George H. (George Henry) Thurston.

Allegheny county's hundred years online

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brouo-ht to a stop in sixteen seconds by the engineer. In a second experiment, the
brake being applied from the interior of the car, a train running between thirty
and thirty-five miles an hour came to a full stop in fifteen seconds. In a third


experiment, the train running thirty miles an hour, down grade of twenty-six feet
per mile, the four rear cars were detached, and the brake acting automatically the
cars came to a full stop in eleven seconds. In another experiment, the engine
alone being severed from the train, the speed being forty miles an hour, down a
grade of twenty-eight feet to the mile, the train came to a rest in ten and a half
seconds. The first experiment quoted showed that a train moving at a speed of
thirty miles an hour may be stopped at a distance of less that 550 feet in a quarter
minute's time.

The second showed that a train, by simply pulling a cord in any part of it, may
be stopped, when going at the rate of thirty-two miles an hour down grade, in 552
feet in a quarter minute's time ; and the third and fourth^ that if the the cars be-
came detached the brakes apply automatically with equal effect. A train running
thirty-five miles an hour will pass 4,080 feet in a minute, or about the length of
an ordinary car in a second. Two trains approaching each other at that speed,
coming into collision, would require only half a second to telescope. The import-
ance of this invention is thus easily seen, the Westinghouse brake bringing a car
or a train to a full rest in a quarter of a second or less.

Improvements on the construction and application of the brake have been,
from time to time, made by Mr. Westinghouse, and in 1887 an improvement, by
which the air being taken from the train pipe to the cylinder, the friction of the
long pipe was gotten rid of, by which yet quicker stoppages were secured.

It is of no small interest that Pittsburgh is the birthplace of this extremely
important invention, as well as the seat of its manufacture. The Committee on
Science and Art of the Franklin Institute, in concluding an exhaustive report on
the Westinghouse Air Brake, says: "That by contriving and introducing this ap-
paratus Mr. Westinghouse has become a great public benefactor." Broken bridges,
wild trains, accidental obstructions or malicious impediments, lost their terrors
when the presevering efforts of the inventor and his friends succeeded in securing
the adoption of this invention, so wonderful in its effects.

In this, as in other matters, Allegheny county is to be again credited with great
public benefits, arising from her industries. In those things, as well as in the
whole range of her manufactures, the broad practical character of their produc-
tions is strikingly apparent in the history of the county's progress.

The Westinghouse Air Brake Co. are now erecting extensive new works, near
Turtle Creek, on the Penna. E,. R., which will occupy eight acres of ground.
There are 700 hands employed in the present works. The capital of the company
is $5,000,000, and its financial success is too well known in all business circles to
require comment. Its present oflicers are George Westinghouse, President ; H.
H. Westinghouse, Manager and Acting Vice President; John Caldwell, Treasurer
W. W. Card, Secretary . T. W. Welsh, Superintendent.

Although, technically, engine and machine works, yet the

Locomotive Works
of Pittsburgh are a distinct and prominent division of the manufactures of Pitts-


burgh. Of these there are two. The Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works, a
joint stock company, chartered under the laws of Pennsylvania for the building of
locomotives, passenger and freight cars, was the pioneer in this business. The
company was organized in 1865. The works are located in the Sixth ward, Alle-
gheny City. The ground was broken for this manufactory within the limits of
that city on August 1st, 1865, the shops were ready for occupation in the autumn
of 1866, and the first locomotive was turned out in the spring of 1867. Since that
date the works have been in almost continuous operation, having turned out over
1,000 locomotives and a large number of stationary engines. Although the
buildings were liberally planned and furnished with machinery far exceeding any
anticipated need, so much has the business increased that frequent additions of
machinery and buildings have been imperative. The locomotives constructed are
of every class of broad and narrow gauge, from five to sixty-five tons weight, and
adapted to all kinds of service. They are used in every section of the United
States, and have achieved a high reputation. The annual capacity of the works
is about 150 locomotives of the class usually employed on full gauge railroads, to
produce which requires the labor of some 600 workmen, mostly skilled, and a vast
array of machinery.

The Locomotive works of H. K. Porter & Co. is the next in age. Situated in
the 17th ward on the line of the Allegheny Valley Eailroad, they occupy one and
one-half acres between 49th and 50th streets. The business was begun by Smith
& Porter in 1866, in a three-story wooden building on the South Side, and the
first locomotive was run across the old Smithfield Street bridge by its own steam,
and thence over cobble-stones to the railroad freight station for shipment. The
old shop was burned in 1871, and larger and more complete shops were built by
Porter, Bell & Co., at the present location. The first locomotive was shipped before
the new shop was roofed in. In 1878 the firm of H. K. Porter & Co. succeeded to
the business and the shops have been enlarged several times since. From 200 to
250 men are employed in all departments. Over 700 locomotives have been
turned out of these shops, and the present capacity is 10 locomotives per month.

Like the Locomotive Works and the Westinghouse Air Brake Works, another
distinctive establishment is

The Westinghouse Machine Company.

This is a company incorporated under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania,,
with a capital stock of $350,000. The business of the company is the manufac-
turing of a special steam engine, known as the Westinghouse engine.

The company employs at present 200 actual workmen ; the wages per annum,
amount to about |120,000; the works cover an acre of ground on Libery and Penn
avenues and Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth streets, the cost of the plant being^

The sales'of this company are not made direct to the actual user, but through
general agencies, which are in the United States in sixteen difierent States ; also
one each in Holland, France, England, Australia and South America.


The Plow Works

of Pittsburgh date back to 1825. In that year Samuel Hall establisjhed what is
known for nearly fifty years as the " Globe Plow Works." These works were es-
tablished at the corner of Penn avenue and Cecil alley, where the offices of the
works were still continued until about ten years since, when the present works on
Duquesne way and Cecil alley were built. In 1836 the works were enlarged and
removed to Manchester, then a suburb of Allegheny City. In 1845 Mr. Hall as-
sociated with him Alexander Speer, who had for some years been in his employ
the firm style being Hall & Speer, under which style business was conducted
until 1873, when Mr. Hall, having died some years previously, and all his heirs
having withdrawn from the business, Mr. Speer associated with him his son, Joseph
T. (William W. having been admitted as a partner in 1869), under the firm style
of Alex. Speer & Sons, under which style the business is still conducted. The
"Globe" is one of the largest in the country. The present works occupy 270x240
feet, two stories, with a foundry floor of 100x120, and a cupalo of 2,000 tons capa-
city, with blacksmith shop and finishing rooms of two stories, 60x270, and the
storeroom 60x230. An average of from 100 to 120 hands are employed, whose
wages will run up to quite $100,000 a year when fully employed. The value of
the plant, in machinery, grounds and buildings, is about |200,000, and the output
in plows, cultivators and similar agricultural implements, about $500,000. The
office, corner of Cecil alley and Penn av., of these works were long a land mark in
the city, and have attained a historically local fame because of what was jocularly
called the " Mutual Admiration Society," which met there. It was the custom for
years for a coterie of some of the most prominent and leading business men of the
city to congregate there of evenings. These gatherings, which were governed by a
code of verbal rules, were the occasion for the display of much wit and humor, and
often for the discussion of projected business enterprises or public improvements.
One of the rules was that all the members should retire to their homes at nine
o'clock, which rule was rigidly enforced.

Its membership consisting of Alex. Speer, James McAuley, Wm. R. Brown
Wm. Holmes, John Holmes, Geo. W. Jackson, Capt. Wm. Forsythe, Dennis Leon-
ard, Michael Whitmore, Geo. Black, Richard Hays, Chas. and Henry Hays and
James Verner. All except the three latter have passed away, leaving their mem-
ories and the public and business enterprises in which they participated for kindly
remembrance. Promptly at seven o'clock in the summer and six o'clock in the
winter, they were at the meeting, occupying chairs on the pavement in front of the
office in summer, and around the huge coal fire inside in winter. Many a humor-
ous story is told of this genial conclave, and many of Pittsburgh's commercial ven-
tures and public enterprises had its birth at these gatherings. Its members were
among the *• solid men " of the day, and did in their life time solid work for the
county and cities' advancement. It was a sort of unchartered board of trade, and
a forerunner of the modern club.




