Phoenixville was incorporated March 6, 1849 and considerably enlarged in 1874. The growth and prosperity of the town are due to the iron works of which the 1st establishment dates back to 1790. It was started for the manufacture of nails and was continued without much success until 1828, when the works were bought at sheriff's sale, by Reeves and Whitaker. They materially increased and improved the works, building a new rolling mill and putting in self-headed nail machinery, which more than quadrupled the product. In 1845 they began the erection of 2 coal blast-furnaces, and in 1846 began the construction of a rolling mill for the manufacture of railroad, superior to any at that time in England. When fully at work there were about 1500 men employed. The wages alone paid out to the workman in busy time was nearly $70,000 a month. They made large quantities of wrought-iron guns, which were used during the War of the Rebellion.

This page updated on February 28, 2009