York Town Square

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York County sacrificed on homefront and war front to aid Allies in World War II – Part I

York County industrial leaders turned out in large numbers for a dinner at the Yorktowne Hotel in World War II. The York Plan resulting from their cooperation became a national model. Background posts: Industrialist Thomas Shipley’s ‘enduring monument’ in York did not ‘endure’ and York Corporation played role in Manhattan Project.

York County’s homefront and war front efforts well represented what it took across America to win the two-front World War II.
And the best York County offered on the homefront – and it was significant – was the York Plan.
But ask a York County audience about the York Plan and surprisingly few know even the vaguest details.
So, here’s a quick synopsis of the plan: … .

York Plan defined: The 15-point York Plan was a cooperative effort by area industries in World War II to share skilled workers and underused machinery to secure demanding defense contracts. These contracts otherwise would have been too large for a single business to handle.
Slogan: “To do what we can we what we have.”
Points 1, 2, 15: “To make use of present facilities
in regards to tools,” “To get idle tools and idle men working” and “To enter into all
local activities that dealt either directly or indirectly with the present emergency.”

And here’s the leadership that made it happen: ¶

S. Forry Laucks, owner of York Safe & Lock, came to the
game early to launch the plan in the late 1930s, but was too autocratic in nature and Democratic in politics to make the York Plan work across the community. Further, he died shortly after the war began, and others stepped forward to carry out the plan.
York Corporation’s W. S. Shipley and other Manufacturers’ Association leaders took to the stump locally and across America to promote the plan.
The Shipley story is particularly interesting.
Jacob Loucks helped form York Manufacturing Company,
and P.H. Glatfelter bailed out the company in the 1880s. Loucks’
grandson became the highest-ranking general in York County
history, Jacob Loucks Devers.
Glatfelter recruited Thomas Shipley to run York Manufacturing in 1897. The Shipley influence helped transform the company, later York Corporation
and today Johnson Controls, into a worldwide cooling giant.
Thomas’ younger brother and York Plan leader, William S.,
assumed York Corporation’s leadership upon Thomas’ death.
Their Shipley family successors today lead Shipley Energy.

To read my recent York Sunday News column for a more detailed view about how the homefront and war front worked together, click here.