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

. (page 48 of 227)
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 48 of 227)
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Speidel began the manufacture of hoisting machin-
ery and has continued in the business until the
present time, excepting for two years, from 1894
to 1896, when Herman P. Roeper was a partner.
In his iron works he also manufactures tramways,
elevators, chain-blocks, etc., which are sent to all
parts of the country. He employs from 20 to 40

Herman P. Roeper, under the name of Reading
Crane & Hoist Works, since 1896 has been en-
gaged in the manufacture of overhead tramways,
elevators, hoisting machinery, etc., which he has
forwarded to all parts of this country and foreig;n
countries. He employs from 20 to 50 hands.

Die Works. — The American Die & Tool Com-
pany was organized at Wilmington, Del, in 1894, for
the manufacture of tools, dies and special machin-
ery, and removed to Reading in 1901 ; incorporated
under the laws of Pennsylvania in 1906, with a
capital of $60,000, and employs upward of 80 men.
C. S. Dundore is the secretary, treasurer and gen-
eral manager of the company, and the others as-
sociated with him are J. H. Sternbergh and H. M.
Sternbergh. Their product is shipped to all parts
of the country. This is an important industry at
Reading for its exceptional productions.

Elevators. — John G. Speidel and Herman P.
Roeper have been engaged separately in the manu-
facture of elevators since 1896 ; also Adam W.
Haag (under the name of A. W. Haag & Co.) in
connection with the manufacture of milling machin-
ery, and he employs 15 hands.

Engine and Boiler Works. — In 1884, W. Harry
Orr and Clarence H. Sembower, trading as Orr &
Sembower, began the manufacture of vertical, hor-
izontal and hoisting engines, and vertical and hor-
izontal boilers at Second and Pine streets, but
their business developed so rapidly that by the year
1891 they were obliged to remove into larger
quarters, which they established at Millmont, in
Cumru township. Since then they have been very
successful, their productions being sent to all parts
of the world. A corporation was formed in 1890
with a capital of $150,000. The employes number
250. W. Harry Orr has been the treasurer and
general manager from' the beginning, and Mr.
Sembower the president.

The Reading Oil & Gas Engine Company, A.
H. Yocom & Company and John G. Xander are
also engaged in manufacturing engines.

Expansion Steam Joints. — William King em-
barked in the business of manufacturing expansion
steam joints and has been successfully engaged un-
til the present time, employing 40 to 60 hands.



Fences. — The first to engage in the business of
manufacturing plain and ornamental iron fences at
Reading was Louis Nendoerflfer, who began before
1860 and continued until his decease in 1884, when
he was succeeded by his son Frederick, and Fred-
erick carried on the business for twenty years.
William L. Remppis has also carried on this branch
of business in his large establishment since 1896;
and William L. Kiefer, in his works since 1895.

Fire Escapes. — William F. Remppis began man-
ufacturing ornamental iron work at Reading in
1885, in a small frame building and by the year
1892 his trade had developed to such an extent that
he was obliged to erect a large brick building and
he has continued actively engaged in the business
until the present time. He employs from 40 to 70
hands. Besides carrying on the manufacture of
fire escapes extensively, he supplies plain and orna-
mental iron work, stairways, elevator inclosures,
railings, window guards, grill work, etc.

William L. Kiefer has been engaged in a similar
business in a successful manner at Reading since
1895, and employs from 15 to 30 hands.

Foundries. — A number of iron foundries at
Reading are carried on in connection with estab-
lished works of various kinds, such as the Reading
Iron Company, the P. & R. R. Company, the Hard-
ware Works and the Stove Works, but are used en-
tirely in carrying on their own business. There are
three foundries which take in outside work as a
regular business : the Gray Iron Foundry Company
(A. L. Frame) J which employs 15 to 25 molders
for all kinds of small castings ; the Reading Scale
& Machine Company (Jacob S. Peipher), which em-
ploys 15 to 20 molders for heavy and light castings
of all kinds ; and Mohn & Kershner ( W. H. Mohn
& E. L. Kershner), who embarked in the general
foundry business in 1908 (in the plant of the
National Brass Works), and manufacture all kinds
of small castings for the trade here and elsewhere,
employing from 50 to 75 hands.

Furnaces. — Two large iron furnaces have been
very prominent industries at Reading for many
years: the Henry Clay, erected by the Eckerts in
1844, and latterly owned and operated by the Em-
pire Iron & Steel Company (but not in operation
for two years) ; and the Keystone, erected by the
Bushongs in 1869, which has become a part of the
extensive works of the Reading Iron Company.

Hardware. — Hardware of all kinds, for build-
ing and other purposes, has been produced at Read-
ing for upward of fifty years, and the works have
been very prominently identified with the welfare
and development of Reading. Three large plants
are carried on, the Reading Hardware Company
( founded by the Harbsters and their brother-in-law,
William M. Griscom), the Penn Hardware Com-
pany (founded by the Heizmann Brothers), and the
Chantrell Tool Company ; and they together employ
about 2,500 hands.

Reading Hardware Works. — In 1851, William
Harbster established a blacksmith shop at the foot
of Sixth street for general blacksmith work, and
in 1852 his brothers Matthan and John became as-
sociated with him, under the name of Harbster
Brothers, for the manufacture of builders' hard-
ware, such as locks, bolts, fasteners, latches, etc.,
when they erected a foundry. Shortly afterward
their brother-in-law, William M. Griscom, became
associated with them as a partner, and they then
traded as Harbster Brothers & Co. until 1872,
when the name was changed to Reading Hardware
Company. As their business increased their plant
was gradually enlarged until 1895 and by that time
the establishment covered five acres of ground, all
substantial buildings, three and four stories high,
with their employes numbering nearly 1,000 and
the annual wages paid exceeding $100,000. Their
productions included all kinds and styles of hard-
ware, both plain and ornamental, and these came
to be shipped to all parts of the world. Their trade
was largely increased by making a specialty of fur-
nishing all the necessary hardware in the construc-
tion of large hotels and office buildings at New York,
Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and
other large cities in this country and foreign coun-
tries, their unique and artistic designs in fine bronze
obtaining the preference with the most prominent
architects and builders, and in this behalf they es-
tablished branch offices in the cities named. Their
volume of business for some years has exceeded
a million dollars, the number of employes 1,500,
and the annual wages $500,000, which truly evi-
dences the wonderful development of this great
industrial establishment from an ordinary black-
smith shop, and its importance and influence in the
history of Reading during the past fifty years. Its
productions have been displayed at all the great
expositions in the United States and Europe, and
their superiority was recognized by the awarding
of medals and diplomas.

The business was incorporated in 1886. In 1887,
the greater part of the plant was destroyed by fire,
but it was immediately rebuilt and much improved
in arrangement and equipment, making it one of
the finest industrial plants in the United States.

The officers of the corporation are: Matthan
Harbster, president ; William M. Griscom, vice-
president; S. Y. Reigner, treasurer (since 1903
and also secretary since 1907) ; and John E. Harb-
ster has been the manager for upward of twenty

Penn Hardware Works. — In 1877, C. Raymond
Heizmann and his brother Albert A. Heizmann be-
gan the manufacture of builders' hardware and
specialties of all kinds, at the foot of Spruce stree|,
between the canal and river and, like the forego-
ing, grew in size and importance until their plant
came to cover several acres of ground, their em-
ployes to number 1,000 and their annual wages to
exceed a quarter of a million dollars. Their goods



likewise have found a market all oyer the world.
A nail department was added in 1898.

The business was incorj>orated under the name
of Penn Hardware Company in 1896. The officers
of the company are: C. Raymond Heizmann, presi-
dent; Theodore I. Heizmann, vice-president; W.
A. Heizmann, treasurer; and I. S. Ermentrout,

The Reading Saddle Manufacturing Company
also manufactures large quantities of hardware
specialties, cast-hammers, hatchets, ice-picks, shears,
pincers, pulleys, can openers, glue pots, vises,
clamps, tongs, etc. A specialty is made of nickel-
plating. The plant is at Nos. 316-320 Maple street.
The company employs 60 hands. It was incor-
porated in 1900.

Chantrcll Hardware and Tool Company (Inc.)
was organized in 1888 (being named after John
Chantrell, an EngHshman, who designed certain
improved tools) and the business was conducted
successfully on Seventh street near Chestnut for
several years, when the plant was removed to Mill-
mont, where large brick buildings were erected to
meet the demands of increasing trade. The company
manufactures screw drivers, nail pullers, and some
hardware specialties, but its principal line is build-
ers' hardware, consisting of locks and design goods.
It has a large domestic and foreign trade. Hands
employed, 165. Harry C. Shaaber has been man-
ager since 1903.

Knitting Machinery. — James L. Eck located in
Reading in 1891 and engaged in the manufacture of
knitting machines after a pattern with improve-
ments designed and patented by himself, being a
"new improved 15-16 automatic and plain seamless
rnachine," and known as the "Boss" ; and in 1898
be established a factory at Reed and Elm streets.
He has continued in a successful manner until the
present time, employing from 30 to 50 hands, and
turning out about 600 machines annually. In 1898
he built the first steam automobile in Reading and
operated it successfully.

Windsor Knitting Machine Works. — The Wind-
sor Machine Company w^s incorporated in 1903
with a capital of $100,000 for the manufacture of
full-automatic split-foot knitting machines and full-
automatic striping machines, as a specialty, and a
large trade has been developed, the machines being
sent to all parts of this country, and from 70 to 80
hands are employed. John B. Hipwell is president
of the company; George D. Horst, secretary-treas-
urer; and William W. Hout, manager.

Lawn-mowers. — The manufacture of lawn-mow-
ers is included with the hardware specialties of the
Reading Hardware Works.

The American Die & Tool Company is also en-
gaged in their manufacture.

Machine Specialties. — A number of shops
and factories are carried on constantly for the man-

ufacture of specialties in the line of machinery and
they employ from several to a dozen hands :

King Machine Works
Samuel Davis
W. D. Mohn

Jacob S. Peipher

A. W. Haag & Company

G. W. Francis

Gretli Machine Company

Motor Cycles. — In 1896, William F. Remppis
organized the Reading Standard Manufacturing
Company for the manufacture of the "Reading
Standard" bicycles, and this company has since
carried on the business very extensively, shipping
thousands of its bicycles to all parts of the coun-
try and the world. In 1903, the company began
the manufacture of motor cycles, with the same
name, and this branch has also become very suc-
cessful. In 1908, the company produced 2,700 of
them, and for the year 1909 has arranged to pro-
duce from' 4,000 to 4,500. Over 6,000 bicycles
were manufactured in 1908. From 300 to 400
hands are employed. B. Frank Royer, of Phila-
delphia, is president of the company and Mr. Remp-
pis is general manager.

Motor Engines. — Arthur H. Yocum designed a;
special engine for automobiles which has become
very popular, and since 1904 he has been manufac-
turing many of them, having formed a company
with his father, George Y. Yocum, and traded un-
der the name of A. H. Yocum & Co.

Nails. — The Penn Hardware Co. manufactures
great quantities of nails in connection with general
builders' hardware. This was one of the iron pro-
ducts of Seyfert, McManus & Co. and their suc-
cessors, the Reading Iron Company, for many

Pipes and Tubes. — ^A large and principal depart-
ment of the extensive Reading Iron Woorks is the
manufacture of large quantities of wrought-iron
pipes and tubes, of various sizes ; which is men-
tioned in connection with the description of the
Reading Iron Company.

Plumbers' Supplies. — ■ J. W. Van Meter began
making plumbers' supplies at Reading in 1907, and
after a year was succeeded by W. S. Cooper,
of Philadelphia, who has carried it on in connection
with similar works at Philadelphia. He employs
from 45 to 50 hands, his plant being established in
the old Johnson Foundry at Eighth and Chest-
nut streets.

Radiator Works. — In 1883, Daniel L. Adams be-
gan the manufacture of steam and hot water radia-
tors and boilers at No. 212 South Eighth street,
Reading, and continued the business at that place
until 1892, when the plant was removed to a larger
and much improved building along the Lebanon
Valley railroad at Front street, and there it has con-
tinued until the present time with increasing suc-
cess. In 1896 he organized and incorporated a" com-
pany under the name of Reading Radiator Com-



pany. Its radiators and boilers are shipped to all
parts of the country. The employes number 110.
Mr. Adams has been the manager of the works
from the beginning, and Grant Nagle has been
the secretary -and treasurer since 1897.

Razors. — Frederick H. Arnold of Reading de-
signed and patented a fountain-pen safety-raz-
or, and then organized a company for its extensive
manufacture. The company was incorporated in
1907, and capitalized at $200,000 ; and it has been
successful in shipping its- razors to all parts of the
world. It employs 25 hands, and is located at
Third and Buttonwood streets. The officers are:
Edward C. Nolan, president; John H. Keppelman,
secretary and treasurer; Robert B. Lance, man-

Rotary Meters. — The Rotary Meter Co. of New
York City established a plant at Reading in 1906
for the manufacture of rotary meters, intended
for large gas consumers who wish to measure
their consumption. It is the only industry of the
kind in the United States, and its product is. shipped
to all parts of North and South America. These
meters weigh from seventy-five pounds to five tons.
Hands employed, from 6 to 8. Charles T. Mayers
has been the superintendent here. It is located at
Seventh and Franklin streets in a portion of the
P. & R. R. Co. machine shop.

