YorksPast

Part of the USA Today Network

Talks Archives

Within the collections of the York County History Center are a few photos and a much larger group of negatives of a previously unidentified product of the S. Morgan Smith Company. The introductory photo is one component of that unidentified product; it shows S. Morgan Smith Company machinists inspecting a large rotor core being finished on their 42-foot boring mill. This post provides the sources that identify the overall product as a massive axial-flow air compressor; a key component in a Supersonic Wind Tunnel, which was one of NASA’s earliest development facilities.

The S. Morgan Smith Company, in York, Pennsylvania, was a prime contractor for manufacturing hydraulic-pneumatic catapults for launching Navy planes from the decks of aircraft carriers during World War 2. The catapult model, they produced, was capable of reliably launching 9,500-pound airplanes in 73-feet to a speed of 61 knots. Praise for manufacturing the catapult very much dominated the presentation of the Army-Navy “E” Award this company received on August 19, 1944.

Innovations of the S. Morgan Smith Company focuses on technological advances coupled with the history of the company and its successors during the Twentieth Century. As a companion to the excellent book “Re-Inventing The Wheel. The Incredible Story of S. Morgan Smith, Minister, Inventor, Industrialist,” by Stephen Nicholas, with Terry Downs, this Innovations Lecture shares stories and facts about the S. Morgan Smith Company that are not common knowledge.

William S. Shipley is known for his leadership in the “York Plan” and for being the national spokesman for that defense production plan during World War II; however he also provided astute leadership during York Ice Machinery Corporation’s transition from Ice Making to Air Conditioning during the 1930s. William S. Shipley succeeded his older brother Thomas Shipley as president of Yorkco in 1930.

Robert Fraser submitted photos of a 1937 Batch Ice Cream Freezer, which was manufactured by YORK Ice Machinery Corporation, at their plant in Canton, Ohio. The freezer is still used at Erikson’s Ice Cream Stand in Maynard, Massachusetts; because it makes better ice cream, compared to that made in modern freezers. Robert’s submission was the tipping point in writing about the Canton Plant; which became YORK’s third major manufacturing facility in 1927.

Who remembers the Liberty Limited Dinner Train, which operated in southern York County from 1996 until 2001 on the old Northern Central Railway tracks; better yet, who traveled on the original Liberty Limited, the deluxe express train of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which included the same section of rails, in its run between Washington D.C. and Chicago from 1925 until 1957.