Grist and Saw Mills — Distilleries and Breweries — Tanneries — Hat Manufacture — Linseed Oil — Carding Works, etc. — Shenango Iron Works — Aetna Iron Works — Bradley, Reis & Co. — New Castle Manufacturing Co. — Neshannock Iron Co. — Crowther Iron Co. — Elliott-Blair Steel Co. — American Sheet and Tin Plate Co. — Pennsylvania Engineering Works — Foundries, Machine Shops, etc. — Lawrence Foundry and Machine Shop — New Castle Agricultural Works — New Castle Stamping Co. — Standard Wire Co. — New Castle Forge & Bolt Co. — American Car and Ship Hardware Manufacturing Co. — Frank C. Douds & Co. — New Castle Asphalt Block Co. — New Castle Ice & Storage Co. — Carriage and Wagon Manufacture — Furniture — Woolen Manufacture — Paper — Planing Mills — New Castle Box Co. — Gailey Fiber Plaster Co. — New Castle Elastic Pulp Plaster Co. — Glass Manufacture — Pottery — Shenango Pottery Co. — Universal Sanitary Manufacturing Co. — New Castle Portland Cement Co. — Other Incorporated Companies, etc.
[p. 113] It is chiefly to the extraordinary development of her manufacturing industries that New Castle owes the great degree of prosperity and fame she now enjoys. Most of this has been the growth of the last twenty-five years. A quarter of a century ago the arc light and electric trolley car were unknown, but one street was paved and that with cobble, the city was poorly lighted, there were no modern office buildings or business blocks, but one modern church and one schoolhouse of creditable appearance, while the principal manufacturing industries consisted of two small rolling-mills, two window glass factories, four blast furnaces of minor importance, a wire-mill, rod-mill and nail-mill, none of which enjoyed more than what would be now regarded a very moderate degree of prosperity. There were a number of other miscellaneous enterprises of comparatively small magnitude and importance. Her buildings were generally antiquated, her newspapers scarcely equal to the average country weekly of today, while there were no public parks and a very imperfect sewage system. The total population of the city at that time (1884) was about 10,000.
Twenty years later the population of the city jumped to 35,000, placing New Castle third among the cities of the United States in point of increase during that period; the assessed valuation had been trebled; miles of streets were paved; a complete arc lighting system had been introduced; the city perfectly sewered; eleven new and modern school buildings, together with a dozen handsome and costly churches, and scores of imposing brick and stone business blocks had been erected; efficient police and fire departments organized; while five railway trunk lines joined to give New Castle the distinction of having the heaviest freight traffic of any city of its size in the world. Most of this was the direct result of the phenomenal increase in the extent and [p. 114] importance of her manufacturing interests. Today New Castle manufactories compel the admiration of the world. She has the largest tin plate mills and the largest production of limestone; while the great Carnegie steel works, operating four large blast furnaces, the Republic Iron and Steel Company, and the Elliott-Blair Steel Company, form another leading factor in her industrial prosperity. In addition to these, there are important and flourishing manufactories of window glass, brick, flour, enamel ware, paint and varnish, lumber, cement, and various products of the country, besides other minor industries.
All this vast amount of wealth-producing activity along manufacturing lines had a humble beginning. The necessities of life were the first consideration of the early settler. Consequently we find the grist-mill standing as the pioneer manufacturing enterprise in this, as well as most other sections of the country. Probably the first of these mills in the vicinity of New Castle was the one erected by John Elliott on Neshannock Creek, at the foot of Shaw's Hill. It is said to have been erected about the year 18OO, and was, no doubt, a primitive affair. Being partially destroyed soon after, it was rebuilt and refitted in 1803 by Nicholas Vaneman. At that early day there was very little grain to grind, the first being corn, which, of course, was not bolted. When the settlers began to raise wheat it became necessary to have a bolt, which Vaneman procured and put in operation. It seems to have been worked by turning a crank by hand, probably because there was not sufficient power in the rude machinery and wheels to run the whole establishment by water.
In 1803 or 1804 John Carlysle Stewart, the original proprietor of the town, in company with James Reynolds, and also, possibly, Joseph Townsend, built a grist and saw-mill at the head of the Narrows on the east side of the Neshannock. These mills were run by the above-named firm, or by Stewart & Reynolds, until about 1810-11, when Reynolds sold out either to Stewart or one Wilkins (who became a partner with Stewart), and went up the creek about three miles farther to Eastbrook, where he built another mill. After Reynolds sold out, the machinery was taken out and the gristmill transformed into a forge for the manufacture of hammered iron, which industry, however, after being carried on for several years by different parties, was abandoned as unprofitable. About 1816 a portion of the works was carried away by flood, and subsequently successive floods swept away the last vestige of the first iron manufactory in northwestern Pennsylvania. Previous to the erection of the grist-mills before spoken of, all the grain in this region was either floated down the Beaver River to Beaver Falls in canoes and brought back in the same way, or taken on horseback to one Allen's mill on the Slippery Rock Creek, near the South-eastern border of the county.
"Among the earlier mills in New Castle were a grist and saw-mill, erected by Crawford White, about 1818. They were both frame buildings, and stood on or near the ground now occupied by Raney's mill. Mr. White died about 1834, and his oldest son, James D., soon after rebuilt the mills. The grist-mill was of brick, three stories in height. James D. White died in 1840, and in 1841 the mills, along with other property, were sold to Crawford Brothers and Ritter. In 1844 Joseph Kissick, who had settled here from Westmoreland County in 1831, purchased the property, and soon after raised the upper story from a hip-roof to a full store, and improved the mill to the amount of $5,500. It was destroyed by fire in 1851, and with it 10,000 bushels of wheat. Mr. Kissick's loss was very heavy, but he rebuilt the mill the same year, and continued the business until 1865 when he sold the property to the late Leander Rainey, who operated it until 1873, when the late William Gordon purchased [p. 115] an interest, and the firm was known as Rainey & Gordon. Considerable additions and improvements were made by Mr. Rainey and Gordon, and the mill was an excellent one and did a large business. It contained five run of stone and had a capacity for grinding about 350 bushels of grain per day. They did both merchant and custom work."
At an early day Joseph T. Boyd and John Wilson built a brush dam and erected a saw-mill on the site subsequently occupied by the dam and mill of Pearson, Clapp & Co. They afterwards, about 1845, sold to Peebles & McCormick, who made preparations to erect iron works. They collected considerable material on the ground, in the shape of timber, etc., but finally went into the business with the Orizaba Iron Works Company. The property was sold to Henry Pearson, who built a new dam and grist-mill in 1854, which he operated until 1868, when the mill and water-power became the property of his sons Bevan and Warner Pearson, and his son-ini-law, Capt. J. M. Clapp, who operated the mill under the firm name of Pearson, Clapp & Co. This was a fine mill, containing four run of stone, and did an extensive business in both merchant and custom work. In 1833 Henry Pearson built a dam and in the following year erected a saw-mill on the site subsequently occupied by the paper mills. This property he operated until 1868, when he sold to J. Harvey & Co., who erected mills for the manufacture of paper.
About 1842 Benjamin White, Henry Williams and William Clark erected a building at the lower end of Mill Street, near the Neshannock pool, on the west side of the street. In this building were included a grist-mill, with one run of stone; a carding-mill, with two sets of machinery, transferred from the mill sold to the Crawfords, previously referred to, and two or three turning-lathes, for turning out various descriptions of wood work. This establishment was destroyed by fire in the latter part of 1844, and never rebuilt. Williams went into the employ of Crawfords & Co. as engineer in the nail factory, and continued until about 1854, when he removed to Lawrence, Kansas.
