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Alfred Jenks

Finance and Industry

Alfred Jenks, who learned his trade under Slater, moved to Holmesburg, near Philadelphia, in 1810, taking with him drawings of every variety of cotton machinery, as far as it had then advanced, and commenced its manufacture. He furnished the machinery for the first cotton mill in that part of Pennsylvania and for the first woolen mill in the entire state and developed what for many years was one of the most important plants for the building of textile machinery in the United States.

Jenks was also instrumental in the Union victory during the Civil War by providing machinery of all sorts to the government. His company is mentioned in the official compilation of the records of the Union and Confederate armies where it was noted that “It is very important that machinery for manufacturing arms should not fall into the hands of the enemy . . . In case of imminent danger to the works of Alfred Jenks & Son, of Philadelphia, who are manufacturing arms for the Government, you are authorized and directed to impress steam tugs, barges, or any description of vessel to remove the gun-manufacturing machines from beyond the reach of the enemy.”

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Alfred Jenks and Son’s Bridesburg Machine Works, Philadelphia, PA Alfred Jenks’ cotton and wool carding, spinning, and weaving machinery