The manufacturing interests of Westmoreland county are so extensive and so diversified in their character that it is impractical to classify or enumerate them. Briefly it may be said, however, that the manufacture of iron and steel into various commercial products, leads all others, but it should be understood that this statement does not include the coal and coke products, either of which surpasses any other one industry in the county. In addition to iron and steel, our more extensive products are tin-plate, glass, brick, aluminum, brass, lumber and its finished forms, paper, machinery, liquor, etc. Many of the larger establishments are described as industries of the various boroughs of the county. It is impossible to give a detailed statement of the output of these industries for the last five years, but we must content ourselves with the statistics of the county as collected by the Census Bureau of the United States Government for the year ending June 1st, 1900.
From Census Bulletin No. 163, issued by the Department on April 29, 1902, page 20, we learn that we had in Westmoreland county, at that time, 624 manufacturing establishments, owned by 662 proprietors, including corporations and individuals, who on an average employed 14,535 wage earners. The total capital invested by these manufacturers was $31,587,664. Of this invested capital, $1,857,142 is in land; $4,149,606 in buildings; $11,352,275 in machinery, tools and implements; and $14,228,641 in cash and sundries.
The wages paid that year to these 14,535 employees was $8,050,020. Of this sum the men who were sixteen years old and over numbered 13,353, and received $7,798,425. The women sixteen years old and over numbered 666, and received $152,547. The number of children employed under sixteen years of age was 516, and they received $99,048. By this it will be seen that the average amount paid the men for that year was a few dollars less than $600, and that the average paid the women was slightly less than $230, while children under sixteen years of age were paid a few dollars less than $200. The value of the output of these 624 establishments for that year was $37,285,177.
Comparing the manufacturing industries of Westmoreland county with those of the other rural counties of the state, that is; excluding Allegheny and Philadelphia counties, we stand third in the state, the counties of Berks and Dauphin alone surpassing Westmoreland. If the amount of capital invested is compared with that of other rural counties, we still stand third, the counties of Berks and Northampton surpassing us. This immense output from the factories of Westmoreland is shipped to every civilized nation on the globe.
Briefly it may be said that Westmoreland county manufactures more window glass, the chief product of glass, than any other county in the United States. This is all manufactured in three places, viz.: Jeannette, Arnold, and Mt. Pleasant, and these factories are described in parts of this work which pertain to these boroughs. The factories at Jeannette and Arnold are the largest in the world. Our county has in the past twenty years wrested this supremacy from the world, and has taken from Pittsburgh all the glass factories it had. This is largely due to peculiar natural advantages, viz.: to an almost inexhaustible vein of coal near Jeannette which is better adapted to the manufacture of glass than any other known coal, and to the natural gas which is found in abundance in this locality. The glass blowing in these large factories is now done entirely by the most improved modern machinery.
Source: Pages 471-472, History of Westmoreland County, Volume 1, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher, New York, the Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2000 by Devorah Ann Klinkenberger-Fosbrink for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed by Devorah Ann Klinkenberger-Fosbrink for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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