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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The "Lancaster's Manufacturing Success" Story

Lancaster Malleable along Manheim Pike in Lancaster, PA
It was an ordinary day. My friend of over 65 years, Jerry, had just emailed me some information about a few photos I had sent to him asking if he knew any information about the photos.  The photos were from a foundry that he could see from the front porch of his house on Manheim Ave.  
The layout of the casting company.  Jerry lived to the
left of the railroad tracks which can be seen on the left.
Remember to click on photos to enlarge them.
I lived about a block from his house and but didn't know much about the work that was done in the foundry near his home.  Place was called Lancaster Malleable Castings Co. and was built in 1910.  At the time Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the fourth-largest manufacturing city in Pennsylvania.  Watch companies, silk and cotton mills, automobile factories and iron and steel mills were some of the many industries that boosted Lancaster to that position.  
Train along siding dumping coal to be used in the furnaces.
Lancaster Malleable was a newcomer to the mixture in 1910.  At first it was known as Lancaster Foundry Company which manufactured grey iron castings, padlocks and harness hardware.  Six years later the company began to produce malleable iron castings which are not as brittle as grey iron.  This was done by using a hand-fired melting furnace.  
These are core machines used for making cores.
Eventually they stopped making grey iron castings. For years the company cast parts for leading manufac- turers of mining, construc- tion, trucking, farm, hardware and electrical equipment throughout eastern United States.  Lancaster Malleable operated a complete pattern-making and repair facility and performed machining and finishing operations on many of the cast products they produced.  
Pouring molds with the molten metal.
The foundry was on the other side of the Pennsyl- vania Rail- road tracks from Jerry's home, fronting on what is known as Manheim Pike or State Route 72.  From the Manheim Pike side of  company we could see the furnaces melting the metal and see the sparks and molten metal run as they poured their molds.  Deliveries and pick-ups were made to the rear of the facility where it backed up to a siding along the main line of the railroad.  What I enjoyed the most about the place was the fact that they owned Stump Field which was about half a block from the factory on Fruitville Pike.  Stump Field was home of Lancaster's Red Roses which was a "B" level team in the Eastern League of Professional Baseball until they stopped playing at Stump Field in 1961. The field still exists and is still used for recreational baseball games.  The Lancaster Malleable Casting Co.'s plant was demolished years ago putting quite a few employees out of work.  The property sat vacant with a few of the concrete slabs from the original building all that remain of one of Lancaster's finest foundries.  Information as to why the plant closed is not available online. So, another childhood memory has passed away as if it never existed; at least physically.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


This is a sample of the work that could be done at Lancasater Malleable Castings Company.  I suppose these were sample or souvenir ashtrays that were made for customers.  The age of the product can be gauged by the fact that it is an ashtray which may be a rare find at an antique shop. Photo below is the bottom of the ashtray.


Parts of the foundation of Lancaster Malleable can be seen to the right in this photograph.  In the distance are homes along Manheim Ave.  One of these homes was the home that my friend Jerry lived in until he got married.

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