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Manufacturers Index - Cresson & Smith; George V. Cresson & Co.

Cresson & Smith; George V. Cresson & Co.
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Metal Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Oct 6 2012 2:15PM by Jeff_Joslin
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George Vaux Cresson, son of prominent Philadelphia manufacturer William P. Cresson, began his career as an apprentice machinist at machine tool maker Bement & Dougherty. After completing his apprenticeship he partnered with George W. Hubbard and in 1859 established Cresson & Hubbard, which began as general machinists but also manufactured a cold iron bar cutter and a horse power. In 1866 Scott A. Smith joined the partnership and they became Cresson, Hubbard & Smith The following year Hubbard left the firm which became Cresson & Smith By this time the time they had developed specialties in shafting and hangers, plus they made a line of engine lathes.

In 1870 it appears that Mr. Smith left the business and it became simply George V. Cresson, operating the newly established Philadelphia Shafting Works. The engines and lathes had been dropped from the company's lineup. At some point the name George V. Cresson & Co. came into use. In 1892 the firm incorporated as the George V. Cresson Co. Sometime around 1910 the company was acquired by Morris Engineering Co. and the merged firm became Cresson-Morris Co.

Information Sources

  • The October 1842 Journal of the Franklin Institute has a report on their 12th Exhibition held in Philedalphia in that month. Among the premiums awarded was one to Pierpont & Hotchkiss of New Haven, Ct., for door locks and knobs, "deposited by W. P. Cresson & Co."
  • The October 1850 "20th Exhibition of American Manufactures", by the Franklin Institute, awarded a Second Premium to W. P. Cresson & Co. for their Empire State cooking stove. They also won a "Recall First Premium" for their Tinned iron hollow-ware.
  • Article in 1853 Scientific American, on a lathe for turning hollow ware, with improvements invented by Peter Teal and Charles Tyler; the article suggests that the lathe was patented, but no such patent has been found.
  • During 1846 to 1853 William P. Cresson had, or was assigned, several patents for cast iron stoves.
  • 1859 article and 1861 ad in Scientific American for Cresson & Hubbard.
  • Advertisement in the 1860-04-07 Scientific American: "CRESSON & HUBBARD, hand and power iron bar cutters. Circular sent on application. Noble-street, above Twelfth, Philadelphia, Pa."
  • The list of premiums awarded at the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society's 1863 Exhibition at Norristown includes awards to Cresson & Hubbard: a diploma for their patent cold iron bar cutter, and a second premium plus $8 for their sweep horse power.
  • 1864-1865 Scientific American ads for Cresson, Hubbard & Smith.
  • The 1867 book, Philadelphia and Its Manufactures, by Edwin T. Freedley, has the following writeup of this firm.

    Cresson & Smith
    Are comparatively a new firm who, in 1859, fitted up an establishment for the manufacture of Machinists' Tools, and especially Engine Lathes. Their Lathes are notable for simplicity of construction, and novel in the arrangement of the gearing for screw-cutting, and the independent rack feed. The feed is positive, with three changes of thread to each change of gear on the main screw, and by the attachment of the nut to the carriage it can be thrown into gear at any point. The sides and other working parts are scraped to a perfect bearing, and every care is taken to ensure good work and durability. These Lathes are complete in every respect, with Ball and Socket Hangers, Balanced Cone Pulleys, and Steel Spindles with gun metal bearings, large and small face plates, stationary and travelling back-rests, etc. All the ball cranks and handles are of wrought iron, and the nuts, wrenches, etc., are case hardened. Messrs. Cresson & Smith have also given particular attention to the manufacture of Shafting. Their Hangers in particular are notable for their neat appearance, perfect adjustability, and easy working, which is accomplished by their excellent Ball and Socket bearings, and Patent Self-Oiling Attachment. Their Pullies are made in accordance with a systematized scale, and in perfect proportion, from the smallest to the largest, and with as much lightness as is consistent with strength. Their Patent Vise Coupling is being extensively adopted, from its great simplicity and efficiency.

