Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The Page Begins Here

Remembering Donald C. Wisensale, the Father of Mill Restoration.
He work for the Fitz Water Wheel Company from 1926 to 1967.

Donald C. Wisensale at his home in Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1993.

Remembering Donald C. Wisensale,
the Father of Mill Restoration,
Theodore R. Hazen.

Remembering Donald C. Wisensale, the Father of Mill Restoration.

In 1926 the Fitz Water Wheel Company along with a former employee, John Blake Campbell (1890-1987), who in 1920 began the Campbell Water Wheel Company, began the construction of a new grist mill at the Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. There had at one time been a mill near this spot, and now the idea was to construct an idealized New England grist mill. The project was being funded with money from Henry Ford and his friends. Mr. Ford had ulterior motives, he felt that if he gave them a brand new grist mill they perhaps would not notice him walking away with the Little Red School House where the young school girl wore "Mary had a little lamb," for his historic village. On Thanksgiving Day of 1929 the Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn first began to grind grain. The Wayside Inn got their grist mill which on postcards of the early 1930's identified it as begin "old," and they kept the Little Red School House.

A young high school student began working on this project in 1926 for the Fitz Water Wheel Company as a draftsman, Donald C. Wisensale. Young Wisensale began to learn about grist mills from the man who knew the most about mills of the Oliver Evans era, John Blake Campbell. Mr. Campbell graduated from Cornell University as an hydraulic engineer, and after parting company with Fitz went back to his roots where he spent several years studying the mills of the Roanoke valley of Virginia. This background set the philosophy of the future mill restoration of the Fitz Water Wheel Company and the Campbell Water Wheel Company. Just because it was done 100 or 200 years ago, does not mean that it was done correctly. They made mistakes just as we do today, and they do not have the information and resources that we have today. Some people would later question the Fitz Water Wheel Company saying that they did not do accurate historical restorations. John Fitz (1872-1966) would always answer them by saying, we are not afraid to make improvements on the past where ever it was needed to make them better. Why should we repeat the mistakes of the past by reproducing them in what we do today, after all we put our companies name (The Fitz Water Wheel Company, Hydraulic Engineers) on the project.

In constructing the stone walls of the Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn, someone working for the Fitz Water Wheel Company, took upon themselves to install steel plates tucked underneath each window and door opening. This is not how it would have been done historically and Mr. Ford was very upset when he saw what had been done, but what could he have done all the exterior walls were complete.

When the Grist Mill at the Wayside in was begin constructed in Massachusetts, Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin was dreaming of restoring eighteen-century Colonial Williamsburg. He persuaded John D. Rockefeller, heir to the Standard Oil fortune, to tour Williamsburg. Together they planned more than just the preservation of historic buildings and settings, they intended to recreate and interpret colonial life. Colonial Williamsburg is now the oldest and largest living history museum. America's founding fathers wanted to be no different from the Kings of Europe, once they were no longer king, their castles would be torn down. This was also the feelings of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. So if they did not want their homes preserved, no on ever thought of preserving domestic structures such as mills. The first mill to be restored and open to the public was in 1935. This was the Spring Mill or Hamer's Mill on Hamer's Branch Creek, Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana. This mill however, was not an actual historical restoration since it did not follow any known millwrights plan for the interior configuration of its machinery.

In 1935 the Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes decided that a mill would be restored under the supervision of noted architect Thomas T. Waterman. Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., was restored as an operating flour mill in 1936; the flour and meal was sold to the public, and used in government cafeteria, and the White House. Freeman Tilden mentions the Pierce Mill grinding corn meal along Rock Creek, in "Interpreting Our Heritage." The word "education" was used in place of the word "interpretation" in the National Park Service for many years until the terminology changed. Park Ranger Donald Patrick McHenry presented the first National Park Service interpretive program of an historical structure and of a mill at Piece Mill. Educational programs first began in the large western parks where Mr. McHenry was first stationed and only dealt with nature topics.

Mr.Fitz came to Donald C. Wisensale one day and said, "There is a 40' x 50' mill over in Washington, D. C. the Isaac Pierce Mill, and I want you to go and fill it up with machinery. You can use machinery from any mill that would never again be restarted." (This is the present day Isaac Pierce Mill operated by the National Park Service, in Rock Creek Park). Mr. Wisensale did all the drawings for the 1930's Fitz restoration, and architect Thomas T. Waterman had done his separate set of drawings for the the mill's exterior stone structure. Thus, Wisensale and his assistant, Richard Walker, started work using materials and equipment that Fitz had previously collected including:gears dating from 1818, millstones, lighter staffs, bottle weights, and meal boxes dating from 1804 which came from the J. A. Baldwin Mill in Burnt Cabins, Pennsylvania. From the Baughman's Mill near Linesboro, Maryland, came an 1802 hopper-boy, cleaners, sifters and elevators. The other half of the works (the millstones and gearing) was used later in the Lee's Mill restoration. At the Isaac Pierce Mill in Washington, Fitz's millwrights built a wooden breast water wheel because there was plenty of water available, and they could make the wheel about 8 feet wide to hold plenty of water. An overshot wheel would have had to have been substantially smaller in diameter and would have developed much less power. The wheel had French Creek granite bearings lubricated with water. The granite came from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. At one point John Fitz complained to Mr. Wisensale, that he was replacing too much of the interior wooden fabric of the mill. Donald Wisensale replied that most of the interior wooden hurst or husk frame was rotten and need almost a total replacement John Fitz would mention many times that Pierce Mill, in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., was their best and our nation's best restoration of an Oliver Evans flour mill that included the finest example of an original hopper-boy. Pierce Mill is not unlike many other mill and historical restorations, they just run out of time and money. In Pierce Mill's case they ran out of time and money to rebuild the historical mill dam, and never had the water to adequately run the mill.

Donald C. Wisensale would later say, one of the best restorations that the Fitz Water Wheel Company was involve with was the Robert E. Lee Mill at Stratford Hall, Virginia. This restoration was done with the assistance of Professor Benjamin W. Dedrick, Head of Mill Engineering School, Pennsylvania State College, and author of the 1924 textbook "Practical Milling." Most of the machinery the Fitz Water Wheel Company used came from mills in Pennsylvania and Maryland. It was kept in storage at their Hanover plant, reconditioned there, and used in restoration work everywhere. As they installed newer water wheels and gear systems they retained the older original machinery to use in their historical restorations. As a sales representative, Mr. Wisensale began to scout out this machinery in his travels.

The 1941 Fitz Water Wheel Company reconstruction the (post-colonial Oliver Evans) Beckman's Mill (circa 1783-1910), in Tarrytown, New York, which was later replaced with a more historically accurate colonial (pre-Oliver Evans) mill period. The Fitz Water Wheel Company did more than grist mill restorations, they also did the water wheels for the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, Saugus, Massachusetts, and the Hagley Museum Gunpowder Works (1951).

The end of the company came with the passing of Samuel Fitz's grandson, John Samuel Fitz, at the age of 94, on September 4, 1965. Of the closing, Wisensale would say, "Fitz Water Wheel Company went out of business because the son of the previous owner was President and General Manager and most of the stock was owned by his sisters who were all a little bit too old to bother continuing the business, so they decided to sell out and get rid of everything." The milling machinery that Fitz had collected for his restorations, and machinery at the Fitz plant were all sold at public auction on October 20, 1966 to various persons. All drawings, records, patterns, etc, were purchased and shipped to the James Leffel Company at Springfield, Ohio. The sheet metal templates and patterns were cut up and sold for scrap. The wooden patterns were all destroyed by J. Robert Groff, President of James Leffel Company.

When ever people would talk about the Fitz Water Wheel Company, I often thought it would be wonderful to meet someone who worked for them. So one time I asked Steve Kindig a mill consultant who could I look up. The first and only person that he mentioned was Donald C. Wisensale. Mr. Kindig and Robert A. Howard (now retired engineering curator at the Hagley Museum, and consultant for Pierce Mill) had mentioned several times Donald C. Wisensale in talking about the Fitz Water Wheel Company. So the next time I was passing though Hanover, Pennsylvania, I decided to look him up in the phone book. I am 6 feet four inches tall, and I came with a friend (that was equally as tall) who was interested in mills and was one of my volunteers at Pierce Mill. I rang the door bell and Mr. Wisensale answered the door. I asked him if he was the Donald C. Wisensale who worked for the Fitz Water Wheel Company? You should have seen his face his face light up when I told him that I was the miller who was working at Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D. C. He was like a kid running around pulling things out of different places in his house. We would mention something, and the next thing we knew he was running down to the basement to get another treasure to show us. I have corresponded with him several times after that and had sent him several birthday cards, and a drawing of the Fitz Water Wheel Companies breast shot water wheel that they installed on Pierce Mill back in the 1930's. Mr. Wisensale was responsible for the Fitz Water Wheel Companies restoration of Pierce Mill back in the 1930's, and meeting him inspired me to write the original article on the Fitz Water Wheel Company.

