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A history of paper-manufacturing in the United States, 1690-1916 online

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Dam of The Rittenhouse Mill in Germantown, Penn.

Site of the First Paper-Mill in the United States, 1690



A HISTORY

OF



PAPER-MANUFACTURING



IN THE



UNITED STATES, 1690-1916



BY



LYMAN HORACE WEEKS



Author of "An Historical Digest of the Provincial Press," "Legal

and Judicial History of New York," "Prominent Families

of New York," "Book of Bruce," etc., etc.



ILLUSTRATED



NEW YORK

The Loekwood Trade Journal Company

1916.






Copyright, 1916,

By The Lockwood Trade JourDal Company

All rights reserved.



APR II 1917

'CIA457981



/



*






PREFACE



MANY books have been written concerning the purely
technical sides of paper-making and much about
the origin and history of the craft among the peoples of
the old world. Also there have been considerable accounts
of special features of it in this country; descriptions of
individual mills ; sketches of manufacturers, inventors and
scientists ; considerations of the introduction and improve-
ment of new methods, new materials and new machinery
and their influence; records of organizations, and so on.
All this latter, however — though wholly admirable, inter-
esting and valuable in itself — has been of a desultory and
disconnected character: mainly chapters in books, maga-
zines and newspapers; papers read before business asso-
ciations, conventions and societies ; addresses and discus-
sions in legislative bodies, and essays and treatises in scien-
tific periodicals.

This History covers the field differently. It is the only I
attempt that has been made to bring into one complete,
compact narrative all the material facts relating to the
industry and to present in an exhaustive and comprehen-
sive manner, on the purely historical side, the annals of this
branch of American manufacturing, from the erecting of
the first little mill in Philadelphia, in 1690, to the opening
years of .the twentieth century. What has been done in
this way for coal-mining, agriculture, many branches of
manufacturing, oil production, the iron and steel industries
and other American industrial activities has been here
attempted for paper-making.

Gathering material for this History has occupied much
of the time of the author for several years past, in con-
junction with research along other historical lines. It is
confidently believed that, in the preparation of the work,
the ground has been covered broadly and soundly, con-



VIII PREFACE

sidering the limitations of the subject and the scanty
sources of information. The extent of the reading and
investigation undertaken therewith is, in a measure, indi-
cated by the authorities consulted, references to which
have been copiously given. In addition, much has been
derived from the personal knowledge of individuals who
have been active in the industry in contemporaneous times.
Short-comings and errors exist in the work. No one
can be more conscious of that than the author. Such is
an unfortunate but an inevitable concomitant of a com-
pilation of this sort, dependent, as it is, for its subject-
matter, upon records that, in the remote past most notably,
are meagre and often unreliable and contradictory. It
is hoped, however, that any errancy of that kind may not
materially detract from the interest of the work as a nar-
rative or from its historical value. If it 4iall have suc-
ceeded in preserving in enduring form the otherwise
fugitive records of one of the great industries of the
United States, and if it may find acceptance as a not un-
worthy contribution to the literature of American indus-
trial history, its main purpose will have been substan-
tially accomplished.

Lyman Horace Weeks.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER ONE Page

1

BUILDING THE FIRST MILLS

Three Pioneer Establishments in Pennsylvania — Ritten-

HOUSE AND De WeES IN GeRMANTOWN AND WlLLCOX IN

Chester County — William Bradford, the Printer, a
Promoter of Paper Manufacturing — The Mills of Ritten-
house and wlllcox became permanent and successful



CHAPTER TWO 15

OTHER MILLS OF THE COLONIES

A Second Venture Is Made by Bradford the Printer — First
Mills Are Established in Massachusetts, Maine, Con-
necticut, New York and Elsewhere — The Mill of the
Ephrata German Community in Pennsylvania — Saur,
Famous Printer of the German Bible, Also Builds a Mill



CHAPTER THREE 41

A PAPER POVERTY

Mills of the Colonial Period Were Few in Number and Poorly

Equipped — Importations Were Slow and Scant — News-

' papers Resorted to Curious Makeshifts — Extraordinary

Scarcity During the Revolution — Legislative Action to

Encourage Manufacturing and Conserve the Supply



CONTENTS



Page CHAPTER FOUR

57

EQUIPMENT AND RAW MATERIAL

Colonial Paper Was All Hand-made — Machinery Unknown —
Mills Hampered by Difficulty in Procuring Raw Mate-
rials — Newspapers and Legislatures Implored People to
Help by Saving Rags — The Early Methods of Manufac-
turing — Some Prices of Paper in 1729, 1780 and 1792



