#36 York Knitting Mills in York; Manufacturers of Hosiery
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 #36 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the York Knitting Mills in York. Henry L. Field and W. F. Bay Stewart were instrumental in establishing this company in 1889 in Norway Park, a plot of land W. F. Bay Stewart owned in the southeastern part of York City.
The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on June 1st 1899 the York Knitting Mills in York had 67 employees; 12 male and 55 female. Of these 67 employees, 46 employees were under 21-years-old, of which 2 male employees and 21 female employees were between 13 and 16-years-old.
Polk’s 1899 York City Directory indicates that Henry L. Field was the Proprietor of this company located in Norway Park, at the Railroad, in York. The following section of the 1903 Atlas of York, PA shows the specific location of the York Knitting Mills on the southwest corner of Wheatfield Street and the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad.
York Knitting Mills were incorporated September 8th 1899 per York County Deed Book 11U, page 81. In this corporate charter the five directors noted are: W. F. Bay Stewart, Henry L. Field, John McCoy, J. Jay Siliuire and H. K. Weiser.
George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County Pennsylvania includes the following about this company on page 766 of Volume 2:
York Knitting Mill Company, a prosperous enterprise, on Wheatfield Street, near the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, was originated in 1899, by Henry L. Field, who began the enterprise on a limited scale, and engaged in the manufacture of hosiery. At first only twenty-five hands were employed. About two years after the business was started, it passed into the hands of an incorporated company of which W. F. Bay Stewart, was chosen president, and J. T. Kopp, secretary, treasurer and general manager. The buildings have been enlarged and improved machinery added. The annual product during the past year has been double that of previous years. In 1907 one hundred and seventy men were employed.
This paragraph in the 1907 York County History did not match W. F. Bay Stewart’s section on page 9 of Volume II, which is the reason I searched out the document of incorporation; proving incorporation in 1899. I would suspect the initial part of Prowell’s paragraph should be corrected to read as follows:
… was originated in
18991889, by Henry L. Field and W. F. Bay Stewart, who began the enterprise on a limited scale, and engaged in the manufacture of hosiery. At first only twenty-five hands were employed. About twoTen years after the business was started, it passed into the hands of an incorporated company …
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 15 factories provided employment for 843 people in York County during 1899.
- #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