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Savery family papers

1713-1949
 Collection
Accession: 1822

Abstract

The Savery family of Chester County, Pennsylvania, produced two generations of eminent mechanical engineers. Savery family papers consists of materials of the eldest son William H. Savery's (1865-1949) diaries, his father Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) correspondence and notebooks documenting his career as a mechanical engineer, and the documents relating to Savery/Webb family property near Longwood Gardens, Hamorton and Parkerville, Pennsylvania.

Dates

  • 1713-1949

Creator

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

The Savery family of Chester County, Pennsylvania, produced two generations of eminent mechanical engineers.

Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) was president of Pusey, Jones and Company, a shipbuilder and papermaking machinery manufacturer 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. The same year he married Sarah Pim Savery (1837-1928). Sarah Pim Savery was the daughter of Richard Pim (1795-1857) and Mary Edge Pim (1806-1879). Richard Pim was a Quaker farmer in Chester, Pennsylvania. She was one of nine children.

The Thomas H. Savery and Sarah P. Savery had five children: William H. Savery (1865-1949), Helen Savery Taylor (1869-1920), Thomas H. Savery, Jr. (1870-1930), Florence Savery (1874-1876), and Annie Pim Savery Thayer (1876-1960). The Savery's made their home on Rodney Street in Wilmington, Delaware and had a summer residence called "Ellerslie" near Hamorton, Pennsylvania.

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 paperpmaking 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.

William H. Savery (1865-1949) was a paper manufacturer and president of three companies that had been started by his father in the late nineteenth century: the Harpers Ferry Paper Company, the Harpers Ferry Electic Light Company, and the Shenandoah Pulp Company. He was also president and general manager of the Parsons Engineering Company. Savery was the eldest son of Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910) and Sarah Pim Savery (1837-1928). William H. Savery was educated at Haverford College and later went to work for his father at the Pusey & Jones Company, a major shipbuilding and manufacturers of papermaking machinery company in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Savery was also active in the Technical Association of the Paper and Pulp industry.

Thomas H. Savery, Jr. graduated from Cornell in 1896 and became a consulting engineer. He followed in his father's footsteps in the pulp and paper industry.

Content Description

Savery family papers consists of materials of the eldest son William H. Savery's diaries, his father Thomas H. Savery correspondence and notebooks documenting his career as a mechanical engineer, and the documents relating to Savery/Webb family property near Longwood Gardens, Hamorton and Parkerville, Pennsylvania.

The largest series is William H. Savery's diaries dating from 1919 to 1949, which contain records of both his business and personal life; including his work with his father's papermaking and machine building enterprises and his activities in the Society of Friends. There is also correspondence relating to papermaking at various places, including lists of Pusey & Jones machines at Jay, Maine, and at Lloyd Mill in London. There are also notes on W. H. Savery's papermaking machine patents.

The Thomas H. Savery materials are a collection of letters, notes and ephemera relating to his career as a mechanical engineer and executive, his membership in the Society of Friends, his investments and real estate holdings. Among the more interesting items are a sketch-notebook of machinery designs (1859-1861), and a letter referring to the Friends' opposition to building warships for the Civil War. There is also a farm notebook of Richard Pim, Savery's father-in-law (1857).

The real estate papers consist of deeds, and wills tracing the ownership of the Savery family land holdings near Longwood, Hamorton and Parkesville in Chester County, Pennsylvania, from 1713 to 1909. Also of interest is a copy of a commendation to those citizens, including Thomas Savery's grandfather, who stayed in Philadelphia to care for the sick during the great yellow fever epidemic of 1793.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to research.

Related Materials

William H. Savery personal diaries and notebooks (Accession 0330), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Thomas H. Savery papers (Accession 0285), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Savery family papers (Accession 1534), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Savery family papers
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Laurie Sather

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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