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Eddystone, Pennsylvania

Baldwin: Fifty Years at Eddystone
Volume 1
1906 - 1939

Scott D. Trostel

152 pages | 8 1/2 x 11 | 73 photos | 55 illustrations.
Soft Cover | ISBN 978-0-925436-65-8 | $27.95

 

This volume is the first of two that explores The Baldwin Locomotive Works at its massive facilities in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Baldwin is synonymous with steam railroad locomotive construction. It was a single site manufacturing plant until the upturn of business in 1906, when expanded foundry and machining capacity became necessary. Instead of attempting to buy ground somewhere in the immediate Philadelphia neighborhood and build another multi-story building, they bought the abandoned Gunsen Iron Foundry at Eddystone, Pennsylvania, twelve miles south. The foundry and 180 acres of pasture land comprised the first modest investment in what would become a 600 acre manufacturing complex. It was a gem in a highly concentrated manufacturing center on the Delaware River.

Baldwin practiced vertical integration manufacturing long before that phrase was ever trendy. At differing times they owned all the raw materials, all the necessary manufacturing via steel mills, and fabrication plants to produce every single component for a locomotive. Eddystone itself was first expanded in significant ways at the start of WW I as a defense plant to handle military needs including munitions, rifles, bullets, shells, canons, specialty guns and canons plus non-rail vehicles such as army trucks. With the union situation at the Broad Street plant and its limitations of physical size, at the end of WWI the managers thought it more prudent to shift all production into the empty defense plant buildings at Eddystone during the 1920s.

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