Those Who Worked at the Crane
The records of the Crane Iron Works remained undisturbed in the attic of the Crane Iron Office Building on Front Street until recently. When Vince Smith purchased Blockers Hardware and the office next door, which had been used for storage by Blockers, these records were found, and subsequently transferred to the National Canal Museum, with the financial assistance of PHMC. Included in these records were work and payroll logs from the Crane furnaces and shops. Images have been made of a ffew, which can be viewed here (TBA)
Many leaders of the iron industry got their start, or were involved, with the Crane in its early days. This was largely due to the talents of Hopkin Thomas. Hopkin Thomas spent the years from 1853 to 1871 (age 60–79) as the chief engineer (Master Mechanic) at the Lehigh Crane Iron Company at Catasauqua. In that role he would have been responsible for the design of a new blast furnace, the improvement and operation of the power generation machinery, oversight of the railroad design and operation issues, the day to day engineering issues and the training of apprentice engineers.
One of those trained by Hopkin Thomas was Capt William R Jones. He grew up in one of the company homes on Church Street and went on to become Andrew Carnegie’s man at The Edgar Thompson Steel Works and his first Steel Master.
Others included Hopkin and Catherine Thomas’ youngest son James, who was a close friend of William Jones in their youth. James Thomas became a highly successful co-owner of the Davies and Thomas Company in Catasauqua and was involved in many of the community developments. Their oldest son William R, Thomas, had a varied career involving the family businesses and other endeavors. He held several patents and was known for his inventive genius. He was superintendent of the Crane from 1887-1891.
The following table lists people who went on from the Crane to achieve success elsewhere.
|*Names in blue were trained by Hopkin Thomas at the Crane shops
|Davies & Thomas, Fuller
|Reading Iron Co
|Port Oram mines of Thomas Iron
|Colorado Coal & Iron company
|Allentown Iron, USGovt
|Lehigh Fire Brick, Bryden
|Lehigh Fire Brick
|Union & Crane Foundry, NYC Iron
|McKee Fuller, Rising Fawn, Helena Coal, Coleraine, Globe Metal, Davies & Thomas
|Parryville, Davies & Thomas, Wahnetah, Elec Light & Power cos, Birmingham iron industry
|LVRR, Weatherly shops
|LVRR, South Easton shops
|Boonton, Thomas Iron, Alabama iron ind
|Parryville, Davies & Thomas, Elec Light & Power cos
|Bodie Mines, CO