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Where does Rail Car Manufacturing fall within The Rise of Industrial York?

Slide from a Presentation on 19th Century Railway Car Builders of York, Pennsylvania (S. H. Smith)

Where does Rail Car Manufacturing fall within The Rise of Industrial York?  I ask this question during my presentations on 19th Century Railway Car Builders of York.  There is no doubt rail car building was one of the earliest industrial industries in York.  These 19th Century manufacturers shipped rail car product all over the United States and exported to foreign countries.

Herein is an index to all of my posts related to 19th Century Railway Car Builders of York County, Pennsylvania.  A bulletin board with my upcoming talks on the subject (and several variant talks) is displayed prior to the index.


The first York built rail cars were produced in 1847; by 1852 there were three rail car manufacturers within the Borough of York, and a fourth rail car manufacturer added in Glen Rock during 1854.  The York Gazetteer and Business Directory for the Borough in 1856 noted:

Over 1,000 cars of different capacities were turned out, by these three factories during the past year. … Who will say that York is not the place for building cars?


Tuesday April 22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at the Peoples Bank in Glen Rock  –A talk for the Glen Rock Historic Preservation Society will utilize parts of my standard presentation on the railcar builders in the York area in addition to other Rail Events in 1800s Glen Rock Area.  A Glen Rock company produced railcars from 1854 until about 1889.

If you have an interest in the early industrial history of York County, I present talks focusing on 19th Century Railcar Builders of York, Pennsylvania; along with a growing list of other subjects.

If you would like to have this talk presented to your organization, contact me via a reply to this post.  I have three variations of the standard talk, ranging from the detailed talk lasting 90 minutes to the general talk lasting 60 minutes.

Past Talks on 19th Century Railcar Builders of York, Pennsylvania have included:

  • November 7, 2012 –A talk at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State York on the many railcar builders in York during the latter half of the 19th Century. [90 minute talk]
  • November 29, 2012 –A talk at the Red Lion Area Historical Society on the key railcar builders in the York area and the impact these competitors had on influencing the route of the Peach Bottom Railway (predecessor of the Ma & Pa). [90 minute talk]
  • June 8, 2013 –A talk at the Historical Society Museum, 250 East Market Street, York, PA.  This was a Second Saturday Lecture for the York County Heritage Trust. [75 minute talk]
  • June 21, 2013 –A talk at Normandie Ridge, 1700 Normande Drive, York, PA. [60 minute talk]

INDEX to All My Posts Related to 19th Century Railway Car Builders of York County, Pennsylvania

General Interest

Billmeyer & Small


Every Thursday, I post the next part of my RAILCAR GOLD novel; a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure primarily set in York County during the later half of the Nineteenth Century.  By happenstance, the main character passes through York, is befriended by Charles Billmeyer and decides to stay.  The main character spends the greater part of his life associated with the rail car manufacturing business Billmeyer & Small.

Generally every Tuesday I write the next few pages of RAILCAR GOLD; to do so, I dig into my files of historical background that might be associated with that part of the story.  Here is an index to the chapters written thus far:

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts