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Thomas H. Savery papers

1855-1910
 Collection
Accession: 1364

Abstract

Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) was president of Pusey, Jones and Company, a major ship builder and manufacturer of papermaking machinery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The papers are a fragmentary collection of Savery's diary, correspondence, and financial papers. The materials document his early career, papermaking machinery business ventures, some personal correspondence, and speeches.

Dates

  • 1855-1910

Creator

Extent

0.4 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) was president of Pusey, Jones and Company, a major ship builder and manufacturer of papermaking machinery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Savery was born on May 31, 1837 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After attending the Friends Select School and the Westtown Boarding School in Chester County, he then became apprentice machinist at William Sellers & Company of Philadelphia. After finishing this apprenticeship he was employeed as a foreman in the shops of the Columbus, Piqua & Indiana Railroad. He then became superintendent in the Pennsylvania Railroad's Altoona shops.

In 1864 Savery became shop foreman for Pusey, Jones & Company, in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1874 when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy he was named general manager, chief operating officer, and vice president. He later became president.

During the 1880s and 1890s Savery became more interested in the production of paper and wood pulp. He patented several papermaking machines which were widely used, and Pusey & Jones became a leader in the industry.

With several associates Savery bought several properties on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in 1884, including the site of the famous armory. He first established paper mills on these sites and in the mid-1890s began building electric power generating facilities. He organized the Harpers Ferry Electric Light & Power Company.

In the 1890s, Savery invested in a new sulfite pulp mill and a paper mill near Denver, Colorado. Savery poured much of his own money into this venture, but it was unsuccessful. Around 1900, Savery helped to organize the York Haven Paper Company and the York Haven Water & Power Company on the Susquehana River. In his later years Savery held a number of corporate directorates. He was president of the Wilmington Savings Fund Society. He retired from Pusey & Jones in 1907 and died three years later.

Scope and Contents

The papers are a fragmentary collection of Savery's diary, correspondence, and financial papers. The materials document his early career, papermaking machinery business ventures, some personal correspondence, and speeches.

The diary contains primarily accounts of receipts and expenses from Savery's apprenticeship and early career.

Additional correspondence and clippings deal with Savery's role in developing the papermaking machinery business of Pusey and Jones. These include financial papers and voting trust certificates. There are also letters, prospectus and statements relating to Savery's unsuccessful papermaking operations in Colorado.

The personal correspondence, invitations and accounts include a letter from Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution to R. H. Lamborn of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Altoona concerning meteorological observations recorded by Savery.

The miscellany includes menus, programs and notes for speeches given by Savery at Wilmington Board of Trade banquets.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Thomas H. Savery papers
Status:
Author:
John Beverley Riggs
Date:
1978
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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