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Savery family papers

1835-1960
 Collection
Identifier: 1534

Abstract

The Savery family of Chester County, Pennsylvania, produced two generations of eminent mechanical engineers. The Savery family papers consist primarily of those of Thomas H. Savery (1837-1910), his son William H. Savery (1865-1949), and William H. Savery's daughter Sara L. Savery (1897-1979) conerning the family papermaking machinery businesses, financial investments, and real estate activities documented through both personal and professional correspondence, business records, blueprints, and reports.

Dates

  • 1835-1960

Creator

Extent

3.2 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 shipbuilder and papermaking machinery manufacturer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Savery was also active in the Technical Association of the Paper and Pulp industry.

William H. Savery married Nellie Goodrich Clark (1868-1942) in 1894. They had one daughter, Sarah L. Savery (1897-1979).

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.

Scope and Contents

The Savery family papers consist primarily of those of Thomas H. Savery, his son William H. Savery, and William H. Savery's daughter Sara L. Savery conerning the family businesses, financial investments, and real estate activities documented through both personal and professional correspondence, business records, blueprints, and reports.

The papers of Thomas H. Savery include correspondence (1897-1909), British patent specifications (1857), estate papers and other materials concerning the Seaboard Steel Casting Co. of Chester, Pennsylvania (1900-1902), York Haven Paper Co. (1906-1909), property at Pueblo, Colorado (1890-1910), the Colorado paper companies (1896-1902).

Those of William H. Savery include correspondence (1911-1930), some of which concerns mineral lands near Denver and Eldora, Colorado; personal financial records (1919-1947); and reports on manganese which were done for the U.S. Department of the Interior and Electro Manganese Corporation (1939-1942).

Business papers relating to Savery's interests include records of Harpers Ferry Paper Co., Shenandoah Pulp Co., and Harpers Ferry Electric Light & Power Co. These are primarily corporate records including copies of minutes, land papers, deeds, agreements and financial statements. Ther are also records of lawsuits arising from pollution of the rivers. There are a number of maps of the Harpers Ferry property, some dating back to the time of the Government armory.

There are also records relating to William Savery's involvement with the Parsons Engineering Co. which developed a system for complete combustion for steam boilers that was marketed to a number of railroads and electric light companies (1907-1918). The records include minutes (1910-1914), patent papers, agreements with railroads, and test reports on installations of the system.

There are small amounts of correspondence and corporate papers from the Morris Equipment Company, which dealt in railroad car components, the Delaware Railway Specialty Company, which installed the Parsons system on locomotives, and the Tazite Company, which manufactured electrical insulation.

Sarah L. Savery personal papers pertaining mostly to family business affairs and the administration of property in Jefferson and Chaffee counties, Colorado, through the family operated Taylor Realty Company. There are correspondence, copies of circular letters, memoranda, newspaper articles, maps and guidebooks, personal memoranda, and notes, dated about 1935 to 1960. (This material has been left largely unsorted).

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Savery family papers
Status:
Online
Author:
LD
Date:
1976
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