There have been various concerns at different times engaged in the manufacture of flour and feed in New Castle, and our space will not permit us to give the history of all of them. There are now at least three establishments of the kind—the Cascade Roller Mills, of which the Alborn brothers are proprietors, and of which a full account may be found in their biographical sketch published elsewhere in this volume; the Shenango Roller Mills, at No. 348 E. Cherry Street, which are conducted by Raney & Co., and that of Mrs. E. G. Veach at No. 57 S. Croton Avenue. All these are up-to-date establishments and turn out a high quality of product. There are also some six or seven retail dealers in flour and feed exclusively, aside from the firms engaged in the grocery trade.
In the estimation of our pioneer ancestors, whiskey was regarded as one of the chief necessaries of life. A grist-mill was built as early as 1811 by David White, a brother of Crawford White, in the south central part of the town, lying east of the Neshannock Creek. It was erected principally for the purpose of grinding grain for his distillery, which was erected about the same time, the two being run together until about 1814 or 1815.
Crawford White also had a small distillery, erected about 1810-11, very near the residence of the late John T. Phillips. He used the water from the spring on Mr. White's premises. This distillery was run until about 1813. Another distillery was owned by William Moorhead, and built about the same time as the others, on his farm a mile below New Castle, and now in Taylor Township.
In those days whiskey was almost the [p. 116] only commodity which would bring, at all times, ready money, and consequently there was a large number of small distilleries in operation in various parts of the country. The whiskey made in the vicinity of New Castle was mostly consumed in the neighborhood. Its manufacture was considered a legitimate and honorable business, and was then perhaps more lucrative than any other. At one time there were no less than sixteen distilleries in North Beaver Township.
There are now two brewing companies in New Castle—the Standard Brewing Company and the New Castle Brewing Company.
The Standard Brewing Company, whose plant is located at No. 100 Sampson Street, was incorporated in 1898, with a capital of $300,000. It had its real origin in a concern established in 1850 by Adam Treser and Jacob Genkinger, which, however, was not a success. Early in the nineties the plant was purchased by George D. Lamoree and Louis Eschallier. The latter retired in 1897 and the company was then incorporated with a capital of $100,000. In 1898 the company was reorganized with a capital of $300,000, as above noted, the present brewery being built in that year. The output amounts to about 65,000 barrels per year and thirty men are given employment. The present officers are as follows: Geo. W. Lamoree, president; H. Grotefend, vice-president; E. O. Haun, secretary; M. Feuchtwanger, treasurer.
The New Castle Brewing Company was incorporated in 1896 with $75,000 capital. It owns a large and thoroughly up-to-date brewery on West South Street, opposite the covered bridge, and which, with the bottling works, covers about two acres of ground. The capacity of the brewery is about 22,000 barrels annually. The president of the company is Louis Preisel, Sr., W. S. Mears being secretary and treasurer.
Another early industry was tanning, the first establishment of the kind in New Castle being started, it is said, by Joseph Townsend, Jr., as early as 1805. In 1808 it became the property of William Dickson, who had emigrated from near Chambersburg, Pa., and settled in New Castle that year. Mr. Dickson operated it until about the time of his death, in 1831. His son Isaac continued the business until 1866, when it had become unprofitable, and was abandoned. These works contained twenty-one vats, and manufactured annually about 1,000 pieces of leather of various kinds. In 1857 Mr. Dickson opened a leather store in connection with his tannery, and continued it until the tannery was abandoned, when he engaged in the hardware business.
The second tannery in the place was put in operation by John Tidball about 1820. It stood in what was for a long time known as "Reynoldstown," on the Pittsburg road, near the Court House. About 1840 he sold the property to Robert Reynolds, who continued the business until about 1868-69.
A third one was put in operation by Thomas Falls somewhere between the years 1820 and 1825, on a lot lying east of Mr. Dickson, near Mercer Street. Mr. Falls continued the business until the time of his death, about in 1865-66. Subsequently his son, Wilson Falls, continued it until about 1870, when it was abandoned.
William Moore established a small tannery in what is called West New Castle, about 1850, and carried it on for a few years.
Robert Patterson established another small tannery in South New Castle, about 1852-53, and operated it until 1873-74, when it was discontinued.
In early times throughout this section the tanning business was carried on by numerous small establishments, located in nearly every town and hamlet in the country. Sometimes there were four or five in operation at the same time in a small town, and often the business was to be found away from the towns, at cross-roads, or [p. 117] upon some farmer's premises. At first oak bark was used exclusively, but at a later period hemlock bark largely took its place, though oak was still used to some extent. The oak bark was obtained in the neighborhood of each tannery, but the hemlock was brought from Crawford and Erie Counties. Hemlock was not much used until after the completion of the canal, when it was brought down the canal in boats.
Isaac Jones was probably the first to commence the manufacture of hats in New Castle. He opened a shop about the year 1805 and continued the business until 1816, when he removed to Somerset County, Pa. Returning to New Castle in 1819, he carried on the business subsequently until his death. John and Isaac Townsend, sons of Joseph Townsend, Sr., opened the second hatters' shop about 1807-8. James Dunlap established himself in the business about 1810-11, and continued it until near his death, in 1830. Joseph Justice, White McMillen, and perhaps others, learned the trade of Mr. Jones, and afterwards carried on business for themselves. Mr. Justice opened a shop in 1819 and continued the business until 1851, when he retired.
William Cox, who learned the trade from Joseph Justice, opened a shop about 1825 and worked at the business some twelve or fourteen years. He died in New Castle in the fall of 1876.
White McMillen commenced business for himself about 1830, on Jefferson Street, South of the "Diamond," and continued it for about twenty years. About three years after quitting the business of manufacturing he opened a hat, cap and fur store. In good times Mr. McMillen employed three hands besides himself. The market was principally at home, but during the winter months they sometimes manufactured a stock of wool hats for export to Pittsburg and other large towns.
About 1841-42 E. C. and G. O. Griswold established the first oil-mill in New Castle, on ground east of Washington Street, near the bank of the Neshannock Creek. About 1850 they sold to Robert Wallace, who continued the business for some time. The first-named gentlemen took a large share of the machinery to Warren, Ohio, where they established works.
Another oil-mill was erected by James Hamilton, about 1842-43, on the east side of the Neshannock, near R. W. Cunningham's foundry. James Hamilton and Alexander Newell operated this mill until about 1846, when J. N. and S. C. Euwer purchased a half interest in the concern, and at the same time Mr. Newell retired. Business was continued under the firm name of Euwer, Hamilton & Co., until about 1856, when the firm purchased an interest in a mill in Allegheny City and removed most of the machinery. Since that date the business of manufacturing linseed oil has been abandoned in New Castle.
About 1837 James D. White erected a two-story frame building in the upper story of which were two carding machines, operated by one Benjamin White, a relative. In the lower story Ezra Perry had an establishment for the manufacture of bass and snare drums. It is said he made the best goods in the market, and they were sold in various places throughout the United States. He carried on the business until about 1841. The carding machines were also running until about the same date. This factory was built on the ground subsequently occupied by the keg factory of the Aetna Iron Works.
An addition was made to it about 1838-39, in which a manufactory of shovels was carried on for J. D. White, or his estate. Some time after White's death the property was sold to the Crawford brothers, who converted the building into a [p. 118] blast house, for blowing a refinery for smelting iron.
This institution, in former times the especial pride of the people of New Castle, was established in 1845 by Joseph H. Brown, Joseph Higgs and Edward Thomas, who formed a co-partnership, for the purpose of building a mill for the manufacture of iron. The ground was purchased of Isaiah and James White, and buildings erected. During the first year the company had no boiling furnaces, and purchased their "muck bar" of Messrs. Crawford & Co., of the "Cosalo" Iron Works, later known as the Aetna Iron Works. In 1846 Robert H. Peebles and Pollard McCormick were added to the company and the firm became McCormick, Peebles, Brown & Co., and the works being christened the "Orizaba" Iron Works. The new firm immediately added to the works a mill for the manufacture of merchant bar-iron, nails and muck bar. The works were successfully carried on until July, 1847, when they were entirely destroyed by fire. They were rebuilt the same year and a nail factory, with twenty-four machines, and a keg factory were added. In 1848 four additional boiling furnaces were put in operation and a "Burden squeezer" took the place of the trip-hammer.
