George H. (George Henry) Thurston.

Allegheny county's hundred years online

. (page 23 of 43)
Online LibraryGeorge H. (George Henry) ThurstonAllegheny county's hundred years → online text (page 23 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


blast furnace and foundry combined. It was from this foundry that Major Craig,
while in command of Fort Pitt, ordered four hundred round shot.

The first foundry at Pittsburgh, as before said, was at the corner of Fifth ave
and Smithfield street, where the Post Office now stands, and called the " Pittsburgh
Foundry," by Joseph McClurg, Joseph Smith, and John Gormley, in 1803.

Shortly after its erection Joseph McClurg bought out his partners. Smith and
Gormley, and with his son, Alexander McClurg, conducted the business success-
fully until 1814. From 1814 to 1822, the foundry was owned and operated by
McClurg & McKnight, and then by Alexander McClurg & Co. till 1830, when the
establishment was purchased by Kingsland & Lightner, who were proprietors of the
Jackson and Eagle foundries, the business of which was merged into that of the
Pittsburgh foundry. From 1831 to 1836 the firm was known as Kingsland, Lightner
& Cuddy. In 1836, Abraham Garrison obtained an interest in the business, and
in 1840, Mr. Garrison, who was a nephew of Kingsland, and H. L. Bollman, a
nephew of Lightner, succeeded their uncles, and associating with them H. F,
Bollman, carried on the business under the name of Bollmans & Garrison till
1851, when H. F. Bollman withdrew. From 1851 to 1863, the firm was Bollman &
Garrison, and from 1863 to 1865, Bollman, Garrison & Co. In 1864, Mr. Garrison
boueht Mr. Bollman's interest, and the present partnership of A. Garrison & Co.
was formed January 1st, 1865. In 1826 the first contract of water pipe f>r the



168 ALLEGHENY COUNTY'S

city of Pittsburgh was made with Alexander McClurg & Co., of the Pittsburgh
foundry, and Kingsland, Lightner & Co., of the Jackson and Eagle foundries. The
first pipe was cast 1827, and tested at a pond then to be seen between the Cathedral
and Smithfield street. The first chilled rolls made west of the mountains, the
manufacture of which was destined to become the great specialty of the Pittsburgh
foundry, was cast at the Eagle foundry by Kingsland, Lightner & Co., who suc-
ceeded Alexander McClurg & Co. in 1830.

The next foundry was that established by Wm, Price in 1808, subsequently
known as the Berlin Foundry. This foundry was long a land mark, because of a
singular shaped dwelling, Mr. Price attached to it built perfectly round, giving a
whimsical reason for so doing. Mr. Price was an Englishman, and came to Pitts-
burgh to work at O'Hara's glass works, where, according to a letter of Isaac Craig
quoted in the chapter on glass, he made the first attempt to make flint glass at
Pittsburgh. This foundry has passed down in the family possession, and is now
operated by the firm of W. G. Price & Co. In 1813, Anthony Beelen is noted in
the accounts of that date as having a foundry. This was at what was then known
as Sukes Run, a small creek that entered the Monongahela at or near the inter-
section of what is now Second avenue and Try street, where the first steamboat
was constructed. At what date Mr. Beelen put his foundry in operation is not
definitely of record, but probably about 1809-10, and was called the Eagle Foun-
dry. Whether this subsequently passed into the possession of Jackson & Kings-
land, who are noted in the chronology of the first foundry as having the .Jackson
and Eagle foundry, is not of record, but it is probable that from the title Eagle,
being combined with that of the Jackson foundry, that firm had absorbed the
foundry established by Mr. Beelen.

It was in 1813-14 that the Pittsburgh foundry began the manufacture of can-
non at Pittsburgh, and to this branch of its business the firm of Knap, Wade &
Co. succeeded, as elsewhere noted In 1817, a firm styled Sutton & McNickle
established a foundry in Birmingham, then a suburb of Pittsburgh. There ap-
pears to have been several small foundries subsequent to this put in operation in
Pittsburgh, but being somewhat in connection with the machine shops in that
period, there is no distinction individually attached.

