The Davies & Thomas Foundry

At the peak of activity, the foundry, located on Race St., was served by two railroads. (1914 photo)


This company, located in East Catasauqua, was originally founded by Daniel Davies and William Thomas in 1865.  William Thomas was said to have been a distant relative of James Thomas, a later principle of the company. Daniel Davies bought out William Thomas's interest in 1868, and operated until 1876 when Daniel Davies died. The company was then passed onto the sons of the founders and it then achieved fame and fortune under the management of George Davies, son of Daniel Davies, and James Thomas, son of Hopkin Thomas.


The most well–known product of The Davies and Thomas was the cast iron tunnel ring used in river crossings in many Eastern U. S. cities. 


A display at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition


The following entries can be found in John W. Jordan et al's 1905 History of the Lehigh Valley. See the articles that follow for other citations on the company's history.

The firm manufactured castings for many important enterprises, including the underground electric railway in Washington, D. C, the Broadway cable in New York, the East River tunnel, the Hudson River tunnel, and the Traction and People's cable lines in Baltimore. They also manufactured car castings, and were the designers and original manufacturers of the Davies & Thomas engine. The works occupied at the time of Mr. Davies' death about ten acres, the foundry covering one acre, and the machine-shop being one hundred and thirty-five feet long by fifty feet wide. There were four large boilers, two blowers operated by two Davies & Thomas engines of one hundred and fifteen horse-power, and fifteen cranes, two of which, made by William R. Thomas, will lift fifteen tons each.

Their offices are located at East Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, and 26 Cortlandt Street, New York City. The plant is classed with the largest in the country conducting general foundry and machine work. The capacity of the foundry is over three hundred tons per day, and the machine shop, blacksmith shop and pattern shop are of the largest capacity in the Lehigh Valley being equipped with the most modern tools for quick and accurate work. The plant covers more than twenty-five acres. The product is sold throughout the United States, Canada, South America, West Indies and all European countries.


Ads – the one on the right appeared in The American Federationist, 1910 – a union publication.


The following, somewhat amusing article, published in the Allentown Leader, Aug, 28, 1897 was recently discovered by Deb Mellish of the HCPA.
Iron Borough Contributes Its Quota for Our Edification.
All Is Serene Except the Broken Panes of the Manufacturing Co.'s Mills, Which Indicate a Period of Long Idleness.
If ever Catasauqua was a thriving town it is one now, with the exception of the rolling mills, and these works of the past may yet see better days. The Davies & Thomas foundry and machine works, the largest concern in the town, situated in Springdale Park, has been struck properly by the McKinley boom. This works some time ago received an order from a New York party for 1100 columns, then came an order for the East River tunnel which compelled the machinists and chippers to work double shift. Now, this week, when everybody felt serene and nobody was kicking about work, this firm received an order for 40,000 yokes for a New York electric railway. This order alone will keep this large works running night and day for one year and a half, employing more than 300 men. The moulders will be put on night shift as soon as the patterns are made. The best point about the Davies & Thomas Company is that they never employed a Hungarian since their inception. How many other large concerns can boast of this. The Bryden Horse Shoe Works are in the same position.




            The Davies & Thomas Foundry, Matthews & Hungerford (1884) – an early profile.

            The Davies and Thomas Greater America (1900) – an early profile.

            The Davies & Thomas, Lambert & Reinhard – account of 1914.

            The Davies & Thomas Foundry, Roberts et al – account of 1914 prepared by W. H. Glace

Casting Iron Segments for New York Tunnels by E. C. Kreutz, 1916. This article, which appeared in The Foundry and also in the Iron Trade Review describes the extensive machinery employed by the Davies and Thomas for casting tunnel rings.

The Davies and Thomas Company, Burkhart & Gemmel (1992) – a history of the company.

Under The River, Manhattan Gateway, Wm. Middleton – description of the installation of tunnel rings.

Tunnel Under the East River – details of the tunneling process for a gas line - 1894

The Razing of the Foundry - 1965


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Rev.Nov. 2016