In 1850 the firm changed to Peebles & Co., and in 1852 Mr. P. McCormick became the sole proprietor. In 1853 Mr. McCormick erected the "Sophia" furnace, and operated the entire establishment until 1855, when the works became the property of Knapp, Wilkins & Co., who continued the business until 1859. During this period four additional boiling furnaces and seven nail machines were added to the works.
The establishment was idle from 1859 to 1863, and the various buildings and machinery became more or less injured and decayed. The suspension of such extensive works caused great depression in business and values in and around New Castle, and many people removed to other localities. During these four years of idleness many efforts were made to dispose of the works, but without effect. The principal reasons operating against a sale were the want of facilities for procuring coal, which had to be hauled a distance of four miles in wagons, and the fact that the only means of shipment was by canal, which was closed for a considerable portion of the year. Finally, in 1863, a sale was effected to Messrs. Reis, Richards & Berger, who at once rebuilt and enlarged the works and changed the name to Shenango Iron Works. The rolling-mill was put in operation on the 16th of June, 1863; the nail factory on the 6th of July and the furnace on the 24th of October. During the next year the New Castle and Beaver Valley Railway was put in operation, and soon after it the Erie and Pittsburg Railway. In July, 1864, Mr. Richards retired from the firm and Mr. W. H. Brown, of Pittsburg, took his place, the firm then becoming Reis, Brown & Berger. In 1864 the company purchased the Hanging Rock Iron Works, in Ohio, the machinery of which was brought to New Castle, and a sheet-mill, 113xl39 feet, erected, in which the sheet-rolls and nail-plate rolls removed from the rolling-mills were set up. Three extensive fire-brick kilns were also built, having the capacity of 50,000 bricks each. In the spring of 1865 the firm commenced the manufacture of red brick, not only furnishing for their own use, but for the general market. In 1868 a large and commodious brick warehouse, for the storage of nails and sheet iron, was erected. During the season of 1866 Mr. James Rhodes built a railway from his extensive coal mines, four miles north of New Castle, to the mills. In the spring of 1870 a branch railway was built, connecting the works with both the New' Castle and Beaver Valley and the Erie and Pittsburg railways, and in the same year many other improvements and additions were made.
November 6, 1871, the stave factory [p. 119] connected with the keg works was destroyed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt. In the fall of the same year the "Moffatt furnace" was purchased, enlarged and added to the works. The name was changed to "Little Pet."
In 1872 extensive fire-brick works were erected, having a capacity of 20,000 bricks per week. In this same year, also, the company purchased all that part of the canal lying between the south line of the city and the Neshannock Creek.
The erection of the "Rosena Furnace," 22x77 feet, was also commenced about the same date, and rapidly pushed to completion. It was "blown in" on the 3d of June, 1873, and has continued in blast till the present time, being now a part of the Carnegie Steel Company's plant, and the only part of the old Shenango Iron Works that is now in existence.
In 1874 the old (stone stack) "Sophia Furnace" was entirely remodeled and enlarged, after having been in blast six years upon the same lining.
In December, 1876, the "Shenango Iron Works" occupied about twenty acres of ground, located in the Fourth Ward of the city of New Castle, and consisting of three blast-furnaces, with a capacity for producing 50,000 tons of pig-metal per annum; two rolling-mills, with twenty-seven boiling and eleven heating furnaces; five trains of rolls; a nail factory, with fifty-five machines, and a capacity of 10,000 kegs of nails per month; a spike-factory, with three machines; nine steam and three blowing engines; eleven hot-blasts; eight steam-pumps; twenty steam-boilers; five power, and one steam-shears; a stave and keg manufactory, with a capacity for making 300,000 nail-kegs per annum; two fire-brick yards, with a capacity of 1,000,000 bricks annually, and a red-brick yard, which manufactured yearly several million bricks. The firm also owned and operated about four miles of railway tracks for the delivering of stock and the removal of products.
About 700 men were directly employed, when the works were in full operation. Indirectly about 300 more were employed in mining coal, iron, limestone, etc., making an aggregate of about 1,000 men, and representing a population of at least 3,000 people deriving their livelihood from the Shenango Iron Works. The pay roll of the concern frequently reached $45,000 per month, without taking into consideration the large sums paid out for stock and material of various kinds—coal, iron, limestone, lumber, etc. Mr. George C. Reis, since deceased, had charge of the financial department.
Subsequently the business began to grow unprofitable, and after the death of William H. Brown, who was perhaps its principal and heaviest stockholder, the plant, except the Rosena furnace before mentioned, was dismantled and sold. There was no insolvency; every creditor was paid, the business being closed out simply for the reason above mentioned. Its place has since been more than filled, in the industrial life of New Castle, by the extensive concerns now in operation.
In the fall of 1838 a rolling-mill and nail factory were built by James D. White, the contractors being James H. Brown, late of the firm of Brown, Bonnell & Co., of Youngstown, Ohio, and Mr. S. Wilder, a gentleman formerly extensively connected with the manufacturing business of this vicinity. The establishment, when completed, included one train of rolls run by water-power, two heating furnaces and eight nail machines. The nail plates were rolled from blooms manufactured in Juniata County, Pa. There were at that date no blast furnaces in this region. Mr. White operated these works until the fall of 1839, when his failing health led him to visit St. Thomas, in the West Indies, but without any beneficial results; he died at St. Croix after a short sojourn, and was buried there. After his death the works remained idle [p. 120] until the autumn of 1840, when Mr. White's administrators leased them to Messrs. Brown, Higgs & Wilder, who operated them for a little more than a year, when they were sold to Crawford Brothers & Ritter. The new firm were men of extensive means, but had little experience in practical manufacturing. Messrs. Brown & Wilder being experienced in the business, a co-partnership was soon after formed between them and the late purchasers, and the firm became Crawfords & Co.
This arrangement continued until 1848, when Mr. Wilder purchased Brown's interest, the latter gentleman taking an interest in the Shenango Iron Works, then known as the "Orizaba Iron Works." About 1842 the firm had abandoned water-power, mostly, and substituted steam, putting in a fine large engine. In 1846 a new nail-factory, of stone and brick, was erected, and the number of machines increased from eight to thirty; and the firm also added a bar and guide-mill. About the year 1845 a charcoal blast-furnace was erected near New Wilmington by Crawford, Powers & Co. The Crawfords subsequently bought out Powers and put it in as stock, and it was operated in connection with the works in New Castle. The firm also purchased the "Mahoning Furnace," at Lowellville, Ohio, built by Wilkinson, Wilkes & Co., of Buffalo, N. Y., about 1847. It is claimed that this furnace was the first to use raw coal for smelting purposes in this region.
In 1850 a chartered stock company was formed under the name of the "Cosalo Iron Company," of which A. L. Crawford was president and William P. Reynolds, secretary (afterwards succeeded by James Crawford). This firm continued to do business until the latter part of 1857, when the stock company was dissolved. In 1856 the company made a contract with the Cleveland and Columbus Railway to furnish 10,000 tons of compound rail, and the Lowellville furnace was purchased with a view to manufacturing the pig-iron for the job. While filling this contract the nail business was suspended and the machinery was sold to the Sharon Iron Company.