In 1826, John Anthers and John Nicholson formed a co-partnership and erect-
ed a foundry for the making of heavy machines and other castings. In 1830, they
began the making of stoves, which they continued until 1847, when Mr. Anthers
retired, and Mr. Nicholson continued the business until 1849, at which time he
associated with him G. W. G. Payne under the firm style of Nicholson & Payne.
On January 1st, Mr. Nicholson retired, selling his interest to Wm. A. Lee and F.
S. Bissell, the firm name becoming Payne, Lee & Co. In the same year Charles
A. Bissell, now of Cleveland, purchased the interest of Mr. Lee, and the firm name
changed to Bissell & Co., under which partnership it was continued until 1866,
when Chas. A. Bissell withdrew, and F. S. Bissell continued the business under the
same firm name. On the retirement of Mr. Lee, the works known as the Eagle



IRON AND STEEL TRADE. 169

were abandoned and a new foundry built on the site of Bissell, Semple & Stephens
rolling mill, mentioned in the chronology of the rolling mills. The name of Eagle
foundry seems to have been a designation of Beelen's, Arthurs & Nicholson and
Kingsland & Lightner's foundries. Whether this title descended through purchase
of the whole or part of the foundries of these earlier successive firms, does not appear
but that there was some chain of successorship is most probable, to justify the as-
suming of the name, under which, if so, the present firm of Bissell & Co. may have
claim to business descent from Anthony Beelen's foundry of 1809. F. S. Bissell is
the son of John Bissell, of the Bissell, Semple & Stephens rolling mill firm, and
has succeeded his father in some of the honorable public positions his father held.

In 1827, Cuthbert & Co., consisting of Sterley Cuthbert, Thomas Mitchell and
Thomas Sweeny, established a foundry, which in 1829 passed into the ownership
of Thomas Mitchell & Co. The firm subsequently became Cuddy, Mitchell
& Co., (James Cuddy, Thomas Mitchell and others). This firm was suc-
ceeded by Pennock & Mitchell (Joseph Pennock), and in 1845 the style of the
firm was Pennock, Mitchell & Co. Subsequently, John B. Herron and Nathan S.
Hart having been admitted as partners, a new firm was organized as Mitchell,
Herron & Co. In 1855 the firm dissolved, and a new firm was organized under
the style of Mitchell, Stevenson & Co. (Thomas Mitchell, John B. Herron and
William Stevenson). Mitchell & Stevenson being ultimately succeeded by Baldwin
& Graham. Joseph Pennock and Nathan Hart organized a new firm and erected
the Fulton Foundry. Subsequently, in 1864, John B. Herron withdrew and built
a new stove foimdrj'^, called the Stella, from which came the firm of John B. Her-
ron & Co., who were operating the works in 1876. In 1829, Parry, Scott & Co.
built a foundry on Second avenue, near Boss, called the Iowa. This foundry
passed subsequently and ultimately into the ownership of John C. Parry, until he
finally retired from business, at which time the foundry was dismantled.

In 1835, John Anderson established a foundry on the site of the old public
school house which stood where the Monongahela House now is, and where, at
about the same time, John Greer had a small foundry. Mr. Anderson afterwards
built a new foundry at the corner of Grant and Water streets, which was known
as the Monongahela Foundry. He subsequently associated with him his son, Wm.
J. Anderson, under the title of John Anderson & Co. Subsequently the firm be-
came Anderson & Phillips (W. J. Anderson and Ormsby Phillips, afterwards
Mayor of Allegheny City, and subsequently one of the proprietors of the Pitts-
burgh Dispatch, dying while the business manager of that paper).

The firm of Anderson & Ormsby was succeeded by Henry Freyvogle, a former
-clerk of Anderson & Phillips. He ultimately built a new foundry at Fifth avenue
and Madison street, and died about the time it was completed, and the building
was never used for foundry purposes. Some time about 1822, Wm. T. McClurg,
who died in August, 1888, in his ninety-first year, and was a son of Joseph Mc-
Clurg, of the first foundry, established a foundry at the corner of what is now
Twelfth and Etna streets, known as the Franklin Foundry, which firm, about
1836-7, became Wm. T. McClurg & Co.



170 ALLEGHENY COUNTY'S

There were subsequent changes in this firm, which finally centered again in
Wm. T. McClurg, who continued the business until about 1860, when he retired.

In 1833, L. R. Livingstone established what was known as the Novelty Works,
a combination of a foundry for small castings and a factory for the production of
iron novelties, so called, such as latches, copying presses, umbrella stands and
similar goods, among which were coffee mills, for which a trade was established,
and they obtained distinction by the original manner in which the firm spelled
coffee in their advertisements — "Kaughphy." This firm was succeeded by Liv-
ingstone, Copeland & Co., and they by Morehead, Adams & Co. (J. K. Morehead,
John Adams, Jar vis and others). The stock, patterns and good will of this com-
pany ultimately became merged in the Jones & Nimick Manufacturing Company,
established in 1863, which latter firm was the successor of the Variety Works,
established in 1855 by Jones, Walingford & Co. The Jones & Nimick Manufac-
turing Company was succeeded in 1872 by the Nimick Brittan Manufacturing
Company; Alex. Nimick, president; Glendy S.Graham, secretary, and Arthur
Brittan, general manager; the works having been turned into a manufactory of
builders' hardware, bronze ware, padlocks, etc., the firm employing over 300 hands
and occupying seven acres of ground.