77 CHAPTER FIVE

AFTER THE REVOLUTION
Slow Industrial Growth of the Nation — Paper-making Still
Confined Mostly to Pennsylvania, New York, Connecti-
cut and Massachusetts — New Mills in Those and Other
States — Legislative Encouragement to Manufacturers —
First Inventors — Tariff Measures of the Government y



104 CHAPTER SIX

INTO THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

Mills Increased in Number in the First Decade — Statistics
from the Census of 1810 and Isaiah Thomas' Estimate —
Business Depression After the War of 1812 — Tariff Pro-
tection for Paper — Rags Still Continued to Be Very
Scarce — Some Prices That Prevailed in 1815 and 1821



122 CHAPTER SEVEN

A STEADILY GROWING INDUSTRY.

The Famous Ames Manufacturers and Their Work — First
Mills in Berkshire County, Mass. — Other Mills, Old and
New, in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Elsewhere —
Scant Statistics from the Census of 1820 — Old-time Mill
Equipment and the Old-time Papermakers



CONTENTS XI



CHAPTER EIGHT Page

- 148
IN MIDDLE AND SOUTHERN STATES

Beginning in Central and Northern New York — Mills That
Endured Substantially Unchanged for a Hundred Years —
The Famous Mill of the Gilpin Brothers in Delaware —
— Planting the Industry in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Kentucky and Tennessee



CHAPTER NINE 170

THE INTRODUCTION OF MACHINERY

Hollander Engines for Pulp-Beating — Invention of the Four-
drinier and Its Importation into the United States —
Americans Invent and Improve Cylinder Machines — Other
Inventors and Inventions — Radical Changes in Manu-
facturing Methods Are Gradually Introduced



CHAPTER TEN 191

A CENTURY AND A HALF OF GROWTH

Feeling the Stimulus of the New Machinery — Tariff Agi-
tation — Mills in the East Grow in Size and Importance
— The Beginning of the Industry in Indiana and Other
States — Making Straw- Paper in Columbia County, New
York — Mill Statistics from the Census of 1840



CHAPTER ELEVEN 211

THE SEARCH FOR RAW MATERIAL

Scarcity of the Staple Linen Stock Ever Present — Numerous
Vegetable Fibres are Tried — Curious Tales of Many Hope-
ful Experimenters — Straw the First Considerable Addi-
tion — Finally, Pulp from Wood Comes in and Revolu-
tionizes Papermaking — The Great Wood Pulp Processes



XII CONTENTS



Page CHAPTER TWELVE

239;

BEFORE AND DURING THE CIVIL WAR

Changing Conditions Stimulate Manufacturing in New Eng-
land and the Middle States — First Mills in Fitchburg
and Holyoke, Massachusetts — Big Increase in Straw-
Paper Making in New York— Developments of the Black
River Country — Destruction of the Industry in the South



314



270 CHAPTER THIRTEEN

AN ERA OF PROSPERITY

In the Years Following the Civil War — A Unique Directory of
1864 — Growth of the Industry in Ohio — Futile Attempts
to Start Paper-Making in Utah — Founding the Industry
in the north-west — rapid advancement in holyoke, mas-
SACHUSETTS- — Some Amazing Prices of that Period



288 CHAPTER FOURTEEN

MODERN EXPANSION

Mills Increased in Number and in Size in All Parts of the
United States — Machinery Expansion — The Rise of Big
Corporations — New Men, New Methods and New Accom-
plishments — Growth of Foreign Trade — Exporting is Be-
gun in Competition for the Markets of the World



CHAPTER FIFTEEN

INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Latest Census Figures — A Wood-Pulp Issue With Canada —
Exports From the Dominion Increased — The Great Europ-
ean War and Its Effects — Scarcity of Paper Stock . and
Other Materials — A Paper-Famine With Rising Prices
— A Sectional and State Review of the Industry



ILLUSTRATIONS



Rittenhouse Mill-Dam

Third Rittenhouse Mill

Rittenhouse Water Mark

Willcox Ivy Mill

Ivy Mills Water Mark

Daniel Henchman

Thomas Hancock

Samuel Waldo

Ephrata Mills Water Mark

Ephrata Mills

Christopher Leffingwell

A Printer's Paper Economy

Nathan Sellers

Advertisement for Rags

Interior of an Old Mill

Eden Vale Mill

Christopher Gore

Isaiah Thomas Mill

Isaiah Thomas .

