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Disston


   
 

Keystone Saw Works - H. Disston & Sons, Inc. - Phila., PA


 
  Samuel Disston, 1839-1908

 

Samuel was born in England to Henry Disstonís mothers, Ann Disston, as an only son by her second marriage to Samuel Newcombe.

He came to America with his mother in 1849. The tie between Samuel and his half brothers was so great that his name was changed to Disston.

He started work for the Company as an office boy at the age of nearly 12, later serving as manager of shop, order and sales departments, Secretary, General Manager and as a company Director. He also was prominent in other business activities and community affairs.

He obtained one patent in 1868 on a mans of attaching handles to cross-cut saws. His son, Henry C., was employed in sales world wide and a second son, S. Horace, became a company president.

Without special advantages at the outset of his career, Samuel Disston rose to prominence in the industrial world and was equally widely known in financial circles. Merit and ability made him a member of the famous firm of Henry Disston & Sons Iron & Steel Works Company, and his success in that connection enabled him to extend his efforts into various other fields where important industrial and financial interests were managed. His life work was eminently successful and he did much to shape the business history of Philadelphia.

Mr. Disston was a native of Nottingham, England, born in 1839. His father, William Disston, also of Nottingham, came to the United States with his family when his son Samuel was a small boy. The latter acquired his education in the city schools, but the necessity of providing for his own support prompted him to start out in life when comparatively a young lad.

He sought and obtained the situation of office boy with the Henry Disston Company and at the outset of his career seemed fully cognizant of the fact that industry, energy and integrity are the salient features in the attainment of advancement and success.

Gradually he worked his way upward, his identification with that business covering a period of fifty-eight years. Long before the close of that period he was active in administrative direction and executive control of the business, and his judgment and energies constituted important factors in the growing success of the concern.

He also became a factor in other business lines. He was secretary, general manager and one of the directors of the firm of Henry Disston & Sons, saw manufacturers; secretary, general manager and director of Henry Disston & Sons File Company; secretary, general manager and director of the Henry Disston & Sons Iron & Steel Works Company; a director of the Eighth National Bank; a director of the Northern Trust Company; and a member of the board of wardens for the port of Philadelphia.

The firm with which Mr. Disston was so long connected is one of the most important industrial concerns of Philadelphia and the Disston saws and files constitute an important element in the export trade of the country, while the sales in America are very extensive.

On the 29th of April, 1874, Mr. Disston was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Cherry, of Philadelphia, a daughter of James Cherry, an early resident of this city. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Disston, of whom four are yet living: Henry C., Jeannette, Samuel Horace and Edna.

In the membership of the Presbyterian Church Mr. Disston was well known and he also held membership relations with the Union League and the Country Clubs. Throughout his life he was a student of men, of events and of literature. He thus became an unusually well informed man.

His reading was particularly broad, bringing him into contact with the master minds of all ages, and he had in notable measure the power of assimilating and making his own that which he read. Life for him had a purpose. He felt that each man had a work to do in the world and recognized his obligation to his fellowmen. In every relation of life he measured up to the highest standard and was regarded by all who knew him as a dependable man upon all occasions and under all circumstances.

The word failure had no part in his vocabulary, not so much because he wished the result but because he felt that certain things were to be done and he was the man upon whom devolved the responsibility of their accomplishment. Success always crowns the efforts of such an individual and Mr. Disston's record is no exception to the rule.

Philadelphia Pictorial and Biographical
by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1911

Without special advantages at the outset of his career, Samuel Disston rose to prominence in the industrial world and was equally widely known in financial circles. Merit and ability made him a member of the famous firm of Henry Disston & Sons Iron & Steel Works Company, and his success in that connection enabled him to extend his efforts into various other fields where important industrial and financial interests were managed. His life work was eminently successful and he did much to shape the business history of Philadelphia.

Mr. Disston was a native of Nottingham, England, born in 1839. His father, William Disston, also of Nottingham, came to the United States with his family when his son Samuel was a small boy. The latter acquired his education in the city schools, but the necessity of providing for his own support prompted him to start out in life when comparatively a young lad. He sought and obtained the situation of office boy with the Henry Disston Company and at the outset of his career seemed fully cognizant of the fact that industry, energy and integrity are the salient features in the attainment of advancement and success. Gradually he worked his way upward, his identification with that business covering a period of fifty-eight years. Long before the close of that period he was active in administrative direction and executive control of the business, and his judgment and energies constituted important factors in the growing success of the concern.

He also became a factor in other business lines. He was secretary, general manager and one of the directors of the firm of Henry Disston & Sons, saw manufacturers; secretary, general manager and director of Henry Disston & Sons File Company; secretary, general manager and director of the Henry Disston & Sons Iron & Steel Works Company; a director of the Eighth National Bank; a director of the Northern Trust Company; and a member of the board of wardens for the port of Philadelphia. The firm with which Mr. Disston was so long connected is one of the most important industrial concerns of Philadelphia and the Disston saws and files constitute an important element in the export trade of the country, while the sales in America are very' extensive.

On the 29th of April, 1874, Mr. Disston was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Cherry, of Philadelphia, a daughter of James Cherry, an early resident of this city. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Disston of whom four are yet living, Henry C, Jeannette, Samuel Horace and Edna.

In the membership of the Presbyterian Church Mr. Disston was well known and he also held membership relations with the Union League and the Country Clubs. Throughout his life he was a student of men, of events and of literature. He thus became an unusually well informed man. His reading was particularly broad, bringing him into contact with the master minds of all ages, and he had in notable measure the power of assimilating and making his own that which he read. Life for him had a purpose. He felt that each man had a work to do in the world and recognized his obligation to his fellowmen.

In every relation of life he measured up to the highest standard and was regarded by all who knew him as a dependable man upon all occasions and under all circumstances.

The word failure had no part in his vocabulary, not so much because he wished the result but because he felt that certain things were to be done and he was the man upon who devolved the responsibility of their accomplishment. Success always crowns the efforts of such an individual and Mr. Disston's record is no exception to the rule.

1912 - Philadelphia, A History of the City and its People; A Record of 225 Years
by Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer  (Publisher: S. H. Clark; Philadelphia; 1912. Vol. 4, page 426.)


 
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