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York-Shipley connections

My post Quonset huts of York-Shipley in Springettsbury resulted in many reader comments; among them were a host of York-Shipley connections questions: Is Sam Shipley, the president of York-Shipley, related to William Shipley who championed the York Plan during WWII? Is there a York-Shipley connection to York Corporation? Are any offshoots of York-Shipley still in business in York County? Am I correct about York-Shipley having a connection to York Barbell? In a word, Yes, to all these questions.

A nice way to illustrate some of the key connections is via this photo, which I use in several of the variations of my talks about York Corporation and its predecessors. It shows Shipley men at the York Manufacturing Company during 1916. From only 50-employees prior to the hiring of Tom Shipley as General Manager of the York Manufacturing Company in 1897, under Tom’s leadership the company streamlined product offering to Tom’s designs and exceeded 500-employees after only two years. By 1917, the company eclipsed 50% of all United States ice making machinery business.

Tom Shipley hired two of his brothers and three of his sons to work at the York Manufacturing Company; they were all graduate engineers trained in refrigeration. The Bottom row shows Tom Shipley, with his younger brothers William to the left and Samuel to the right. The top row shows sons of Tom Shipley; from left to right: Samuel, Raymond and Howard. Click on this LINK for a Full View of the illustration in this post if details are cut off in the cropping of the illustration.

Samuel is the most common name within the Shipley family of York County. This name comes from Samuel Shipley [1829-1892]; a Jersey City, NJ policeman and the father of four sons: Tom, Samuel, William and their brother John; who was a career fireman in Bayonne, New Jersey. Samuel H. Shipley [1896-1975], the second son of Tom Shipley (in the upper left), was the Shipley responsible for establishing York-Shipley.

In 1926, Thomas Shipley, Inc. was established as a holding company for Tom’s stock in sales businesses associated with the York Manufacturing Company. To this holding company other companies, originated by Tom, were added: the Roosevelt Garage and Supply Company which became part of Roosevelt Oil Service, and a Canadian affiliate of the York Manufacturing Company, which Tom owned outright.

After Tom Shipley died in 1930, his brother William S. Shipley becomes the new President of the York Ice Machinery Company, leading the company through the rapid switch away from ice making into air conditioning products and then championing the York Plan during WWII.

Tom Shipley’s son Raymond T. Shipley left the company after the death of his father and started his own refrigeration company in New England, financed via Thomas Shipley, Inc. Samuel H. Shipley and Howard V. Shipley climbed up through company management at York, with Sam rising to the position of General Manager, once held by his father. When it became clear that Stewart Lauer was being groomed to replace their Uncle William S. Shipley, as president of the company, Samuel and Howard Shipley decided to resign their positions at the company and focus on growing the holdings of Thomas Shipley, Inc.

In 1938, the opportunity arose to buy the York Oil Burner Company from Ed Kraber and Bob Hoffman. Samuel and Howard Shipley sold some of the York stock within the Thomas Shipley, Inc. holding company to purchase the York Oil Burner Company. As a result of that purchase, Bob Hoffman had the capital to start York Barbell Company.

Howard V. Shipley moved to Canada and became president the refrigeration company started by his father. Samuel H. Shipley managed the holding company, Thomas Shipley, Inc., and the two operating companies, York Oil Burner Company and Roosevelt Oil Service.

During WWII, Sam Shipley wanted to brand their products, made for the war effort, as proudly Made-in-York by Shipley. York-Shipley, Inc. was the new company name effective November 1, 1943. York-Shipley merged Thomas Shipley, Inc. and its completely owned subsidiary, Roosevelt Oil Service, with the York Oil Burner Company. For many years following the war, York-Shipley advertising material carried the slogan: “Made in York, Pennsylvania . . . the Community of Craftsmen.”

In 1969, locally owned York-Shipley merged with outside investors. From that time on, the local plant along North Hills Road in Springettsbury Township, in a string of merged companies, was on a roller-coaster ride; ultimately mostly downhill.

Just prior to the 1969 merger, the Shipley-Humble Oil Division of York-Shipley was spun off. That is the entity that continues to operate today as Shipley Energy in York County. The oil division traces their origins back to the Roosevelt Oil Service established by Tom Shipley in 1929. Now you know why the company convenience stores are called Toms.

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