Guide to the Thatcher Furnace Company Papers 1882-1968 MG 1647
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Processed by Rosangela Briscese, June 2006.
Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. June 2006. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
The Thatcher Furnace Company was born with the development of the “Tubular Furnace” by John M. Thatcher in 1850. For the majority of the company’s early life, its main offices were in various locations throughout New York City, and its main foundry was located in Newark, NJ. By the mid-twentieth century, the much larger plant in Garwood, NJ, had become the primary base of
In the years immediately following the Civil War, John Haviland became an associate of the company, and it operated briefly as Thatcher and Haviland. After John M. Thatcher’s son, L.M. Thatcher, joined the firm, the company continued as the Thatcher Heating Company. With the retirement of John M. Thatcher in 1890, the name changed once again to the Thatcher Furnace Company. At this time, the company entered a period of growth overseen by Charles O. Lyon as President, Edward Benedict as Treasurer and Manager of Manufacturing, and L.M. Thatcher as Secretary. In addition to the “Tubular Furnace,” the company began producing kitchen ranges, radiators, and steam and water boilers. In 1906, the company established a larger plant in Garwood, NJ, to supplement their original foundry in Newark, NJ. The company also established an office and warehouse in Chicago in 1907, managed by Richard C. Cook. Thatcher later opened another branch in Boston. In 1925, the name of the company was modified to the Thatcher Company in order to more accurately reflect its diverse product line, but with reorganization in 1937, the previous company name was resumed.
The Thatcher Furnace Company struggled during the Great Depression, as the number of new dwelling units in the country decreased dramatically, and the demand for heating equipment dropped accordingly. As the economy improved, the company followed trends in automatic heating and developed gas and oil-fired equipment. Products began to feature sheet steel construction instead of molded iron. During World War II, the full facilities of the company’s plants were employed in producing ammunition lockers, bomb-noses for incendiaries, incendiary-bomb cluster weights, steel flanges, masts, other boat parts, and special castings. Only a minimum of essential repair parts was produced for its civilian clientele.
Before closing in 1968, the company had been purchased first by the Holland Furnace Company and later by the Crane Company, but it retained its name throughout these changes.
The printed material in this collection includes catalogs, brochures, price lists, product information sheets, and a company history generated by the Thatcher Furnace Company (1882-1966), as well as auction materials created by the Thomas Machinery Liquidating Company, Inc. (TOMALICO) (1968). TOMALICO conducted the auction of Thatcher machine equipment when the company ceased operations in 1968.
Older catalogs and price lists are typically in the form of bound pamphlets, whereas later price lists and product information sheets are in the form of loose, hole-punched sheets. Three metal-fastener folders demonstrate the way that these loose sheets could be bound together into informational packets, presumably for distribution to clients.
Many of the catalogs and price lists, both loose and bound, provide detailed product information including technical specifications, ratings, engineering data, and dimensional data. Interior and exterior product sketches supplement this information. These items, as well as the brochures, demonstrate advertising techniques across a broad span of time, such as customer testimonials. The booklet The First Hundred Years of Thatcher Furnace Company, published to celebrate the company’s centennial, recounts the history of the company to 1950 and includes the names of company administrators. The auction materials, an auction catalog and an illustrated auction sale announcement, outline the numbers and types of equipment utilized in the Garwood plant to manufacture Thatcher products.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
This collection contains many fragile documents, please handle with care.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which
Glass Plate Negative Collection(Photograph of Thatcher Furnace Company employees, Box 005, Item 0071)
Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives:
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 1647, Thatcher Furnace Company Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society.
Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond A. Crosby, Jr., 2002.