Benjamin Franklin

Robert R. Livingston

Seth Hawley

David Ames

Zenas Crane

David Carson

Daniel Vose

John Roberts

Seth Bemis

Caleb Burbank .

David Humphrey



Frontispiece

7

9

12

13

20

22

25

30

32

36

44

54

61

68

82

84

86

88

93

99

116

124

128

130

131

134

136

138

140



XIV



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



Humphreysville Mill .141


Samuel Phillips










... 144


Eckstein Mill .












. 147


Nathaniel Rochester












. 149


Eagle Mill, Exterior












: 150


Eagle Mill, Interior .












. 151


George W. Knowlton












. 154


Gilpin Mill












. 158


Sunnydale Mill, Exterior












. 164


Sunnydale Mill, Interior .












. 166


Smallest Paper Machine .












. 177


John Ames












. 179


Peter Adams












. 181


William Staniar












. 183


Cornelius Van Houten












. 185


Lemuel Crehore












198


Thomas Rice, Jr.












200


James M. Willcox .












205


George A. Shryock .












221


Hugh Burgess












227


Royer's Ford Wood-Pulp Mill












228


Benjamin C. Tilghmart












231


George N. Fletcher .












232


Alpena Pulp-Mill












233


Albrecht Pagenstecher












235


First Bill for American YVood-I


5 ulp .










236


Curtisville Pulp-Mill




*









237


Elizur Smith ....




'■








242


Byron Weston














245


J. C. Parsons
















246


Parsons' Mill
















247


Aaron Bagg
















248


William Whiting














249


James H. Newton














250


Wells Southworth














251


Carew Mill














252


Joseph Carew .















253


Alvah Crocker




*










254


G. S. Burbank .














' 255


George Bird
















256



list of illustration;


s


XV


Charles H. Dexter ......


. 258


Illustrious Remington










. 261


B^B. Taggart ....










. 262


Martin Nixon ....










. 264


William H. Nixon










. 265


A Paper-Mill Trade Mark










. 267


Joseph McDowell










. 268


D. E. Mead ....










. 276


A. E. Harding .










. 278


Thomas Beckett










. 278


Adam Laurie










. 279


Thomas Howard










. 282


Howard Lockwood .










. 299


George F. Steele










. 300


William A. Russell .










. 303


Arthur C. Hastings .










. 305


O. C. Barber .










. 306


John G. Luke .










. 309


William H. Parsons .










. 311


The Oxford Mill .










. 320


S. D. Warren .










. 322


W. H. Sharp










323


VV. N. Caldwell










. 323


A. W. Esleeck .










. 324


George W. Wheelwright










. 324


Mark Hollingsworth .










. 326


Edwin R. Redhead .










. * . 328


John F. King .










. 328


J. A. Outterson .










. 329


B. B. Taggart .










. 329


Augustus G. Paine .










. 333


Bloomfield H. Moore










. 335


E. L. Embree .










. 337


F. L. Moore










. 337


J. A. Kimberly .










. 340


G. E. Bardeen .










. 341


E. R. Behrend .










. 341


A. B. Daniels . .










. 343


George A. Whiting .










. 344



HISTORY OF PAPER-MANUFACTURING

CHAPTER ONE

BUILDING THE FIRST MILLS

Three Pioneer Establishments in Pennsylvania —

RlTTENHOUSE AND De WEES IN GERMANTOWN AND

Willcox in Chester County — William Bradford,
the Printer, a Promoter of Paper-Manufactur-
ing — The Mills of Rittenhouse and Willcox
Became Permanent and Successful Ventures

WHEN the American pioneers began their voyaging,
across the Atlantic to settle in the new world,
in the seventeenth century, the business of manufac-
turing paper, as it is known in modern times, had not
gained much headway in those parts of Europe whence
they came. The age of papyrus and parchment was, it is
true, practically at an end after five thousand years of his-
tory, but paper from rags was slow in coming into general
use in place thereof.

Rag paper, first known in China about the beginning
of the Christian era, was brought to Europe by the
Saracens in the eighth century. Firmly established in
Spain the process was there improved until, in the tenth
and following centuries, Spanish paper became justly
famous. Gradually artist workmen introduced their craft
into France, Italy, Austria and Germany, and in those
countries paper-manufacturing was common by the four-
teenth century. England and Holland, destined to become
great paper-manufacturing centers, were laggards in tak-
ing hold of the industry which was still considered to be
very much of a mystery. In England, as late as 1690,
there were few mills and the total product was less than

1



PAPER MANUFACTURING in the UNITED STATES

£25,000 in value. Holland had its first paper-mill only a
few years prior to that date.

