#45 Penn Heel & Innersole Factory in Hanover; Top 50 York County Factories at 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.
The undated photo of the Hanover Heel and Innersole Company is from a 1915 History of Hanover. The full title of this history is: Centennial of Incorporation of the Borough of Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1815-1915. During the time of the 10th Factory Inspection Report in 1899, this company was originally known as the Penn Heel and Innersole Company. The Penn name was used only through 1909, therefore this photo can be dated between 1909 and 1915.
At #45 in the count down is the Penn Heel & Innersole Factory in Hanover. The first five factories in the count down of the top 50 York County factories at end of 19th Century either made cigars or wagons. This is the only company in the list that made heels and innersoles and surprisingly the only company in the list that made anything shoe related. The Hanover Shoe Company was organized in the 20th Century; specifically in 1901. George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA has this to say about Penn Heel & Innersole on page 833 of Volume I:
The Penn Heel and Innersole Company, of Hanover, started on a limited scale and soon developed into a successful business, with W. A. Pitts as general manager. Originally this factory was engaged in making leather heels and innersoles, and then extended its business into making leather novelties and other products. In 1907 the factory was enlarged in order to accommodate the demands for the trade of this company.
The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on July 12th 1899 the Penn Heel and Innersole Company in Hanover had 52 employees; 26 male and 26 female. Of these 52 employees, 25 are under 21 years-old, of which 8 female employees are between 13 and 16-years-old.
Within the Hanover Directory of the 1898 Polk’s York City & County Directory, the Penn Heel & Innersole Company is listed in West Hanover. I later discovered that this company was located on High Street. Do any of my readers know the exact High Street location of this company in the west side of Hanover?
This 1898 Directory indicated William A. Pitts was treasurer & manager, and William E. Pitts was secretary of the company. In 1909 the company was incorporated as the Hanover Heel & Innersole Company with William E. Pitts as the president and manager. Page 89 of the Centennial of Incorporation of the Borough of Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1815-1915, lists the following 1915 officers for the Hanover Heel & Innersole Company: William E. Pitts, president and E. Henderson, secretary & treasurer. An Industrial Parade for the 1915 Hanover Centennial Celebration included the following float by the Hanover Heel & Innersole Company.
I was curious about the relationship between William A. Pitts and William E. Pitts. A little research showed they were father and son. William Ernest Pitts was born to parents William A. Pitts and his wife Elizabeth P. (Ingalls) Pitts on August 19th 1877 in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1909, William E. Pitts became president of the Hanover Heel & Innersole Company upon incorporation of the company that his father founded as the Penn Heel & Innersole Company.
William E. Pitts died November 17th 1932 in Hanover. Business affiliations and survivors from William’s obituary in the November 18th Gettysburg Times follow:
Mr. Pitts was formerly president of the Hanover Heel and Innersole company. Mr. Pitts was a former president of the Sure Foot Heel and Rubber company, before its purchase by the Funkhouser interests.
Surviving him are: His widow, who was Miss Pearl I. DeLong, before marriage; three sons, Donald, at home; Reginald, Hanover, and William Jr., a student at Gettysburg academy; two daughters, Mrs. Leonard Emerton, Hanover, and Mrs. Robert M. Wolff, Philadelphia, and his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth P. Ingalls Pitts, Hanover. Two grandchildren also survive. His father was the late William A. Pitts.
A review of my count down, thus far, of the 50 top factories in York County at the end of 19th Century follows:
- #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