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Michael Munroe of Lobdell Car Wheel Company pouring steel photograph

circa 1910-1940
 Collection
Accession: 1969-058

Abstract

Lobdell Car Wheel Company was a producer of cast railroad car wheels in Wilmington, Delaware. This collection contains one photographic reproduction depicting employee Michael Munroe (1879-1969) pouring steel.

Dates

  • circa 1910-1940

Creator

Extent

1 item(s)

General Physical Description

1 photographic reproduction : b&w ; 5 x 7 in.

Historical Note

Lobdell Car Wheel Company was a producer of cast railroad car wheels in Wilmington, Delaware. Founded in 1830 by Jonathon Bonney (1797-1838) and machinist Charles Bush (1805-1855), the firm originally functioned as a foundry and machine shop. After Bonney's death in 1838, Bush partnered with his nephew, George Granville Lobdell (1817-1894), and started Bush & Lobdell. The company specialized in the manufacture of cast railroad car wheels, and a new foundry was constructed in 1844. Bush died in 1855, and Lobdell bought out Bush's heirs in 1859.

The Lobdell Car Wheel Company was organized in the spring of 1867. An entirely new plant was built on the Christiana River in south Wilmington in 1881-1882, giving the firm one of the largest car wheel factories in the world. In 1880, Lobdell purchased three cold-blast charcoal iron furnaces in southwestern Virginia to insure a constant supply of raw materials. The firm also manufactured chilled rolls for paper machines and flour mills as well as chilled railroad rails. It eventually became the world's largest manufacturer of railroad car wheels, grossing $585,000 annually. The firm went out of business in the 1950s.

Michael John Munroe (1879-1969) was an employee of Lobdell Car Wheel Company and Wilmington, Delaware native. He began at Lobdell as an apprentice roller on paper machinery when he was a teenager, work he described as "hard, rough, and dirty." He stayed at the company most of his life, retiring in 1949 after fifty years of service.

In 1912, Munroe married Mary Frieda Dettling (1887-1965). The couple had one son, Dr. John Andrew Munroe (1914-2006).

Scope and Content

This collection contains one photographic reproduction depicting Michael Munroe, employee of Lobdell Car Wheel Company, pouring steel. The image includes scaffolding, instruments for pouring molden metal, and two workmen.

Location

GL Box 1

Existence and Location of Originals

This print was copied from a photograph Dr. John Andrew Munroe (University of Delaware) carried in his wallet for many years.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Bibliography

  • Livesay, Harold C., "The Lobdell Car Wheel Co., 1830-1867." Business History Review vol. 42, no. 2 (Summer 1962): 171-94. Accessed November 4, 2013. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3112214.

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Michael Munroe of Lobdell Car Wheel Company pouring steel photograph
Status:
Author:
Chase Markee
Date:
2013
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Ona Coughlan

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

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