After the completion of this large contract the company built thirty new nail machines and again commenced the manufacture of nails, spikes and bar iron, and continued the business until about 1858, when, as stated before, the stock company was dissolved, and the works were purchased by the Crawford brothers, including the Lowellville furnace. Mr. Wilder took the New Wilmington furnace, but it proved unprofitable and was abandoned about 1860. Mr. Wilder soon after removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent two years, subsequently returning to New Castle. The Crawford brothers continued business until 1864, when they disposed of the works to Dithridge & Co., of Pittsburg, who rechristened the establishment the "Lawrence Iron Works." In 1872 Dithridge & Co. sold the works to a firm from Syracuse, N. Y., who called them the "Onondaga Iron and Nail Works." During their proprietorship several new nail machines, a number of trains of rolls and a new engine were added, and the factory was also enlarged. In March, 1874, the works were leased by Kimberly and Carnes, of Sharon, and soon after the two companies were consolidated.
The Aetna furnaces, two in number, were erected by the "Lawrence Iron Company" about 1867. Their capacity was about forty tons each per day. They were run by the company until 1872, when Mr. Samuel Kimberly purchased and operated them until the consolidation with the Syracuse Company, after which they were run in connection with the "Aetna Iron Works." They are the only part of the old Aetna plant now in operation, being owned and operated by the Republic Iron Works.
The Aetna works consisted of two blast furnaces, twenty-one boiling furnaces, five heating furnaces, a muck-bar mill, a nail-plate mill, a merchant-bar mill, a guide mill and fifty-three nail machines with sufficient rolls for all sizes of iron and nails. The firm [p. 121] employed in the aggregate, when in full running order, about 300 hands. The business was finally abandoned because of improvements and changes in modern manufacturing methods, and is now remembered only as among the notable enterprises of former days.
In 1873 a stock company, of which R. W. Cunningham was president, and William Patterson secretary and treasurer, established what was known as the New Castle Iron Works. Mr. S. Wilder, a heavy stockholder, superintended the erection of the buildings, but did not continue long as a partner, disposing of his stock in the fall of the same year in which the works were erected. In July, 1875, Messrs. Bradley, Reis & Co. purchased the works, and, in 1876, erected a mill for the manufacture of cold-rolled iron. The works consisted of one blast furnace, and a plate and sheet-iron mill, with three trains of rolls. The average product of the works was about twenty tons of muck-bar iron per day, which was all manufactured into merchant iron on the premises. In 1878 the firm experienced financial reverses, but made an arrangement with their creditors and continued business until 1883 when an expensive accident to their furnace threw them again into difficulties, and the business was closed out, the works being purchased by Geo. W. Johnson.
The following, taken from a past issue of a local paper, refers directly to this matter: "Bradley, Reis & Co., iron manufacturers, went into bankruptcy on August 16, 1878, and badly crippled the Neshannock Iron Company, owned by the Reis brothers and Peter L. and German A. Kimberly. The account of the failure from which we make this report does not give the assets or liabilities of the company. The secured creditors were forty-five workmen, whose claims ranged from $3 to $45; treasurer of Lawrence County, $1,400; Mrs. Lucinda Taylor, $12,490; First National Bank of New Castle, $16,796; Patterson's bank, securities, $60,600, and $12,400 in notes. The unsecured creditors were very numerous. The collapse of the Neshannock and the Bradley & Reis Company was sorely felt by nearly all our business men, who had assisted the manufacturers in keeping the works in operation. Following the above, George C. Reis, who had indorsed commercial paper to the amount of $400,000, also went into bankruptcy, and turned over all his property to pay debts, but it was not sufficient to meet the demands."
The original of this extensive establishment was put in operation about the year 1866 as a bolt and nut factory, with Andrew B. Berger as president. After a short experience, finding the business did not come up to their anticipations, the works were metamorphosed into a foundry and machine-shop. A large foundry building was erected in 1868, the machine-shop was enlarged, and most of the nut and bolt machinery taken out, and about 1871 the change had become complete. The works were subsequently enlarged from time to time, until they were among the most extensive in the country. The business was mostly confined to the manufacture of machinery for rolling-mills and blast-furnaces. The works had a capacity, when in full running order, for the employment of about 300 men.
This formerly prosperous concern was put in operation in 1872 by a company consisting of George L. Reis, W. E. Reis, P. L. Kimberly and G. A. Kimberly, for the manufacture of pig-iron exclusively. The capacity of the works, when in full running order, was 18,000 tons per annum, Lake Superior ores being exclusively used. This company was disastrously affected by the failure of Bradley, Reis & Co., as previously referred to, and, subsequently [p. 122] discontinued business. The furnace, commonly known as the "Red Jacket," is now owned and operated by the Carnegie Steel Company.
These works were put in operation in August, 1873, the buildings being erected in June, 1872. The manufacture was confined to common pig iron and Bessemer steel metal. The capacity was about the same as that of the Neshannock Iron Company, or 18,000 tons per annum. The company was unsuccessful and went into bankruptcy in August, 1878. In the final settlement of the case the creditors received 10 per cent of their claims.
This company had its origin in 1891, when George and Noah W. Elliott, practical steel manufacturers, established in New Castle the Elliott Bros.' Cold Rolled Steel Plant, the business being continued under the name of Elliott Bros. for several years. Subsequently, when T. C. Elliott became interested in the concern, the capacity of the plant was increased, and in 1898 the present company was formed. The company employ 100 men and are engaged in the manufacture of fine cold rolled steel, bicycle, sewing-machine and general work, their annual capacity being 7,000 tons. They have an adequate and well-equipped plant at the corner of Taylor and Mercer Streets, and are one of the representative manufacturing institutions of the city. The president and general manager is George D. Blair; N. W. Elliott is general superintendent; George Elliott, superintendent of the rolling department, and T. C. Elliott, superintendent of the annealing department.
The establishment of this giant industry in New Castle was due in chief measure to the enterp rise and personal exertions of Mr. George Greer, the present district manager. The fact that New Castle from 1890 to 1900 increased in population from 11,200 to almost 29,000, and subsequently to that of a city of 40,000 or more, is largely due to its tin industries. The growth of this company has been already briefly alluded to at the beginning of this chapter. The New Castle enterprise had its origin in 1892, a company being then organized with George Greer, president; Charles Greer, secretary, and W. S. Foltz, treasurer, for the purpose of erecting a tin plate plant. They first erected a four-mill plant with a bar-mill in connection. The works were put in operation October 26, 1893. This company was known as the New Castle Steel and Tin Plate Company, and the mill was sometimes known as "Greer's Tin Mill," Mr. Greer being the leading spirit of the enterprise. In 1897 the Shenango Mill, which is the largest mill of its kind in the world, was erected by certain gentlemen representing the Shenango Valley Steel Company, namely, William Patterson, John Stevenson, W. E. Reis and others.
Before the Shenango Mill was completed the New Castle works were purchased by the American Tin Plate Company, organized in 1898. They took possession immediately, placing Mr. Greer in charge both of the New Castle and Shenango works, with instructions to complete the work on the latter, effect an organization and put the mill in operation. This was accomplished in May, 1899, since which time, with the exception of a few brief shutdowns for repairs or other reasons, they have continued in successful operation.
In spite of initial discouragements the New Castle plant was enlarged until it included twenty mills. The Shenango works when completed contained thirty mills. Thus there are now in New Castle fifty mills engaged in this important industry, employing an army of 3,500 men, and paying out $200,000 monthly in wages. Both works are equipped with the latest and most improved machinery for the production [p. 125] of the best quality of finished tin plate. The New Castle works occupy about fourteen acres of land while the Shenango works are located on a tract of forty-four acres. The storage capacity at both works is over 500,000. Two thousand three hundred tons of black plate are made every week when the mills are in operation. Mr. Greer has succeeded in building up a very superior district organization, keeping in close touch with all the superintendents, foremen and employees of the different mills, and being acquainted with all the numerous details of manufacturing, finishing and shipping, as well as with the state of the world's markets with respect to the demand for the various brands of tin plate. A gratifying degree of harmony exists between the officials and employees from the superintendent down, which has helped to attract a superior class of workmen, and the two plants taken together are not only the pride of New Castle, but are among the largest and most important institutions of the kind in the entire country.
