Lenape Forge


 Lenape Forge has recently had a rocky road as the biggest private employer in Pocopson.   The building it occupies at the corner of  Pocopson and Lenape Roads began in the late 1800’s as the Lenape Powerhouse of the West Chester Street Railway Company.  By the 1920’s, it had been unused for a half-dozen years, but its location on a trolley line and a steam railroad, and close to good roads and water power made it attractive for development. It was purchased in 1923 by a Mr. C. B. Fairweather, formerly connected with the Downingtown Iron Company, with plans to establish a plate mill.

It was initially named The West Chester Pressed Steel Products Company, expected to employ approximately 50 men and manufacture such products as manholes, pipe flanges, transformer plates, and special boiler connections.  A few months later, the company was referred to as the Lenape Hydraulic Pressing and Forging Company, and reported to be making automobile wheels.  Early business must have been good, because within a year the foundry was projected to be running day and night.

A report in 1938 noted that the foundry was shipping its products – pressed and forged steel accessories for power boilers and pressure tanks and oil and chemical equipment -- to every state in the Union and most Canadian provinces.

A serious fire and two powerful explosions in January of 1954 caused upwards of $70,000 in damage.  Water was being drawn from the Brandywine, 800 feet away, to fight the blaze when a passing freight train cut two sections of hose.  The severed hoses sprayed water in every direction, and quickly froze in the 10 degree weather.  Firemen from the Fame and Kennett Companies quickly replaced the sections, or the damage could have been much worse.

The company was purchased in 1965 by Bonney Forge, Inc., of Allentown, and was renamed Lenape Forge.  Most recently, the company was involved in producing parts for the Maverick missile, produced by Raytheon, and the A-1 and M-1 tank manufactured by U.S. military contractor General Dynamics.  Another turnover in management brought another name change—this time to Lenape Forged Products.

Additional history can be found at http://www.lenapeforge.com/history.htm