Scales. — In 1845, Levi K. Mohr and Andrew De-
hart began manufacturing large scales, estab^lishing
a factory at the corner of Cherry and Carpenter
streets. Dehart retired in 1850 and Mohr carried
on the business until 1872. Different parties oc-
cupied the plant in the production of scales with
turbine water-wheels and general machinery until
1887, when the Reading Scale & Machine Company
was organized by Jacob S. Peipher, Levi M. Fran-
cis and J. L. Balloch, and this company continued
their manufacture in connection with engines and
boilers. The plant was removed to the foot of
Chestnut street in 1903 and Peipher became the
sole proprietor. He has continued the manufacture
of scales, engines, boilers, etc., in large quantities
until the present time, under the same name, em-
ploying from 50 to 75 hands.

Levi M. Francis, who was connected with this
company for a number of years, is also engaged
in the manufacture of large scales on orders.

Shears. — In 1895, the Wilkinson Shear Co. was
incorporated for the manufacture of shears of all
kinds for shearing sheep, horses, grass and hedge,
and located a plant at Ninth and Bingaman streets,
where the business was continued in a successful
manner until 1903, when the plant was removed to
a new and improved building erected by the com-
pany on Laurel street, below Fifth. The trade
extends to all parts of the country, and 30 hands

are employed. The company also produces scythes
for cutting grain, grass and bushes. The officers
are : John J. Kutz, president ; Cyrus G. Derr, treas-
urer; and Philip Bushong, secretary.

The Reiser Manufacturing Company (David H.
Keiser) produces shears, besides metal fixtures, he
having been connected with the Wilkinson $hear
Company for a number of years. His plant is sit-
uated in West Reading.

D. P. Harris and Samuel Monroe of New York
City, and W. M. Sillhart and Melot Deam, of Read-
ing, associated together and established the Penn
Shear Works at Reading in 1904, for the manufac-
ture of shears of all kinds, and since then have
produced large quantities which have been shipped
to all parts of the country. They employ 5 hands.

Sheet Iron is made in great quantities by the
Reading Iron Company in its sheet-mill, which is
situated along the Schuylkill river between Chest-
nut and Spruce streets. This mill became the prop-
erty of the Reading Iron Works (afterward the
Reading Iron Co.) in 1865. It had been put up
several years before by Lauth, Berg & Co. as an
individual enterprise.

Special Machinery. — In the year l901 Messrs.
W.D.Mohn, Austin Riegner and Robert Riegner, of
Mohnton, located at Reading for the manufacture
of special machinery, established a plant at Cherry
and Carpenter streets (where the Reading Scale
& Machine Company had been), and have since
carried on the business under the name of W. D.
Mohn & Co. They employ 10 men.

Steel Cabitjets. — This new product is man-
ufactured by the Keiser Manufacturing Company
in connection with, sheep shears, in its plant at the
west end of the Penn street bridge, opposite Read-
ing; which is mentioned in the description of the
Borough of West Reading, Chapter XL

Steel Works. — Carpenter Steel Company.
James H. Carpenter located in Reading in the
year 1889 and with the aid of New York cap-
italists organized a steel company for the man-
ufacture of armor-piercing projectiles for the
United States government. A large plant was es-
tablished along the Pennsylvania Schuylkill Valley
railroad at the foot of Exeter street and in 1890
the company began to supply the government with
large numbers of projectiles ranging in diameter
from four inches to thirteen inches, and weighing
from a few pounds to half a ton, and continued to
furnish them for nearly ten years, when the plant
was gradually changed to the manufacture of com-
mercial crucible tool steel of a superior character,
for which a large trade has been developed. This
plant is one of the largest and most important in
Reading, and employs from 600 to 1,000 hands,
which evidences the importance and value to the
community of this local enterprise. The company
was reorganized in 1904 with a capital of $1,300,-
000. The officers are Robert E. Jennings, presi-



dent; W. B. Kunhardt, secretary and treasurer and
general manager.