For other reasons also, paper-making was not an early
occupation of the American colonists. Clearing the wilder-
ness, trading with the Indians for furs, making farms, es-
tablishing towns and villages — these were the tasks that,
in the beginning, pressed most upon the attention of the
settlers. Their energies were, of necessity, directed to the
engrossing work of providing shelter, food and clothing for
themselves, to the exclusion of nearly all else, and primary
needs were for implements and materials that should serve
such ends. To a considerable extent the first pilgrims
brought these things with them and then, in the imme-
diate subsequent years, continued to import them from
the old country. But Europe was too far distant in the
days of the slow sailing vessel, and so, almost at the out-
set, arose the demand for home industrial enterprises of
the simplest sort. Rivers furnished abundant water power
and as soon as possible grist mills, lumber mills and full-
ing mills were built. Then iron was discovered in Vir-
ginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and elsewhere, and
mines were opened and furnaces started. Manufacturing
in the first colonial century was practically confined to
ship-building yards, a few rude iron furnaces, potasheries,
fulling, grain and lumber mills, and tanneries.

Paper was not as yet a vital necessity. Newspapers did
not exist until after 1700. There were few books except
those brought from abroad. A printing press was set up
in Cambridge, in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1638,
and others in Boston, New York and Philadelphia before
the end of the century; but the printed output was small,
less than one thousand books and pamphlets in sixty-two
years, 1639-1700. Correspondence was not extensive and
writing was largely left to the ministers and the officials.
Our forefathers knew little of the manifold other uses and
demands for paper that were to arise in the years to come.
Their needs were altogether easily supplied by importing
from England and Holland.

Even the starting of the first paper-mill, in 1690, does
not seem to have been a result of any urgent call from the

2



BUILDING THE FIRST MILLS

community. Rather it came out of the combination of the
small needs of a single printer in Philadelphia and the am-
bition of a newly-arrived German paper-maker ; the printer
and the paper-maker made an ideal partnership for estab-
lishing an infant industry in a field that had not yet been
entered upon.

Prior to this time it is probable that few, if any, of the
new Americans, who were mostly from England and Hol-
land, knew much about paper-making practically. France
and Germany were then leading paper-making countries
and neither the French nor the Germans arrived in the
colonies in any considerable numbers until the late part of
the seventeenth century. Printing had grown to more sub-
stantial business importance in Boston than in any other
colonial center, but even there the need of a paper supply
independent of importation was not seriously felt ; nor does
it appear that paper-makers could have been found to run
a mill even if one had been built.

The actual beginning of this new enterprise in Phila-
delphia was in September, 1690, when Robert Turner,
William Bradford, Thomas Tresse and William Ritten-
house entered into an agreement with Samuel Carpenter
for the lease of a tract of land of twenty acres on the banks
of the Wissahickon creek for a site. The mill was built
the same year, but the title to the land was not passed
until February 12, 1706, by which time William Ritten-
house had become sole owner. By the terms of the lease,
for nine hundred and ninety years from September 29,
1690, an annual rental of "five shillings sterling money of
England" was to be paid. The mill stood in a little ravine
on the banks of a stream, called Paper-Mill Run, that
emptied into the Wissahickon creek, through Germantown,
now a part of the city of Philadelphia, about two miles
above the junction of the Wissahickon with the Schuylkill
river.

Bradford was the moving spirit in this enterprise. He
had come from England to Pennsylvania for the express
purpose of setting up a press in Philadelphia. In London
he had been a skillful printer and his professional abilities
and forceful personality made him a man of prominence

3



PAPER MANUFACTURING in the UNITED STATES

and influence in the colony until a falling- out with the
authorities in 1693 led to his removal to New York where
he became pre-eminently the first famous American printer
and publisher. In 1686_ he printed his first book, Kalen-
darium Pennsylvaniense. Once he was started in busi-
ness other books and pamphlets came from his shop and
soon he felt the inconvenience of depending - for his print-
ing upon such paper as he could bring over from Europe.
His position placed him in intimate association with the
leading men of the colony and no doubt his representations
were influential in bringing the necessary monetary sup-
port to the undertaking.

Samuel Carpenter and Robert Turner were men of
wealth, extensive land owners, and friends and advisers
of William Penn. Thomas Tresse was a rich iron monger.