This extensive concern was incorporated in November, 1899, with a capital of $500,000. It is engaged in blast furnace and steel plant construction, general machine and plate work, the manufacture of machinery and castings, boilers, etc., its two foundries having an annual capacity of 35,000 tons, in addition to which the company buys about 2,000 tons of product. The capacity of its boiler works is 4,000 tons, the total annual capacity being 41,000 tons. When the concern was first established in New Castle it took possession of the old James P. Witherow works, which were subsequently enlarged to about double their former capacity. It is now one of the three or four largest plants in New Castle. The machine shop is a steel building 82 feet wide by 280 feet long, and the entire plant, which is one of the finest of its kind in America, covers over six acres. The foundry is 350 feet long by 60 feet wide. The Engineering works makes a feature of heavy castings, their loam castings having a high reputation. Another specialty is the manufacture of all kinds of caustic pots and pans, linings for cinder cars, long plungers and cylinders, together with bells, hoppers, etc. The iron is supplied from three cupolas of twenty, eight and five tons respectively, and the stock yard is large enough to accommodate about 5,000 tons of pig iron. The boiler shop is a steel building, the main part of which is 60x3OO feet. In it are two 15-ton traveling cranes, together with a variety of other powerful and modern machinery. The riveting tower near by has two hydraulic riveters for pipe and ladle work. There is also a steel building 73 feet wide by 125 feet long, equipped with horizontal punches, where the structural and flanging work is done. The forging department is 73 feet wide by 60 feet long, and is equipped with two steam hammers and ten forge fires, together with jib cranes, heating furnaces, etc. The boiler plant is located across the street from the operating department and consists of 500 H. P. of boilers and one generator of 150 K. W. capacity and another of 75 K. W. capacity. Here also are located the air compressors which serve the pneumatic tools in the boiler shop and other departments. The various departments are connected by narrow-gauge tracks, while spurs from the various trunk lines furnish independent shipping facilities to all. In the engineering department some fifteen to twenty skilled engineers and draughtsmen are employed.
The company has done some notable work, not only in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, but also in many more distant points throughout the country. They have constructed a number of blast furnaces, besides doing a large amount of other extensive and important construction work of various kinds. The present officers of the company are: Edward King, president and treasurer; E. N. Ohl, vice-president; [p. 126] C. L. Baldwin, secretary; E. W. Bedel, general manager; W. H. Shupler, general superintendent; J. K. Furst, engineer. The office and works are at the corner of Jefferson and Nutt Streets.
R. W. Cunningham, a former New Castle merchant, erected a frame building, and put an iron-foundry in operation in 1839, which was quite an extensive establishment. A general foundry business was transacted, and the works turned out large numbers of plows, stoves and a great amount of mill-gearing. A machine-shop was added in 1847. Mr. Cunningham also had a warehouse situated on the slackwater of the Neshannock, opposite his foundry, where he did a large forwarding, commission, freighting and general produce business. The grain business in those days was quite extensive, and in the best year (about 1841-42), as many as 1,000 bushels were received daily and shipped principally to Cleveland, Ohio, by canal. The firm was R. W. Cunningham up to about 1844, and from that date to 1853 George W. Jackson, of Pittsburg, had an interest, under the firm name of R. W. Cunningham & Co. From 1853 to 1865 Mr. Cunningham conducted the entire business in his own name. In the last-named year several of the employees became partners, after which the firm was Cunningham & Co. In connection with the forwarding business, the firm handled large amounts of ground plaster. A mill for grinding the raw material, which was obtained mostly from Canada, was erected by the new firm in 1844-45, and from that date the plaster was purchased in the lump by the cargo at Erie, brought to New Castle by canal and manufactured here. This business was continued for a number of years until the steadily diminishing demand for the material caused its abandonment. The partnership was dissolved after Mr. Cunningham's death and the machine shop dismantled and sold. The real estate is still owned by some of the Cunningham heirs.
In 1848 a small foundry was started by Messrs. Pearson, McConnell & Co., who carried on a general business for about two years. The firm then became Quest, McConnell & Co., who operated the establishment until 1855. During their occupancy a large brick machine-shop was built. In 1855 the firm again changed to Quest, Westerman & Co. This firm carried on business until 1857, when another change took place, and it became Quest, Shaw & Co. This firm continued the business for about ten years, when the name was changed to Quest & Shaw, who continued it until 1872, when the business was subsequently continued for some years by Shaw, Waddington & Co. The works were conveniently located between the old canal and the Neshannock Creek.
An establishment, under the above name, was put in operation by a stock company, consisting of Luther Woods, the Phillips brothers, John Elder and A. B. Smith & Son, in 1869-70, the original capital being $40,000. The works were located in Union Township, opposite the northwest portion of New Castle. The entire establishment was fitted up with the latest and most approved machinery, calculated for an extensive business. Manufacturing was commenced in the spring of 1870 and carried on for about two years, with every prospect of ultimate success, when, in the month of February, 1872, the entire works and machinery were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of about $60,000, on which there was an insurance in various companies of $20,000. The firm manufactured mowing and reaping machines, and sulky horse-rakes. The original capital of the company was all absorbed in the buildings and machinery, and the loss fell so heavily upon them [p. 127] that the works were not rebuilt. Among the best machines manufactured by the firm was the "Lawrence Mower," invented and patented by A. B. Smith, of Rochester, Beaver County, Pa.
This large concern—one of the most important in New Castle—is engaged in the manufacture of high-grade enamel ware and now commands an extensive trade. The company was incorporated in 1901 with a capital of $200,000. Its president is Mr. George L. Patterson, who is also vice-president of the National Bank of Lawrence and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. J. C. Kirk, the vice-president, is also president and manager of the New Castle Forge and Bolt Company and is prominently connected with the Chamber of Commerce and with various local interests. Lee M. Raney is secretary and T. F. Morehead treasurer—both prominent business men of New Castle, connected with various important local enterprises. The company has one of the best equipped factories in the world, their large plant being located at the foot of Swansea Avenue, in the Seventh Ward, and occupying six and a half acres on the line of the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburg, Pittsburg & Lake Erie, and Pennsylvania systems. It consists of two large buildings, with a score of smaller ones constructed of brick and iron. The enamel is made according to thoroughly tested German receipts [sic] and is applied by the most up-to-date American methods. About 200 or more skilled workmen are employed. This industry, since its establishment, has grown to large proportions, and is now an important factor in the sum total of New Castle's industrial activities.
The Standard Wire Company, whose works are located at No. 135 South Mill Street, was incorporated in 1906, with a capital of $300,000. It is engaged in the production of steel wire mats, coat hangers, jumping ropes, pot lifters, carpet and upholstery beaters, folding nursery fenders, elevator enclosure work, bank and office railings, etc. The annual capacity of the plant is about 150 tons, and sixteen men are employed. The president is Jonas Kaufman, with John E. Norris vice-president and manager, and Hugh M. Marquis, secretary and treasurer.
The New Castle Forge and Bolt Company, with plant at 243 Elm Street, was incorporated in 1901, with a capital of $75,000. Within less than a year the volume of business on hand necessitated an increase of capital to $300,000, and it was so capitalized in January, 1903, new buildings being then erected and installed with the most modern and expensive machinery. Included in the plant are one large brick and steel building 342x80 feet, one steel building 374x60 feet, a chain shop 48x80, machine shop 80x30, power plant 84x80, and gas producer house 75x25 feet. All the departments have switches connecting with the Pennsylvania, Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg R. R. systems. The plant is devoted to the manufacture of forgings, chains, bolts, nuts, rivets and heavy hardware, the annual capacity, not counting car forgings, being 500,000 pounds. About 150 men are employed. The officers of the concern are C. J. Kirk, president and general manager; J. F. Donahue, secretary; E. E. Whitaker, treasurer, and M. E. McCombs, superintendent.
