Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

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Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 47 of 227)
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ated and it has resulted in mutual benefits, as well
to the firm as to the recipients.

In 1904, the company introduced the manufacture
of pants and vests from their owns cloths, and has
since been very successful. In all the departments
of this enterprise, the employes number from 180
to 200.

The officers of the company are : J. G. Leinbach,
president ; A. Ellsworth Leinbach, treasurer; Samuel
W. Reiff, secretary.

Department Stores. — The dry-goods merchants
at Reading continued to handle distinct lines of
merchandise in their respective stores until about
the "Centennial" year; then the most enterprising
proprietors began to add different lines of goods
in order to satisfy the demands of their increasing
trade.

Kline, Eppihivicr & Co. — In 1862, Amos K.
Kline and Henry Eppihimer engaged in the general



dry-goods business at No. 523 Penn Square. Jer-
ome L. Boyer was a partner from 1865 to 1869 and
Calvin K. Whitner from 1869 to 1877. In 1888
they enlarged their store, adding the greater part
of the adjoining building on the west, four stories
in height, and then it became a recognized depart-
ment store. In 1892, they re-organized the firm
by admitting William W. Khne ( son of the senior
partner), Richard Lenhart and Franklin Rieser as
partners, and thence they traded as Kline, Eppi-
himer & Co.

In 1905, they made another enlargement of their
store by taking in the adjoining building to the
west (excepting the first floor), which gave them
superior accommodations for their rapidly increas-
ing trade. At first the store employed 5 hands ;
in 1900, over 100, and in 1909, upward of 200;
which shows the development of their business.
Their trade extends throughout Berks and the sur-
rounding counties.

C. K. Whitner & Co. — Calvin K. Whitner began
his business career in 1861, in Oley township,
Berks county, not far from the place of his birth,
when he entered the country store of Jacob S.
Spang & Son at Spangsville. He remained there
as a clerk until 1865, when he went to Friedens-
burg and with Edwin S. Bear as a partner, trad-
ing as Whitner & Bear, carried on a store for two
years. He then removed to Reading and was em-
ployed as bookkeeper with Kline, Eppihimer & Co.
for a short time, when he became a partner. After
continuing in this firm until 1877, he started a dry-
goods store for himself at No. 432 Penn Square,
with six employes. By the year 1883, his trade had
increased so much that he was obliged to obtain
larger quarters, and in that behalf he removed to
the commodious store building at Nos. 442-444 Penn
Square. In 1887, his son Harry became a partner
and the store was enlarged to iwice its previous
capacity. The firm traded as C. K. Whitner &
Son until the son's decease in December, 1890. In
1891, Mr. Whitner added other fines of goods and
he made his place a department store; and by way
of anticipating additional facilities for his growing
business, he purchased two properties on the west,
Nos. 438 and 440. In 1896, a faithful employe for
many years, John A. Britton, was admitted' as a
partner, and the firm name was changed to C. K.
Whitner & Co.; and Jan. 1, 1907, Mr. Whitner's
son-in-law, John Rick, became a partner. In April,
1898, the adjoining buildings, Nos. 438-440, were
attached to the store as an annex, and an interior
direct connection was made, evidencing the con-
tinuous growth of the firm's trade. In 1909 they
employed 175 hands and upward, and the stock
comprises many lines of goods generally carried in
a large department store. Their patrons come from
all points in the Schuylkill, Lebanon and East-
Penn Valleys.

/. Mould & Co.^ln 1872, Jonathan Mould re-
moved from Newburgh, N. Y., to Reading, and
opened a general dry-goods store, which came



READING



185



to be popularly known as the "Bee Hive." He
then employed ten hands and did an annual business
•of $40,000. As his trade increased he made several
changes in location for enlarged accommodations.
In 1887 his brother-in-law, George H. Bell, became
a partner and the business was thence carried on
under the name of J. Mould & Co. In 1892 the
firm erected a large four-story brick building at
Nos. 647-649 Penn street and made it a department
store to supply all kinds of articles, such as dry
goods, notions, laces, furnishings, chinaware, jewel-
ry, etc., and placed each department in charge of
a competent manager. Shortly afterward, they
added a wholesale departnient, and set apart the
third and fourth floors of the building for this
branch of their business. They have several travel-
ing salesmen on the road, supplying many orders
to merchants in Berks and the surrounding coun-
ties. The employes number 100 hands and up-
ward.

Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart. — Josiah Dives,
•George M. Pomeroy and John Stewart came from
Hartford, Conn., in 1876 and began a general dry-
goods business at No. 533 Penn Square, trading as
Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart. Their establishment
was known as "The Globe Store." In several
years they removed to Nos. 443-444 Penn Square,
and the store at that place also becoming too small
in a short time they secured the premises at Nos.
•606-612 Penn street in 1882 and established a large
store there. From that time, owing to increasing
trade, they have made enlargements in the various
-departments of the building, more especially in
1901, when they secured the adjoining premises to
the corner at Sixth street and erected a large seven-
story building as an extension. They employ 550
hands.

Lord & Gage. — Charles Lord and R. B. Gage of
New York City, trading as Lord & Gage (incor-
porated), located at Reading in 1908, for the pur-
pose of conducting a large and progressive depart-
Tnent store in connection with a syndicate of high-
grade stores, now numbering twenty-nine, which
■extend from New York City to Tacoma, State of
Washington, and they established a superior place
-of business at Nos. 432-426 Penn Square, in a
commodious four-story brick structure whose di-
mensions are 60 feet wide and 330 feet deep, with
a superficial area of 65,000 square feet. The store
was opened to the public in November with a full
line of goods in twenty-fouT departments, and im-
mediately attracted great public attention, and
though here less than a year has nevertheless de-
veloped a large volume of business. The appur-
tenances of the store are of a superior order, the
rosewood show-cases and the mahogany shelving
costing $50,000. The store employs 350 hands and
upward. Mr. Gage (the president of the corpora-
tion) is general manager of this store, having moved
with his family to Reading and made the city his
place of residence.



Iron Industries. — The industries at Reading en-
gaged in the manufacture of iron articles before
1836 consisted entirely of blacksmith shops and they
were limited in extent, like those we see still in the
country districts to-day, employing at most several
hands ; but the introduction of the railroad stimulat-
ed iron works of various kinds. More and more from
that time every year and for the past fifty years they
have been the most prominent in the industrial life
of Reading and have exceeded the other establish-
ments in furnishing constant employment to the
greatest number of working-people. The P. &
R. R. Company works and the Reading Iron Com-
pany . works started "practically together in the de-
velopment of Reading and they are properly placed
at the beginning of the description of the iron in-
dustries.

P. & R. R. Co. Works. — The extensive works of
the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company at
Reading deserve special mention at the head of
this part of the chapter detailing the industrial
affairs of the city, on account of their continued
existence here for the past seventy years, the large
number of men constantly employed, and the im-
mense amount of wages paid. The construction
of the railway in 1836 immediately stimulated
enterprises of various kinds, arid caused large sums
of money to be invested in manufacturing concerns.
On that account not only capital but many mechan-
ics concentrated here, and buildings multiplied rap-
idly to answer the demands of the increasing popu-
lation.

The first large shop was erected in 1838 on the
half-block on the west side of Seventh street be-
tween Franklin and Chestnut streets, where it has
continued until now, and each decade found the
company with additional facilities for the manu-
facture and repair of engines and cars, and for the.
handling of freight not only in the vicinity of Sev-
enth and Chestnut streets, but on both sides of the
railroad, extending beyond Walnut street for nearly
two miles. The total income to a large number of
working-people of Reading from this source since
1836, exceeds $60,000,000, and it can be stated
that a great proportion of the substantial growth of
Reading in buildings, stores, factories, churches and
schools is directly attributable to the company's
disbursements here.

The possessions of the company at Reading are
valued at an enormous sum; from which it is ap-
parent that a considerable part of its receipts was
also expended here in making large permanent im-
provements of the most substantial character. The
principal office of the company at Reading is sit-
uated in the main railroad station at the conjunc-
tion of its several, branches with the main line, and
this has come to be the territorial center of the city.
The aggregate number of hands employed in the
offices and shops and on the railroads at Reading
in December, 1908, was near 3,000 ; and the monthly
wages exceeded $125,000, or a total for the year
exceeding $1,500,000.



18G



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



The present locomotive shops were built during
1901 and 1902, and their capacity was almost dou-
bled during 1905 and 1906.

