#12 The Hench & Dromgold Company; Agricultural Implement Maker of York, PA
At #12 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is The Hench & Dromgold Company in York, PA. The 10th Factory Inspection Report, from the Pennsylvania Department of Factory Inspection, notes that on February 16th 1899, The Hench & Dromgold Company has 145 employees; all male. Of these 145 employees, 25 employees were under 21-years-old, of which 4 employees were between 13 and 16-years-old. The goods manufactured are recorded as “Agricultural Implements.”
The birds-eye-view of the Hench & Dromgold factory looks in the northwest direction; from the corner of North Hartley Street and the Railroad Tracks. That viewpoint is indicated on the site map of the plant within the 1903 Atlas of the City of York:
The Hench & Dromgold factory was bounded by North Hartley Street to the east, the Railroad Tracks to the south and Park Street to the north. A few years after the Hench & Dromgold factory was established at this location, York Manufacturing Company built their plant immediately to the south side of the Railroad Tracks and S. Morgan Smith Company built their plant immediately to the north side of Park Street.
George R. Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA, notes the following about Hench & Dromgold in Volume I, page 764:
Hench & Dromgold Company, extensive manufacturers of saw mills, engines, grain drills, corn shellers, spring tooth and spike tooth harrows, own one of the prominent industrial establishments in York. The business was founded at Ickesburg, Perry County, in 1877, and in the spring of 1879, removed to York. Since that time, about 225 men have been regularly employed. The firm is composed of S. Nevin Hench and Walker A. Dromgold. Within recent years, the firm has owned large tracks of woodland in Randolph County, West Virginia, where they have operated saw mills, regularly employing 100 men. During the bark season about 200 hands are employed.
Hench & Dromgold’s earliest expertise was in sawmill design, however they rapidly expanded into the agricultural implement business. The following 1898 Ad in The American Thresherman shows the type of sawmill they manufactured near the turn of the century:
Continue reading for more on The Hench & Dromgold Company.
In my post Late 1800s Factory Inspection Reports Assist in Identification of an East Prospect Photo I wrote about finding these reports in the State Library of Pennsylvania. For this series on the Top 50 York County Factories at the end of 19th Century, I’m using data from the 10th Report of the Pennsylvania Department of Factory Inspection.
The 10th Factory Inspection Report is for the Department’s year ending October 31st 1899. I ranked the 479 York County factories by numbers of employees; #50 has 47 employees, on up to #1 with 510 employees. In the coming weeks, on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, I’m counting down to the top employer in York County at the end of 19th Century. At #12 in 1899, only 11 factories in York County employed workers more than Hench & Dromgold.
S. Nevin Hench began the small scale manufacturing of sawmills within Perry County in 1873. Walker A. Dromgold became Hench’s partner in 1877; forming The Hench & Dromgold Company. To expand their Perry County business, they selected a York County sub-contractor to manufacture their sawmill design; it is believed the sub-contractor was A. B. Farquhar, because during the 1880s, Hench & Dromgold had offices within Farquhar’s company, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Works.
It is likely through their association with A. B. Farquhar, that Hench & Dromgold moved their works to York and got into the agricultural implement business. The following Hench & Dromgold ad for their Spring Tooth Harrow appeared in the Farm Implement News during 1891:
An interesting product that Hench & Dromgold got into during 1900 was a “Tractor Seat Chair.” Walker A. Dromgold even got a U. S. Patent on this chair, which I wrote about at this link. Floyd Stiles provided photos of a Hench & Dromgold corn sheller; see this link.
Like most other agricultural implement manufacturers in York County, Hench & Dromgold eventually could not compete with the much larger A. B. Farquhar Company. Hench & Dromgold went out of business in 1919. The adjoining York Manufacturing Company purchased the Hench & Dromgold factory and used it for storage and production work until 1957; when Borg-Warner Corporation moved some operations out of state and consolidated what remained of the York Division manufacturing operations within the Grantley Plant. The former Hench & Dromgold factory buildings were demolished in 1978.
A review of my count down, thus far, of the 50 top factories in York County at the end of 19th Century follows. As a group, these 39 factories provided employment for 3,264 people in York County during 1899.
- #12 The Hench & Dromgold Company in York; 145 employees
- #13 Hanover Match Company in Hanover; 143 employees
- #14 Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart in York; 140 employees
- #15 Wrightsville Hardware Company in Wrightsville; 130 employees
- #16 John C. Schmidt & Company in York; 120 employees
- #17 Celestino, Costello & Company in York; 114 employees
- #18 Holtzman Manufacturing Company in York; 114 employees
- #19 York Wall Paper Company in York; 101 employees
- #20 Wells Whip Company in Wellsville; 100 employees
- #21 Billmeyer & Small Company in York; 100 employees
- #22 Nes Chain Manufacturing Company in York; 100 employees
- #23 Variety Iron Works in York; 100 employees
- #24 Oppenheim, Oberndorf and Company in York; 98 employees
- #25 Industrial Sewing Company of Glen Rock; 96 employees
- #26 New York Wire Cloth Company in York; 90 employees
- #27 Peter C. Fulweiler & Brothers Cigar Factory in York; 89 employees
- #28 York Safe & Lock Company in Spring Garden Township; 89 employees
- #29 Keystone Farm Machine Company in York; 87 employees
- #30 J. E. Williams & Company in York; 85 employees
- #31 Acme Wagon Company in Emigsville; 80 employees
- #32 Columbia Embroidery Works in Wrightsville; 80 employees
- #33 Hanover Silk Company in Hanover; 75 employees
- #34 George A. Kohler & Company Cigar Factory in York; 74 employees
- #35 Weaver Organ & Piano Company in York; 71 employees
- #36 York Knitting Mills in York; 67 employees
- #37 D. F. Stauffer Bakery in York; 66 employees
- #38 LaButa Cigar Factory in York; 65 employees
- #39 A. F. Hostetter Cigar Factory in Hanover; 64 employees
- #40 Broomell, Schmidt & Company Factory in York; 62 employees
- #41 William H. Raab Cigar Factory in Dallastown; 59 employees
- #42 Edwin Myers & Co. Cigar Box & Lithographic Works in York; 56 employees
- #43 Paragon Cigar Factory in York; 54 employees
- #44 York Cracker Bakery in York; 53 employees
- #45 Penn Heel & Innersole Factory in Hanover; 52 employees
- #46 George W. Gable Cigar Factory in Windsor; 50 employees
- #47 Charles P. Ketterer Wagon Factory in Hanover; 50 employees
- #48 National Cigar Manufacturing Company in West Manchester; 50 employees
- #49 George W. Hoover Wagon Factory in York; 48 employees
- #50 David S. Detwiler Cigar Factory in Wrightsville; 47 employees