How Philly and Pennsylvania grew to dominate the candy industry


In the early 20th century, Philly was considered the candy capital of the United States. The industry had exploded in the city from just 20 small stores in the early 1800s to more than 130 shops, manufacturers, and distributors, according to a 1917 educational pamphlet from the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Their combined sales volume was more than $7 million, equivalent to around $200 million today.

This article posted in Billy Penn mentions some of the most well-known candy manufacturers in the city and state.


Fairmount Park Conservancy presents


by Adam Levine, Historical Consultant, Philadelphia Water Department
 and creator of

Thursday, April 1, at noon

Free, registration required at

Adam Levine, historian for the Philadelphia Water Department, uncovers more ghosts of Fairmount Park’s watery past. Join him for this illustrated lecture as he talks about more abandoned reservoirs in Roxborough, another pumping station and standpipe in Holmesburg, swimming lakes (not pools) in East Falls and South Philadelphia, winter skating, and the steamboats that plied the Schuylkill through the 19th and early 20th century.

This talk is a follow-up to an earlier lecture, Ghosts of Water Part 1, which took place last October and can be found here:





From the Main Line

In March of 2017 Michael Froio spoke to the chapter on his project, From the Main Line: A Contemporary Survey of the PRR. He is now offering a limited run catalog featuring a selection of images from the ongoing project.

Froio is on the faculty at Drexel University. This description of his work appears on their website. 

From the Mainline,” Froio’s impressive ongoing project, operates as an homage to the industrial achievements of the past 150 years in which he documents the infrastructure and landscape that’s developed alongside the Pennsylvania’s ecology. “Much of what they engineered and built over 100 years ago remains a vital part of the Mid-Atlantic’s railroad infrastructure today, a testament of their foresight and engineering abilities” says Froio. His gorgeous photography is generally accompanied by meticulously researched text that recounts and pays tribute to the importance of railroads in our region and the nation. We strongly suggest you visit Michael’s terrific website at and consider signing up for his pictorially vibrant, textually rich, and fascinating newsletter.

Froio is inspired by the work of William H. Rau, who documented the railroad in the 1890’s, and by the social and industrial history and landscape studies writers John Stilgoe and Robert Adams. His earlier works were made possible by using a large format view camera, a process that forces the photographer to spend a dedicated time with the subject. In recent years he’s begun utilizing digital formats, yet he still treats his work with the same emphasis as with the view camera: spending time with the subject.

Information on the publication can be found here:

Don’t miss checking out the  Field Notes section on his website. It  presents information and images on other sites that have drawn his interest reflecting local and regional histories.

Meet the Manufacture, Amorphic Tech, Ltd

The National Museum of Industrial History presents
Sunday, February 28th at 7pm


The National Museum of Industrial History continues its 2021 Meet the Manufacturer Virtual Lecture Series with Andrew Schevets, President of Amorphic Tech Ltd.

After spending several years supporting the water and rotating machinery industries, Andrew Schevets sought to create a technical solution to bring water technologies and industrial equipment to life.  At the close of 2013, Amorphic Tech Ltd was founded.  Over the years, as their top-tier manufacturing capabilities have grown, so has their customer base.  From the Federal Government to Fortune 500 companies, Amorphic Tech provides design & development, prototyping & manufacturing and comprehensive fluid system solutions from its headquarters in Allentown.

Join Andria Zaia, NMIH’s Curator of Collections and R. Scott Unger, Executive Director of Allentown Economic Development Corporation for a lively chat exploring the innovative work of modern-day Lehigh Valley manufacturer Amorphic Tech Ltd.

About our guest, Andrew Schevets, President of Amorphic Tech Ltd

Andrew Schevets is a mechanical engineer by vocation and an entrepreneur by profession.  He has a serious passion for creating and is currently President at Amorphic Tech Ltd, bringing ideas, machines, and industrial equipment into reality.  Through Amorphic Tech, he has delivered products all over the globe to several Fortune 500 end users.  He holds 2 patents and has several others pending, in the field of waste energy recovery and additive manufacturing.  Andrew’s energy recovery development work has been funded by both the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Energy.  He resides in Bethlehem with his lovely wife-to-be Liz and faithful companion Edwards, with his favorite past times being canoeing, hiking, and camping.

This program will air on NMIH’s Youtube channel and will also be available via an embedded video on the NMIH website the day of the talk.

Amorphic Tech, Ltd website link

Meet The Manufacturer: Stargazer Cast Iron

The National Museum of Industrial History presents
January 31, 2021 7pm


The National Museum of Industrial History begins its Manufacturer series with Peter Huntley, CEO & Founder of Stargazer Cast Iron based in Allentown, PA.

Stargazer Cast Iron was founded in 2015 by professional kitchenware designer, Peter Huntley, a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton. After years of working in both fine art and industrial applications and most recently designing glass and ceramic products for major brands including Disney and Warner Bros, Huntley became disenchanted by the lack of quality and accountability present in modern goods manufactured overseas. When he went searching for a new skillet and discovered that, like so many other products, quality in cast iron cookware had been on the decline for decades. Fed up with the status quo, he set out to build a product and a company that could be held to a higher standard. Today, Stargazer Cast Iron manufactures direct to consumer, sustainable skillets right here in the Lehigh Valley.

This program will air on NMIH’s Youtube channel and will also be available via an embedded video on the NMIH website the day of the talk.

