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Philip Justice (director) 1846

Manufacturer and War Profiteer

Philip Justice, a Carpenter’s Company member, owned a factory for cast steel springs and other railroad parts and equipment in North Philadelphia. He was the first American to import steel tires for railroad cars, which he sold to Philadelphia’s Baldwin Locomotive works. He also erected a ship house known as the “Frigate House” in 1821 and an even larger version of this building the following year. These buildings were some of the most conspicuous buildings in the city for some time. He also did the woodworking inside the Second Bank of the United States, a Strickland building.

During the Civil War, he invented “an improved mode of attaching Armor Plates to Vessels” and he turned over much of his plant to military production, but he seems to have been far more interested in profit than patriotism. It turns out that Philip Justice was selling arms to the U.S. Army that an investigation and court case found, in the words of the US Supreme Court, to be “unserviceable and unsafe for troops to handle.”

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