In 1837, a firm known as Rowan, Edgar & Bradley operated the Franklin
Works, which subsequently passed into the hands of Marshall & McGreary (James
Marshall, Henry McGreary), then to H. McGreary & Co.

In 1846, Quin, McBride & Co. built the National Foundry, which was in 1856
operated by D. W. Cuddy, but has now become extinct.

In 1846, Alexander Bradley, who became in 1837 a partner in the Franklin
Foundry, where he had as early as 1827-8 been employed as an apprentice, asso-
ciated with him his brother Charles, and built a foundry for the manufacture of
stoves on the bank of the Allegheny river, above Sixteenth street, and carried on
the business under the firm name of A. Bradley & Co., which it has been ever
since, no change being made at the death of Charles Bradley in 1848, although
some junior partners have been admitted to the firm The business of stove man-
ufacturing increased so rapidly that an enlargement became necessary to the works
and the firm purchased the land at the corner of Etna and Twelfth streets, the
site of the McClurg or Franklin Foundry, and erected the present stove works,
known as the " Etna."

In 1836 Robinson & Minis ( Robinson, Benjamin Minis) built the Wash-
ington Foundry and Machine Works, for the manufacture of steam engines and
the making of heavy castings. In 1837 the firm became Robinson, Minis & Miller,
at which date Reuben Miller, Jr., became a partner. It was by this firm that the
" Valley Forge," the first iron steamboat on the western rivers, Avas built. In 1854
the firm became Robinson, Rea & Co., Wm. Rea becoming a partner, and subse-
quently, in 1885 6, the style of the firm becoming The Robinson-Rea Manufactur-
ing Company, imder which firm style the business is still continued in the manu-
facturing of rolling mill machinery, heavy marine and stationary engines, and
other heavy machinery.



IRO]^ AMj bTEEL TRADE. 171

In 1830 the firm of McClurg,Wade & Co. established the Fort Pitt Works, the-
successions of which have beon previously mentioned, for the manufacturing of
heavy rolling mill and other similar machinery. In 1844 Henry Anshutz & Co^
built the LaFayette Stove Foundry, in Allegheny City, which firm subsequentl^r
became An&hutz, Bradbury & Co.

Shortly afterwards a foundry called the Western was built by the moulders, a
workingmen's co-operative association, which about 1850 came into the ownership-
of Graff & Co., and subsequently the firm style became Grafifj Hugus & Co.

In 1848 S. S. Fowler erected a foundry for the making of heavy machinery of
all kinds, and in 1855 Pennock & Hart (Joseph Pennock, Nathan Hart) built
the Fulton Foundry for making heavy machinery, which works, on the failure of
Pennock & Hart, came into the ownership of Totten & Co., which latter firm stilE
own and operate the works.

In 1850 Eichbaum, McHenry & Co. built the Keystone Stove Works, to which^
previous to 1856, D. DeHaven succeeded, and subsequently he by the firm of D..
DeHaven & Co., limited. In 1853 Wm. Smith erected a foundry for the making
of heavy castings. The foundry has ceased to exist, and the site and buildings are-
occupied by the boiler works of R. Munroe & Son.

There were in 1856 in Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities 16 foundries proper, witb
30 cupalos and a capacity of 44,300 tons of metal. They employed 860 hands^
whose yearly wages averaged about |340,000, and the value of the castings pro-
duced over $1,250,000 annually. From 1856 to 1876 there were 11 new foundries-
established, being an increase in the twenty years of over 80 per cent.

The same perplexity in giving the chronology of the engine and machine-
works arises as in that of the foundries, as mentioned in the first sentences of the-
paragraphs grouping these two industries, and the same course is consequentljr
pursued in mentioning those establishments where the construction of machinery
is the principal occupation and the foundry but a mechanical adjunct.

