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Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company photographs and films

1776 1780 1870-1965
 Collection
Identifier: 1971-530

Abstract

The Taylor-Wharton Iron & Steel Company produced frogs, switches and other railroad fittings including couplings, axles and wheels, as well as war material during both World Wars. The company was incorporated in 1912 as successor to the Taylor Iron & Steel Company. The collection contains photographs primarily of products such as dredging equipment, railroad tracks, rollers, crushers, and buckets. The films document dredge buckets in operation and were shot in the United States and at international locations. The collection has been organized into four series: Company history, Plant views, Products, and Films. Each series is arranged alphabetically.

Dates

  • 1776
  • 1780
  • 1870-1965

Creator

Extent

7 Linear Feet

General Physical Description

1054 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. 34 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller mounted. 7 photographic reproductions : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. 3 photographic prints : b&w ; 11 x 14 in. 7 photomechanical print : b&w ; 10 x 13 in. or smaller. 1 photomechanical print : color ; 5 x 6.5 in. 1 rendering : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. mounted on board. 3 albumen silver prints : b&w ; 5 x 8 in. 2 postcards. 2 engravings. 2 photographic prints : b&w ; panoramas. 1 cyanotype composite. Contact sheets (cut up). 1 proposal : 3 pages and 19 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 1 album : black, cloth ; 7 x 11 in. (closed). Containing 57 photographic prints : b&w ; 3 x 4 in. 1 scrapbook : black, cloth ; 11 x 16 in. (closed). Containing 541 cyanotypes. 35 reels : si., col. ; 16mm. 8 reels : si., b&w ; 16mm. 8 reels : sd., col. ; 16mm. 3 reels : si., col. ; 35mm.

Historical Note

The Taylor-Wharton Iron & Steel Company produced frogs, switches and other railroad fittings including couplings, axles, and wheels, as well as war material during both World Wars. The company was incorporated in 1912 as successor to the Taylor Iron & Steel Company and traces its roots to the Union Iron Works, established at what is now High Bridge, New Jersey, in 1742 by William Allen (1704-1780) and Joseph Turner (1701-1783) of Philadelphia.

In 1803 Robert Taylor (1740-1821), the forge manager, purchased the works. By 1851 the area had become known as High Bridge, New Jersey, and in 1868 the business was incorporated as the Taylor Iron Works. In all, five generations of the Taylor family managed the company through its history.

Before 1892 the ironworks turned out standard products for the period, including many items for railroads. In that year, however, they acquired the American rights to a manganese alloy steel invented by Robert Hadfield (1858-1940) of England. This especially strong steel was used in the manufacture of specialty products marketed under the name "TISCO," including railroad frogs and switches, artillery shells, and excavating equipment. With the acquisition of the rights to this steel, Taylor began a period of expansion. In 1912 they absorbed the William Wharton Company of Philadelphia, manufacturer of frogs and switches, and changed their name to the Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company. In 1913 they acquired the Tioga Iron and Steel Company, also of Philadelphia; in 1914 a second plant was built in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Taylor-Wharton was heavily involved in the manufacture of ordnance during World War I, including the forging of naval guns in their Philadelphia facility and the manufacture of artillery shells at High Bridge. After the war, the company continued expansion, buying the Philadelphia Roll and Machine Company; the American Frog and Switch Company of Hamilton, Ohio; and a share in the Yuba Manufacturing Company of California, makers of dredges. Dredging equipment and compressed gas cylinders were Taylor-Wharton's two chief peacetime products, but with the coming of World War II, they returned to ordnance manufacturing, including artillery shells, tank treads, and helmets.

After celebrating its 210th anniversary in 1952, Taylor-Wharton was acquired by the Harsco Corporation. The High Bridge plant was closed in 1970.

Scope and Content

The collection contains photographs primarily of products such as dredging equipment, railroad tracks, rollers, crushers, and buckets. The films document dredge buckets in operation. The films were shot in the United States and at international locations. The collection has been organized into four series: Company history, Plant views, Products, and Films. Each series is arranged alphabetically.

The Company history series show the ruins of the old Union Iron Forge at High Bridge, along with the ironmaster's house. There is a group of photographs of disabled soldiers viewing the manufacture of tank treads during World War II, as well as other ordnance work from that period. There are individual and group portraits of personnel, many individuals are identified. There are reproductions of a map from 1776 and an advertisement from 1780. The remaining materials date from the 1900s to 1965.

The Plant views series show the plants at High Bridge, New Jersey; Easton and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Hamilton, Ohio. A particularly fine series of photographs shows expansion at the Tioga Iron and Steel Factory in Philadelphia and the steps involved in forging naval guns there during World War I. These materials date from 1912 to 1948.

The Products series consists mainly of photographs of products made from TISCO steel from 1910 to 1920, including dredging equipment, railroad wheels, rollers and crushers, ordnance, and small fittings. Other products of Taylor-Wharton include ball mill liners, buckets, dredges, pumps, stills, gears, wheels, sprockets, railroad tracks, tracker links and grouses, and tracked vehicles. There are a set of images of safes which include factory views. These materials date from the 1890s to 1942.

The films series consists of fifty-one silent 16mm films dating from the mid 1930s through the 1940s. It is unclear as to who created the films, the majority of the films contain imagery of Taylor-Wharton dredge buckets and other equipment associated with the Taylor-Wharton Iron & Steel Company. The films were shot in California and Alaska, as well as internationally in Bali, Bulolo, Kuala Lumpur, La Grange, Malaya, Mangarr, Old Natomas, Colombia, Burma, Siam, Karamata, Sydney and other unidentified places. Many of these films include landscape scenery, indigenous people, animals and aerial footage. There is also an instructional film created by G.R. Hanks on the correct way to slide and run the bases in baseball. There are two short reels of the 200th Anniversary and three 35mm motion pictures of tractors, and steel products. Many of these films have multiple splices that make viewing difficult.

Existence and Location of Copies

View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research. Film material is housed in cold storage and must reacclimate prior to viewing (Box 8 and Film Cans 1-42). Please contact the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department at least 48 hours in advance of research visit.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company photographs and films
Status:
Author:
Laurie Sather and Lisa Kruczek
Date:
2017
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400