The Davies and Thomas Foundry

Source: Roberts, et al, History Of Lehigh County Pennsylvania, 1914.


Davies and Thomas Foundry is situated in the Third ward, along the main thoroughfare, and the extensive plant covers 20 acres of ground, with the Catasauqua creek running through the premises.


This great and successful enterprise was started in 1865 by Daniel Davies, and associated with him were his son, George, and William Thomas, who traded under the firm name of Davies, Thomas & Co. In 1868, the Thomas interest was purchased by his partners and they carried on the business until the father died in 1876; then James Thomas (a brother-in-law of George Davies) purchased this interest in the works and the partnership of Davies and Thomas Co. was formed for the continued manufacture of general foundry and machine work, vertical and horizontal engines, car castings, and appliances for furnaces, mills, and mines. The plant comprised a number of brick buildings, covering a floor space of 35,000 feet. Five vertical engines were required to supply the motive power; the employees numbered from 175 to 200; and to facilitate its extensive shipments it was connected with the Central R. R. of New Jersey.


In 1894 the business was incorporated with a capital of $300,000. The estimated value of the plant in January, 1914, was $500,000, and in a general way the buildings have become four times what they were in 1876, with the employees numbering from 250 to 500, depending upon the. conditions of the trade. Their productions are sent to all parts of the United States and to Canada.


This company is recognized as the pioneer in the manufacture of iron plates for lining tunnels under rivers by the shield method. Since 1905, it has supplied the extensive tubes for the sub-aqueous tunnels which have been put into successful operation from New York City to Jersey City, to Long Island City, and to Brooklyn; and it is now engaged in supplying the plates for a very extensive sewer at Brooklyn in the Corona District. These tunnels are admittedly marvelous accomplishments as great pieces of engineering; but this company in supplying the tunnel-plates is equally worthy of special recognition, because their production required the most exacting manipulation of materials, besides the nicest discrimination in successfully meeting the extraordinary demands of the contract; and this success secured a great distinction for the borough of Catasauqua.


In this connection it may be mentioned that the foundry was not fitted for such a great undertaking, but had to be changed to suit the occasion. These changes were designed and made by James Thomas, and he was encouraged in the new enterprise by the children of his deceased partner, George Davies, which evidences the superior and courageous spirit of the company, and their complete success merits all possible praise.


The directors and officers of the company are:

Leonard Peckitt, president.

Harry E. Graffiti, secretary and treasurer.

Hopkins Thomas, general manager.

George Davies,

Rowland D. Thomas.


Of these George Davies and Harry E. Graffin (his brother-in-law), are the successors of George Davies, deceased; Hopkins Thomas and Rowland D. Thomas are the successors of James Thomas, deceased, and C. R. Horn, general agent at New York City, is a son-in-law.


George Davies died in 1894; James Thomas died in 1906.


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