Worth Steel Company records1863-1951
The Worth Steel Company was a manufacturer of steel plates in Claymont, Delaware. Its records consist of papers from its operations and from its predecessor companies (Viaduct Iron Works and Worth Brothers Company, both of Coatesville, Pennsylvania). Items include correspondence, accounts, datasheets, agreements, closing papers in sale to Colorado Fuel and Iron Corporation in 1951, and the sale of land in 1958.
- Worth Steel Company (Organization)
- Worth Brothers Company (Organization)
- Viaduct Iron Works (Coatesville, Pennsylvania) (Organization)
0.4 Linear Feet
The Worth Steel Company can trace its roots back to 1852. Sheshbazzar B. Worth (1807-1874) worked as a storekeeper and blacksmith at Embreeville, Pennsylvania. He formed a partnership with his friend, Hugh E. Steele (1815-1874), to operate the Laurel Iron Works near Mortonville, Pennsylvania. Between 1847 and 1852, Worth managed the Elk Iron Works in Cecil County, Maryland, for the Park family. He then reunited with Steele to purchase the Triadelphia Iron Works at Coatesville, Pennsylvania, in 1852. It was later renamed the Viaduct Iron Works.
In the late 1870s, the enterprise was taken over by Andrew Williams of Plattsburgh, New York, who reorganized it as the Coatesville Iron Company and manufactured pipes and plates.
William Penn Worth (1856-1923) and J. Sharpless Worth (1851-1922), the sons of Sheshbazzar B. Worth, built their own plate mills, the Brandywine Iron Works, near Coatesville in 1880. They then purchased the Viaduct Works in 1887.
The Viaduct Works was operated as the Coatesville Rolling Mill Company, and the Brandywine Iron Works were incorporated as the Worth Brothers Company in 1895. A tube works was constructed in 1900. The firms specialized in the manufacturing of high-grade boilers, tanks, and ship plates at the Brandywine Works and boiler tubes at the Viaduct Works. They were able to roll the widest plates then produced in America. The Worth brothers sold both facilities to the Midvale Steel and Ordnance Company in October 1915, and they became part of Bethlehem Steel in 1923.
In 1917, the two Worth brothers and three-valued employees formed the Worth Steel Company and constructed a new plant on the Delaware River at Claymont, Delaware. Two sons of William Penn Worth followed their father in the business: Edward H. Worth (1880-1952) and William A. Worth (1892-1983). The new company also specialized in ships, tanks, and boilerplates. The company continued to be operated by the Worth family until 1951, when it was sold to the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, later to Phoenix Steel.
Scope and Contents
The Worth Steel Company records consist of papers from its Claymont operations and from its predecessor companies (Viaduct Iron Works and Worth Brothers Company, both of Coatesville, Pennsylvania). Items include correspondence, accounts, datasheets, agreements, closing papers in sale to Colorado Fuel and Iron Corporation in 1951. The records are arranged into three series, each representing the company's name at the time: Viaduct Iron Works, Worth Brothers Company, and Worth Steel Company.
The records of the Viaduct Iron Works are limited to a single account sheet from 1863.
The records of the Worth Brothers Company include a small amount of correspondence from the office of E.H. Worth (1880-1952), financial and production statements, an agreement for the sale to Midvale Steel and Ordnance, and some historical newspaper clippings.
The records of the Worth Steel Company include a description of the plant, financial and production statements, a testimonial to Edward H. Worth from the employees, and legal papers covering the sale to the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. There is a copy of a thesis on the history of the Worth Steel Company by Robert R. Worth and letters between E.H. Worth and Stewart Huston exchanging information on the Worth and Lukens families and their respective steel companies.
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Worth Steel Company photographs (accession 1976.246), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Worth Steel Company records
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- 2020: Ashley Williams