|G. Selsor & Co., Germantown|
|"The Lather", 1916|
Germantown Tool Works was affiliated with Shields & Brother, a Philadelphia wholesale hardware firm in which Samuel F. