| March/April 1985

Steam Engine

4023 Anthony Highway Fayetteville, PA 17222

The latter half of the 19th century was a period of mechanical invention and progress and industrial growth, and the Waynesboro-Quincy area of south central Pennsylvania was in the center of that activity, jsut to name Geiser, Frick, Fahrney, Emmert, and Metcalfe as examples of early machinery attesting to that fact. If the circumstances had been different, Quincy just might have developed into a manufacturing center to vie with Waynesboro for industrial recognition, and in the process, the Metcalfes might have received the recognition they deserved. But such was not to be.

Industrial activity was a part of the Quincy scene almost without interruption from 1850 to 1916, and the Metcalfes, John L., the father, and John T., the son, were closely involved for most of that entire span. There can be little doubt that the two men were mechanical geniuses and that the engines and improvements they invented were among the best of their day.

John L. Metcalfe was born in England in 1831, and came to America with his family when he was still a boy. When in his teens, he learned, as an apprentice, the millwright trade, which occupation he followed for many years along with his manufacturing activities.

Metcalfe settled in Quincy in the early 1850's and purchased the Fahrney property there in 1855. In 1856, he began the business of manufacturing and repairing grist and saw mills. For the next six or eight years, John L. Metcalfe continued to make, repair, and improve the mills, machines, engines, implements, and tools of his neighborhood customers. During this period he invented and patented a threshing machine, the rights to which he sold to the budding Frick Company in neighboring Waynesboro. For just a short time he joined Frick as superintendent of the woodworking shop.

A very early Metcalfe product, this steam engine was built by Metcalfe Manufacturing Company in about 1860.