The American Car and Ship Hardware Manufacturing Company, brass founders, was incorporated in 1901 and is engaged in the manufacture of push-buttons, car trimmings, trolley work, fuse boxes, ship lights, etc., 100 men being employed in the works, which are located at the corner of Mill and Mechanic Street. C. H. Johnson is president of the concern, with Charles [p. 128] Matthews, secretary; T. H. Hartman, treasurer, and J. W. Patterson, general manager.
Frank C. Douds & Co., founders and machinists, are engaged in the manufacture of iron and brass castings, engines and engine supplies, boiler injectors, jet pumps, etc., the factory being located at No. 214-230 South Mill Street. The firm is composed of Frank C., Smith H. and Ralph A. Douds. They employ about fifteen men and are doing a good business.
The New Castle Asphalt Block Company is a prosperous concern engaged in the manufacture of compressed asphalt blocks for street paving and other similar work. It has a capacity of 2,500,000 blocks annually and gives employment to about fifty men. The superintendent is H. E. Warden and the office and works are located near Big Run bridge.
The New Castle Ice and Cold Storage Company, located at No. 111 South Beaver Street, was incorporated in 1901. The concern manufactures 130 tons of artificial ice daily, giving employment to eight men. J. D. Drum is superintendent.
This branch of industry is now represented in New Castle by some half dozen concerns. About the first establishment of the kind was that founded by Pearson & Co. in 1868. They first established on Shenango Street, near the river, a shop for the manufacture of agricultural implements, but after a few years, not being sufficiently successful in that line, they changed their business to carriage and wagon-making, and so continued until June, 1873, when they sold out the business to T. W. Smith, of Mercer, who carried it on for about two years. On his death, which took place soon after, the stock and tools were sold to A. R. Hardesty.
Since then various firms have been engaged in the business, some quite successfully. Those now conducting operations in New Castle are L. D. Baughman, at No. 60 E. South Street; Henry Drescher, 316 N. Liberty; C. G. Gaston, 20 N. Shenango Street; J. B. McClaren, 1 White Street; Adam Onstott, 119 S. Cochran, and J. J. Sayre, 20 E. South Street.
Manufacture of furniture was started by James Mitchell and Calvin Miller, about 1869, in the building formerly occupied by Euwer's oil works, and continued until the fall of 1871, when Miller sold out to Mitchell. Subsequently Wilson Mitchell, a brother of James, took an interest in the business, the firm becoming Mitchell & Co., which co-partnership continued until the fall of 1873, or the beginning of 1874, when the brothers dissolved and sold out to Samuel Dunn, who took his son into partnership. The firm manufactured all descriptions of furniture, making a specialty, however, of extension and breakfast tables. The lumber was purchased principally in Lawrence, Crawford and Mercer Counties, and consisted of mostly black walnut and cherry.
This industry, like some others that were formerly scattered, is now chiefly concentrated in certain cities, like Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan, where all the facilities in the way of large capital, cheap and abundant material, and a steady market are found par excellence.
About 1886 McKarns & Love erected a mill in New Castle for the manufacture of woolen goods. When first put in operation it contained only one set of machinery, but a second set was afterwards added. The firm carried on the business until 1873, [p. 129] when McKarns sold his interest to Love, who took his sons into partnership, and continued it under the style of H. Love & Sons.
In 1868 Job and William H. Harvey established a paper mill in a stone building on Neshannock Creek, within the present limits of the city of New Castle, and engaged in the manufacture of sack paper. Job Harvey operated it one year, when he associated, as a partner in the business, Mr. Alfred McKarns. A brick factory, 35x30 feet, was erected in 1876, and devoted to the exclusive manufacture of flour sack paper, twelve men being employed. The daily production, when the works were running, was 1,800 pounds, 3,500 pounds of old rope being consumed daily in the manufacture.
The mill was burned in 1883 and was rebuilt in 1885 by the Standard Paper Company of New Castle.
In 1887 the Dilworth Paper Company, of Pittsburg, bought the plant and water-power privileges from the Standard Company and have since conducted the business. The capacity of the mill is now 4,000 to 16,000 pounds per twenty-four hour day. The product is sugar bags, glazed hardware wrapping paper, and manila papers. In May, 1908, the storage shed for raw materials was completely destroyed by fire, but is now being replaced by a structure 45xl54 feet. The mill has a battery of three boilers of 200 horse-power each; a Corliss 300-horse-power engine, and a 150-horse-power Erie slide valve engine. It has also three water wheels. The directors and officers of the mill are all Pittsburg people.
The earliest lumber business in New Castle was started by Dr. Pollock and his son-in-law, Joseph S. White, about 1840. The doctor's son, Hiram, afterwards purchased his father's interest, and in connection with Mr. White carried on the business. It subsequently passed through a number of different hands, and was continued successfully for many years.
G. W. Crawford & Son also did an extensive business in lumber, doors, sash, blinds, and all kinds of building material, the beginning of this establishment being a barrel factory started by Joseph Kissick about 1864. Mr. Kissick sold to Richardson & Gorley in October, 1865. This firm changed the business to a planing-mill, and about three months subsequently Richardson sold out to G. W. Crawford his interest in the business, which was conducted under the firm name of Gorley & Crawford until 1871, when Gorley sold to Crawford, who took his son into partnership and the firm was afterwards for many years G. W. Crawford & Son. About the year 1900 the business was purchased by G. Jameson and H. S. McGown and it is now conducted under the style of Jameson & McGown. It is now in a flourishing condition.
The Mahoning Valley Lumber Company is one of the most extensive establishments of this kind now existing in New Castle. The company was incorporated in 1898 with a capital of $15,000. Its extensive plant is located at the corner of Wayne Street and Swansea Avenue, occupying 120 feet frontage and being 208 feet in depth. It embraces a large planing-mill, fitted up with the most modern machinery and appliances. The officers of the concern are gentlemen well known throughout business and manufacturing circles in this section. Mr. G. D. Duff is president and A. E. Kerr secretary and manager.
Another up-to-date concern of this kind is the New Castle Lumber & Construction Company, whose office, mill and yard are located at 55-75 S. Mercer Street. The firm gives employment to seventy-five or more skilled hands. They manufacture all kinds of mill work and every description of building material. The company was established about 1894, and is now under the [p. 130] control of Andrew Dietterle, Henry Cooper and J. Cam Liebendorfer. Contracts are taken for all kinds of roofing, spouting, plastering and the construction of buildings. The firm is a prominent factor in the building trade in this vicinity.
The Shenango Lumber Company also stands high in the list of New Castle's important industries. Its plant is situated at the corner of White and Neal Streets, the present members of the firm being James Cunningham, who has been with it for about nine years, and H. M. Moore. They have a well-equipped planing-mill, handle all kinds of lumber, and manufacture every description of builders' supplies.
The Kline Lumber and Construction Company was incorporated in 1901 with a capital of $15,000. Mr. Harry Kline, the president and treasurer of the company, is one of New Castle's best known and most influential manufacturers. The plant of the concern, located at White and Neal Streets, covers more than three acres, and comprises a well-equipped planing-mill, store houses and sheds, and ample yard facilities connected with the Pennsylvania tracks by switches. The company also has a branch yard and store at West Pittsburg. They handle all kinds of lumber, sewer pipe, lime, cement, building tile, slate and tin roofing, and builders' supplies generally. They are also general contractors and builders, plumbers, and roofers. The company has had a very successful career since its establishment seven years ago.