    Mr. Cresson, the senior member of this firm was formerly connected with the Industrial Works of this city, and Mr. Smith had an experience of fifteen years in the Works of the Corliss Engine Company, Providence, Rhode Island.

  • 1868 patent to George W. Hubbard, assigned to Cresson & Smith. These various incarnations of Messrs. Cresson, Hubbard and Smith were all involved in metalworking machinery.
  • The March 1870 Manufacturer & Builder has a small ad: "Cresson & Smith, Makers of the Allen Engine. Shafting with the Patent Vise Couplings and IMproved Patent Ball and Socket. Self-oiling hangers. Cor. Eighteenth and Hamilton Streets, Philadelphia."
  • The August 1870 Journal of the Franklin Institute in an article about a steam engine invented by J. F. Allen of New York, which mentions "an Allen Engine built by Messrs. Cresson & Smith, of this city. Cylinder 10 inches diameter, 24 inch stroke; 144 revolutions per minute." Its effective output was 33.8 horsepower.
  • The March 1875 Manufacturer & Builder has an article on the shafting appurtenances of Geo. V. Cresson's Philadelphia Shafting Works.
  • The 1891 book, Philadelphia and Popular Philadelphians has an article on the Philadelphia Shafting Works.
  • Philadelphia Securities for 1893 has information on the 1892 incorporation of George V. Cresson Co.
  • Public Documents of the State of Wisconsin for 1897 mentions a $16 payment to George V. Cresson & Co., for hangers.
  • The 1930-01-30 American Machinist carries this obituary.
    George Vaux Cresson, the well known Philadelphia engineer and manufacturer, died in that city January 18, in his 72d year. In 1859 Mr. Cresson established the firm of Cresson & Hubbard, general machinists and lathe builders, after having learned the machine business in the employ of Bement & Dougherty. The firm made rapid growth, becoming an organization of large magnitude, and in 1892 was incorporated under the name of Geo. V. Cresson & Co., with Mr. Cresson as its president. For the last few years he had not been actively engaged in the business, holding the position of honorary president. Mr. Cresson always actively interested himself in philanthropic enterprises and his work in these affairs was well known and appreciated by a large circle of friends. He took a deep interest in the social side of business in Philadelphia, being prominent in many business organizations and having served as president of the Manufacturers' Club for three years. He was also a member of the Engineers' Club and the Franklin Institute. Mr. Cresson is survived by a brother and three nephews, all of whom are actively engaged with the Cresson Company.
  • The April 1908 Proceedings of the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia carried the following obituary.

    Died January 18, 1908.

    George Vaux Cresson was born in Philadelphia, September 10,1836, the son of William P. Cresson, a retired manufacturer and philanthropist, and of Susan Vaux. He had a Philadelphia ancestry extending back for eight generations.

    He served his apprenticeship as machinist with Bement & Dougherty and established himself in 1859, the firm name being Cresson & Hubbard, at Twelfth and Noble Streets, as general machinists. Later, in 1866, they moved to the southeast corner of Eighteenth and Hamilton Streets, changing the firm name to Cresson, Hubbard & Smith. In 1867 George W. Hubbard retired and Mr. Cresson established in 1870 "The Philadelphia Shafting Works." He was probably the first manufacturer to take up the production of shafting and all its appurtenances as a specialty.

    The development of this business was such that Mr. Cresson moved in 1888 to Allegheny Avenue west of Seventeenth Street, where a pattern shop, foundries, and large machine shops were built. In 1892 the firm was incorporated as the George V. Cresson Company, with George V. Cresson as president.

    Mr. Cresson became a member of this Club on January 12, 1884, and served as a Director in 1892. He was a member of the Franklin Institute and served a term on its Board of Directors and was President of the Manufacturers' Club for three years. He was also interested in several other commercial and philanthropic organizations. His death occurred at his country residence, "Caversham House," near Elkins Park, Pa., January 18,1908, surviving his wife but a short time.

    Mr. Cresson was a man of untiring industry and ever zealous in the cause of justice and righteousness.