Recently a large collection of Fitz Company artifacts have appeared that the Fitz family paid a lot of money to be hauled to the furnace to be burned 34-35 years ago. I was going to contact Mr. Wisensale about this, and I have collected a lot of photographs of these items, but I was always afraid I would hear that he had passed away without me hearing about it. The items include a barn full of casting patterns, John Fitz's personal collection of glass plate negatives, these items include, celluloid negatives, A few pieces of correspondence, one is from The Pelton Water Wheel Co., to John Fitz, dated 1898. A dozen or so of the various Fitz Water Wheel catalogs, some I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheel Company early ones. A few pieces of salesman's samples of the turbines, and an extensive collection of the wooden patterns used for casting the iron components using in making the turbines, and the large gear segments used with the water wheels. The hydraulic schools models of water turbines and vertical water wheels were sold from the collection over the years. It turns out that a man from Frederick, Maryland, wanted an old mill that was in storage in one of the Fitz Water Wheel Companies buildings, and was willing to buy everything to get the grist mill. Over the years mainly water turbine casting patterns were turned into coffee tables and sold. A restaurant in Frederick, Maryland, has a lot of the casting patterns hung on the walls for decorations. The man's son recently sold what was left to a man in Winchester, Virginia, who was trying to get a museum to take the whole lot of stuff. There are still thousands and thousands of casting patterns left, along with hundreds of water wheel bearing patterns. I have tried and tried to get the Hanover, York, and the Hagley museums to purchase some of this material, but I heard the same old song and dance that other historical societies across the country are singing. We are no longer in the business of preserving local history or artifacts, we have devoted all of our resources and staff to assisting with genealogical research. Perhaps it is a sign of the times, our nation's treasures are being sold on Ebay to the highest bidders. I have seen the SPOOM modern reprints of the Fitz Water Wheel Catalogs being sold there for as much as 50, 60, 65 dollars or more. This may become the future of the National Park Service because they are not given adequate money to staff, restore and operate our nation's national treasures. They have interpretive plans that go from operational sites, to static exhibits, to finally just the interpretation of ruins and sites, and who knows? Perhaps the one day gradually selling off of artifacts that becomes necessary to meet their operating expenses. In the last past 20 years, the United States Presidential Administrations (since President Carter), and the Federal Government has turned their back to the National Park Service and historical restoration money.

John Fitz was trying to keep alive the idea of vertical water wheels. If you read the article "There'll Always be Water Wheels," by Neil M. Clark (which is on my web site), you will get a sense of what he was trying to do. I have often though about how different things would have been if the employees of Fitz would have been allowed to buy the company after the death of John Fitz. They would have the their water wheel catalogs on the internet instead of me. They would have the computer program that when you put in a few figures, a full size drawing of a Fitz Water Wheel of the correct size and everything would roll out of a big paper printer. Then of course there still would be even more hundreds, and thousands of Fitz Water Wheels around. They would be making them rather than people making knock-off copies, or restoring old ones. Then there is the whole energy mess we are in. Regulations would not be on the books like here in Virginia, where it cost 50 thousand dollars per year just to have the license to sell electricity into the grid. Hopefully things would be different, the little streams that are in the way of urban development that are now pipped into storm sewers would be turning Fitz Water Wheels. And of course, mills would be restored the way they should be in an historical fashion, rather than by some one's nostalgic idea or what would win restoration awards, the way the Fitz Water Wheel Company and Donald C. Wisensale began the mill restoration business back in the 1930's.

