Early Industries of San Mateo County California

Because of the configuration of the bay coast of San Mateo County, this area offers exceptional opportunities and advantages for the establishment of manufacturing enterprises. Deep water is available at several points along this stretch of bay shore particularly at South San Francisco and Redwood City. Many factories are established at these locations some of them the largest of their kind upon the Pacific Coast. The following industrial sketches describe some of the most important of these manufacturing enterprises. Although San Mateo County is primarily a residential county, with the various home sections clustering, for the most part, upon the first slopes of the foothills rising to the San Morona Mountains to the west, the lower lands along the bay shore are peculiarly adapted to manufacturing purposes. This coordination of industrial districts and suburban areas, isolated from one another is peculiarly advantageous to the county, giving it a most substantial foundation for future development.

The MacRorie-McLaren Company

The MacRorie-McLaren Company was incorporated in the month of September 1910.

At that time they took a parcel of land a short distance below San Mateo and constructed thereon greenhouses of the most modern type, being steel frame structures, balloon type, constructed with no posts or interior supports of any kind.

In laying out this range of glass a potting shed was provided for, which is approximately thirty feet high and forty feet wide. Radiating from this main shed are houses which are reserved for the culture of special plants. The building is so constructed that as the Company grows it is possible to continue the potting sheds and also add side wings. When the structure is finally completed it will beyond a doubt be the most modern building of its kind west of Chicago.

Another feature of the MacRorie-McLaren Company’s nursery is a lath house. This building is about three hundred feet long and one hundred feet wide. Instead of following the stereotyped lines of flat roofed lath houses this Company has a very unique and ornate structure which is undoubtedly the finest lath house of its kind.

In this house may be seen plants from all portions of the earth, Rhododendrons, Kalmias, Andromedas, the rarest Kentias, Arecas, Phormiums, Lapagerias, and Tree Ferns, etc.

Another feature of this nursery is the quantity and variety of outdoor shrubs that are grown on a total area of twenty-five acres. There are an unlimited variety of native and exotic ornamental outdoor shrubs. Australian and New Zealand introductions are to be seen in quantity, among them a great many standard and recently introduced varieties of Veronicas, Melaleucas, Hakeas, Cestrums and Acacias.

It is the practice of this Company to lift and ball all their stock every year, so that there is no possibility for their patrons to obtain root bound or defective plants.

The system of cultivation in this nursery is also the most modern type. Throughout the summer months the ground is pulverized by an automatic disk motor cultivator. This instrument is operated between the nursery rows. It stirs and pulverizes the ground, leaving it in perfect condition for plant life. After the cultivation has been carried on the plants are irrigated by irrigating ditches.

It is estimated that this nursery turns out between two and three hundred thousand plants per year, and imports between ten and fifteen carloads from different parts of the world. The collection of Orchids including Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums, Laelias, Cypripediums, etc., seen at the Conservatories of the MacRorie-McLaren Company are probably unexcelled anywhere on the Continent. Plants in these conservatories have been shipped to every part of Europe and some of them even graced the Royal Conservatory of the King of England, also the Conservatories of wealthy families in India and France.

In addition to the nurseries at San Mateo this Company has an office, in San Francisco where they carry on an extensive landscape business. Mr. ,Donald McLaren, assistant Chief of Horticulture at the P. P. I. E. is at the head of this Department and his great ability has been displayed in the many estates and private gardens which have been laid out under his supervision.

At the P. P. I. E. this Company exhibited the finest collection of Orchids and Phalaenopsis that were ever exhibited in the history of the world. There were more than 20,000 blooms of Phalaenopsis in variety and over 5000 rare Cattleyas. The plants were dexterously hung from branches of gnarled oak trees, showing the plants growing under conditions similar to those in their native surroundings.

Pacific Car and Equipment Company

The Pacific Car and Equipment Company was started in June. 1907 as the Mutual Engineering Company, in San Francisco at Bryant and 16th Street. During the early days of this concern about thirty men were employed.

Five years ago the company went in with Mr. N. B. Livermore, when the organization took the name of the Pacific Car and Equipment Company. At this time the business was located at South San Francisco in April, 1911.

The Pacific Car and Equipment Company makes a specialty of building cars of all types, overhauling locomotives and does general engineering work. They have a complete blacksmithing shop, machine shop and a boiler shop. Since 1911 the business and output has steadily increased.