The Empire Plow Works, the other of this class of industries, manufacture
about 1500 plows a year, and 700 tons of agricultural steel shapes. The plant is
stated as of a value of $60,000 ; the wages paid will average, when running full,
from 135,000 to |40,000 a year. The value of its output could not be obtained.
Plows are also made incidentally by some two or three other establishments, and
the approximate value of the output of this class of manufactures is about $800,000
to $900,000 a year.

As before observed, to mention the entire range of iron manufactures in Alle-
gheny county would render this volume a mere trade catalogue. The more prom-
inent of its leading iron and steel industries have been grouped in this chapter,
that a brief history of its progress in the making of that metal might be pre-
sented and a general history of the county's growth in that respect. As nearly
as can be arrived at, the value of the iron and steel product of Allegheny county
is upwards of $150,000,000 a year, on the basis of its production in 1887. It is
not possible to present any comparative figures of its increase from decade to
decade, or even in periods of greater length, by reason of the absence of any re-
liable grouping of statistics at comparative dates.

To a gross summing up of the yearly business transactions in iron and steel at
Pittsburgh should be added the data of its metal market. The irons and ores of
most all quarters of the globe as well as the United States find a market in Pitts-
burgh, and are brought there. The gross receipts of ore, pig iron, blooms, billets,
old rails and scrap iron are given by G. Follansbee, Superintendent of the Pitts-
burgh Chamber of Commerce, in a report to the United States Bureau of Statistics,
as follows :








. 44,900 tons.

319,720 tons.


. 175,596 tons.

410,604 tons.


. 75,820 "

367,207 "


. 208,262 "

479,798 "


. 115,420 "

496,648 "


. 230,476 "

552,037 '"


. 320,844 "

533,918 "


. 299,856 "

676,728 "


. 255,317 "

631,182 "


. 356,093 "

782,516 "


. 346,733 "

834,582 "

The receipts of ores and raw irons for the succeeding years are an approxima-
tion to these figures.

To this must be added the make of pig iron of the furnaces at Pittsburgh.
The statistics of the American Iron and Steel Association give for the twelve
years from 1874 to 1885 the following figures :




1874, .

. . 143,660

1875, .

. . 131,856

1876, .

. . 128,555

1877, .

. . 141,749

1878, .

. . 217,299

1879, .

. . 267,315

1880, .

. . 300,497

1881, .

. . 385,453

1882, .

. . 358,840

1883, .

. . 592,475

1884, .

. . 487,055

1885, .

. . 585,696

The output of the succeeding three years may be averaged at about the same

as 1885.


To this, also, may be added the three other furnaces classed as in the vicinage
of Pittsburgh. From these figures it would seem as though the metal market of
Pittsburgh represented in the handling of ores and raw iron between 1,400,000
and 1,500,000 tons. As there is an amount received by river of raw irons, scrap,
old rails and ore, and also the old rails and scrap of the vicinage, it is quite prob-
able that the handling of these classes of iron approaches 2,000,000 tons a year,
and represent a business value of about |30,000,000. In addition to these iron
T^alues, the metal market is also enriched and augmented by the handling of lead,
spelter, copper, tin, antimony, manganese and other metallic ores and substances,
and in the precious metals, silver and gold. Some of these are statistically exhib-
ited under their classification heads, while of others no definite statistics can be
at present reached. It is, however, when it is stated that, in addition to the other
metals mentioned, between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 of silver and $2,000,000 of
lead is embraced in the valuation of one smelting company's business (the Penn-
sylvania Lead Company), not overstating the matter to say that the business of
the metal market itself, as here sketched, will aggregate over $40,000,000.

It is therefore probable that what might be called the entire iron business of
Allegheny county is upward of $200,000,000 annually on its present basis.

Glass Manufacturing.

For ninety -one years the making of glass has been not only a progressive
mechanical industry in Allegheny county, but a constantly developing art. Dat-
ing back in the inception nearly to the year of the organization of the county, it
is a fair exponent of the ratios of progress made in manufacturing. Begun when
the little village of Pittsburgh had only fourteen hundred inhabitants, the making
of glass has always been a noted industry of the community, and to day the third
generation of glass makers are educating the fourth in the art, and the inherited
skill of ninety years practical knowledge will continue to render the future of
Allegheny county as famous for her glass factories as it has been in the past.

