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Late 1800s Factory Inspection Reports Assist in Identification of an East Prospect Photo

Main Reading Room in State Library of Pennsylvania, Capitol Complex, Harrisburg, PA

A few years ago substantial State budget cuts forced the State Library of Pennsylvania to cut back hours to three-days-a-week; lets hope the new State budget does not force further cuts.  I’ve had an 1896 photo from East Prospect for some time and visited the State Library in search of ways to assist in a more detailed identification of this photo.

At the State Library I discovered late 1800s Factory Inspection Reports that were quite detailed; I’ll discuss them in this post.  Tomorrow I’ll reveal the photo and how I utilized the resources in this post and yesterdays post to identify the photo.  The other posts in this series include:


The State Library of Pennsylvania is located in the Forum Building along South Drive to the rear of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.  The library is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30am to 5:00pm.  I was looking for any reports that recorded the number of employees in industries throughout the state, especially the very small industries; preferably broken down between male and female employees.

I was pointed in the direction of The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.  This department was created in 1913, however it was an outgrowth of the Office of Factory Inspector, which was created in 1889 to administer safety inspections of industrial plants throughout Pennsylvania.

The library has bound Annual Reports of the Factory Inspector for the years 1893 to 1903.  The annual reports for the years 1904 to 1912 were under the title Annual Reports of the Chief Factory Inspector.  The report for 1897 was the first year to provide the intricate details that I wanted.  Some of these details from the 1897 and 1898 reports are as follows.

  • In 1897, the largest cigar factory in East Prospect employed 20 workers (11 male & 9 female); the second largest cigar factory in East Prospect employed 10 workers (5 male & 5 female).
  • In 1898, the largest cigar factory in East Prospect employed 20 workers (10 male & 10 female); the second largest cigar factory in East Prospect employed 11 workers (8 male & 3 female).

Per the Factory Inspection Reports, in 1897 and 1898, E. J. Sitler owned East Prospect’s largest cigar factory by a substantial factor.  Per family history research, this is Edward J. Sitler, who was born October 30, 1862; therefore he was roughly 35 years old at the time of these reports.

Look for my upcoming series of posts on industries throughout York County around 1900.  I’ll be using information from these Annual Reports of the Factory Inspector in many of these posts.

This is my 123rd post. An inventory of the general topics and locations that have been the subjects of my first 100 posts are presented in a 100-tile mosaic that breaks down these posts into seven general categories.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts