John H. Bringhurst, Saw Manufacturer - Philadelphia, PA


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Colonel John Henry BringhurstColonel John Henry Bringhurst, son of Thomas Bringhurst by his wife Mary Fraley, was born at Germantown, 21 January, 1812; and died at Philadelphia, 24 December, 1898. 

He was educated in the common schools of his native place, and taught school for a few terms. He was then given a business training by his father, and when a young man he began the manufacture of saws, and later engaged in the manufacture of other iron and steel products; eventually he became a member of the iron and steel firm of Verree & Co.

This firm was afterwards organized into a stock company, known as the Philadelphia Iron and Steel Company, and Colonel Bringhurst became the secretary and treasurer, and later its president. In 1885, owing to the depression in the iron trade, especially in the East, the company dissolved, and he retired from active business.


The Journal of the Franklin Institute contains a report for Sixteenth Exhibition of American Manufactures, held in the city of Philadelphia, from the 20 to the 31 of October, inclusive, 1846, by the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania, for the promotion of the Mechanic Arts presented by Owen Evans, Esq., Chairman of the Committee on Exhibitions.

In the report, section VIII of the exhibit - Hardware and Cutlery is described as follows:

This department, as usual, is one of the finest in the exhibition, and exhibits a highly gratifying view of the continued improvement made by our enterprising manufacturers in this important branch of domestic industry and skill. Great credit is due to the Committee of Arrangement in this division of the exhibition, for their zeal, and the good taste displayed by them in the arrangement of the articles. The judges, after a careful examination of the great variety of specimens submitted to them, report as follows :

No. 608, a case of mill saws, by Wm. Rowland, Philadelphia.  These saws were carefully compared with other very excellent articles of the same description, and for their evenness and excellence of finish they are believed to be the best exhibited, and worthy of a First Premium.

The following articles are noticed by the judges in terms of commendation, and as deserving of attention.

No. 684, hand saws, by Bringhurst & Kirby, Germantown, Penna.

In 1846 Fisher's National Magazine and Industrial Record published report from the "Great National Fair - Washington Fair" held in May 1846 in Washington, DC.

1847 - McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1847, (Edward C. & John Biddle, Philadelphia, 1847).

1848 - McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1848, (Edward C. & John Biddle, Philadelphia, 1848).

John H. Bringhurst suddenly disappeared from directories for 1849 - 1850 and reappeared again in 1851.

1851 - McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1851, (Edward C. & John Biddle, Philadelphia, 1851).

However, in "July 28th, 1851. A fire broke out in the cotton and woollen mills of Peter Hickey, corner of Jefferson and Warren streets.  It spread to the large saw factory of Kirby & Bringhurst in Perry-street; from thence to a large six-story factory on Washington-street.  Three brick dwelling-houses on the north side of Jefferson street, four on the south side, two on Washington-street, with one on Perry-street, were also totally destroyed. Loss $200,000."

1858 - The Fireman:  The Fire Departments of the United States,
with Full Account of all Large Fires by David D. Dana

1852 - McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1852, (Edward C. & John Biddle, Philadelphia, 1852).

1854 - McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1854, (Edward C. & John Biddle, Philadelphia, 1854).

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