Manuscripts and Archives Department PO Box 3630 Wilmington, Delaware, 19807 302-658-2400 firstname.lastname@example.org
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit
Manuscripts & Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
Empire Steel & Iron Company Records
1857-1991, bulk 1903-1918
0.6 Linear feet
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged alphabetically by file title.
Scope and Content
The records consist of photocopies of miscellaneous documents of the Empire Steel and Iron Company, the originals of which are in the possession of the National Canal Museum at Easton, Pa. Most of them seem to have come from the Mount Hope site. There is another small collection of miscellaneous materials from the field office of the Mount Hope Mine at the New Jersey Historical Society.
The records include promotional brochures issued around 1900; annual reports (1903-1905); minutes (1915-1918), property reports (1901-1909); and inventories of Oxford Furnace and Mine, the Mount Hope Mine, and other mines (1909-1910). There is also a file of reports on the use of industrial spies and undercover detectives (1909-1910), although the intent was to catch theives and vandals rather than union-busting. Accompanying this file is a typescript of a paper derived from the file by Lance E. Metz of the Canal Museum, who assembled the collection of records. There are also copies of some documents relating to the earlier history of Oxford Mine and Furnace (1857-1875), some records of shipments from the Mount Hope Mine under later ownership, and a copy of a Bethlehem Steel Corporation memo regarding their contract with Mount Hope Mining Company, all of which were added to the collection by Lance Metz.
The Empire Steel and Iron Company was incorporated in New Jersey on March 14, 1899, for the purpose of merging a number of smaller iron furnaces that were being left behind by the contemporary formation of large integrated steel companies during the so-called first merger movement. The core facility was the Crane Iron Works of Catasauqua, Pa., which had pioneered large-scale smelting with anthracite coal in 1840 but was now facing obsolescence. Other old anthracite furnaces brought into the combination included Oxford Furnace in N.J., Henry Clay Furnaces in Reading, Pa., Macungie Furnace and Topton Furnace in Pa., Gem Furnace at Shenandoah, Va., Victoria Furnace at Goshen, Va., and Cherokee Furnace in North Carolina The new company also controlled the Victoria Coal & Coke Company at Caperton, W.Va., the Mount Hope Mining Company in Morris County, N.J., other iron ore properties at Wheatfield, Pa., Virginia and North Carolina, and a number of short railroads serving the mines and furnaces. The company headquarters was moved from New York to Catasauqua in 1900.
Combination could not reverse the obsolescence of many of these small 19th century properties, The southern operations were first to go, followed by some of those in Pennsylvania. On July 1, 1922, the Empire Steel and Iron Company was acquired by the Replogle Steel Company, which operated the Wharton Furnaces in N.J. This merger, too, failed to halt the downward trend. The Warren Pipe & Foundry Corporation was incorporated in Delaware on April 8, 1927, as successor to the Replogle Steel Company. The Empire Steel and Iron Company was merged into its operating subsidiary, the Warren Pipe & Foundry Company, which had operated in Phillipsburg, N.J. since the 1850s. Contraction continued, with the Oxford Furnace dismantled in 1927, the West Virginia coal properties and last railroads sold in 1929, the Crane Furnaces dismantled in 1930, and the Wharton Furnaces in 1932. As with many declining industries, the corporate charter was recycled as a conglomerate. The Warren Pipe & Foundry Corporation was renamed Shahmoon Industries, Inc., in 1956, Shire National Corporation in 1973, and Stacey Industries, Inc. in 1985.
The last original operating property once owned by the Empire Steel and Iron Company was the Mount Hope Mine at Mount Hope, N.J., operated by the Mount Hope Mining Company, which lasted until 1972. The mine reopened briefly from October 26, 1977 to February 28, 1978, on a contract to supply Bethlehem Steel, after which it was allowed to flood.
Bethlehem Steel Company.
Empire Steel and Iron Company, Manuscript Group 1105, New Jersey Historical Society