#8 York Carriage Company; becomes site of Pullman Automobile production in York
This Morning Wagon with Rumble Seat is one of the many carriage models produced by the York Carriage Company in York, PA. At #8 in the count down of the Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century is the York Carriage Company. The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on March 2nd 1899, the York Carriage Company has 197 employees; 195 male and 2 female. Of these 197 employees, 35 employees are under 21-years-old. The goods manufactured are recorded as “Carriages.”
The York Carriage Company was established during 1889, at 158-160 North George Street in York. That location is presently occupied by the Pullman Building; housing the Pullman Apartments at 238 North George Street. Don’t be misled by the different street numbers; between then and now, the street address numbers changed in York (see this link).
The following early letterhead from the York Carriage Company is dated 8/20/1889. The letter is from the collections of the York County Heritage Trust.
The Carriage Factory of H. Martin & Son existed at this site until failing due to financial difficulties in 1888; the audits for the creditors occurred in November of that year. That business included Hiram Martin and his son Milton D. Martin. Milton became a member of his father’s carriage business in 1882 and in 1888 went off on his own to establish the immensely successful Martin Carriage Works.
In 1889, Samuel E. Baily, of Philadelphia, purchased the H. Martin & Son carriage factory and established the York Carriage Company. The York Carriage Company was an extension of his already well-established carriage factory in Lancaster, known as the S. E. Baily Company.
Baily’s two carriage factories shared everything from production to catalogs. The following illustration shows the cover of their common catalog; whilst on every page inside, the logos of both companies are shown in the border.
The York Carriage Company was incorporated December 28, 1891; by Samuel E. Baily, J. Calvin Schutte, Jacob B. Burne, William C. Cox and A. P. Miller. With the infusion of $100,000 in capital, the York Carriage Company expanded with additional buildings west to Cherry Alley and north to North Street. Per the City Directories the street number on their building along North George Street changes from 158 to 240 N. George Street between the 1898 and 1899 directories (for details see this link). In 1899, the City Directory lists the following owners: Samuel E. Baily, J. Calvin Schutte, George W. Ryan and William C. Cox.
On April 6, 1904, fire destroyed the York Carriage Company factory. Sadly, three firefighters from the Vigilant Fire Company lost their lives fighting the massive fire: Harry Saltzgiver, Horace F. Strine and Lewis Stubinger.
The York Carriage Company not only rebuilt their factory on the site of the fire, but also built a second York factory in the eastern part of the city at Franklin and Hay Streets. The two York Carriage Company factories in York combined to produce 18,000 carriages annually.
The following Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, from 1908, is along the west side of North George Street bounded by North Street and Cherry Alley. This Sanborn map section is from Penn State Libraries on-line digital collection of older Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.
In 1908, the present 238 North George St. Pullman Building is numbered 240 North George Street. In 1908, the York Carriage Company owned the facilities, shaded in purple, where the York Motor Car Company was manufacturing Pullman Automobiles. During 1908, the Pullman’s were in their fourth year of production; with a production rate of about 3 automobiles per day.
In 1908, the Sanborn map indicates they were still manufacturing carriages at this location; in addition to automobiles. However as Pullman production ramped up in years to come, the carriage making was relegated to the East York factory. In the complex of buildings extending back to Cherry Alley and up to North Street from 240 North George Street, over 23,300 Pullman Automobiles were produced between 1903 and 1917.
Continue reading for the final chapter in the history of the York Carriage Company.
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 #8 in the countdown is the York Carriage Company in York; i.e. in 1899, only seven factories in all of York County provided jobs to more employees.
The York Carriage Company gradually transitioned from carriage making to automobile body manufacturing. The following 1916 ad is from the Automobile Trade Journal:
The Ford Model T offered limited commercial bodies in its early production and Ford ultimately decided to discontinue this option in 1913 to concentrate wholly on mass quantities of a single model. The York Carriage Company, like many other enterprising carriage manufacturers, jumped in to fill the void. Ford was happy to sell a single version of a stripped down Model T chassis and leave others to deal with manufacturing all varieties of truck bodies. It was not until 1924 that the first factory-built Ford Model T pick-ups were introduced.
The York Body Corporation acquired the Franklin Street plant of the York Carriage Company in 1918. York Body was another York company specializing in auto body manufacturing. The York Body Corporation and the Hoover Body Company merged in 1928, forming the York-Hoover Body Corporation. The new corporation had a capacity of 50,000 auto commercial bodies annually. Additional details on the York-Hoover Body Corporation can be found in the post #49 George W. Hoover Wagon Factory in York; Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century.
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 43 factories provided employment for 3,960 people in York County during 1899.
- #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