At the passenger station there were 2,452 trains
during December, 1897, which carried 66,650 pas-
sengers to and from Reading; at the freight depots
there were 4,193 trains which moved 167,700 cars ;
and the aggregate tonnage directly affecting local
interests at the several freight depots was 127,000.
The following statistics are supplied in this con-
nection for the year 1897 to give the reader an idea
of the wonderful extent of the business done by the
company at Reading : — Passenger trains, 27,000 ;
passengers carried, 800,000; freight trains over
50,000; freight cars moved, over 2,000,000; ton-
nage, 1,500,000 ; excursion passengers, 80,338. In
1908, these figures were exceeded.

Most of its mechanics in the several departments
have been recognized during the last forty years,
here and elsewhere, for their skill and efficiency ;
indeed so widespread has their reputation become
that a statement in applying for work that they
served their apprenticeship with the company,
worked in its shops, operated an engine, or con-
ducted a train, has been regarded as a sufficient
recommendation. This can also be said of its
clerks, many of whom have begun as messenger
boys, and risen to the highest positions of different
departments. A considerable number of its em-
ployes have been in continuous service for thirty
and forty, even fifty years. This feature of the
history of the company is particularly noteworthy.
Reading Iron Company: — The Reading Iron Com-
pany was organized Aug. 12, 1889, and purchased
from the assignee of the Reading Iron Works its
various plants, consisting of the Tube Works,
Reading Rolling Mill, Scott Foundry, Sheet Mill
and Steam Forge, nearly all of which have since
been rehabilitated, enlarged in scope, and vastly
improved in equipment.

The Keystone Furnace was acquired in 1889, and
the Crumwold Furnace at Emaus in 1895. The
Oley Street RoUing Mills were built iii 1896
and the Ninth Street Rolling Mill (formerly the
P. & R. Rail Mill) was added in 1896, and re-
modeled in 1899 and 1902. The Montour Rolling
Mills at Danville (built in 1845, and where, in
October of that year, the first T rails in America
were rolled) were acquired in 1895, and rebuilt
in 1901. The Danville Puddle Mill was purchased
and repaired in the early part of 1905. The pres-
ent forge on North Ninth street was built and
equipped with powerful machinery and electric
cranes in 1901-02, and took the place of the old
Steam Forge, built in 1850. The Scott Foundry
(originally built in 1854, aiid where guns were
miade during the Civil war, as well as several since,
including the Brown Segmental Wire Wound Gun)
was rebuilt in 1905-06 and equipped (as are all
the other plants) with modern, up-to-date machin-
ery and appliances. The company owns and oper-
ates 7,538 acres of coal lands in Somerset county.



known as the Somerset Coal Department, which
supplies the various departments with bituminous
coal.

The company owns a large interest in the Penn-
sylvania Steel Company, one of the largest inde-
pendent steel companies in the United States.

The many separate departments of the company
enable the management to control the manufacture
from the assembling of the raw materials to their
conversion into the finished article, the largest out-
put of which is tubular goods, consisting of
wrought-iron pipe, plain or galvanized, for gas,
steam and water; charcoal iron and steel boiler
tubes for locomotive and other uses; oil well cas-
ing and tubing; hydraulic and line pipe, etc., rang-
ing from 1-8 inch to 20 inches in diameter.

The two Blast Furnaces have a total annual capa-
city of 180,000 gross tons of pig-iron and foundry-
iron of superior quality, and the five distinct roll-
ing-mill plants have an annual capacity of some
200,000 gross tons of finished rolled products, skelp,
bar-iron, etc., in the manufacture of which the
mills consume over 170,000 tons of their own pud-
dle-bar. Cotton compressors, sugar-mills, ordnance
and general machinery are made at the Scott Foun-
dry, and heavy marine, engine and general forg-
ings, up to fifty tons, are made at the forge.

The Tube Works was the nucleus from which
sprang this splendid aggregation of industrial
plants. In 1836, Benneville Keim, George M.
Keim, Simon Seyfert and James Whitaker, trading
as Keim, Whitaker & Co., erected a rolling-mill and
nail factory, known as the Reading Iron & Nail
Works, at the foot of Seventh street, between the
Schuylkill canal and the Philadelphia & Reading
railroad (which had just been constructed). It
was here that the first large stationary engine in
Berks county was introduced for driving machin-
ery. Bar-iron was made in large quantities; also
cut nails by twenty-six nail machines. The em-
ployes numbered 250. In 1846, the firm name was
changed to Seyfert. McManus & Co. (Simon Sey-
fert, and his son Simon; John McManus, a rail-
road contractor, who had helped to build the Phila-
delphia & Reading railroad in the earlv forties ; J.
V. R. and Nicholas Plunter, Horatio 'S. Trexler,
and a few others, were at various times members
of the firm) and it so remained up to 1878, when
the Reading Iron Works was incorporated. The
first pipe-mill was built in 1848. Butt-weld pipe
was made by the old tong process, drawing first
one-half, and then the other, and lap-weld pipe was
made shortly after, the edges of the skelp being
then scarfed with sledge hammers ; but these meth-
ods have since been greatly revolutionized. Char-
coal iron tubes were made a few years later.