In 1810, in a recital of the manufactures in Pittsburgh at that date, as weU as^
others made from 1803 to the former year, although smitheries and machinists are-
mentioned, there is no record of steam engine works. In 1813, however, there is-
mention of two — Stackhouse & Eodgers (Mark Stackhoiise, Mahlon Rodgers) and
Tustin's. In 1817 two makers of steam engines are noted, employing 87 handst-
and producing work to the value of $125,000, which were probably the same a&
were in operation in 1813, which must have been established subsequent to 1810^,
and quite possibly had originated from the possible field for that industry opened
by the building of the first steamboat. In 1818 John Marshall established a ma-
chine shop on Diamond alley, which has been continued in the family, being now
carried on under the firm style of Marshall Bros. About 1820 Matthew Smith,,
who came to Pittsburgh with Livingstone in 1811, had a macliine shop on Penit
avenue, near Second street. There was also at an early date the Columbia Steams
Company, originating with George Evans, of which Lewis Peterson, who died,
about 1886, at the age of 90 years, was the secretary.



172 ALLEGHENY COUNTY'S

This is possibly the same works mentioned as Stackhouse & Rodgers, in 1813,
or succeeded it, as it was managed by M. Stackhouse^and M. Eodgers. These works
constructed the machinery of the first water works at Pittsburgh, under the su-
perintendence of George Evans. The Columbia Steam Engine Company about
1830 passed to Warden & Benney, and afterwards to John B. Warden & Son. In
1.820 Arthurs & Benney built what was known as the Union Works at the
corner of First avenue and E-edoubt alley, which at a subsequent period passed
into the possession of A. Irwin & Co. In 1828 James Nelson succeeded to the
•steam engine and machine division of the works of Arthurs & Nicholson, they
retaining the foundry. By him the engines of the second water works of Pitts-
burgh were built.

In or about 1833 a firm was organized for the manufacture of steam engines by
James Thompson, the first superintendent of the Pittsburgh Gas Works, and
"Samuel Stackhouse, under the firm name of Stackhouse & Thompson. These
works finally passed into the possession of J. Tomlinson & Co., by whom the iron
governmental revenue steamer, "Michigan," still in service on the lakes, was built,
as noted in the chapter on boat building in this volume, also the iron frigate, called
*he '"Allegheny." In 1834 E. & F. Faber established what was known as Faber's
Engine Works, that firm being subsequently F. & W. M. Faber. In 1836 C.
Kingsland established an engine works and foundry in Allegheny, at the corner of
Lacock and Sandusky streets, which is now operated by Thomas Carlin. In 1840
Hobert Wightman built a machine and engine shop to which James Kees succeed-
ed in 1854, now known as the Duquesne Works, and operated by the firm of James
JRees & Sons, mentioned in the chapter on boat building in connection with the
construction of the first steel boats.. In 1840 W. P. Eichbaum established an en-
fgine manufactory in Allegheny City, at Water and Middle alleys. In 1841 Joseph
Tomlinson erected the Vulcan Works, which were merged into tho-e of Stackhouse
-& Thompson when the firm of J. Tomlinson & Co. succeeded the latter firm. In
1844 Hugh Wightman established the Penn Engine Works in Allegheny City, on
Ijacock street, they subsequently passing into the proprietorship of Gibson & Rid-
•dle. These works are now extinct. In 1847 R. Ramsey & Co. put in operation a
machine shop on Short street, which firm subsequently became Ramsey & Renton,
.and is now William Renton, the works being at the corner of Ferry and Water
streets. In 1847 White, Hartupee & Co. built a large engine and machine works
at the corner of First and Short streets. To this firm A. Hartupee succeeded and
it ultimately became A. Hartupee & Co. By them the engines of the present
water works of the city of Pittsburgh were made. In 1848 Cyprian Preston built
vthe West Point Engine Works, which, after passing through several changes of
£rm, ceased to exist. In 1854 Robert Lea established an engine and machine
works, at the corner of First avenue and Ferry street, which he still continues.

The chronology of the earlier engine and machine works of the city has thus
t)een brought down to within a quarter of a century of the present date (1888)'
Jn 1856 there were 16 machine shops, having 12 foundries attached, with a cupalo



lEON AND STEEL TRADE. 17S:

capacity of 23,000 tons, employing 737 hands, to whom they paid |306,802 of
wage?, and built steam engines to the amount of |836,300. In 1775 steam engines
were first applied to the pumping of mines and the manufacture of iron, and in
1794, nineteen years afterwards, were in use at Pittsburgh, and about 1812 or
eighteen years thereafter, were being manufactured there. This presents another
fact as to the pioneer character of Allegheny county. Comment has at times been'
made on the slowness with which Pittsburgh seemed to grow in comparison with
other cities, when its great natural advantages are considered, but its history shows
that if it has grown with a certain deliberate progress, it has been with great sol-
idity, and the county of Allegheny has at all times been in the front rank in all
the appliances for manufacturing progress, and the pioneer in many. The history
of the establishment of the foundry and machine industries of the county might
be followed to a greater length and to the gratification of chronological interest
but in the number and variety of such establishments, and the various changes in
the firms operating them, the record would become wearisome to the general
reader and the genealogy intricate. From 1856 to 1876 there were 25 machine
shops and foundries established in Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, being an in-
crease of nearly eighty per cent, in the twenty years over those of the previous
forty-five years.