SPOOM member, Donald Wisensale, who took a job while in high school with Fitz in 1926, and stayed until 1967 when the company closed. Wisensale worked for Fitz on mill restorations, as a sale manager, and later as Vice President. Then after the passing of John Fitz was acting President of the Fitz Water Wheel Company. I have contacted him many times in recent years for his advice in a mill restoration project. The business and the preservation of mills was close to Mr. Wisensale's heart. He passed away the Monday night August 26, 2002, at Hanover Hospital. He often spoke with family members about Fitz, mills, and SPOOM. He was the husband of Anna May Frock Wisensale, who died May 31, 1998. Born Oct. 24, 1911, in Hanover, he was the son of the late John and Emma Trone Wisensale. By trade a draftsman before retiring he was employed 40 years by the former Fitz Water Wheel Co. in Hanover and then for 27 years by CAM Industries. He was a lifelong member of Grace UCC where he had served as an elder and a deacon. He was a charter member and past president of Hanover Industrial Management Club, and a member of Patmos Lodge 348 Free and Accepted Masons, Loyal Order of Moose Hanover Lodge 227, Hanover Fire Co. No. One, and York County Fireman's Association. He graduated from Hanover High School, Class of 1929.

Mr. Wisensale is survived by two brothers, Richard B. Wisensale and Earl K. Wisensale, both of Hanover; and a sister, Mary L. Lawrence of McSherrystown.

Memorial contributions: Grace United Church of Christ, 100 Fourth St., Hanover 17331; or the Golden Visions Adult Day Center, 1157 Eichelberger St., Hanover 17331.

Obituary Source Information:
Gerard Lawrence nephew of Donald Wisensale, e-mail of Tuesday 27 August 2002.
York Daily Record-Obituaries Wednesday, August 28, 2002
The Evening Sun, Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Note: The above article has been edited, and printed in Old Mill News under the title: "In Memory - Donald c. Wisensale (1911-2002, the father of mill restoration)," Old Mill News, Winter 2003 voluem 31, number 1, whole number 122, page 9.

Building of the Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 1926-1929,
just prior to the installation of the water wheel and water box.

The Following Additional Bonus Features are in the Celebration of Life and the Memory of the Late Donald C. Wisensale: (1) The Fitz Water Wheel Company's Last Historical Restoration, The Restoration of the William Robertson's Wind Mill. (2) The Fitz Water Wheel Company's Archival Records at the Hagley Museum and Library. (3) The Campbell Water Wheel Company's Archival Records at the Hagley Museum and Library. (4) Photo of Donald C. Wisensale. (5) Photo of the Building of the Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 1926-1929, just prior to the installation of the water wheel and water box. (6) Fitz Water Wheel Company, Hanover, Pennsylvania, (image of an) Advertising Bill Holder. (7) (images of a) Wood & Rubber Stamp from the Fitz Water Wheel Company, 1906. (8) A List of Pages in the Pond Lily Mill Restorations Home Page Web Site about the Fitz Water Wheel Company and the Campbell Water Wheel Company. (9) A Glass Plate Negative Photo from the Personal Collection of John Samuel Fitz, of Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania. (10) Advertisement Brochures from the Water Wheel Fitz Water Wheel Company, Hanover, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Circa 1919.

Fitz Water Wheel Company, Hanover, Pennslvania, Advertising Bill Holder.

The Robertson's Windmill, Colonial Williamsburg Virginia.

The Fitz Water Wheel Company's Last Historical Restoration,
The Restoration of the William Robertson's Wind Mill

William Robertson's original wind mill was built sometime during the period. and stood on a spot near the Governor's Palace in 1720. In 1723, William Robertson sold the windmill to John Holloway were the mill stands. Neither Mr. Robertson or Mr. Holloway were millers. Neither men left any record of the exact appearance of the windmill. The deed did not also include the precise location of the mill. The reconstruction, therefore, had to answer two questions: Where was the location of Robertson's Wind Mill, and what kind of mill was it? Archeological excavation of the whole are did not provide any evidence of the precise location of the mill. James Deetz author of "In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life," took many years to discover the site of the windmill (1621) at Flowerdew Hundred Plantation, Virginia. The post mill was the most common type of windmill found in the tidewater areas of Virginia, and Maryland. The wooden box-like body of a post mill contains the gearing, millstones, and machinery, and carries the sails. The mill was constructed supported above ground on a upright wooden post, which in turn is supported by a four-legged trestle that sits on brick pads. The sails are turned to face the wind by turning a long tail pole attached to a heavy duty wagon wheel. The tail pole is centered in the middle of a pair of steps that can be lifted off the ground so the body of the post mill can be turned in a circle. The tree that became the post was discovered to have been a sapling in 1675, which makes it one of Colonial Williamsburg oldest "antiques."

Sometimes it was the English post mill that were built in England, disassembled and packed into holds of ships along with the immigrants, and resembled in the form of kits in some States like Maryland. Ordering a prefabricated windmill from England was important lifesaver in the New World if the millwright was not able to erect a windmill within a set period of time, or in the event of his sudden death.

This is the Fitz Water Wheel Companies last historical restoration, and it was not of a water mill but of an authenticated post mill. History has recorded the two men behind the building of the wind mill. The first was (late) Rex Wailes of England. Rex Wailes was an internationally renowned authority on mills and milling machinery. He was the author of "The English Windmill " (1954), and of other articles on windmills and water mills in the Encyclopedia Britannica. During Mr. Wailes visits to America, he accepts in invitation from another Rockefeller funded foundation in North Tarrytown, New York. He was directly responsible for bring Charles Howell to become the miller at Upper Mills at Philipsburg Manor. A newly reconstructed mill on the site of the 1941 Fitz Water Wheel Companies restoration of the mill on the Pocantico River one half a mile from the Hudson River in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow), New York. Rex Wailes provided measured drawings of a seventeenth-century wind mill still standing in Bourn in Cambridgeshire, England. The other personality behind the building of the wind mill was Edward P. Hamilton, the former director of historic Fort Ticonderoga, in New York State. Mr. Hamilton became the author of the classic work: "The Village Mill in Early New England," published by Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts (1964). Edward P. Hamilton was a retired investment counselor, a collector of watch and clock mechanisms, and authority on windmills of America. He was also a skilled model maker, and thus he transformed the drawings provided by Mr. Wailes into a perfect working miniature model which would perform every function assigned to the lager counterpart in the mill itself. The Fitz Water Wheel Companies millwrights were master gear makers both in wood and metal. They provided the windmill's complete machinery components that would go into the mill.

The Fitz Water Wheel Company was discussing with the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. for a second restoration of Pierce Mill. Mr. Fitz could not understand why the National Park Service allowed the wooden breast shot water wheel and the stone head race to deteriorate, when Donald C. Wisensale informed them of John Fitz's death, and the demise of the company. Mr. Wisensale suggested that they contact the James Leffel Company, but they were not in the historical restoration business. Then the National Park Service discussed the idea with John Blake Campbell of the Campbell Water Wheel Company. They disagreed upon the mill's original location, length of the mill race and the dam, which follow Race Road (then West Beach Drive, and now part of a bike trail system). The final conclusion after the Campbell Company performed an archeological excavation across the west bank of Rock Creek, was that there was no longer mill race than what the Fitz Water Wheel Company and the W.P.A., restored in the 1930, and in the early 1900's two of the cities major sewer lines had been laid in in its possible path along Rock Creek. The National Park Service finally decided upon a second in-house restoration for Pierce Mill.

Wood & Rubber Stamp Fitz Water Wheel Company, 1906.

Description: An old rubber stamp from the Fitz Water Wheel Company, the stamp is actually backwards. The scan is reversed so you could read it. The wooden part is marked Buck's patent Dial Dater Pat'd Jan 2nd 06. Wood & Rubber Stamp Fitz Water Wheel Company, 1906.

The Fitz Water Wheel Company, Archival Records.

Database Name:
Hagley Museum and Library, Greenville, Delaware.
Search Request: Fitz Water Wheel Company
Search Results: Displaying 7 of 11 entries

Main Author: Fitz Water Wheel Company.
Title: Records, 1897-1966.
Primary Material: Archival/Manuscript Material
Description: 285 linear ft.
Organization: Series I. Correspondence sent (1908-1957); Series II. Correspondence sent and received (1899-1966); Series III. Proposals and agreements (1900-1935); Series IV. General accounts (1902-1946); Series V. Production records (1902-1954); Series VI. Sales records (1899-1956); Series VII. Engineers' notebooks (1930-1965); Series VIII. Miscellany (1908-1962).
History: Samuel Fitz established the Hanover Foundry & Machine Co. in Hanover, Pa., in 1840. Ten years later he established the Tuscarora Iron Works in Martinsburg, W. Va. The two operations were combined in 1896. In 1899 the firm became the I-X-L Overshoot Water Wheel Company, and on July 15, 1902, it was renamed the Fitz Water Wheel Company. The firm soon came to specialize in the manufacture of water wheels and small power plants, although it also manufactured grain dryers and blowers. Samuel Fitz built his first iron water wheel in 1852. His son, John Fitz (1847-1914), who succeeded his father as head of the firm, developed the modern steel overshot water wheel. This represented the refinement of a relatively primitive technology at a time when large firms were developing high-power turbines for large factories and central generating stations Befitting its rural location, Fitz aimed its product at farmers, small millers, and small town hydroelectric and pumping stations. As a specialty producer, it sold its products throughout the United States and also developed a strong export market, particularly to rural areas and underdeveloped countries. Orders came from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South America, Africa, Indochina and all parts of Europe with the exception of Russia. Fitz also manufactured impulse wheels, and in the 1910s it acquired the sole manufacturing rights to the Burnham turbine. Again, Fitz concentrated on turbines of under 150 HP. The spread of rural electrification cut into Fitz's market, but John Samuel Fitz, who had succeeded his father in 1914, kept the firm in business by adapting to changing conditions. After 1930 many wheels were produced for "show" rather than productive use. The firm made many model wheels and turbines for engineering schools and produced many small turbines for the government during World War II. It also became an important supplier to historic restorations of working mills, including Colonial Williamsburg; the Old Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park in Washington; Stratford Hall in Virginia; the Historic Hudson Valley Restoration in New York; and the Hagley Museum in Delaware. J. S. Fitz died in 1965, and the firm was sold on September 1, 1966. James Leffel & Co. of Springfield, Ohio, bought the machinery, inventory, patterns and drawings. Leffel later sold the loom business to Heilig Brothers Manufacturing Company of York, Pa. The real estate in Hanover was sold to Pen-Mar Foundries.
Scope & Content Note: The records of the Fitz Water Wheel Company date from 1897 to 1966 and consist of correspondence, receipts, bids and proposals, contracts and agreements, production records, sales records, engineers' notebooks, and a small group of advertising materials. A large selection of company trade catalogues is available in the Imprints Department. The primary emphasis of the collection is on sales, as the company spent most of its effort in trying to maintain its specialized market niche. The records document the variety and persistence of low-head hydro power installations.
Access: No restrictions on use.
Described in: John Beverley Riggs, A GUIDE TO MANUSCRIPTS IN THE ELEUTHERIAN MILLS HISTORICAL LIBRARY, SUPPLEMENT CONTAINING ACCESSIONS FOR THE YEARS 1966 THROUGH 1975 (Greenville, Del.: Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, 1978). Unpublished finding aid available at the repository.
Fitz, John, (1847-1914).
Fitz, J. S. (John Samuel), c. (1872-1965).
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Inc.
Fitz Water Wheel Company.
Hagley Museum and Library.
Hanover Foundry and Machine Company (Hanover, Pa.).
Historic Hudson Valley (Organization).
I-X-L Overshoot Water Wheel Company.
I-X-L Stone Burr Mills.
United States. War Production Board.
Export marketing--Hydraulic machinery.
Exports--Hydraulic machinery.
Hydraulic engineering.
Hydraulic machinery.
Hydroelectric power plants.
Mills and mill-work.
Peanut (corn) roasters.
Turbine industry.
Wire-weaving machinery.
Hydraulic engineers.
Hanover (Pa.)--Foundries.
York County (Pa.)--Foundries.

Location: SODA HOUSE (Manuscripts & Archives), Hagley Museum and Library, Greenville, Delaware.
Call Number: 0925
Number of Items: 0
Status: See departmental reference desk.

The Campbell Water Wheel Company, Archival Records.