The Company has built cars for the Oakland and Antioch Railway and the Municipal Railways of San Francisco. It has also made a specialty of constructing lime burning, plants such as the Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company, the Pacific people of two continents.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Fifty-five years ago Uncle Tom’s Cabin, for years one of the most famous resorts for tourists in California, was opened for the accommodation of the traveling public. It has always enjoyed a splendid reputation, both for its cuisine and for the high-class manner in which it has been conducted. It stands surrounded by immense shade trees and gardens at the junction of San. Bruno road and the state highway, and its roof and cozy arbors have sheltered many of the most prominent

It is a spot that is never overlooked by Californians in showing visitors the different places of interest. Mr. Buerk will tolerate nothing in his place that does not conform with the strictest rules of deportment, and it is little wonder that none but the very best people enjoy his hospitality.

Although with the passage of years, the older patrons of this resort have died; the younger generation, attracted by the old associations and good cheer at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, still patronize this resort.

Schaw-Batcher Pipe Works

This company was established in 1892 by Mr. Schaw and Mr. Batcher, in the city of Sacramento, with just a small plant employing five men. Since that time there has been a steady growth, so that when the concern was moved to South San Francisco in 1913 the number of employees had increased to about one hundred men.

Building operations in the new location were started in August 1912, and the plant began operations on January 1, 1913. At the present time this plant is employing upwards of two hundred men.

The Schaw-Batcher Pipe Works is the largest enterprise on the Coast in the steel pipe business, and the second largest in South    San Francisco in the iron industries of this section, where they occupy six acres of land.

The original plant at Sacramento has been retained as a branch.

This Company has built practically all the high pressure pipe lines in California and Nevada for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Northern California Power Company, the Snow Mountain Power Company, La Grange Power Company, the Great Wester Power Company, the Nevada California Power Company, the Southern Sierras Power Company and the Sierra and San Francisco Power Company. The Company makes any kind of iron pipe, ranging from three inches up to twelve feet in diameter -the only limit to the size of their output being the size of pipe that can be shipped on the freight cars that convey their products to market.

The concern is equipped to work the thinnest plate, such as No. 28 Guage, up to 1 ½ inches thick.

Their additional products are boilers, oil-hearters, oil storage tanks, ore-hoppers, irrigation pipe and well-casing. As high as 800 tons of steel pipe have been turned out in a month by the Company whose superior facilities enable them to make rapid delivery of all orders entrusted to their care.

The Schaw-Batcher Pipe Works built the high pressure pipe line for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the heaviest pipe used, being 1 ¼ inches thick and 52 inches in diameter. This line is used by the above Company for their Drum Power House located on the Bear River above Colfax. About 15,000 tons of material were used in turning out this contract. The SchawBatcher Company installed about 45,000 feet of high-pressure, riveted pipe for the Sacramento Municipal Water Works. They built all the oil heaters, twenty-two in number, for the Shell Oil Company, each heater weighing 42 tons. They are now building 19 oil heaters for the Associated Oil Company.

The field of operations of this Company is large, as they are now shipping a number of oil storage tanks to Honolulu. They also supply nearly all the well-casing used in the San Joaquin Valley.

The equipment of the SchawBatcher Pipe Works is thoroughly up-to-date, while their shipping facilities are augmented by a spur track six hundred feet long that runs the entire length of the shop.

Mr. Wm. Schaw is President of the concern; John H. Batcher is Vice-President and General Manager; and Mr. O. H. Fisher is Superintendent of the works.

The Studio Shop

To start a new business in any community demands a combination of the pioneer spirit, with its faith in the future, together with courage to await the fruition of conservative policies. Because they possessed t h o s e characteristics, Ralph and Dorothy Crawford started an Art Shop and Photographic Studio in the town of Burlingame where the demand for such a business was not at first recognized.

They are among Burlingame’s most enthusiastic admirers; for as Mr. Crawford says, “We like Burlingame and Burlingame has been good to us. We are endeavoring to build up a business in a new field, on the very unostentatious, but, as we believe, the very wise policy of rendering such satisfactory service that people shall prefer to bring us their patronage, rather than on much acclaiming of past performance or on any claim of rendering a service at less than market value.”

Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, the latter known to her patrons as Dorothy Crawford, have had plans drawn for the construction of a new building which they hope to occupy this summer, with their combined businesses of art shop and photographic studio. under the name of The Studio Shop.

Mrs. Crawford is a portrait photographer who has broken away from the established rules of studio portraiture, and now makes pictures, to use her expression, “Just as I please”, with the wonderfully pleasing result of achieving distinction without faddism. Mr. Crawford makes a specialty of out-door photography, and has furnished the photographs for many of the illustrations in this book, including the frontispiece.

A distinctive characteristic of this new Art Shop and Studio is the service feature, both Mr. and Mrs. Crawford being willing to place at the disposal of their patrons, the same taste and artistic judgment which they have employed in the appointments and decoration of their business home.