Reading Steel Casting Company. — In 1906 the
Reading Steel Casting Company was incorporated
with a capital of $125,000 for the manufacture of
steel castings for the general trade and then pur-
chased the Brylgon Steel Works at the foot of La-
fayette street for its plant, and it has since carried
on a very successful business, employing 150 hands.
Arrangements are now being made to double the
capacity of the plant to meet the increasing demands
for its product. The officers of the company are
W. D. Seargent, president ; D. W. Yeckley, secre-
tary-treasurer ; and J. Turner Moore, vice-presi-
dent and general manager.

Stoves and Heaters are made in great quanti-
ties by the Reading Stove Works, the Mt. Penn
StO've Works^ and the Prizer-Painter Stove and
Heater Works (the last situated at Millmont oppo-
site Reading), which are sold to all parts of the

Reading Stoz'c Company. In the year 1866,
Jesse Orr, John R. Painter, Peter W. Nagle,
William Grander, Henry C. Posey, Elijah Bull,
William H. Schick, Jasper Slieeler and Charles
Egolf associated together under the name of
Orr, Painter & Company for the manufacture
of stoves, furnaces and heaters of all kinds,
and located their foundry on Canal street, be-
tween Chestnut and Spruce streets, beginning
with fourteen molders. They carried on the busi-
ness in a very successful manner with increasing
success for twenty years, when they became incor-
porated under the name "The* Reading Stove
Works, Orr, Painter & Co.," with a capital of
$400,000. The business has been so developed that
branch offices have been established in different
parts of the United States, at the large cities, Phil-
adelphia, New York, Boston, Buffalo and Chicago,
for the distribution of their productions. For a
number of years this company supplied the Postal
Department of the United States with the postal
boxes for the street collection. The employes num-
ber from 275 to 300. Daniel F. Printz has been
the president since 1902, and Edgar Amole the
secretary and treasurer since 1900.

Mt. Penn Stove Company. — William M. Stauffer
was connected with Orr, Painter & Co. from 1869
to 1881 and then retired from the firm for the pur-
pose .of organizing another stove company in Read-
ing and with John McKnight established a plant
along the Lebanon Valley railroad at Third street.
In 1882, a company was incorporated by them un-
der the name -of Mount Penn Stove Company and
this company has conducted a successful business
since then, enlarging the plant and increasing the
employes as the developing trade demanded. They
manufacture superior stoves and heaters and their
trade extends throughout the country. They em-
ploy from 100 to 125 hands. M. Brayton Mc-
Knight was one of the organizers with his father,

and served the company as secretary and treasurer
from 1882 to 1907, when he was succeeded by his
nephews, John R. McKnight, as the treasurer, and
William R. Schaeffer, as the secretary, and he be-
came the president.

P riser-Painter Stove & Heater Company. — Orr,
Painter & Co. established a large stove works in
Millmont as an addition to their plant at Reading,
to meet the demands of their trade, and it was used
by them until 1899, when a new company was
formed and incorporated by the name of Prizer-
Painter Stove & Heater Company, with a capital
of $350,000, for the manufacture of stoves and
heaters of all kinds and sizes, and this company
then became the owner and has carried it on suc-
cessfully until the present time. They employ 150
hands and have a large trade. The officers are
C. S. Prizer, president; E. T. Painter, vice-presi-
dent; R. L. McCall, treasurer; and W. W. Light,,

Occupations.* — ^The following list is presented
to show the number and character of the several
occupations at Reading in April, 1909 :





Automobiles or parts..,


Baths (Turkish)

Bell Hangers


Billiards and Pool

Bill Posters

Birds, etc


Bleaching Straw Goods.

Boarding Houses

Book-sellers, etc


Bowling Alleys



Building Contractors . . .


Carpet Cleaners

Carpet Dealers


Chair Caners

Chair Makers

Chewing Gum

Chinaware, etc


Cigars and Tobacco

Civil Engineers


Coal, Wood, etc

Commission Agents ...




Cough Drops

Dancing Masters



















Directorv Publisher .... 1

Dressmakers 290

Druggists 44

Dry Goods, etc 71

Dyeing 12

Electrical Contractors . . 10

Electrotypers 2

Embalmers 6

Emplovment Bureaus ... 2

Engraving 3

Express Companies .... 2

Fish, Truck, etc 21

Flag Stones, etc 12

Florists 20

Flour, Feed, etc 29

Fruit 15

Furniture 22

Furrier 1

Gas Fixtures 3

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 48 of 227)