as the Hauser Warehouse when the Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association first leased the building. See the following article in the February 9, 1918 issue of The York Daily:

Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association Article (The York Daily, February 9, 1918; Page 6)

Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association Article (The York Daily, February 9, 1918; Page 6)

On April 12, 1921, the Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association purchased the property when their lease was up; reference Deed Book 21U, page 284. The Co-Op purchased Hauser’s Warehouse from Barbara A. Hauser, the then unmarried daughter of Henry and Nancy Hauser.

The Co-Op did custom grinding; very likely powered by electric motors. If one looks closely at the photograph at the beginning of this post, one sees a vertical brick joint between the western part (right side) and eastern part (left side) of the mill building. That brick joint and the location of the chimney points to an eastern addition. Speculation is that the right side is the original mill warehouse built by Henry C. Hauser; with the left side added by The Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association sometime after 1921.

The collections of the York County Heritage Trust include the following 1947 receipt. The Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Op Association dealt in feeds, seeds, fertilizers, coal, lime, and cement; they also did custom grinding and mixing.

1947 Receipt of The Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association (York County Heritage Trust)

1947 Receipt of The Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Operative Association (York County Heritage Trust)

The shareholders of the Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Op Association authorized the liquidation and dispersal of the assets of the association on January 30, 1974. On March 16, 1974, a public sale of the real estate, equipment and stock was held. The sale of the real estate was to W. F. O. Rosenmiller, II, and C. Warren Smith, Jr.; as recorded in Deed Book 67Q, page 1195.

For 56-years this building was utilized, by Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Op, functionally as a Mill. You may remember the mill building recently housed The Framers & Framers’ Gallery for many years.

Animal Care Hospital of York is the newest owner of the mill building at 3780 East Market Street. They are congratulated for retaining existing elements of original construction throughout the structure.

Related links to mills in the Stony Brook aera:

[1] Hauser’s water powered Grist Mill

[2] Hiestand’s water powered Grist Mill

[3] Waser’s (3755 E. Market St.); Stony Brook Mill

[4] Hauser’s (3780 E. Market St.); Kreutz Creek Valley Farmer’s Co-Op

Assorted related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

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RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 21 . . Weddings . . Part 3

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 21 . . . Weddings add 2 blanks after GOLD

RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 21 . . . Weddings

RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 3 of Chapter 21 . . . Weddings. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.

Continue reading “RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 21 . . Weddings . . Part 3” »

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#12 The Hench & Dromgold Company; Agricultural Implement Maker of York, PA

Northwest Looking View of the Hench & Dromgold Factory in York, PA (From undated catalog at York County Heritage Trust; Colorized by S. H. Smith, 2015)

Northwest Looking View of the Hench & Dromgold Factory in York, PA (From undated catalog at York County Heritage Trust; Colorized by S. H. Smith, 2015)

At #12 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is The Hench & Dromgold Company in York, PA. The 10th Factory Inspection Report, from the Pennsylvania Department of Factory Inspection, notes that on February 16th 1899, The Hench & Dromgold Company has 145 employees; all male. Of these 145 employees, 25 employees were under 21-years-old, of which 4 employees were between 13 and 16-years-old. The goods manufactured are recorded as “Agricultural Implements.”

The birds-eye-view of the Hench & Dromgold factory looks in the northwest direction; from the corner of North Hartley Street and the Railroad Tracks. That viewpoint is indicated on the site map of the plant within the 1903 Atlas of the City of York:

1903 Hench & Dromgold Factory Buildings (Fred’k B. Roe’s 1903 Atlas of the City of York, PA; Plate 3, Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2015)

1903 Hench & Dromgold Factory Buildings (Fred’k B. Roe’s 1903 Atlas of the City of York, PA; Plate 3, Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2015)

The Hench & Dromgold factory was bounded by North Hartley Street to the east, the Railroad Tracks to the south and Park Street to the north. A few years after the Hench & Dromgold factory was established at this location, York Manufacturing Company built their plant immediately to the south side of the Railroad Tracks and S. Morgan Smith Company built their plant immediately to the north side of Park Street.

George R. Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA, notes the following about Hench & Dromgold in Volume I, page 764:

Hench & Dromgold Company, extensive manufacturers of saw mills, engines, grain drills, corn shellers, spring tooth and spike tooth harrows, own one of the prominent industrial establishments in York. The business was founded at Ickesburg, Perry County, in 1877, and in the spring of 1879, removed to York. Since that time, about 225 men have been regularly employed. The firm is composed of S. Nevin Hench and Walker A. Dromgold. Within recent years, the firm has owned large tracks of woodland in Randolph County, West Virginia, where they have operated saw mills, regularly employing 100 men. During the bark season about 200 hands are employed.

Hench & Dromgold’s earliest expertise was in sawmill design, however they rapidly expanded into the agricultural implement business. The following 1898 Ad in The American Thresherman shows the type of sawmill they manufactured near the turn of the century:

1898 Hench & Dromgold Ad in The American Thresherman (Collections of S. H. Smith)

1898 Hench & Dromgold Ad in The American Thresherman (Collections of S. H. Smith)

Continue reading for more on The Hench & Dromgold Company.

Continue reading “#12 The Hench & Dromgold Company; Agricultural Implement Maker of York, PA” »

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