From 1876 to 1886 there were ten additional machine shops and foundries-
built, or an increase of fifty per cent, from 1876 to 1886, making the increase on^
the plants of 1856 in thirty years, nearly 100 per cent. These works have a cu-
palo capacity of something over 140,000 tons of pig metal, employ 3500 hands
whose wages amount to |2,175,000 a year. They use an average of 125,000 tons-
of pig metal annually. The capital invested in the buildings, grounds and ma-
chinery, is stated at 13,940,000, and the value of their products upwards of $7 -
000,000 a year. The making of boilers is another important branch of the iron
business of Allegheny county. There is, however, no record of its earlier history.
It is to be presumed that its inception was with manufacture of steam engines, be-
cause of the necessity of a boiler as an appanage thereto. It is likewise to be pre-
sumed, from the absence of any special mention at early dates of boiler manufac-
turing, as a distinct business, that their making was carried on within and in con-
nection with the engine works. It appears, however, that a firm by the style of
McClurg & Pratt had a boiler yard, so technically called, nearly sixty years since,
in 1830, and that Witherow Douglass established another in 1833, which was sub-
sequently carried on by Douglass & English, and was in operation until about
1887, under the style of W. Douglass & Sons, Witherow Douglass having died in
1886. In 1836, J. Litch established a boiler works at what is now 13 Water
street, which, in 1858, came into the ownership of Watson & Munroe, and in 1876
when Mr. Watson died, into the prietorship of Col. Eobert Munroe, and in 1880,
the firm became R. Munroe & Son, under which style it still continues. There
are now in Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities fourteen boiler and tank manufac-
tories. The growth of the oil business originating a new branch in the boiler



174 ALLEGHENY COUNTY'S

-svorks in the making of iron tanks for the reception of oil at the wells, many of
i^iese tanks holding from 20,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil. In 1856, there wete at
Pittsburgh seven boiler yards employing 149 men, whose products amounted to
$305,000. In 1886, there were fourteen tank and boiler manufactories employing
from 650 to 700 hands, the value of whose product was |1,960,000 an increase in
thirty years of 100 per cent, in the number of establishments, over 600 per cent,
in the amount of the productions, and about 400 per cent, in the number of em-
ployees.

There are a number of very large special manufactories that are prominent
among the industries of the county, of which individualized mention cannot be
avoided although the wish in preparing this volume has been to omit all that
might be considered as personal notices, other than such as was required for the
historical narrative.

Among these is the Koberts & Oliver Wire Company, Limited. This company
was organized in the spring of 1881, having purchased the plant of a small wire
mill built about two years previous, and made large additions. On the 7th of
November, 1882, the works burned down, but rebuilt with such expedition that
the mill was in operation by January 2d, 1883. In 1884 the company built a mill
for the making of wire rods between South Eighth and Ninth streets. There is
made at this establishment over 15,000 tons of barbed wire a year, chiefly of steel.
There is employed at the works an average of 1,100 hands, whose wages amount to
over |400 000 a year, and the capital invested in the plant is stated at $1,000,000.

Another important establishment that properly comes under the classification
of the special works at Pittsburgh is the

Westinghouse Air Brake Manufactory.

It was in or about 1869-70 that Mr. Westinghouse, after overcoming many
obstacles in the way of incredulity and indifference of railroad officials, besides
the host of minor material and financial difficulties that render the path of in-
ventors anything but one strewn with roses, achieved success with his brake, and
its general adoptions on all railroads, in time, became a fixed fact as an absolute
necessity, not only for protection to travelers, but as a safe-guard against financial
loss to the railroad companies.

The Westinghouse air brake is now in use on about 25,000 engines and

175 000 cars in all parts of the world, no railway of any importance in the United
States attempting to run trains without it. By its use the engineer can bring his
train to a stop in the shortest possible time. It can be applied from any part of
the train by any employe if necessary, and it applies itself automatically if the
train breaks in two, or any accident occurs to the brake apparatus.

In a series of experiments, a train running thirty miles an hour up grade was



Online LibraryGeorge H. (George Henry) ThurstonAllegheny county's hundred years → online text (page 23 of 43)