#33 Hanover Silk Company in Hanover; Countdown of Top 50 York County Factories at the end of 19th Century
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 and/or Tuesday, I’m counting down to the top employer in York County at the end of 19th Century.
At #33 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the Hanover Silk Company in Hanover. An 1898 directory of Hanover has the Hanover Silk Company located at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Walnut Street in Hanover. After the company was acquired by Ernest & Herman Levy, they expanded the Silk Mill; as seen in the ca 1918 photo at the beginning of this post.
The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on July 13th 1899 the Hanover Silk Company in Hanover has 75 employees; 31 male and 44 female. Of these 75 employees, 27 are between 16 and 21-years-old.
George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County has this to say about the Hanover Silk Company on page 833 of Volume I (T. J. O’Neill in the following paragraph is Thomas J. O’Neill per a 1904 directory):
Hanover Silk Company was organized as a limited partnership in 1892 by Vincent O’Bold, George D. Gitt and T. J. O’Neill. A three-story building, 120 x 60 feet, was erected in the eastern part of Hanover and fitted up with 45 looms for the manufacture of silk ribbon. This is the only silk mill in York County, engaged exclusively in the manufacture of ribbon. In 1904 the business was incorporated with George D. Gitt president and T. J. O’Neill, secretary and treasurer. About 100 hands are employed.
I had trouble pinpointing the exact time when Hanover Silk Company was acquired by Ernest & Herman Levy. This 1910 article in the Fulton County News closely follows the last mention of the Hanover Silk Company.
Thomas J. O’Neill was the biggest shareholder in the Hanover Silk Company. When O’Neill went bankrupt, that likely forced the sale of the company. Ernest & Herman Levy must have liked what they saw, and added this factory to their bevy of silk mills.
In 1879 the brothers Ernest & Herman Levy decided their future lay in the manufacture of silk ribbons. They established their company in New York City and progressively expanded by the acquisition of strategic silk mills around the country.
This article in The American Contractor issue of September 6, 1913 indicates that Ernest & Herman Levy owned the former Hanover Silk Company by September 1913. Ernest & Herman Levy is the name associated with this Hanover factory until 1922 when the Levy brothers incorporate as Century Ribbon Mills, Inc.
This 2013 Google Aerial View Map marks the portion of the Silk Mill (Marker A) that still stands in Hanover. This former Silk Mill has been developed by Woodland Development Incorporated. They have converted the factory into 10 modern two-bedroom “loft style” apartments. The address is 534 East Walnut Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
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 18 factories provided employment for 1,063 people in York County during 1899.
- #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