A location to become a great and controlling manufacturing point cannot attain
force from the possession of any one or two requisites ; neither can it leap into
broad success, but must attain its growth through years of accumulation of skill
practically obtained. While glass factories are to be found other places than in
the locality of Pittsburgh and its vicinity, the accummulation of three generations
of practical skill now indigenous to Pittsburgh will be of slow concentration else-
where, and while the pen that may a score of years hence record the manufactur-
ing growth of the country will no doubt have mention to make of other glass
producing centers, the statistics will show no falling off in Pittsburgh's progress in
her glass trade. Competition may develop economies that may reduce prices, and


rivalries invite attempts at superiorities in qualities, but at Pittsburgh all that
will keep the glass trade of the city in advance is more possible than at any other

As history is in chief a presentation and review of facts which must necessarily^
be to some degree repetition, as from time to time a supplementary or fresh con-^
sideration of historic circumstances are indicated, so the history of Allegheny
county's progress in glass manufacturing necessarily embraces some of the old as
well as the new data and incidents, yet will not be none the less interesting in the
homogenous history of the ninety years of glass manufacturing in the county of
Allegheny. While it is generally accepted that the first glass works were estab-
lished by General James O'Hara and Isaac Craig, in 1797, on the south side of the
Monongahela river, about opposite the mouth of the Allegheny, there have been
statements made of one earlier yet, and also that the first glass house was on the
north side of the Ohio, on the present site of the Marine Hospital. Of these
two claims there is no absolute evidence beyond hearsay and apparently trust-
worthy statements of reliable persons. It is stated on the authority of Wm..
McCuUy, who died in 1869, the founder of the firm of Wm. McCully &
Co., who learned his trade in O'Hara's glass works, that there was a small six pot
glass factory called Scotts, established in 1795. Singularly enough in the other
claim as to the first glass works being on the north side as before stated, the verbal
authority is quite as positive. Mr. Joseph Eichbaum, of Eichbaum & Co.,.
stationers, a grandson of the Peter Wm. Eichbaum whom Messrs. O'Hara and
Craig brought from Philadelphia to manage their glass house business in 1797,
says that his grandfather often pointed out to him as the site of the firs^glass
house, a point where the Marine Hospital now stands on the south side of the
Ohio. There was a glass house there commonly mentioned as built by Denny &
Beelen, in 1802. The original manuscript article of the partnership by whom the
works were built is before the writer, and shows the date to be April 29th, 1800^
and the partners were Brigadier- General James Wilkinson, Lieutenant-Colonel
John Francis Haintranck, Doctor Hugh Scott, of the borough of Pittsburgh, John
Lewis De Razilly, and John Wilkins, the younger. The names being thus ex-
pressed in the partnership agreement. In the signatures to the paper is that of
E. Denny, although his name is not mentioned in the co-partnership articles, to
which John Lewis De Razilly signs his name simply ''Eazilly." An account
current between Denny & Beelen and the Ohio Glass Company, of the date of
January 1st, 1801, shows that that firm merely acted as agents or factors for the

The co-partnership articles contain no mention of any sum or other values to
be contributed by the five partners, only that the benefits were to be divided in
five equal parts. It is to be presumed from this and the items of the account cur-
rent that Messrs. Denny & Beelen furnished, as commission men, all the supplies,
paid the workmen and sold the glass, while the partners before mentioned con-
tributed occasional money, as the first entry of the account current is January Ist^