Willem or Wilhelm Ruddinghuysen, or Rittinghuysen,
or Rittershausen — in English William Rittenhouse — was
born in 1644 near the city of Miilheim on the river Ruhr,
in the principality of Broich which lay between the river
Rhine and Westphalia. It is believed that he was the son
of George Rittershausen and Maria Hagershoffs. He be-
longed to a family of distinction, some of whose members
were prominent in public and professional life. Several of
his paternal ancestors were paper-makers in Germany and
Holland and when he, in Amsterdam in 1678, took the
oath of citizenship there, he subscribed himself, "Willem
Ruddinghuysen, van Miilheim, papermaker." At one time
he was in Arnheim, where he probably followed his trade.
With his sons Nicholas (Claus) and Gerhard (Garrett),
and his daughter Elizabeth, he came to America and was
settled in Germantown, Penn., in 1688, though he may
have been in the country before that date. He was a Men-
nonite, the first minister of that church in Germantown,
and the first Mennonite bishop in America. 1

In a modest way the mill was a success from the start.
If it did not indeed "fill a long-felt want" it was at least
promptly recognized as an interesting addition to the in-
dustrial life of the colony. Several early writers on Penn-



1 Daniel K. Cassell : A Genea-Bio graphical History of the Rit-
tenhouse Family, pp. 47-66.



BUILDING THE FIRST MILLS

sylvania referred to it. Pennsylvania's first poet, who
wrote a metrical description of the colony, thus sang of
the mill :

"The German-Town, of which I spoke before,
Which is, at least, in length one Mile and More,
Where lives High-German People, and Low-Dutch,
Whose Trade in weaving Linnin Cloth is much,
There grows the Flax, as also you may know.
That from the same they do divide the Tow;
Their Trade fits well within their Habitation,
We find Conveniences for their Occupation,
One Trade brings in imployment for another,
So that we may suppose each trade a Brother ;
From Linnin Rags good Paper doth derive,
The First Trade keeps the second Trade alive :
Without the first the second cannot be,
Therefore since these two can so well agree,
Convenience doth approve to place them nigh,
One in the German-Town, 'tother hard by.
A Paper Mill near German-Town doth stand,
So that the Flax, which first springs from the Land,
First Flax, then Yarn, and then they must begin,
To weave the same, which they took pains to spin.
Also when on our backs it is well worn,
Some of the same remains Ragged and Torn ;
Then of those Rags our paper it is made,
Which in process of time doth waste and fade ;
So what comes from the Earth, appeareth plain,
The same in Time returns to Earth again." 2

Another rhyming historian, writing about 1693, had
these lines about Bradford and the paper-mill which had
already become locally celebrated :

"Here dwelt a Printer, and, I find,
That he can both print books and bind ;
He wants not paper, ink, nor skill,
He's owner of a paper-mill :
The paper-mill is here, hard by,
And makes good paper frequently.
But the printer, as I here tell,
Is gone unto New York to dwell.
No doubt but he will lay up bags
If he can get good store of rags.



2 Richard Frame : A Short Description of Pennsylvania. Printed
and sold by William Bradford in Philadelphia, 1692.



PAPER MA NUFACTURING in the UNITED STATES

Kind friends when thy old shift is rent
Let it to th' paper mill be sent." 3

A few years later an Englishman, writing in London
concerning Pennsylvania, informed his readers that "all
sorts of good Paper are made in the German-Town" 4

As the practical man who alone was able to make the
mill a success, William Rittenhouse ultimately became the
sole owner. Turner disposed of his quarter interest in
1697, Tresse in 1701 and Bradford in 1704. Bradford de-
pended upon the mill even after the removal of his print-
ing business to New York; in 1697 he rented his part of
the property to the Rittenhouses upon these terms :

"That they the sd. W m - and Clause Rittenhouse shall
pay and deliver to sd. William Bradford, his Executors
or assigns or their order in Philadelphia y e full quan-
tity of Seven Ream of printing paper, Two Ream of
good writing paper and two Ream of blue paper,
yearly and every year during y e sd. Term of Ten
years. . . . . . Also it is further Covenanted

That during y e sd. Ten years y e sd. William and Clause
Rittenhouse shall lett y e said W m - Bradford his Execu-
tors or Assigns have y e refusal of all y e printing paper
that they make and he shall take y e same at Ten shill-
ings pr. Ream, As also y e sd. Bradford shall have y e
refusal of five Ream of writing paper and Thirty Ream
of brown paper yearly and every year during y e sd.
Term of Ten years, y c writing paper to be at 20 s and y e
brown paper at 6 s pr. Ream." 5

From this it is evident that Bradford was to receive
annually, for his share of the mill, paper valued at £6 2s,
that is, £61 for the term of ten years. In addition he also



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