The George H. Irving Company

Six years ago George H. Irving investigated the entire State from a real estate development standpoint, with the view of selecting the best locality for future development. After most careful analysis he selected the Peninsula. The selection was due to three main reasons: First, San Francisco is bound to expand down the mainland. Second, values were very low compared to other sections, considering the time necessary to get there, thus insuring a good profit to buyers. Third, because of the great natural beauty and ideal climate.

In 1910 Mr. Irving bought the famous Coleman tract opposite the Flood estate in Menlo Park. Many houses have been built on this property by some of the most prominent San Francisco families. Mr. Irving followed out the modern idea by putting in the most high grade improvements with high grade_ building restrictions. A few years later the George H. Irving Company was incorporated with Mr. E. S. Tanner as secretary.

The Company, in conjunction with Mr. E. K. Wood, purchased the famous Dingee estate, situated in Redwood City, fronting the State Highway and stretching from there to the first rise of foothills. They changed the name of the property, when subdivided into large lots, to Redwood Highlands. This property the George H. Irving Company planned to make one of the ideal home sections down the Peninsula; and with the modern idea of service they have built up a community which, in beauty and as an investment, has no equal.

Over one hundred and twelve homes of satisfied buyers are located on the Highlands. So successful were they with this property that they have just purchased the three hundred acres of hill land immediately adjoining Redwood Highlands on the west. This purchase was made in conjunction with some of the most prominent capitalists in the west.

The George H. Irving Company has also carried on a most successful and extensive brokerage department, operating in various properties in the district between San Francisco and Gilroy. The experience of Mr. Irving and Mr. Tanner, in these various capacities, has qualified them to act as experts on any land value down the Peninsula. The San Francisco offices of the Geo. H. Irving Company are located in the First National Bank Building.

Brief History of Western Meat Company

Twenty-five years ago, the South San Francisco Land & Improvement Co. purchased 5000 acres of land, located in the northern part of San Mateo County, plotting the town of Baden, now known as South San Francisco. They erected, at that time, on the shores of San Francisco Bay, a packing plant for the handling of beef, mutton and pork and the curing of meat products.

The products of this Company were principally disposed of in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose during the early period of the Company.

On March 17, 1894, the Western Meat Co. was incorporated as subsidiary to the Land Company, capitalized at $1,000,000.00. In 1894, Mr. Le Roy Hough was appointed Vice President and General Manager of the South San Francisco Land & Improvement Co. as well as the Western Meat Co. and under his efficient management, the foundation of the present well established business was laid. During the years from 1890 to 1900, approximately 250 to 300 men were employed at the packing plant engaged in the preparing and distributing of their products, the average sales being not far from $4,000,000.00 yearly.

In the great fire of 1906, their City offices and smoke houses were destroyed, but within two years after, a modern, reinforced concrete building was erected on the old site at a cost of over $200,000.00. The earthquake did not destroy the packing plant however, and during the first few weeks thereafter, the Western Meat Co. furnished the United States Government, as well as the San Francisco Relief Committee with enormous quantities of their products, including large amounts of canned meats.

Keeping pace with conditions, other distributing houses were established at Sacramento, Fresno and Stockton; also car routes, with distributing services over the different railroad lines tributary to San Francisco. The Western Meat Co. operates forty-five modern refrigerator cars for the transportation and proper distributing of their products.

In the year 1908, they added a full and complete line of products, the sales of which have kept pace with the growing business. A well appointed and up-to-date creamery was established and operated at 6th & Townsend Streets, known as the Manchester Creamery. They also own and operate a modern cheese factory in Mendocino County.

In 1911, at the death of  Mr. Le Roy Hough, Mr. F. L. Washburn succeeded as President and General Manager. The business has been gradually increasing in importance until, at the present writing, approximately 500 employees are on the weekly pay roll at the packing plant, while the entire organization, made up of the personnel of the general office, branch houses, salesmen, etc., exceeds 850 and the pay roll approximates $10,000 weekly. The sales for the year 1915 were in excess of $10,000,000.

The prestige of the Western Meat Company is everywhere manifest among their discriminating customers. The ever increasing output and sales is an evidence of the increasing popularity of the fresh meats and provision products, which are put out under United States Government inspection service, and is today the only meat packing plant operating under Government inspection service in San Francisco and northern California.

Plans have recently been drawn for large additions to the packing plant at South San Francisco, requiring an expenditure of $150,000.00 made necessary in order to take care of California increasing hog production.

Employees are encouraged to become identified with the firm through stock ownership. The company co-operates with its employees in securing first class hospital service, and the management is constantly on the alert to improve working conditions.