1801, "Money advanced sundry times to Denny & Beelen, $2,077.58," and on
March 14th, "from Dr. Hugh Scott, $100.00;" March 20th, "John Wilkinr,
$200.00." The account current show-s payment for hands, etc., to the amount of
15,559.79, and that there is a balance due Denny & Beelen of $731.56 on December
20th, 1802. The itemized sales of glass shows that the price of window glass then
was $12.00 per box of 100 feet, but the size is not given. Among the items is one
-for $6.00 paid for a coffin for J. Kischdollar, who died at the works November
26th ; also an item " For candles furnished J. Waggener for use of cutting room,
37 cts." The price at that date for cutting wood is shown by the item paid Wm.
McNaughton for cutting five cords of wood at 50 cents a cord ; 9 J coarse ditto, 40
cents. An item "paid Kichard Parker for six bushels of corn 40 cents per
bushel," designates the price of corn then. The price of boarding horses at that
date is shown by an item "paid Noble Willock $1.50 for keeping two horses one
-day and two nights." There is no item which shows the rate of wages for blowers
and cutters, but the item " paid John Clark for seventeen days, ending 18th of
February last, as a composition mixer, at $18.00 per month," shows the rate of
wages for that class of work. Two cutters only are mentioned in the account-
Thomas Algeo and John Waggener— and but four blowers— J. Kirchdollar, the
•one previously mentioned as having died at the works November 26th, and John
Prank, Nicholas Howder and Casper Hain ; also the teasers— John Park and Wm.

Some other items in the account show that carpenters' Avages were then 77
■cents a day, and boarding $2.00 per week. Among the payments is one on March
7th, 1811, to J. B. Falleur of $36.73. This is the Frenchman brought from
France to manage the works, called La Fleur, but in the account current it is
spelled as above. While the documentary evidence of the time show thatO'Hara's
works were the first pioneer glass factory of Allegheny county, yet the positive
■statement of Wm. McCully as to the Scott's works of 1795, and the recollections
-of Joseph Eichbaum, Esq., before mentioned, has always left a legendary doubt as
to its possible existence. The name of Dr. Hugh Scott in the Ohio Glass Co.
at once indicates where the term "Scott's Works" of Mr. McCully's recollections
originated, and would go to prove that his recollections of the date were at fault,
while the same document showing that the glass works on the north side of the
Ohio, at the present site of the Marine Hospital, was only begun in 1800, shows
that Mr. Eichbaum's grandson has some erroneous impression of his grandfather's
conversation relative to the site of the first glass house. Although these remin-
iscences are not really necessary to an exhibit of the progress of glass making in
Allegheny county, they are given as not uninteresting in connection with the in-
■ception of glass making in Pittsburgh, and as an instance of how, on apparently
,^ood authority, with a certain showing of fact, errors become embodied as facts in
history. The account current previously quoted from would seem to indicate that
.at the date of December 20th, 1802, the works had been abandoned, as there is
aiot only a final balance sheet, but a foot note says that they (Denny & Beelen)


"have received a list of the tools taken by O'Hara's people, but the prices have not
been received, and that there are yet a great many tools at the old works whicb
they will probably take." This document would seem to settle that the work&
were erected after April 29th, 1800, and were abandoned previous to December
20th, 1802.

The establishment of the first window glass factory west of the mountains is^
due to the enterprise of the celebrated Albert Gallatin, who in 1797, in conjunction
with a Mr. Nicholson and two Messrs. Kramers (Germans), began the manufacture
of window glass at New Geneva. This firm obtained from $14 to |20 per box for
their glass, and maintained high prices for a length of time, in opposition to the
advice of Mr. Gallatin, who wished to put the price down to $4.50 per box, giving
as his reason that the enormous prices the firm were obtaining would soon invite-
competition, whereas the rate of $4.50 per box would not invite rivalry, and the
business remaining in their hands alone would be suflSciently remunerative. This
shrewd advice was overruled, and through competition the prices declined to $8
per box, when the firm ceased manufacturing. Mr. Gallatin's financial ability
and business shrewdness has long been a matter of history, and his. administration
of the Treasury of the United States when its Secretary. He seems, however, to-
have had commercial instincts that would at the present day have made him a
clever monopolist or the able president of a glass or some other class of manufac-
turing trust. The works established by Albert Gallatin were run as late as 1835-
or 1836, having been operated in 1814 by Nicholson & Co., and are mentioned in
1826 as the Geneva Works, producing 4,000 boxes of glass. These works were
40x40 as originally built, with eight pot furnace, using wood for fuel and ashes for
alkali. The title of the firm was first Gallatin & Co., and afterwards changed to-

Online LibraryGeorge H. (George Henry) ThurstonAllegheny county's hundred years → online text (page 24 of 43)