#35 Weaver Organ & Piano Company in York; 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 #35 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the Weaver Organ & Piano Company in York. From its incorporation in 1882, this company was always located on the east side of Broad Street, between Philadelphia and Walnut Streets in York.
The year that John O. Weaver established this organ and piano business varies depending upon the source; anywhere from 1859 to 1870. Weaver Company advertising consistently uses 1870 as the year J. O. Weaver began to manufacture organs and pianos in various small buildings in the city of York. In 1882 the company was incorporated; coinciding with their factory being built along Broad Street. The following illustration shows this factory as it existed in 1899.
The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on March 13th 1899 the Weaver Organ & Piano Company in York had 71 employees; all male. Of these 71 employees, 6 employees were under 21-years-old, but over 16-years-old.
In 1896, Milton B. Gibson assumed the Presidency of the company following the death of its founder. Mr. Gibson was also the Mayor of York from 1902 to 1905. The following section of the 1903 Atlas of York, PA shows the specific location of the Weaver Organ & Piano Company Factory on the east side of Broad Street, between Philadelphia and Walnut Streets in York.
The company manufactured about 75,000 organs up until 1912; when the Weaver organ line was discontinued. At that time, all company resources became focused on making Weaver and York pianos and player pianos. The factory was periodically increased in size. The following illustration shows the four-story factory that existed in 1946.
At peak production in 1929, the factory manufactured 45 pianos a day and employed 200 workers. Orders for pianos steadily declined in the 1950s. The Weaver Factory shutdown in 1959 after production had dropped to one or two pianos a day.
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 16 factories provided employment for 914 people in York County during 1899.
- #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