Steiger Terra Cotta & Pottery Works

The average observer does not see any beauty in the cloud of dust following the harrow of the farmer, but to the eye of the farmer there appears a field of waving grain and the promise of harvest.

Nor would thousands of people traveling daily back and forth between the cities of San Mateo County and San Francisco ever imagine that artists are busy making the dreams of architects into beautiful realities out yonder at Point San Bruno.

Very few of us think of anything soulful or inspiring in a piece of clay. It is but a bit of inferior earth, an unfit companion for soil. True it may be used to make common bricks and common pipes, but what sort of beings would ever think of pursuing Art in Clay? If you would have an answer to this question turn from your usual course in motoring through South San Francisco and take an hour with the silent workers in clay. Heed not the dust from ponderous grinding mills, nor the roar of red hot kilns, but seek the easel of the strange man there who can hold fast in clay your most elusive fancies. Or stand by others who are fashioning beautiful building blocks with which to enrich the structures of man in our great cities.

This is an invitation and there goes with it a promise that you will be entertained in a most unusual manner with a real live moving picture not of Indian pursuit and cowboy rescue, but of the rescue of a piece of clay from the oblivion of earth and its glorification in shaft and architrave.

The City of South San Francisco is the place where Terra Cotta enrichment was made for many of the prominent buildings of California, a partial list of which we give below:

Some of the common things made by this concern are, sewer pipe, chimney pipe, flue lining, fire brick, furnace tiles, conduit tiles and acid wares.

Some of the ornamental things made by this concern are, urns, vases, seats, fountains, sun dials, garden ornaments, “gobelin” and brick.

The following are a few of the terra cotta and pressed brick buildings:

The High School, Town Hall and Library in Redwood City; the City Hall in Burlingame; the Hotel, Bank and Royal Theater, South San Francisco; the Rialto, Monadnock, Grant, Hooker & Lent, Y. M. C. A., German House Association, Physicians’ Building, Humboldt Savings Bank, Levi Strauss, Jewelers’ Building, Adam Grant, Lathrop, Ghiradelli, Doe Estate, Jean Parker School, Girls’ High School, Oriental School, Hohweisner, Lent, Peltien and Payne residences, Macbeth Apartments, Holluschickic Club, Olympic Club, California Pacific Title, Underwood, Press Club, Holy Cross Mortuary Chapel, Polytechnic High and Polytechnic Schools, Mary Elizabeth Inn and Sacred Heart College in San Francisco; the Capital National Bank, People’s Saving Bank and State Armory in Sacramento; The Bank of Arcata; The Bank of Eureka; the McHenry Library, Modesto; the Pathological Building, San Francisco and Polytechnic High School.

Pacific Coast Steel Company

The Pacific Coast Steel Company is the only concern west of the Rocky Mountains making steel by the “open hearth” process.

The nucleus of this company was started in 1909 by D. P. Doak, and plans were made for a modern plant at South San Francisco. In the year 1911 a consolidation was effected with the Seattle Steel Company and the Portland Mill-thus giving the organization three mills. The South San Francisco plant was opened January 2, 1912, employing at the outset from 150 to 200 men. Today about 400 men are on the company’s payroll in that city, while the entire organization employs about one thousand men in all.

The South San Francisco plant has specialized on bars of several kinds and shapes, among them corrugated squares and rounds, twisted squares, merchant bars and angles.

The twisted and corrugated bars are only used in reinforced concrete construction; and so great has been their output, that it has immensely increased the California cement output; its allied industry. This is particularly noticeable in the Increased erection of reinforced concrete bridges and buildings upon the Pacific Coast.

The Pacific Coast Steel Company has furnished nearly all the reinforced steel used in the concrete piers on the San Francisco waterfront. It furnished the steel for the foundation of the Ferry Building, the Incinerator, the Sub-Treasury Building of the Municipal Auditorium and many others.

The Company is reaching out successfully for business into the Orient and Honolulu.

Mr. E. M. Wilson is president and treasurer of the concern; D. P. Doak and William Pigott, vice presidents; W. S. Burt, secretary; and E. S. Houdlette, assistant secretary.

