Eddystone User Group

Eddystone in Delaware Pennsylvania

January 12, 2018 By: chris Category: News

Those of us who have spent the last 20 years looking at E Bay for Eddystone Receivers could not have failed to notice that there is a town in Pennsylvania also called Eddystone. Occasionally you would see adverts for the Eddystone Police shoulder badges and gun-sights and original parts of the Enfield rifle made in the Eddystone Ammunition Works. Well recently I was contacted by Rein De Vlieg from Ursem in The Netherlands. Rein is a collector of Army and Airforce Wireless equipment and he had a Eddystone Police shoulder badge that he wanted to donate to the EUG. He also had a copy of the Eddystone Town Council Centenary (1889-1989) booklet which gave the history of how the town came to be named after our famous British Lighthouse.

A British citizen named William Simpson who was born in Manchester to a family of textile printers, emigrated to America in 1818. He did well and in 1872 he started buying land in what would eventually become the town of Eddystone. He began building a textile factory and at the same time sent his son Thomas Simpson on a two year two of Europe to inspect similar factories. It is said that in 1874, on his way home, Thomas passed the Eddystone Lighthouse and was impressed by its construction. He admired it for its symbolism of strength and on his return to Pennsylvania, persuaded his father that the new factory should be called the Eddystone Print Works. (Strangely enough, this almost mirrors the reason why Stratton Laughton persuaded his father, George Laughton, that the brand name for their wireless components should be “Eddystone”).

Back in Eddystone Pennsylvania William Simpson built houses for the workers on the site. This then developed into a small town to which Simpson added a school, a park and a library. By the 1880s, Eddystone was a thriving town of over 450 people and continued to grow and eventually became a borough. In 1890 it formed its own Police department with one policemen and it was 1915 before the police department decided a second one was needed. A Fire Department was formed in 1901.

Over the next 100 years, various factories were established including Iron foundries such as the Baldwin Locomotive Works which by 1911 employed 2700 workers. The Remington Arms Plant was built in 1915 on Baldwin Locomotives land to make Enfield rifles for the British Government in W.W.1. By 1917 this had been renamed the Eddystone Rifle Plant.

Eddystone is now a town in southern Delaware County on the north bank of the Delaware River with a population of about 2400. Boeing Integrated Defence Systems operate a factory there.

Chris Pettitt G0EYO