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Joseph Wharton

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Joseph Wharton (c1827-1909)


1909 Obituary [1]

JOSEPH WHARTON, who had long been prominent in the American iron trade, died in Philadelphia on January 11, 1909, in his eighty-third year. His first connection with the iron trade was with the Bethlehem Iron Company, which is now the Bethlehem Steel Company, and as a director and a large shareholder he had much to do in shaping its policy. It was through his efforts that the Company engaged in the manufacture of armour-plate, and it was under his direction and in furnaces constructed in accordance with the results of his experiments that metallic zinc, or spelter, was first produced in the United States on a commercial basis.

He then turned his attention to nickel, and was the first to produce nickel in malleable condition. At the time of his death he was the largest individual producer of pig iron in America, being the owner of four blast-furnaces in New Jersey, with a daily output of 1000 tons. His first venture in this line was a furnace at Hackettstown, and afterwards he purchased a small furnace at Port Oram, now Wharton, N.J., which he rebuilt, and finding his venture successful, he erected a much larger one in 1901, adding another in 1903.

He was the owner of extensive ore and coal mines, which, for the most part, supplied the requirements of his furnaces. He was one of the founders of the Swarthmore College, and was president of its Board of Directors for many years. He gave great assistance in establishing its scientific laboratory, while he established at his own expense the Chair of History and Political Economy in the same institution.

Another of his large benefactions towards educational advancement was the founding of the Wharton School of Finance and Political Economy in the University of Pennsylvania. He was for many years President of the American Iron and Steel Association, and during the Institute's visit to America in 1904 he acted as Chairman of the Philadelphia Executive Committee, and rendered valuable services.

He was a member of the Severn Conservancy Board, and was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1905.


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Sources of Information

  1. 1909 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries