#4 P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill in Spring Grove; Over 150 Years of Paper Making
In 1852, Jacob G. Hauer established the Spring Forge Paper Mill within a former iron forge; it was the first paper mill in what is now Spring Grove. After Jacob died in 1855, his widow Susan hired operators to keep the paper mill running for Jacob’s heirs. By 1863, the paper mill was producing about 1,500 pounds of paper per day. Susan Hauer died July 9, 1863; a few days after the Confederate invasion of York County, with Spring Forge having fallen to the rebels on June 27, 1863.
Later in 1863, President Lincoln passed nearby on his way to attend the dedication of the battleground cemetery in Gettysburg, where he said a few words; his now famous Gettysburg Address. The following month, on December 23, 1863, Philip H. Glatfelter purchased the Spring Forge Paper Mill at an orphan’s court sale; marking the start of the P. H. Glatfelter Company.
The Spring Forge section of Shearer’s 1860 Map of York County is marked up with present street names. Also the map section is annotated with the specifics of P. H. Glatfelter’s 1863 purchase from the Heirs of Jacob Hauer.
By 1899, the P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill in Spring Grove had grown to become the fourth largest factory employer in all of York County. The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on February 21st 1899, the P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill has 259 employees; 213 male and 46 female. Of these 259 employees, 35 employees are under 21-years-old, of which 2 male employees and 12 female employees were between 13 and 16 years old. The goods manufactured are recorded as “Book & Writing Paper.”
Background for P. H. Glatfelter’s entry into the paper making business can be found in the post: Jacob Loucks learned the Paper Making Trade near Hunt Valley, Maryland; P. H. Glatfelter followed in his footsteps. P. H. Glatfelter was associated with Jacob Loucks in many ways. Beginning in the late 1850s, P. H. Glatfelter apprenticed under Jacob Loucks, learning the paper making trade. Philip Henry Glatfelter married Amanda Elizabeth Loucks, the younger sister of Jacob Loucks. P. H. Glatfelter borrowed funds from his brother-in-law Jacob Loucks to purchase the Spring Forge Paper Mill in 1863. An interesting side note is that afterwards, the second marriage of widower Jacob Loucks is to Mary E. Hauer; a daughter and one of the heirs of Jacob and Susan Hauer, who previously owned and operated in the Spring Forge Paper Mill.
Years later, P. H. Glatfelter had the chance to return the favors to Jacob Loucks. Within six years of being established, all except one of the original six founders of the York Manufacturing Company left to start their own companies. Jacob Loucks was the sole remaining founder and was eventually responsible for getting the company into the ice making business. This turned out to be an expensive move that nearly bankrupt both the company and Jacob Loucks; however it was a necessary move, otherwise York Air Conditioning may have never happened. Philip H. Glatfelter provided the helping hand to his brother-in-law by personally paying off all debts and taking control of the York Manufacturing Company in 1888. The following photo of Philip Henry Glatfelter is from that time; when he was about 51 years old.
The Paper Mill was originally on the east side of what is now South Main Street in Spring Grove. In 1874, P. H. Glatfelter began a major expansion by building a new, larger Paper Mill on the west side of South Main Street. The mill also benefited from the addition of rail service, when the Hanover & York Railroad was completed in 1875.
The further expansion of the Paper Mill is noted in George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA; quoting from Volume I, Page 911:
In 1880 the business of the Spring Grove mills had grown to such proportions that it became necessary to increase the capacity of the plant. A contract was entered into with the Pusey & Jones Company, of Wilmington, Delaware, to furnish an improved Fourdrinier machine, 101 inches in width. . . . [This 101-inch machine] was the largest in the world from 1881 to 1887.
When George W. Childs, proprietor of the “Public Ledger,” of Philadelphia, installed two of the largest perfecting presses in the world, in 1887, requiring a roll of paper 94 inches wide, he found that the Spring Grove mill was the only paper manufacturing plant in the country that could furnish this width roll.
In 1892 he [P. H. Glatfelter] discontinued the manufacture of paper for printing newspapers and began to make book, lithograph and blank book paper, for which the Spring Grove mills have become famous all over the country. . . . [In 1906,] the entire stock of the [P. H. Glatfelter] Company is owned by P. H. Glatfelter, W. L. Glatfelter [his son] and C. E. Moul, a son-in-law.
The following is a turn-of-the-century postcard photo of the P. H. Glatfelter Company. This postcard was published by M. W. Lau of Spring Grove and was Made in Germany; note the misspelling “Gladfelder.” This is a northward looking view of the Paper Mill; looking across the West Branch of the Codorus Creek.
P. H. Glatfelter was heavily involved in three of the top 13 York County Factories during 1899. Beside his Paper Mill at #4, the others are:
Continue reading for additional details about the P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill in Spring Grove:
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, I’m counting down to the top employer in York County at the end of 19th Century. At #4 in the countdown is the P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill in Spring Grove; i.e. in 1899, only three factories in all of York County provided jobs to more employees.
It is a matter of public record, the proposals that the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. receives for procuring machine-finished book printing paper. The following tabulation, from 1898/1899, provides a list of some of P. H. Glatfelter’s primary competitors during that time.
Viewing the close scatter on prices of book printing paper; competition was intense. Six paper companies were low bidder at 3-cents per pound. P. H. Glatfelter was one of four companies, bidding 3.1-cents per pound. The bids for the other companies went as high as 3.6-cents per pound.
The following northwest looking view of the P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill in Spring Grove appears in the 1957 book, “York, Pennsylvania. A Dynamic Community Forges Ahead,” published by the York Chamber of Commerce. The article on page 134 closes with, “The Company’s skilled and faithful employees, now 750 in number, have added much to its present-day growth.”
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 47 factories provided employment for 4,919 people in York County during 1899.
- #4 P. H. Glatfelter Paper Mill in Spring Grove; 259 employees
- #5 American Caramel Company in York; 250 employees
- #6 York Haven Paper Company in York Haven; 250 employees
- #7 York Rolling Mill in Spring Garden Township; 200 employees
- #8 York Carriage Company in York; 197 employees
- #9 Jacob A. Mayer & Brothers in North York; 170 employees
- #10 S. Morgan Smith Company in York; 166 employees
- #11 York Card & Paper Company in York; 163 employees
- #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