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Manufacturers Index - Berry & Orton Co.

Berry & Orton Co.
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Feb 23 2017 8:59AM by Jeff_Joslin
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The namesake Berry and Orton were Lucien H. Berry and Lyman Osgood Orton. Both men held patents for woodworking machinery.

The Berry & Orton Company Works, 1891

Berry & Orton was one of a series of owners of The Atlantic Works, namely

Some machines were labeled simply as "The Atlantic Works" even though they were made by one of the above partnerships, not necessarily by "Atlantic Works, Inc.", which came somewhat later.

Using patent dates visible in the drawings in an 1893 Berry & Orton catalog, we can identify several of the patents as belonging to other companies, most notably S. A. Woods Machine Co. of Boston, who seem to have made most of Berry & Orton's planers. The No. 1 scroll saws in the Berry & Orton catalog and the L. Power & Co. 1929 catalog are identical—even the drawings and text are virtually identical. It is not clear who the actual manufacturer was.

Information Sources

  • The 1891 book, Philadelphia and Popular Philadelphians, published by "The North American" newspaper, has the following writeup with a nice timeline of the Atlantic Works companies:


    A prominent manufacturing establishment is the Atlantic Works of the Berry & Orton Company, on Twenty-third street above Arch, from whence machinery is sent to every part of the world. The special business of the manufacture of machinery for woodworking and other mechanical work was originally established in 1860 by Richards, Thorn [sic] & Co., under the name of the Atlantic Works. This firm continued until July, 1870, when it was succeeded by Richards, Kelly & Co. In July, 1871, another change was made when the Company was registered under the title of Richards, London & Kelly. Again in July, 1877, the name of the firm was altered to London, Berry & Orton, and this partnership remained unaltered until March, 1888, when the business became under the control of L. H. Berry and L. O. Orton with the style of the Berry & Orton Company. Both these gentlemen are thoroughly practical men in their particular class of business and they give close personal attention to everything that is manufactured in and turned out of their works.

    The best testimony to the rapid growth of this large industry is in the frequent necessity there has arisen for enlargements of the manufactory. In 1869 the plant occupied a large building which had been specially erected on Twenty-second street above Arch. But these works, although spacious and well equipped, speedily became too small for the fast growing business although the work was continued night and day with a double staff of workmen. Orders however came in faster and faster and in order to keep pace with the demands of their customers the firm realized that they must further extend their capabilities for manufacture. A large plot of ground was therefore purchased at the northeast corner of Twenty-third and Arch streets. The measurement of his laud is 148 feet by 123 feet and on it has been erected one of the largest and best arranged plants for the manufacture of special machinery in the country. The main building fronts on Twentythird, Arch and Filson streets, and is a massive structure of five floors, 123 feet by 80 feet, with an L annex 68 feet by 45 feet. The whole building is a most substantial erection of brick, stone and iron. In this great space the machinery used in the manufacture of the special appliances sent out by the firm, is placed, and the whole works arc run by a 150 horse-power engine and boiler. These new works have every modern appliance and machine for the saving of labor, and they are among the finest in the State. The facilities for the reception and the shipping of goods are perfect. The tracks of the Baltimore & Ohio and Philadelphia & Reading run into the yards, and there is also a wide wagon way as an approach to the main building. The lighting is by electricity, and the ventilating and heating apparatus are on the most approved principles, rendering the whole building one of the most admired and convenient in the country.

    The machines which the Berry & Orton Company produce are peculiar in their manufacture and are mostly specially originated and patented by the firm. A special feature is the band saw mill which has now become in almost general use all over the world, and which is entirely due to the ingenuity and mechanical knowledge of the present members of the firm. A specialty is also made of the manufacture of wood working machinery for car builders and railroad companies. The company also takes the lead in the manufacture of machines and appliances for ship builders. In fact the history of the Atlantic works is unique for the example it gives of a great industry arising up within twenty-one years which not only gives a living to hundreds of work-people, but for its substantiality and perfect mechanical arrangements is a source of pride to the citizens of a city which is world renowned for its great works and industrial establishments.

  • 1893 catalog of woodworking machinery, 263 pages. Catalog is subtitled "Atlantic Works".