Barton H. Jenks papers1830-1910
1.25 Linear Feet
Alfred Jenks (1793-1854) began the regular manufacture of textile machinery at Holmesburg, Pennsylvania in 1810, having studied under Samuel Slater (1770-1843) in Rhode Island. Jenks moved his operation to Bridesburg around 1819 and expanded from cotton to woolen textile machinery. In 1830 he invented the power loom for weaving checks. He brought his son, Barton Howard Jenks (1825-1896), also a prolific inventor, into the business as Alfred Jenks & Son. By the time of the Civil War the firm was the leading cotton textile machine builder in Pennsylvania. It turned out looms, carding engines, the Jenks cotton spreader, the Jenks fly-frame, the Jenks patent spinning frame and the Jenks cylinder cotton gin. Between 1862 and 1865 the firm operated a rifle factory as part of the Union war effort. In 1865 the textile machine operation was incorporated as the Bridesburg Manufacturing Company with a capital of $1 million. After the war B. H. Jenks turned his attention to other projects, including attempts at develping mining machinery. Jenks lost control of the Bridesburg Manufacturing Company and most of the family fortune by speculating in railroads in the 1870s.
Llywellyn Howard Jenks (1862-1939), the son of Barton Howard Jenks, was a pioneer American refrigeration engineer.
Scope and Content
Real estate papers document the Jenks family's holdings at Bridesburg and in Dodge City, Kansas. Court records document suits between Jenks and the Bridesburg Manufacturing Company. Barton H. Jenks' scrapbooks include letters, orders, technical notes, newclippings and drawings from the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s. There is also a short paper by Barton H. Jenks on cotton manufacturing in the South.
The papers also include documents relating the incorporation of the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Delaware Bay Railroad Company, an unbuilt project of the 1870s.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Barton H. Jenks papers
- Lynn Ann Catanese
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