The Acme Lumber Company is one of the old established concerns in this line of business in New Castle. Under its present title it was established about seven years ago by R. W. Henderson and J. M. English, they buying out the interests of E. M. Hamilton, who for nearly a score of years had conducted an extensive and successful business at this location. The company does a large wholesale and retail trade in the handling of coal, lumber and builders' supplies. They have an adequate and well appointed plant, including a large planing-mill. The company is at present composed of John M. English, Jesse M. Smith and Walter S. Taylor.
The Lawrence County Lumber Company, a large concern, was originally organized in 1898, but in 1901 was reorganized, the new officers being C. S. Paisley, president, and J. W. Hays, secretary-treasurer and manager. The company are general contractors and builders, deal in and manufacture all kinds of lumber and mill work, do slate and tin roofing, and sell hard and soft coal, paints, oils, glass, plaster, and all kinds of builders' hardware.
The concern of Wallace Bros. was started about 1887, by Mr. W. E. Wallace, who erected lumber yards and conducted the plant for a number of years. He then took into partnership his son, M. Louis Wallace, the firm becoming W. E. Wallace & Son. In 1900 he retired and the firm became Wallace Brothers, the members being Messrs. Frank W. and M. Louis Wallace. The mill and lumber yards of the firm are located at the west end of Wabash Avenue, and cover about two acres or more. The mill is fitted with improved wood-working machinery and is connected by switch with the B. & O. Railroad. The firm deal in and manufacture all kinds of lumber, lath, shingles and cabinet mantels and all kinds of contractors and builders' supplies.
Another prominent firm engaged in the lumber business is that of McConahy, Martin & Co. They are extensive dealers in lumber, stone and builders' supplies and have been engaged in business under their present style about four years, being successors to William McConahy. Their yard is located at No. 100 Croton Avenue.
In addition to the above mentioned firms, the R. W. Henderson Lumber and Coal Company, composed of Robert W. Henderson and M. E. Sewell, carries on a prosperous business in lumber and coal at 167 Grove Street, while there are three flourishing wholesale concerns—the Gailey Lumber Company, G. G. Stitzinger & Co., and M. A. McLure—engaged in the distribution [p. 131] of white pine, Norway spruce, oak, poplar, cypress, red cedar and other kinds of timber used by the builder, carpenter or cabinet-maker. W. H. Cox & Co., located in the Wallace Block, are also doing a successful business in hardwood lumber.
The plant of the New Castle Box Company, Limited, is located at No. 900 N. Cedar Street, on the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks in the Seventh Ward, covering about six and a half acres of ground. This concern furnished the boxes in which is packed the tin plate made at the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company's works. It also supplies the lumber and crating for the pottery and glass factories at New Castle. This is now one of the most flourishing manufacturing concerns of the city. The factory has a large capacity and the company pay out more than $50,000 a year in wages. Mr. H. P. McIlwraith is the efficient manager for the company.
The Gailey Fiber Plaster Company, whose plant is located at Nos. 161-165 Grove Street, is one of the important concerns in this line of business in this section. It was organized in 1903 and is composed of Messrs. John A. and Robert C. Gailey. The plaster manufactured by the company is made of wood fibre and is used extensively by the leading builders and contractors. The members of the company are well known in the business circles of New Castle and are thoroughly practical men in their line of manufacturing.
The extensive quarries of limestone in the vicinity of New Castle, situated about one mile southeast of the Court House, were first opened for extensive, operations in 1866 by Messrs. Green & Marquis, who worked them for about two years, when the firm changed to Green, Marquis & Co. This latter company worked them until 1873, when the firm name was changed to Green, Marquis & Johnson. Later Marquis purchased Johnson's interest and he is the present proprietor.
This stone is of two varieties: the upper fourteen feet, or gray limestone, is all that is considered valuable. Below this stratum is one of blue stone, from three to five feet in thickness, which sometimes furnishes a fair quality of building stone. The workable stone is extensively quarried and is used mainly for fluxing purposes in blast-furnaces. It averages 90 per cent carbonate of lime. Lying immediately under the limestone is a thin stratum of coal, about one foot in thickness. Sixty feet below this vein of coal is another, averaging about eighteen inches in thickness, and below this is a bed of fire-clay, twelve feet thick. Sixteen feet below the clay is another vein of coal, about four feet thick. These coal veins are not, however, valuable enough to repay the labor of working them in this immediate vicinity.
The Bessemer Limestone Company, of Bessemer, Lawrence County, now has the largest crushing plant in western Pennsylvania or eastern Ohio. They are engaged in the production of crushed and screened limestone of all sizes for flux, macadam, ballast and concreting, daily capacity of the concern being 2,500 tons of broken stone. The largest branch of the business is the shipping of fluxing stone for blast furnace use. The main office is in Youngstown, Ohio.
The New Castle Elastic Pulp Plaster Company, whose place of business is at No. 153 Grove Street, was incorporated in 1900 with a capital of $100,000. The concern employs eight men and has an annual capacity of 3,390 tons. It is in a prosperous condition. L. M. Uber is president and R. L. McNab, secretary, treasurer and general manager.
[p. 132] A small establishment for the manufacture of glass was put in operation in September, 1848, by Messrs. Henderson & Morris, the works having been commenced in the fall of 1847. The original works were operated in the primitive way, only one furnace being used for melting and blowing purposes. They were confined exclusively to the manufacture of American window-glass. Messrs. Henderson & Morris carried on the business until July or August, 1851, doing a prosperous business. The sand-rock was obtained on the premises, and the clay for manufacturing the melting pots was imported from Germany.
In 1851 a company was organized under the name of the "Croton Glass Company." The original proprietors were stockholders and members of the new company. This company continued the business until about 1860, when it was dissolved, and the works were operated in the interest of the New Castle Savings Bank (which had purchased them), by Crowther, Watson & Co., until 1863, when Mr. A. Arbogast purchased the property. He operated the works until 1867, when they became the property of C. Ihmsen & Sons, of Pittsburg, and the business was carried on by this firm until July, 1868, when Mr. O. C. Ihmsen became sole proprietor, and continued the business until his death, in September, 1869. The business was carried on in his name until January, 1870, when his brother, C. Ihmsen, Jr., leased the works, and operated them until October 28, 1870, when they were totally destroyed by fire. They were rebuilt in the spring of 1871 by the administrators of the Ihmsen estate, and operated until August, 1875, by C. Ihmsen, Jr., after which they were idle until April 1, 1876, when they were leased to Mr. Forbes Holton. About 900 boxes of finished window glass, of all sizes, from 6x8 up to 40x60 inches, were produced weekly, about eighty hands being directly or indirectly employed. The plant is not now in operation.
In March, 1866, a stock company was formed for the manufacture of glass, works being erected on the west side of the Shenango River in Union Township. Business was commenced in August following, and was carried on until the last of December, 1868, when a large portion, including the buildings for flattening, finishing and packing, the office, etc., were destroyed by fire. Several of the stockholders were operatives, and difficulties sprang up among the interested parties, which eventually caused the abandonment of the business. The plant passed into other hands and was changed and successfully operated for a few years. The concern manufactured American window glass exclusively, 100 hands being employed, and about 1,000 boxes of an excellent quality of glass being turned out per day. The works subsequently went out of operation.
The glass manufacturing industry is now well represented in New Castle by the American Window Glass Company, which is engaged in operating the Shenango and Lawrence factories. The concern has an annual output of 30,000 boxes of 100 feet of glass each. About 400 men are employed in the works.
About the year 1862 an establishment for the manufacture of stoneware was started in New Castle by Messrs. Hill and Harmon. It was thus operated for about seven years, when William Hill became sole proprietor and continued the business until 1882, when he closed it out. The principal articles manufactured by Mr. Hill were stone crockery, terra cotta, stone pumps, piping, chimney-tops and flower-pots.