There has arisen from this modest beginning not
only one of the largest independent tube works in
the country, alone comprising nine mills, capable
of producmg 150,000 gross tons of tubular goods
annually, but as well the many other important
plants or departments above mentioned, some of



READING



187



which comprise several estabhshmients in thenj-
selves.

The products of the company have an unrivaled
reputation at home and abroad, and there is a con-
stantly increasing demand for them in all sections
of the world. The utmost care is exercised to main-
tain the highest standard of excellence in the vari-
ous lines of manufacture. It is the largest indus-
trial enterprise in Berks county ; in fact, one of the
most important in eastern Pennsylvania, and it em-
ploys in the neighborhood of 5,000 men.

The success of the Reading Iron Company is
largely due to a few men. George F. Baer, pres-
ident from 1889 to 1901 (now president of the
P. & R. Ry. Co.), with the assistance of F. C.
Smink, formerly treasurer and general manager,
now president, financed the company in a most con-
servative manner. With a small capital at their
command, by careful, judicious and economical
business management, judgment and acumen, there
have been created extensive plants and valuable as-
sets with art aggregate value manifold in excess of
the nominal capital upon which the company was
founded. The rebuilding and reconstruction of the
old plants and erection and creation of new ones,
as well as the physical management of the various
def>artments, have been and still remain under the
personal and efficient direction of Mr. Schuhmann.

George F. Baer is chairman of the board; F. C.
Smink, president ; George Schuhmann, vice-presi-
dent and general manager ; Frederick Butler, treas-
urer; George W. Delany, secretary.

Automobiles. — The first automobile as a means
of improved locomotion in the United States by the
use of gasoline was made at Springfield, Mass.,
by Charles E. Duryea in 1891. In February, 1900,
he located at Reading, in Berks county, and es-
tablished a plant on River Road at the foot of Elm
street, for the purpose of building automobiles
driven by gasoline. He organized a company and
carried on the business for about seven years, in
which time the company built 300 cars. They were
named "Duryea" and disposed of successfully,
but the capitalists associated with him having de-
clined to advance the necessary money to carry
on the plant more extensively in order to meet in-
creasing competition, the further operation of this
new enterprise at Reading under the management
of Mr. Duryea was suspended. He was then suc-
ceeded by the Middleby Auto Company, which had
started a similar enterprise and manufactured an
automobile which was named the "Middleby." The
plant has been made very successful, turning out
weekly a number of popular cars and affording
employment to upward of 70 men.

About or shortly before this time, James L. Eck
(who was engaged in manufacturing knitting ma-
chines) began the manufacture of automobiles
driven by steam, in a limited manner, and disposed
of several cars.

Soon afterward, James C. Reber also engaged
in the enterprise (having previously for some years



been very prominently identified with the manufac-
ture of bicycles) by organizing the Acme Motor
Car Company, and he produced a popular car,
called the "Acme." He carried on the plant until
1904; then it passed through several ownerships
until 1907, when it was purchased by H. M. Stern-
bergh and he has been at the head of the company
since, giving the car great popularity throughout
the country. The plant employs from 135 to 150
hands and produces annually about one hundred
large and powerful cars, driven by gasoline.

The Relay Bicycle Company was also changed by
Henry C. England into the Relay Motor Company
for the manufacture of automobijes, and the plant
was carried on several years.

Arthur H. Yocum and his father, George Y.
Yocum, started manufacturing the "Speed-well" au-
tomobile and motor engines in 1904. Since then
they have enlarged their plant and formed a com-
pany with Isaac Hollenbach and J. S. Homberger
as partners, trading as A. H. Yocum & Co. They
employ upward of 20 hands.

The following parties manufacture parts relat-
ing to the automobile:

Parish Manufacturing Company, steel frames.
, Biiehl's Carriage Works, metal bodies.

