Passaic Rolling Mill
Excerpt from the book A history of Industrial Paterson by L. R. Trumbull pub. 1882
This is the most important as well as the most extensive establishment of its class East of the Alleghanys and among the largest in the country. It is the only concern of its kind in Paterson and has for many years been regarded, and justly, as one of the chief among the grand industries that have contributed to the growth and importance of the city.
The Passaic Rolling Mill Company are manufactures of rolled iron and contractors and builders of iron road and railway bridges and similar structures. It is of great importance that a manufacturing centre should be able to supply quickly within itself the necessary material used in its various industries. Many of the stores, the mills and the machine shops of Paterson look to the Passaic Rolling Mill for their supply of iron, to be resold or manipulated in their several departments.
It was in 1867 that the then idle property of the Idaho Iron Company, founded in 1861 by Sherman Jaqua, was bought by the firm of Cooke Brothers (John, Watts, William, and James) and altered into a mill to make ordinary bar iron. In 1869 a charter was obtained incorporating the Passaic Rolling Mill Company. In 1873 William Cooke retired from the company to engage in business in New York City, and W. O. Fayerweather purchased his interest and assumed the duties as Secretary and Treasurer. More land and buildings were added until at the present time the business occupies about ten acres, five of which are under cover From making ordinary bars only the product has increased in variety and now includes what is called structural iron, viz, beams, angles, tees and all iron parts that enter into the construction of buildings, bridges and ships.
There is but five other concerns in the country making a similar line of products, and through the enterprise and marked ability of the management the trade-mark “Passaic” can be seen branded on iron in almost every portion of the land from Maine to California. In 1876 was added a new department, that of bridge-building. This feature was introduced at a time of extreme depression in all industries, the object being to enable the company to enter into contracts for the construction of the contemplated elevated railroads in New York city. They were successful in their endeavors, and from 1876 to 1880 they furnished thousands of tons of the material and thus aided in affording the people of New York City their much-needed and long-coveted rapid transit. This work gave full employment to over 600 men all through the hard times, the fortnightly disbursement for wages averaging $10,000. In addition to the elevated work many bridges have been built for common highways and railroads in the United States, South America and the West Indies.