#40 Broomell, Schmidt & Company Factory in York; Birthplace of Pullman Motor Car
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.
The 2013 Bird’s Eye Aerial View from Bing.com is used to locate the 1899 factory of Broomell, Schmidt & Company in the northeast part of York, PA. By 1903 the same factory was the home of Broomell, Schmidt & Steacy Company, with Broomell still the President. Within this boiler and steam heating supplies manufacturing plant, fabrication of the first motor car in York was completed during 1903. The six-wheel Pullman Motor Car was the brainchild of inventive genius Albert P. Broomell.
At #40 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the Broomell, Schmidt & Company. This was the second business venture of Lancaster County native Albert P. Broomell after he moved to York when he was 34-years-old. In the early 1880’s Broomell partnered with Benton S. Frey in the firm of Frey & Broomell; this was a brass foundry located on North Street, near George Street in York.
Evidently the Frey & Broomell brass foundry was not successful, because we find Albert Broomell, a superintendent, working for A. B. Farquhar, on their Traction-Engines, for several years in the mid-1880s. Broomell’s next business venture was the manufacturing of heating equipment. Albert would be involved in this line of work for the rest of his life; except for a side interest in getting York’s automotive industry off the ground.
In 1887, Broomell partnered with Edmund J. Sanks. The firm Broomell & Sanks initially was located at the corner of North Queen and York Street in York. In 1889 the company became Broomell, Schmidt & Company, Limited and was located on Hay Street near North Queen Street. George S. Schmidt was a business partner with Broomell for many years in both the heating equipment and automobile manufacturing operations.
The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on March 13th 1899 the Broomell, Schmidt & Company in York had 62 employees; all male. Of these 62 employees, 6 employees were under 21 years-old, but over 16-years-old. The factory inspector reported that the company made steam heating supplies.
In 1900, the company reorganized as Broomell, Schmidt and Steacy Company, with the addition of Edwin G. Steacy as the new Treasurer of the firm. The following plate from the 1903 Atlas of York, PA shows the location of this firm along Hay Street; i.e. heavy red shaded location. This is the location indicated on the aerial photo at the beginning of this post.
Along Hay Street, to the west of the Broomell, Schmidt and Steacy Co. plant, was Spangler Manufacturing Company in 1903. The atlas shows that Broomell’s company had acquired houses and vacant land to the east of the plant for eventual expansion; i.e. light red shaded location.
Within this boiler and steam heating supplies manufacturing plant on Hay Street, fabrication of the first motor car in York was completed during 1903. The six-wheel Pullman Motor Car was the brainchild of inventive genius Albert P. Broomell. As production of the Pullman Automobiles took off after 1905, Albert Broomell continued to run his heating equipment manufacturing business while also offering guidance as a director and principal stockholder of the automobile company.
In 1907 Broomell became involved in a third venture when he formed the Vapor Heating Company of York, PA based upon two U.S. Patents he received in this field. This venture quickly prospered, such that Broomell sold his interest in Broomell, Schmidt and Steacy Co. during 1909. That firm became Steacy Schmidt Manufacturing Company on January 1st 1910.
Albert P. Broomell served as President of the Vapor Heating Company until near the time of his death April 16th 1921. This company had manufacturing operations in York and Philadelphia. The following ad and listing from the 1921 York City Directory shows the officers of the company that continued to make the Broomell System for Vapor Heating.
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 11 factories provided employment for 581 people in York County during 1899.
- #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