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Manufacturers Index - Rowley & Hermance Co.
Last Modified: Jan 30 2011 4:47PM by Jeff_Joslin
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Edwin A. Rowley was part of the firm Millspaugh, Rowley & Millspaugh, which split in 1875. The Millspaughs formed Williamsport Machine Co. and Rowley joined with another Williamsport machine maker to form Rowley & Hermance. Albert D. Hermance does not seem to have been in business for long before joining with Rowley. The split between Rowley and the Millspaughs must have been reasonably amicable because at least one of the Millspaughs was an investor in Rowley & Hermance at its 1882 incorporation to create Rowley & Hermance Co.

In 1879 Rowley & Hermance introduced their "Sweepstakes" planer and matcher, a machine that would become a mainstay of the firm. The Sweepstakes was moderately priced for that type of machine, yet with a then-modern design of steel cutter heads and spindles, heavy cast frame, and patent journal boxes that could be adjusted to take up wear.

According to the 1892 book, History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania), the company's specialty was "the manufacture of woodworking machinery for furniture factories, sash, doors, and blinds, and all woodworking establishments of whatever kind. They also manufacture all kinds of machinists' tools. The products of this large manufactory find a market in all parts of the world. The employees range in number from 160 to 180 according to the demands of business."

In 1897, Rowley & Hermance was one of eleven companies that merged to form the American Wood Working Machine Co. At that time Rowley & Hermance was doing very well, specializing in molders with four to six heads. They also made some combination matchers and surfacers.

A.D. Hermance sold his interest in American in 1901 or 1902, and then started Hermance Machine Co.

Information Sources

  • The founders' names and the founding date are derived from patent records.
  • The above-mentioned History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania also provides this tidbit: "Philip A. Moltz was one of the pioneer machinists of the city. He came here in 1854, and two years later he purchased the plant of Mayby & Bowman, corner of Basin and Church streets; where be carried on business until 1868. He then sold the shops, but again became proprietor in 1871, and in 1877 he finally disposed of the plant to Rowley & Hermance."
  • A July 1879 Manufacturer & Builder article describes R&H's new "Sweepstakes" line of planer-matchers.
  • Information on Rowley & Hermance's product line at the time of the American Wood Working Machine Co. merger comes from Chandler W. Jones' book, Planers, Matchers and Molders in America.