The New Castle Pottery Company was organized about 1901 and incorporated, with D. C. Wallace, president, F. E. Davis, secretary and treasurer. A plant was erected near Grant street and the Erie and Pittsburg Railroad and consisted of six kilns. The company manufactured vitrified [p. 133] hotel-ware and employed several hundred men. They got into financial straits, however and the concern went into the hands of a receiver. Every creditor was paid. The plant was purchased by a syndicate of the original stockholders, but no further steps have as yet been taken to reopen it.
In 1901 the Shenango China Company was incorporated, the stock being taken by local capitalists. A plant was established at Emery Street and the Erie & Pittsburg Railroad, having a frontage of 500 feet along the railroad and 130 feet in width. The company engaged in the manuracture of semi-vitreous china, both plain and decorated, about 150 skilled hands being employed. Among those prominently connected with the concern as officers or otherwise were Eugene N. Baer, W. G. Dunn, Andrew Fleckenstein, and D. T. McCarron, the last mentioned being entrusted with the active management of the business.
Subsequently, in January, 1905, owing to financial embarrassments, a receiver was appointed, and in the same year the company was reorganized and incorporated under the name of the Shenango Pottery, with a capital of $150,000, the officers being E. N. Baer, president; Edwin F. Norris, vice president; J. E. Whittaker, secretary, and E. E. McGill, treasurer. Directors, E. N. Baer, E. F. Norris, E. E. McGill, Andrew Fleckenstein, M. S. Marquis, and W. E. Wallace. The company has since enjoyed a prosperous career. They have a six-kiln plant with a capacity of $225,000 worth of plain and decorated vitrified china. About four hundred people are given employment in the works, and the product is shipped to all parts of the country. The present officers of the concern are M. S. Marquis, president, C. C. Robingson, vice president, W. E. Wallace, treasurer, J. E. Wallace, secretary; and Andrew Fleckenstein, E. E. McGill, E. F. Norris and E. I. Phillips, directors.
Another large and important concern is the Universal Sanitary Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated in 1901, with a capital of $100,000, and with the following officers and directors: C. J. Kirk, president; Edward King, vice president; J. W. Knox, treasurer; T. F. Morehead, secretary; and James Simpson, Geo. Greer, and John Reis, directors. In 1907 R. C. Patterson was elected in place of Mr. King and at the same time Mr. John H. Clappin in the place of Mr. Greer. Its immense plant located at New Castle Junction, a picture of which may be found on another page of this volume, covers more than eight acres of ground, and consists of five kilns and several buildings, all of which are fitted up with the most modern machinery, making it one of the best equipped factories in the United States. The company manufactures a full line of vitreous china, closets and lavatories in all styles and shapes, together with basins, plumbers' earthenware, etc. One hundred people are employed, and the product turned out includes the very latest patterns, embodying all practical improvements, some of the sets and pieces being the invention of Mr. James Simpson, the highly capable superintendent of the works. The company's trade extends to almost every part of the United States and Canada.
This extensive concern was incorporated in 1901, with a capital of $800,000, and is engaged in the manufacture of fire brick, red and paving brick, ground fire clay, crushed limestone for flux, concrete and ballast. They are also wholesale and retail coal dealers. The works have a capacity of 2,500 tons of limestone, 500 tons of fire clay and 100,000 tons of brick. The company's business offices are in the Lawrence Savings and Trust Building, while they have a yard office at No. 236 South [p. 134] Mill Street. This company is the successor to the Marquis Limestone and Clay Company, and is doing an extensive and prosperous business. Edwin N. Ohl is president, Charles Greer, vice-president, and Edwin F. Norris, secretary and treasurer.
The following is a brief mention of some of the prominent incorporated companies now doing business in New Castle and the vicinity, in addition to those of whom sketches have been given herein:
American Co-operative Association, 7 Pearson Building; incorporated, 1906; capital, $500,000.
Brown & Hamilton Company; dry goods, etc.; incorporated, 1907; capital, $150,000.
Croton Limestone & Brick Company; S. D. Pearson, president; incorporated, 1902; capital, $30,000.
Dollar Savings Association (Building and Loan); John H. Prescott, president; J. P. Cunningham, vice-president; J. G. Northdurft, secretary; H. L. Ailey, treasurer; incorporated in 1898; capital, $6,000,000.
Frew Furniture Company. J. H. Frew, president; Milton Frew, secretary and treasurer; No. 79 E. Washington Street; incorporated, 1901; capital, $30,000.
Horton & Whitten Hardware Company; 117 East Washington Street; incorporated, 1900; capital, $30,000.
Jamestown Veneer Door Company, 79 East Washington Street; incorporated, 1902; capital, $50,000.
Charles T. Metzler Company, 205 East Washington Street; incorporated, 1905; capital, $20,000.
Neshannock Brick & Tile Company; W. S. Mears, president; J. E. Sankey (Volant), vice-president; W. S. Rice, secretary; J. W. Neff, treasurer; 71 West Washington Street; incorporated, 1905; capital, $17,000.
New Castle Concrete Company; L. G. Emery, president; J. M. Gardner, secretary and treasurer; 136½ East Washington Street and 56 East Long Avenue; incorporated, 1907; capital, $10,000.
New Castle Contracting Company, 22 Dean Block; A. W. Woods, president; J. A. DeNormandie, secretary; W. Lakey, treasurer; incorporated, 1907; capital, $20,000.
New Castle & Eastern Railroad Company; E. N. Ohl, president; E. F. Norris, secretary and treasurer; incorporated, 1903; capital, $100,000.
New Castle Notion Company, corner Mill and Croton Avenue; W. M. White, president; J. B. Offutt, vice-president; W. H. Grove, secretary; R. D. McKinney, treasurer and manager; importers and jobbers of notions and manufacturers of overalls, shirts and pants; incorporated, 1901; capital, $75,000.
New Castle Paint & Varnish Company; George Greer, president; D. H. Amsbary, vice-president; Chester W. Wallace, secretary, treasurer and manager; manufacturers of paints for bridges, roofs, stacks and all metal surfaces; also house paints and paint specialties; office, 72 Pittsburg Street; factory, Neal Street.
New Castle Real Estate Company, 201 East Washington Street; incorporated, 1903; capital, $100,000.
Osgood Hardware Company, 22 North Mill Street; incorporated, 1906; capital, $10,000.
Shenango Coal Company; Lawrence Savings and Trust Building; incorporated, 1902; capital, $30,000.
Smith, Hutton & Kirk Company; wholesale and retail hardware, house furnishings, buggies, wagons, mine and mill supplies, plumbing, etc.; J. M. Smith, president and treasurer; H. M. Kirk, vice-president; J. W. Hutton, secretary; incorporated, 1903; capital, $55,000.
Thompson Run Coal Company, 10 West Washington Street; L. S. Hoyt, president; E. H. Douthitt, vice-president; A. C. Hoyt, secretary; capital, $50,000.
B. U. Young & Company, 54-56 Cunningham [p. 135] Street; wholesale green fruits, produce, etc.; incorporated, 1900; capital, $20,000.
There are in all about seventy-five incorporated companies doing business in New Castle, besides numerous other business firms and unincorporated companies, engaged in the usual lines of commerce found in every thriving community. Most of them are in a flourishing condition, partaking of and contributing to the general business prosperity that New Castle has enjoyed in recent years. Limited space prevents us from mentioning all by name, but enough have been here given to epitomize the industrial history of the city, and to exhibit in sketchy outline its present-day manufacturing and commercial importance.
20th Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens Hon. Aaron L. Hazen Richmond-Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, Ill., 1908
Chapter VI | Table of Contents | Chapter VIII
Explanation/Caution | Lawrence Co. Maps | Lawrence Co. Histories
Updated: 4 Mar 2002