Stargazer website link

Digging Up Bethlehem Steel’s History In Latin America


A Virtual presentation from the National Museum of Industrial History

JANUARY 23 @ 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

While the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel is well-documented, the Corporation’s global impact particularly from places where they sourced raw materials is less well-known. From 1913 until 1971, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation operated iron mines in Chile, shipping ore to the US through the Panama Canal. Chilean iron ore was essential to Bethlehem Steel’s World War II production, cementing the ties between Latin America and the Lehigh Valley.

While the histories of Mexican and Puerto Rican workers illustrate Bethlehem Steel’s labor linkages, this talk provides a new perspective on the Lehigh Valley’s long-standing relationship with Latin America by illuminating Bethlehem Steel’s mining operations in Chile. Various engineers, geologists, and Bethlehem Steel executives worked on the Chilean mining projects, and many brought families and built lives in the mining towns or surrounding areas near La Serena, Chile. Through these connections Chileans also came to study, work and live in the Lehigh Valley in the 20th century.

This virtual talk explores the history of Bethlehem Steel’s iron mining operations in Chile, the transnational flows of raw materials and people and Bethlehem Steel’s legacy in Latin America.

The goal of this project is to research the history of Bethlehem Steel’s iron ore mining operations in Latin America, with a plan to present findings in academic journals, museum exhibits, public lectures, and/or documentaries. Some of the core questions that guide this project are: What role did iron ore extracted from Latin America play in Bethlehem Steel’s production processes? And, how did the Bethlehem Steel Corporation (& its subsidiaries) impact the regions where they had mining operations?

If you have memories, photos, documents, or contacts that you are interested in sharing with the project, we would love to hear from you. Please visit with whatever information you are able to share, and we will be in touch.




The Neon Museum of Philadelphia has found a permanent home

After decades of work, a sign designer’s dream is finally coming true.


Museum founder Len Davidson shows off his crab: MICHAELA WINBERG / BILLY PENN

The article outlines the long career of Philadelphia Len Davidson whose interests led him to collect and create neon signs.

Friday, January 15th the will be a virtual opening of the museum from 7-8:30. This link takes you to further information on the event and a link to join the zoom meeting.


Edward Francis Grusheski

Ed Grusheski, president of the Oliver Evans chapter since 1996, died December 23, 2020.  Ed contributed to so many programs and institutions in the city yet he always had time for our Oliver Evans Chapter. He led the chapter with grace and spirit despite several major health setbacks in recent years. He was a gallant, brave gentleman. We will be diminished without benefit of his caring,  generous heart.
There is no information yet on memorial services in his name. Family and friends are making arrangements and will share that information with us. Here is an obituary they have provided. 

Edward Francis Grusheski

On December 23, 2020, Edward Francis Grusheski of Philadelphia, passed away at the age of 74. Ed was born in Boston, the son of Marian Grusheski. Ed graduated from Boston Latin School, Georgetown University and earned a master’s degree in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. He also was stationed in Asia while serving in the US Army as a voice intercept operator.

Ed’s most proud accomplishment was leading the development of the historic Fairmount Water Works into the region’s premier urban environmental education destination, dedicated to fostering shared stewardship of our shared water resources. Ed continued his relationship with the Fairmount Water Works through the rest of his life when he became a consultant, educator, and speaker, giving voice to environmental issues.

Ed exuded enormous optimism and enthusiasm throughout life as a constant learner, world traveler and art collector. He was active in and a contributor to countless programs and institutions in Philadelphia including serving on the boards of the Global Water Alliance, the Fund for the Water Works, and as the president of the local chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology.

He leaves behind many loved cousins and cherished friends. Ed was a joyful and generous gentleman who enjoyed a life well lived.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in honor of Ed to either:
Old Saint Joseph’s
321 Willings Alley
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
640 Waterworks Dr.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Another obituary was written by his associates at the Global Water Alliance where Ed was a Founding Board Member.

Ed is now under the care of Cremation Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. at King of Prussia. The Society web page has a link to share a memory of Ed.

Finally, here is a link to an article by Ed on his beloved Fairmount Waterworks written in 2004 and posted on Watershapes, a website on our water environment and its structures.

Society for Industrial Archeology, IA Online


Join the SIA for the sixth session of IA Online Wednesday, December 16 at 2 p.m. Eastern (US & Canada):

Francisco Montoya Mar and Angélica María Medrano Enríquez – “La Esperanza candy and chocolate factory. Zacatecas, Mexico”

Kevin Coffee – “Industrial Lowell and the dawn of the Anthropocene”

Francisco Montoya Mar’s presentation is based on his book Arqueología en la fábrica de dulces La Esperanza (Archeology at the La Esperanza candy factory).

Join us on Zoom:

Talks are roughly 10-15 minutes each, with 5 minutes of Q&A for each presenter. The end of the session is reserved for additional questions and discussion.

Yours in IA,



If you haven’t used Zoom before, don’t worry. You’ll be prompted to download the software or join via your web browser when you follow the link above. The host will provide a brief orientation to Zoom at the beginning of the session

Also note the sessions will be recorded so they can be viewed at a later date.

The Falls Bridge Over the Schuylkill


“The Falls Bridge: History and Structure”

by preservation engineer JUSTIN SPIVEY, PE, APT RP
Wednesday, December 9, 2020;  7:00 PM

The 1895 Falls Bridge over the Schuylkill River, which connects the river drives, is much beloved by admirers of bridges everywhere. It will soon undergo major renovation. Justin Spivey is a preservation engineer with special expertise and interest in the Schuylkill River bridges. Please join us via Zoom to hear him speak about this iconic structure, and find out what makes is a Pratt through truss design, and more.

Access to the program will be made available through a link on the  EFHS website: It will be posted the day before the talk on December 8th.  The program is free.