Chapter XXXV

South Chester Borough.


Garfield Mill. - The Garfield Mill, a two-story brick building, one hundred by fifty feet, was erected at the corner of Morton Street and the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, by Messrs. Law & Devenney, in the year 1881, and fitted with machinery for the manufacture of cotton yarn. Subsequently its capacity was doubled, and it now contains three thousand and twenty-four spindles and fourteen cards, which are driven by an eighty horse-power engine. Twenty loom-hands are employed, and five thousand three hundred pounds of cotton yarn is produced weekly.

Oil-Cloth Works. - About eighteen years ago Eli D. Pierce erected on his farm in Nether Providence a building for the tanning of sheep-skins. The business increased so rapidly that he purchased land at the foot of Tilghman Street, where he erected frame buildings, and removed thereto. Here he began largely the tanning of goat-skins, and continued till the spring of 1882, when, by reason of the failure of business men in Boston, to whom he sold largely, he was compelled to make an assignment. In the summer of that year the buildings were rented by Edward S. Worrell, who fitted them with the most improved machinery for the manufacture of oil-cloth. Six thousand yards of oil-cloth are made weekly. George P. Worrell is superintendent.

Chester Rolling-Mills. - The Chester Rolling-Mills were incorporated March 10, 1875, with John Roach, John Q. Denny, C. B. Houston, John B. Roach, D. F. Houston, and Garret Roach, as corporators. John Roach was chosen president, C. B. Houston secretary and treasurer. The original capital of the company was three hundred thousand dollars, which was increased to five hundred thousand dollars in 1880, and in 1882 to six hundred thousand dollars. The real estate of the old bridge and steel-works was purchased, at the foot of Wilson and Hayes Streets, between Townsend and Highland Avenue, and from Front Street to Delaware River. In that year (1875) the company commenced the erection of main rolling-mill building, one hundred and sixty by one hundred and eighty-five feet; in 1879 it was doubled, and is now three hundred and twenty by one hundred and eighty-five feet, the capacity of the works being increased in proportion. Above the rolling-mill, in 1880, the blast-furnace was erected, covering about one and a quarter acres with its different buildings, and was put in blast Nov. 1, 1881. The machinery is of the latest and most improved kinds.

The steel-works, erected in 1881, are ninety by one hundred and forty feet. The first blast was made April 1, 1882. Five hundred hands are employed, and the wages amount weekly to six thousand dollars. The capacity of production of these works is three hundred tons of plate, seven hundred tons of pig-iron, and three hundred tons of steel ingots weekly. Fourteen hundred tons of ore, six hundred tons of limestone, and one thousand tons of coal are used weekly. Much of the ore is imported direct from Spain and Africa. The present officers of the company are John Roach, president; Charles B. Houston, treasurer; Richard Peters, Jr., secretary, and Thomas J. Houston, general manager.

The Chester Pipe and Tube Company was incorporated in 1877, with a capital of three hundred thousand dollars. Seventeen acres of ground at the intersection of Front and West Streets was purchased, and two large brick buildings and other smaller ones erected. Twenty thousand tons of skelp iron are used, from which is manufactured eighteen thousand tons of wrought-iron pipes annually. Two hundred hands are employed.

Standard Steel Casting Company. - This company was incorporated June 22, 1883, with Pedro G. Salom, president; William E. Trainer, vice-president; Richard Wetherell, treasurer; John B. Booth, secretary. Ten acres of ground were purchased at Thurlow Station, on the line of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, and a building, one hundred and fourteen feet in width by one hundred and sixty feet in length, was erected. Work was commenced on the 1st of March, 1884, with seventy hands. The mill has a capacity of producing three thousand tons of steel per annum.

Chester Oil-Works. - In September, 1880, the Chester Oil Company was organized. A large tract of land along the river front and on the southwestern limit of South Chester borough was purchased, and the large buildings, which cover an area of twelve acres, were built. On the 23d of March following the refining of oil was commenced, and twenty thousand barrels of crude oil is used per week. Twelve large stills with a charging capacity of ten thousand barrels, two agitators, six bleachers, and six large boilers for engine and pumping purposes, with much other machinery, are used in turning out two thousand barrels of refined oil per day, and naphtha, tar, and other products. The company have a storage capacity for one hundred and forty-six thousand barrels of crude oil tankage and six thousand barrels of other tankage. Three of the largest pumps have each a capacity of three thousand barrels per hour. They carry fourteen-inch suction-lines and twelve-inch supply-lines. Beneath the surface of ,the entire ground is a network of pipes, all of which are accurately drawn on a plan of the works, so that at any time an engineer with compass and chain can not only find any pipe desired, but every joint and stop-cock can be designated and its size and use told. There is not a tank or a building anywhere in the works that is not well protected in case of fire, as both steam and water can be turned on in all of them in such quantity as to extinguish the flames. Four artesian wells have been sunk to obtain cold water for condensing purposes. One of these is four hundred and fifty feet deep and furnishes seventy barrels per hour. The ordinary supply of water is obtained from the river.


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