Voith turbine runner legacy of former pastor/entrepreneur
This turbine, also known as a runner, was manufactured at Voith Siemens Hydro’s West Manchester Township plant in 2006. (See related photo below.) Background posts: Glatfelter, Smith top industrial legacy list, How come few in York know about S. Morgan Smith anymore? and York made big, heavy things – and was immensely proud of it.
S. Morgan Smith might have looked on York County with pride this week.
The Moravian-pastor-turned-washing-machine-pioneer would have witnessed a 292,000-poud turbine runner leave a company that grew from one of his enterprises.
As the story goes, Smith left his pastorate because of a voice condition after the Civil War. As he recuperated, he observed his wife laboring with the laundry. This inspired him to begin work on an early washing machine… .
Oversized loads from Voith Hydro are common in York County.
His entrepreneurship led to the founding of York Manufacturing, later known as York International. Today, Johnson Controls owns the company.
After his startup of York Manufacturing, he founded S. Morgan Smith for the production of turbines. Today, at least three York-area companies trace their roots from Smith — Precision Components, American Hydro and Voith Siemens Hydro. Voith made the massive turbine at its West Manchester Township facility and shipped it for use in a hydroelectric pump storage station in South Carolina.
For his links with York Manufacturing, Precision, American Hydro and Voith Hydro, Smith’s legacy arguably surpasses perhaps all other York-based captains of industry. P.H. Glatfelter started the Spring Grove paper mill and saved York Manufacturing in the 1880s. That’s quite a legacy, too.
As for Voith this week, it was the largest runner ever shipped by the company — a company that specializes in the manufacture of very large machinery. That’s a long way from hand-operated washing machines.
For more on Smith and Voith Hydro and manufacturing in York County:
– ‘Little Johnny’ called for Allies in World War II.
– Made in York blog category.