S. Morgan Smith’s Success Washing Machine; Origins of the York Manufacturing Company
The company lineage of today’s Johnson Controls’ Building Efficiency operations in York goes back through the following business names:
- York International Corporation (1986-2005)
- York Division of Borg-Warner Corporation (1956-1986)
- York Corporation (1942-1956)
- York Ice Machinery Corporation (1927-1942)
- York Manufacturing Company (1874-1927)
It all started with the establishment of the York Manufacturing Company in 1874. Other posts in this series on The Origins of the York Manufacturing Company include:
- S. Morgan Smith, patentee Success Washing Machine, at 436 West Market Street in York
- S. Morgan Smith learns a valuable lesson about patents; at the hands of McGinnes & Carter
- Jacob Loucks; Family History of a Founder of the York Manufacturing Company
- Jacob Loucks learned the Paper Making Trade near Hunt Valley, Maryland; P. H. Glatfelter followed in his footsteps
- Jacob Loucks affiliations with Four Paper Mills make him Relatively Wealthy; prior to providing Start-up Cash for York Manufacturing Company
- Oliver J. Bollinger brought Manufacturing Experience to the York Manufacturing Company in addition to contributing his patent on a Turbine Water Wheel
- Oliver J. Bollinger and his initial Patented Bollinger Turbine Water Wheel
- O. J. Bollinger & Co. plus S. Morgan Smith and Jacob Loucks form the York Manufacturing Company in 1874
In 1874 six men in York, Pennsylvania, contributed resources to jointly form the York Manufacturing Company. Stephen Morgan Smith contributed two washing machine patents valued at $20,000; since it was an already established product. Oliver J. Bollinger held a patent on a turbine water wheel. Bollinger shared the rights to his invention with three investors; George H. Buck, Robert L. Shetter and Henry H. LaMotte. As a group, Bollinger, Buck, Shetter and LaMotte contributed the Bollinger Turbine Water Wheel patent for a $4,500 stake. Jacob Loucks invested $10,000 in cash. Henry H. LaMotte also gave the new company the use of a machine shop he owned on North Penn Street in York for an additional $7,000 stake in the company.
Smith’s Success Washing Machine was the first product sold by the York Manufacturing Company. In this post I’m examining the origins of the washing machine patents contributed by Stephen Morgan Smith. After leaving the York Manufacturing Company, Smith establishes another prominent York, Pennsylvania, business, the S. Morgan Smith Company; which grew to become a world renowned hydraulic turbine manufacturer.
Stephen Morgan Smith was born February 1, 1839 in Smith Grove, Davie County, North Carolina. His Smith lineage went back several generations in that county. Stephen M. Smith is the son of John Wesley Smith and Sarah Purden (Beauchamp) Smith.
Stephen M. Smith decided to study for the ministry of the Moravian Church; a denomination of which his mother was a member. He attended the Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and graduated from the theological department in 1861.
When Smith graduated, the Civil War had already begun. In his home state of North Carolina, two of his brothers had enlisted in the Confederate Army. Stephen M. Smith believed in the republican cause and opposed slavery, so he was pleased when assigned, as pastor, to a northern Moravian congregation in York, Pennsylvania. Almost a year later, on April 9, 1862, Smith married the church organist and York native, Emma Rebecca Fahs. Stephen and Emma Smith had six children:
- Charles Elmer Smith was born January 16, 1863
- Stephen Fahs Smith was born September 10, 1864
- Beauchamp Harvey Smith was born September 21, 1869
- Sarah Elizabeth Purdon Smith was born September 12, 1872
- Susan Ellen Smith was born September 14, 1876
- Mary Delia Smith was born November 18, 1878
As the Civil War raged on, Stephen M. Smith was content to live the life of a minister of the gospel. It makes one wonder if he knew any of the thousands of Confederates that invaded the City of York in the days before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
The Confederate raid into Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and their torching of 500 buildings in the summer of 1864 likely had an effect on Smith. Although a southern native, Stephen M. Smith enlisted shortly thereafter as a volunteer in the Union cause. He served as a chaplain with the 200th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry until the end of war.
In 1866 Pastor Stephen M. Smith was assigned to a Moravian congregation in Canal Dover, within Tuscarawas County, Ohio. A few years later, Smith developed a serious throat ailment, making it nearly impossible for him to preach; he grudgingly resigned as pastor until he could regain his voice.
It was during this period of convalescence that Stephen M. Smith started to explore ways to ease the housekeeping burden of his wife. He tinkered with an improved device to mechanically wash clothes. He applied for a United States Patent on this Improvement In Washing-Machines and was granted Patent No. 108,646 on October 25, 1870. Stephen M. Smith began to build and sell this washing machine, which he named the Success; as he started to earn a living as a manufacturer.
This is a photo of the markings on the side of a Success Washing Machine at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum in York, Pennsylvania. The next post in this series will examine Stephen M. Smith’s United States Patent No. 108,646 is greater detail.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts