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#14 Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart; The Prominent Foundry along the Codorus in York

Northeast looking photo of the Codorus Boat Basin & Foundry Plaza in York, PA (Photo & Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)
Northeast looking photo of the Codorus Boat Basin & Foundry Plaza in York, PA (Photo & Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

At #14 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart in York, PA. The 10th Factory Inspection Report, from the Pennsylvania Department of Factory Inspection, notes that on May 15th 1899, Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart has 140 employees; all male. Of these 140 employees, 17 employees are under 21-years-old, of which 3 are between 13 and 16-years-old. The goods manufactured are recorded as “Iron & Brass Castings.”

The site of this iron and brass foundry in York was along the west side of Codorus Creek, straddling West Philadelphia Street. I’ve pointed out the location of some of their key foundry buildings on the present photograph of the Codorus Boat Basin & Foundry Plaza.

The foundry site was on the north side of West Philadelphia Street; it is now the location of Susquehanna Commerce Center’s two 6-story office buildings. The pattern storage buildings still stand along the south side of West Philadelphia Street; the Waterway Bar & Grill is the present primary occupant. A flask storage building was located in the area of the present Boat Basin. Flasks hold together sand molds after receiving the impression of the wooden pattern.

The following photo of a neat plaque, on the wall of the Boat Basin, explains several steps in the casting process.

The silhouettes here show several foundry operations:

  • 1) Making the wooden pattern
  • 2) Mixing sand for the mold
  • 3) “Ramming up the mold,” (Packing sand around the pattern to make a mold)
  • 4) Filling a hand ladle with molten iron
  • 5) Pouring the hot metal into the sand mold

BoatBasinPlaque

The plaque also contains a short history of this site:

On this site once stood a portion of the Eyster, Weiser Company foundry, where wooden patterns were transformed into gray iron parts of printing presses, woodworking machinery and other manufacturing equipment.

A chain of creek-related industries preceded Eyster, Weiser. The Codorus Tannery, established in 1832, was followed by Codorus Foundry & Machine Works (known as Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart), then Baugher & Kurtz Co., Ltd. and finally, in 1909, Eyster, Weiser Company, which operated until 1971.

To the left [on the north wall of the Boat Basin] are castings of handmade patterns used by Eyster, Weiser. They duplicate the company’s unique pattern colors. They, and this wall, represent the blend of art and industry, technology and human skill, which are a pride of York City and the entire York area.

Continue reading as I expand upon the history of this progression of companies by use of maps, ads and photos.

 

 

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 #14 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart with 140 employees. Only 13 factories in all of York County, during 1899, had more employees.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from 1887 and 1908 nicely bracket the time Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart were in operation during 1899. Penn State Libraries has many of the older Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps available on-line at this link. These cover Pennsylvania, although they are primarily restricted to urban areas.

I’ve done all the look-up work for you in the following side-by-side Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps showing the foundry and tannery locations on the west side of the Codorus Creek during 1887 (on the left) and 1908 (on the right). However if you want to do some look-ups yourself; the specific links follow.

The link, to go directly to the 1887 map containing Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart, is here; then select Sheet 16 plus Sheet 17 in the right column. The link, to go directly to the 1908 map containing the same area, is here; then select Sheet 18 in the right column. These allow one to zoom-in to see greater detail or look at other areas of York in 1887 or 1908.

Images from 1887 & 1908 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of York, PA (Source: Penn State Libraries digital Sanborn site; Layout and Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)
Images from 1887 & 1908 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of York, PA (Source: Penn State Libraries digital Sanborn site; Layout and Annotations by S. H. Smith, 2014)

In 1887 the operations of Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart stretched along the west side of Codorus Creek from West Market Street to West Gas Alley. The primary identifications are “Baugher, Kurtz and Stewart; Foundry and Codorus Tannery” and “Codorus Iron Works and Tannery.”

In 1887, the tannery was located between West Market Street and West Clark Avenue; it contained buildings identified as: Vats, Steam Vats, Rolling, Leaches, Dry’g, Beam Ho. And Ware Ho.” In 1908, the tannery no longer existed; an auto garage was located in some of these buildings.

The foundry was located between West Philadelphia Street and West Gas Alley. The size of the foundry buildings appear to be about the same from 1887 to 1908. The major addition on the 1908 map is the large Machine Shop added along the north side of West Philadelphia Street, just west of the foundry; this is for “Frank A. Eyster and Eyster, Weiser & Co., Ltd.”

RechardTurbineThe Hagley Museum & Library in Wilmington, Delaware, contains ads and a 20-page catalog published in 1892 by Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart in York, Pa. The cataloged title concisely describes their business: “Codorus Iron Works, 1832-1892, Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart, Proprietors: Iron and Brass Founders, Machinists and Tanners, Manufacturers of the Rechard Turbine Water Wheel, the York Bark Mill, Powder Machinery, Mill Gearing and Mill Machinery.” Also in the Hagley collection is a 1894 catalog: “Codorus Iron Works, Gearing Catalogue of Baugher, Kurtz & Stewart: Manufacturers of the Rechard Turbine Water Wheel, York Bark Mill, York Corn Breaker, Mill Gearing and Machinery of all kinds.”

Frederick Baugher established the Codorus Tannery in 1832. The 1892 catalog lists Machinists and Tanners; that is the last reference I’ve seen about the tannery. The 1899 Factory Inspection Report does not list a tannery as being part of this business. I suspect the tannery shut down in the early 1890s.

It is not clear when Frederick Baugher began the Codorus Foundry and Machine Works, however his son George F. Baugher took over both the foundry and tannery from his father. In 1872, William H. Kurtz became a member of the firm; with a name change to Baugher and Kurtz. Then in 1886, W. F. Bay Stewart became a partner and the Company was known as Baugher, Kurtz and Stewart. A change of ownership occurred in 1894, however the Baugher, Kurtz and Stewart name was retained.

In 1899, George U. Weiser became a partner and the Company name was changed to Baugher & Kurtz Co. Ltd. At that time, John Strickler was President, George U. Weiser was Secretary & Treasurer, and William Eyster was General Manager. In 1904, Frank A. Eyster joined the firm; at which time the Eyster-Weiser Company name was adopted. The foundry continued under the direction of Eyster and Weiser descendants until shutting down in 1971.

Related posts include:

Publications of the York Chamber of Commerce contain the following photos of the Eyster-Weiser Company; showing their buildings on the north side of West Philadelphia Street.

Eyster-Weiser Company [Machine Shop at left and Foundry at right] (Source: 1946 York Chamber of Commerce publication, page 139)
Eyster-Weiser Company [Machine Shop at left and Foundry at right] (Source: 1946 York Chamber of Commerce publication, page 139)
Eyster-Weiser Company [Machine Shop at far left and Foundry at right] as viewed from West Philadelphia Street’s Codorus Creek Bridge (Source: 1957 York Chamber of Commerce publication, page 127)
Eyster-Weiser Company [Machine Shop at far left and Foundry at right] as viewed from West Philadelphia Street’s Codorus Creek Bridge (Source: 1957 York Chamber of Commerce publication, page 127)
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 37 factories provided employment for 2,976 people in York County during 1899.

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