John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. records1919-1973
John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. was a manufacturer of upholstery fabrics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for more than fifty years. This collection consists primarily of financial records from the company's founding through its sale to Merion Securities, Inc. It contains rich payroll and pension data of potential interest to labor historians. The collection also contains records from Zimmermann Mills, Inc. and J-Z, Inc., a division of Merion Securities. These materials are also primarily financial in nature.
- John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. (Organization)
5 Linear Feet
John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. was a manufacturer of upholstery fabrics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for more than fifty years. The company's founder, John Zimmermann Sr. (1855-1936), was born in Gussenstadt, Germany, and emigrated to the United States via the Centennial Exposition of 1876. He formed a partnership with his brother, George Zimmermann (1851-1935), entering the textile manufacturing business. In 1892, the Zimmermann brothers formed a partnership with Joseph Isaac (dates unknown) and Benjamin Wasserman (1867-1934) named Philadelphia Tapestry Mills; later they founded the Philadelphia Pile Fabric Mills and Artloom Rug Mills. These three companies were subsequently united into the Artloom Corporation.
Before his retirement in 1932, John Zimmermann Sr. helped his sons, John Zimmermann Jr. (1892-1974) and William Zimmermann (1894-1978), establish the firm John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. on Erie and Castor avenues in 1919. Zimmermann Sr. was also instrumental in founding Zimmermann Mills, Inc. on 21st and Allegheny avenues in 1927.
William Zimmermann was president of John Zimmermann & Sons from 1919 to 1963. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in chemical engineering and served in the Army during World War I.
John Zimermannn Jr. earned a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1914. In 1925, he founded a church camp and reunion ground, Deer Park, near New Hope, Pennsylvania. He was president of Zimmermann Mills, Inc., which was also a manufacturer of upholstery fabrics. The decision to dissolve Zimmermann Mills, Inc. was made on July 1, 1937; John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. assumed the assets and liabilities. The dissolution was official on March 31, 1938.
Younger brother Albert A. Zimmermann (1902-1961) joined the board of John Zimmermann & Sons in 1924 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania the previous year. He served in the Navy during World War II and then became a wool broker in 1937. He became a partner in a firm called Ott & Zimmermann, located in Bala-Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Two brothers-in-law were also involved in the family business. Richard Carlyle "R.C." Kelley (1882-1976) married Anna Zimmermann (1887-1974), and James A. Fligg (1899-1976) married Lillian Zimmermann (1897-1966). All served on the board, as various officers of the company, and owned shares.
In 1963, upon William Zimmermann's retirement, John Zimmermann & Sons was sold to Merion Securities, Inc.
Scope and Contents
The John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. records consist primarily of financial records from the company's founding through its sale to Merion Securities, Inc. The collection contains rich payroll and pension data of potential interest to labor historians. The collection also contains records from Zimmerman Mills, Inc. and J-Z, Inc., a division of Merion Securities. These materials are also primarily financial in nature.
The collection is organized into three series by company: John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. records; Zimmermann Mills, Inc. records; and J-Z, Inc. records.
The John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. records series is the largest, and covers the company's founding in 1919 to its sale in 1963. The series has been organized into nine subseries: Board of directors meeting minutes; Agreements; Machinery inventories; Ledgers; Balance sheets; Taxes; Pension and profit-sharing; Sale; and Relia and technical drawings.
The board of directors meeting minutes subseries consists of typescripts of meeting minutes that include the articles of incorporation and by-laws. The materials have been removed from binders for preservation purposes. The meeting minutes date from 1919 to 1963.
The Agreements subseries includes license agreements, a plumber work contract, a loom sales contract, stock purchase plans, and termination of a stock agreement. There is documentation of the transfer of Albert Zimmermanns's trusts directly to his children. Of note is correspondence between James A. Fligg, Richard C. Kelley, and William Zimmermann related to a disagreement over a decision made by the board of directors, as well as Fligg's absence from a meeting, subsequent leave of absence, and eventual resignation in 1946.
The Machinery inventories subseries consists of two sets of large inventories of the company's machinery dated 1932 and 1933.
The Ledgers subseries consists of fifteen handwritten volumes documenting various financial aspects of the business. The Accounts A-Z ledgers are an alphabetical listing of expenses and credits within a specific period; the three ledgers cover the entire span of the business. The cash books record the cash transactions of the business between 1919 and 1931. Time book/salaries ledgers record hours worked by employees for the week and wages paid from 1919 to January 1924, and 1926 to 1937. The journal ledger records accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions in chronological order from December 1962 to December 1963.
The Balance sheets subseries consists of summaries of financial balances of the company from 1933 to 1964. The balance sheet sometimes accompanies an auditor's report from a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as an assurance that the information is accurate. There are a small number of textile business graphs, charts, and notes related to sales analysis and accounting procedures.
The Taxes subseries consists of state, city, and federal taxes between 1919 and 1945. These were retained because they span the years before, during, and after the Great Depression. The returns may be of interest more because they show how the company's finances were reported, rather than for the status of said finances, which is heavily documented in the ledgers, balance sheets, and pension and profit-sharing materials.
The Pension and profit-sharing subseries consists of pension studies, retirement plans, and profit-sharing documentation. John Zimmermann & Sons entered into an agreement with the Plush Workers Union that included an incentive plan wherein the employees' regular salary and bonuses were dependent on the company's profitability. There are profit-sharing annual statements, committee notes, correspondence, and employee final values index cards. (See the J-Z, Inc. series for pay-out and transition during the sale of the company.) There is also an employee wages ledger dating from 1958 to 1961.
The Sale subseries documents the lead-up to William Zimmermann's retirement, including correspondence with Zimmermann with proposals of buyers, correspondence with Merion Securities, a report about the future of the business, and the sales agreement with Merion Securities. The materials date from 1962 to 1965.
The Relia and technical drawings subseries consists of two company seals, a stamp, and five technical drawings of looms from the Art Loom Rug Mills.
The Zimmermann Mills, Inc. records series is primarily financial in nature, dating from 1927 to 1937. It includes the company's by-laws, charter, and board of directors meeting minutes, as well as handwritten accounts payable and receivable ledgers, sales and expenses ledgers, and state and federal tax returns. There is a machinery inventory dated 1937 for the liquidation of assets and documentation of the dissolution of the company.
The J-Z, Inc. records series includes board of directors and shareholders meeting minutes from 1964 to 1969 and balance sheets from 1963 to 1968. There is some correspondence related to capital stock tax and notes related to taxes, dating between 1968 and 1973. Also present are transition property insurance and the mortgage and title insurance policy. Plush Union Workers: Massachusetts Mohair Plush Co. and Independent Plush Workers Union materials are of interest. Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. settled accounts as the company was sold to Merion Securities; the employees sent in "Letters of Transmittals" to receive their earnings from their profit shares. The relationship between the union and Merion Securities was expected to continue.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
- John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- John Zimmermann & Sons, Inc. records
- Laurie Sather
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PO Box 3630
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