Burlingame Publishing Company

The Burlingame Publishing Company is the only real publishing house in San Mateo County. About three years ago the owner of the printing plant in Burlingame conceived the idea of enlarging the plant to a point where all kinds of book work could be handled with the same facility as the larger printing plants in the metropolitan centers. The equipment has been added to since that time, until now the plant is as complete as any. There are many larger printing plants in the state, but none have better machinery than has the Burlingame Publishing Company. A book cylinder press, a linotype machine equipped with the latest book type faces, a power stitcher, and numerous small machinery necessary to a complete plant are installed; and to this more recently has been added a book bindery. This book, The History of San Mateo County, including printing and binding complete, was the product of this shop from cover to cover. Hundreds of pieces of high grade printing are being produced by the expert force employed. The foreman of this plant, Mr. George P. Pracna, spent eleven years in one of the largest book plants in Minneapolis. Mr. L. B. Lawrence in charge of the linotype department, is a printer and operator of fifteen years’ -experience in California, and Mr. Jos. Trainor, is from Boston where he spent years in the big printing plants as an expert pressman. The book bindery is in charge of Mr. B. B. Kaufman, an expert in his line who spent many years in the large plants in Chicago.

The Burlingame Publishing Company publishes The Burlingame Advance, a weekly paper that serves the locality. The owner of the publishing business and the Editor of The Advance is Mr. S. D. Merk who has spent twenty years in the printing business and as editor of papers in California.

The Enterprise Foundry Company

The Enterprise Foundry Company was founded as the Enterprise Foundry in October, 1886, by copartnership of H. Schrader, H. Martens, J. W. Heaney, and A. Anderson.

The location was on Spear Street between Folsom and Howard Streets. After one year’s operation as a jobbing foundry, it was found that the quarters were too small, end a new location was found on Folsom near Main Street. Here, the business was carried on successfully with H. Schrader acting as business manager and H. Martens, as production manager.

These gentlemen deserve a great ,deal of praise for the efficient manner in which they handled this foundry business. In these modern days of short hours and high efficiency, we can but pause and wonder at the achievements of these gentlemen, and their crew.

The writer recalls with great interest, the scientific manner used by H. Schrader in the handling of his employees. It was not uncommon to be cautioned not to allow oneself to become overheated above a certain temperature. The first large contract ‘turned out, was an order for 15,000 Worthington meters for the Spring Valley Water Co.

After ten years of operation at this location, a new building was constructed at the northwest corner of Folsom and Main Streets. Here, the business was conducted on a considerably larger scale; and larger and more intricate work, such as marine steam engines, pumps and gas engines were turned out.

In 1897, the Company incorporated as the Enterprise Foundry. Since that time, it has been on a steady increase, and in the year of 1908, it was found necessary to re-incorporate under the name of The Enterprise Foundry Company, H. Martens, President; Chas. Hoehn, Vice President; J. W. Heaney, Secretary; H. Niemann and J. L. Moore, Directors. The main office and works were on the Company’s property, at 29022998 Nineteenth Street, between Florida and Alabama Streets, and various plants were scattered about the city.

It was decided to select a desirable location outside of the city, where plenty of space, cheap power and spur track facilities could be had. South San Francisco was selected as an ideal location, and twenty acres of land was purchased from the South San Francisco Land & Improvement Company. Four steel buildings, covering an area of 50,000 square feet, have been erected on this site, and the Company is operating at present, four different departments at the South San Francisco plant, namely,-Brake shoe foundry, Gray iron foundry, Crucible steel foundry, and a machine shop. A motor truck service is maintained between San Francisco and South San Francisco by the Company. In this way, it is possible to serve the city customers promptly. The Enterprise Foundry Company is at the present writing, the largest jobbing foundry on the Pacific Coast.

In addition to the South San Francisco plant, the Company is operating two grey iron foundries, one brass foundry, a pattern shop, and one sash weight foundry, in San Francisco.

All of the most modern equipment known to the foundry trade is used by the Company. Thousands of dollars of old style machinery were scrapped to make room for this modern equipment.

H. Martens has been guiding the destinies of the Company for a good many years, and is still actively engaged in building up this business. It is the intention of the Company to maintain its very high reputation for turning out high grade work.

The Enterprise Foundry Company turned out all of the iron and bronze castings for the High Pressure Fire Protective System of San Francisco. This was one of the most important casting contracts ever turned out on the Coast.

Every casting was subjected to a very high test and only perfect castings were accepted. It was copidered practically impossible to turn out the manganese forgings for the High Pressure Gate Valve Stems, on this Coast, but the Company turned out approximately 50 tons of these forgings to the entire satisfaction of the highly efficient engineering staff of the Board of Public Works of San Francisco.

At the present time, the Company is equipped to turn out castings varying from one ounce to 25 tons, at its South San Francisco shops. The Crucible steel castings turned out at this plant, are of the highest quality of steel obtainable in the United States.

The Steel Back Brake Shoe business is a new industry for this part of the Country, all shoes of this description having formerly been shipped in from the East.

The Company proposes to make this Brake Shoe business one of the largest west of the Rockies.

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