Skip to main content
Notice: The Library is open for research by appointment only, please visit our research services page for more information.

Warren-Ehret Company photograph albums

Creation: 1890-1910
Accession: 2002-251
View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.
View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.


The Warren-Ehret Company was a Philadelphia roofing company founded in 1883. This collection consists of 259 images from three unbound albums which were used as sales portfolios to show the variety and extent of Warren-Ehret's roofing jobs on a variety of buildings.


  • Creation: 1890-1910



1 Linear Foot

General Physical Description

259 photographic prints : b&w ; 7 x 9 in. on 11 x 12.5 in. board: Each page of the unbound Warren-Ehret Company albums contains a mounted street-level photograph or, infrequently, a copy of a sketch of a building. There are handlettered captions (many misspelled) identifying the structure and the square footage of its slag or actinolite tile roof. An alphabetized typewritten list of each portfolio's contents came with the collection.

Historical note

The Warren-Ehret Company was a forerunner in the composite roofing industry, formed in 1883 in Philadelphia and incorporated in 1887. It has antecedents in the patents and business acumen of two people. Those are Samuel Warren (b. 1822) who has been called the "father of the modern roofing contracting industry" and Michael Ehret (b. 1845) who patented his slag (or cinder) roofing system in 1868. A detailed history of these men and further company history, as well as background on the roofing industry in America, is found in "One Hundred Years of Roofing in America" published by the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of three unbound albums which were used as sales portfolios to show the variety and extent of Warren-Ehret Company's roofing jobs on various buildings. The buildings are predominately industrial structures, which are arranged and numbered by their type of business. In addition to industrial structures and railroad company buildings, there are offices, some stores, apartments and private homes. The collection covers buildings in the greater Philadelphia area, surrounding Pennsylvania (including seventeen views of Reading businesses), New Jersey, New York City, and nearby Connecticut. Many of the images are also valuable for the information they provide about surrounding businesses. This is especially true of the cityscapes in which views of several businesses are often included.

The following industries, businesses, and building types are represented in the Warren-Ehret Company albums: abattois; architectural and ornamental woodwork; bicycle factories; breweries; brickmaking; carpet mills; chemical and lead works; cigar factories; cordage; department stores and drygoods; dying; farm and garden tools; furniture and picture frames; gas and marine engines; glue making; gymnasiums; hotels; ice companies; leather and shoes; lighting companies; lumber; machine tools; millinery; nuts and bolts; oil refineries; oilcloth and linoleum factories; paper boxes; piers and wharfs; plaster board; power houses; schools; shipyards; shoemaking; stables; steel making and iron foundries; stone and terra cotta works; stoves, furnaces and ranges; streetcar and railroad car building; sugar refineries; textile mills; toolmaking; trolley barns; warehouses, whiskey making.

Of note are two buildings designed by well-known architects: Land Title and Trust Company Building (Phila.) by Daniel H. Burnham & Co. and the Cable Building (N.Y.) designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White.

Although not the subject of the image, the following Philadelphia buildings and enterprises are visible in the collection: Blaul. Studio (N. 8th St.); Chauveau's restaurant (Chestnut St.); City Hall; P. J. Deery (N. Broad St.); Gormly Plumbing Company (N. 10th); Gummey, McFarland & Co. (N. 10th St.); Charles R. Hunt (47th and Woodland); Hughes and Muller (Chestnut St.); J. Levy (Broad St.); Matthew McGettigan Shoestore (47th Louis Metzger & Co. (Broadway); Simpson's Restaurant (W. 22nd St.); James M. Starr (E. 17th St.);Van Cott & Co. (Woster St.)

The Reading, Pennsylvania, businesses included in the collection are: Mansion House, Bright & Lerch warehouse; Hotel Penn; Reading National Bank; Second National Bank; Stevens Building; YMCA; Earl Building; Bissinger Annex; Wm. F. Rempiss & Co. (Standard Bicycle Works); Realy Bicycle Works; Acme Manufacturing Co.; Yocum Brothers; F. S. Wertz, Reading Stove Works; Reading Iron Co.; Lauer Brewing Co.; Reading Traction Co.

Existence and Location of Copies

View selected items online in Hagley digital archives.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Warren-Ehret Company photograph albums
Barbara Hall and encoded by Chase Markee
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA