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Pictures from the Past

The Inner Workings of the Blaisdell Machinery Co.

| May/June 2004

  • Zippo Lighter

  • Machine shop

  • Zippo Lighter
  • Machine shop

The photo shows the machine shop and erection bay of the former Blaisdell Machinery Co., South Bradford, Pa.

The Blaisdell Machinery Co. was formed about 1903 and was a well-known manufacturer of steam, gas and belt-driven compressors and vacuum pumps for industrial and oil field use. The firm also manufactured sewage ejection systems and central vacuum cleaning systems for large buildings. Gas and oil engines of single- and double-acting types were made along with components for hydroelectric turbines.

Machine tool enthusiasts may recognize many types of tools in this black-and-white photo, including lathes, boring mills, planers and key seaters. The engine in the foreground on the test stand is a Class GOV combination gas engine and vacuum pump. Those flywheels stacked up in the background are 7 feet in diameter. Erie Railroad cars also loaded in the same area. Note the cluttered working conditions prevalent all over the photo. OSHA inspectors would have had a field day writing up violations.

In 1918, the company was renamed the United States and Cuban Allied Works Engineering Corp., with general offices in New York. I have been researching the name change, but I have not been successful so far. Also at this period in time, the company began building 'Krajewski' sugar cane mills that were shipped to Cuba.

United States and Cuban lasted into the early 1920s, when Hanley Ceramics bought the plant and used it for manufacturing brick-making equipment. After Hanley, the building was taken over by Georgia-Pacific to make corrugated containers, which continues to this day.

An interesting side note to the old Blaisdell Co. is that company founder Philo Blaisdell's son, George Blaisdell, was the inventor of the famous Zippo lighter.


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