Database Name: Hagley Museum and Library, Greenville, Delaware.
Search Request: Campbell, John Blake, 1890-1987 .
Search Results: Displaying 1 of 1 entries
Main Author: J.B. Campbell Water Wheel Company.
Title: Records:1920-1962.
Primary Material: Archival/Manuscript Material
Description: 105 linear ft.3,000 items.
Organization: Series I. Accounts (1920-1939); Series II. Major job files; Series III. Minor or miscellaneous files.
History: The J.B. Campbell Water Wheel Company was founded in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1920. John Blake Campbell was born in Roanoke, Va., in 1890 and studied engineering at Cornell University. During1915-1916 he studied the old water-powered mills which survived near his home in Virginia, and in 1916-1917 he was an engineering salesman for the Fitz Water Wheel Company of Hanover, Pa., a firm that specialized in small hydro-power installations. After serving in the Army Engineers during 1917-1919, Campbell moved to Philadelphia and founded his own company in 1920. He designed overshot water wheels in welded steel, essentially applying modern production technology to a relatively primitive device. He also worked on turbine installations, municipal water systems and flood control, but he came to specialize in traditional water wheels and was particularly interested in them as esthetic elements in the landscape. Consequently, much of his work was for decorative power plants for private estates or for historic restorations. His customers included Henry Ford, numerous Rockefellers and du Ponts, as well as the Hagley Museum and Batsto Furnace restorations.
Scope & Content Note: The bulk of the company's records consist of two series of job progress scrapbooks, a "major" and a "minor" or "miscellaneous" series. The files are relatively complete. The scrapbooks are organized alphabetically by client or subcontractor's name. Within each entry, items are pasted in chronologically, beginning with a notation of the first contact and ending with the job's completion. The contents typically include notations made by Campbell in the office or in the field, details of the site, sketches, blueprints, lists of parts, specifications, and background materials on the site and client. The "major" file contains most of Campbell's actual projects. The "minor" file contains primarily inquiries and minor jobs, although a few developed
into major jobs found in the other file.
Access: No restrictions on use.
Campbell, John Blake, 1890-1987.
Delafield, John Ross, 1874-1964.
Du Pont, E. Paul (Eleuthère Paul), 1911-1963.
Du Pont, Francis I. (Francis Irenee), 1926- .
Du Pont, Reynolds, 1918- .
Rockefeller, Avery, 1924-1979.
Rockefeller, James S. (James Stillman), 1902- .
Strawbridge, G. Stockton (George Stockton), 1913-1997
Boone Hall Plantation (Mount Pleasant, S.C.).
Foote Mineral Company.
George School (Bucks County, Pa.).
Green Hill Yacht and Country Club (Salisbury, Md.).
Hagley Museum.
J.B. Campbell Water Wheel Company.
Precision Casting Company.
Hydraulic engineering.
Hydraulic machinery.
Hydroelectric power plants.
Mills and mill-work.
Hydraulic engineers.

Location: SODA HOUSE - Manuscripts & Archives
Call Number: 1582
Number of Items: 0
Status: See departmental reference desk

A Glass Plate Negative Photo from the Personal Collection of John Samuel Fitz,
of Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania.

View the Entire Personal Collection of John Fitz
Coming Soon!

A List of Pages in the Pond Lily Mill Restorations Home Page Web Site about the Fitz Water Wheel Company and the Campbell Water Wheel Company:

Thank you, more to come!
Theodore R. Hazen, Pond Lily Mill Restorations Home Page

The Fitz Water Wheel Company's Restoration of Peirce Mill, Part 1.
The Fitz Water Wheel Company's Restoration of Peirce Mill, Part 2.
The Water Wheel Album: Page Six- The Fitz I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheels.
The Water Wheel Album: Page Eight- The Campbell Water Wheels.
The Water Wheel Album: Page Nine- I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheel large ad.
Campbell Water Wheel Company, Water Wheels, Dams, Hydro - Electric
Plants & Water Supply Systems, by John Blake Campbell, 1932.
Fitz Steel Overshoot Water Wheels, Bulletin No. 70, December 1928.
There'll Always be Water Wheels, by Neil M. Clark, December 3, 1955.
A Personal Remembrance of John Blake Campbell, Hydraulic Engineer, Millwright.

Advertisement Brochure from the Water Wheel Fitz Water Wheel Company, Hanover, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Circa 1919. View Other Advertisement Brochures from the I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheel Company and the Fitz Water Wheel Company. Coming Soon!

Return to Home Page

Copyright 2002 by T. R. Hazen