Keystone's Wagon Works, bodies (aluminum,
steel, and wood).

American Die & Tool Works, transmission and
gear.

A. H. Yocum & Co., motor engines.

Automobile Frames. — N. E. Parish organized
the Parish Manufacturing Company for the man-
ufacture of pressed steel automobile frames and
chrome nickel steel specialties, and established a
plant at Reading in June, 1906, in the P. & R. R.
Co.'s machine shops at Seventh and Chestnut
streets, where the company has since carried on
the 'business very successfully, employing 150 hands.
Special expensive machinery is used for the pur-
pose. Its production, numbering many thousand
frames, is shipped to all the leading manufacturers
of automobiles in the United States. The officers of -
the company are: R. E. Jennings, president; N.
E. Parish and J. E. Sullivan, vice-presidents; W.
B. Kunhardt, treasurer; and E. J. Jennings, secre-
tary.

Bicycles. — The manufacture of bicycles was a
large and well-conducted business at Reading for
about ten years from 1890 to 1900, and thousands
of bicycles were shipped to all parts of the world,
which gave Reading a reputation in this line of
business equal to any other place ; then it began to
decline gradually until now there is only one estab-
lishment actively engaged in the business, the Read-
ing Standard Manufacturing Company, of which
the active spirit since 1896 has been William F.
Remppis. Several parties who are engaged in re-
pairing bicycles also manufacture them in limited
quantities : Rhode Brothers, John G. Nuebling, and
James Mayo (who had been in the business at Potts-



188



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



town for seventeen years and became the successor
■of Charles T. Heckler after his decease in 1908).

Boiler Works. — West Reading Boiler Works
was started in 1870 by Enos M. Reazor, and he
was succeeded in 1878 by Sterling, Weidner & Co. ;
in 1894 by Thomas K. Dalzell, and in 1901 by
Jacob S. Peipher (Reading Scale & Machine Com-
pany). In this department of the works 25 men
are employed.

Penn Boiler Works was started in 1883, and is
now carried on by Hiram P. Yeager with 10 men
•and upward.

Orr & Sembower, who started in business in 1884
and moved to Millmont in 1891, are also engaged
in the manufacture of boilers in connection with
■engines, employing upward of 100 hands.

Bolt and Nut Works. — J. H. Sternbergh located
at Reading in 1865 and established a large bolt
and nut works which he carried on in a very suc-
'cessful manner until 1899, employing upward of
700 men; then the American Iron & Steel Com-
pany became' the owner and has since operated the
plant in a very successful manner with James Lord
•as president and J. L. Swayze as the local manager,
•employing from 600 to 800 hands. The principal'
'office of this company is situated at Lebanon, where
a similar large plant is operated.

Car Wheels.— In 1897, the Reading Car Wheel
'Company was organized and incorporated by cer-
tain persons from Buffalo, N. Y., for the manu-
facture at Reading of chilled iron wheels for street
and steam railway cars, and the plant has been op-
erated successfully until now. H. H. Hewitt has
been the president from the beginning, and the
•plant errtploys from 50 to 75 men, and turns out
daily upward of 200 wheels.

Chain Block W'jrks. — Herman P. Roeper es-
tablished a hoist works at Reading in 1896, and in
1904 sold the department relating to the manu-
facture of chain blocks to F. H. Howard, of New
York, who then incorporated a company for this
special branch of business, and it has been carried
on since in a successful manner, employing from
25 to 40 hands.

J. G. Speidel has also been engaged in the manu-
facture of chain blocks since 1896, in connection
with other specialties, such as cranes, tramways,
elevators, dumb-waiters, etc., and in his establish-
ment employs from 20 to 40 hands.

Coal Buckets. — George Focht began the manu-
facture of iron coal buckets or tubs for the loading
and unloading of coal on and from canal-boats,
and he was succeeded by Warreil & Addison and
'from 1893 to 1908 by Robert D. Seidel, who then
sold the factory to B. Franklin Biehl; and Biehl
has operated it since, employing from 6 to 10 hands.

Coke Ovens.- — ^The American Coke and Gas>
Construction Company was incorporated in 1903



as a branch of a large New York enterprise for
the manufacture of by-product coke ovens, accord-
ing to the "United-Otto-Coke- System," and has
since operated a plant at Reading employing from
35 to 40 hands, on Court street, below Second.

Crane and Hoist Works. — In 1888, John G.



Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 47 of 227)