#25 Industrial Sewing Company of Glen Rock; 1 Male & 95 Female Employees in 1899

Sheffer’s Hall located on Baltimore Street in Glen Rock, housed several businesses including the Industrial Sewing Company (Photo courtesy of Robert Seitz, is from page 224 of Glen Rock—An Historical Review; 1859-2009, by Dr. Charles Glatfelter, John Hufnagel and Ron Dise)

Sheffer’s Hall located on Baltimore Street in Glen Rock, housed several businesses including the Industrial Sewing Company (Photo courtesy of Robert Seitz, is from page 224 of Glen Rock—An Historical Review; 1859-2009, by Dr. Charles Glatfelter, John Hufnagel and Ron Dise)

In my post Late 1800s Factory Inspection Reports Assist in Identification of an East Prospect Photo  I wrote about finding these reports in the State Library of Pennsylvania.  For this series on the Top 50 York County Factories at the end of 19th Century, I’m using data from the 10th Report of the Pennsylvania Department of Factory Inspection.

The 10th Factory Inspection Report is for the Department’s year ending October 31st 1899.  I ranked the 479 York County factories by numbers of employees; #50 has 47 employees, on up to #1 with 510 employees.  In the coming weeks, on Monday and/or Tuesday, I’m counting down to the top employer in York County at the end of 19th Century.

At #25 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the Industrial Sewing Company of Glen Rock.  The photo shows Sheffer’s Hall located at 50 Baltimore Street in Glen Rock.  This building housed several businesses including the Industrial Sewing Company from 1902 until 1916.  The photo predates 1916, since the B. F. Sheffer building was destroyed by fire in 1916.

 

 

The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on March 14th 1899 the Industrial Sewing Company of Glen Rock has 96 employees; 1 male and 95 female.  Of these 96 employees, 30 employees are under 21-years-old; of which 10 females are between 13 and 16-years-old.  The goods manufactured are recorded as “Shirts.”

Of the top 50 York County factories at end of 19th Century; 18 factories employed only male workers.  The Industrial Sewing Company of Glen Rock has the highest percentage of female workers, with only one male worker amongst 96 female employees.

George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County contains a brief note about the Industrial Sewing Company within the biographical write-up of Joseph Dise; the organizer of the company.  Quoting from Prowell, Volume II, page 162:

Mr. Dise has otherwise shown his versatility and enterprising spirit.  In 1895 he was one of those prominently concerned in the organization of the Glen Rock Wire Cloth Co., of Glen Rock, of which he was a large stockholder, president and director for a number of years, and in 1890 he organized the Industrial Sewing Co., of Glen Rock, being one of the principal stockholders of the concern, which now affords employment to about one hundred and sixty operatives.

Thus the Industrial Sewing Company was a growing concern in 1899.  The company grew from 96 employees to 160 workers in the eight years from 1899 to 1907.

An excellent book on Glen Rock history is Glen Rock—An Historical Review; 1859-2009, by Dr. Charles Glatfelter, John Hufnagel and Ron Dise.  I wonder if Ron Dise is a descendant of Joseph Dise?  Page 224 of their book provides additional details about the Industrial Sewing Company; it appears the company organized by Joseph Dise in 1890, initially grew by the acquisition of another Glen Rock sewing company in 1895:

In 1894, D. Levy and Sons, of Baltimore, who previously had brought sewing work to Glen Rock for women to do in their homes, offered to start a factory for clothing manufacture if a small amount of local capital was raised.  It was, and The Waist and Body factory was begun on the second floor of the railroad building—the depot—with 30 workers, 26 electric motor machines and James M. Grove (1862-1941) as superintendent.  The factory made waists and dressing gowns for women.

In 1895, the operation was taken over by Grove, Joseph Dise, John P. Wolf and Samuel Anstine, who formed the Industrial Sewing Company, and the operation was moved from the railroad building to the third floor of the Wambaugh Building (31-33 Main Street).  By this time their specialty was men’s underwear, of which more than 150 dozens were produced daily and shipped to Baltimore contractors.

In 1902, the sewing factory was relocated to the B. F. Sheffer building (50 Baltimore Street) across from what is now the Mallard Glen condominiums, and employed 140 people with an annual payroll of better than $25,000.

Then in 1916 the Sheffer Building was destroyed by fire.  By April 1917 excavation was started for a new building located across the street from the old building.  The new building was a two-story brick and concrete structure 48 by 100 feet.  In 1919, the Industrial Sewing Company became part of the Liberty Manufacturing Company.

A review of my count down, thus far, of the 50 top factories in York County at the end of 19th Century follows.  As a group, these 26 factories provided employment for 1,759 people in York County during 1899.

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About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America." Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.
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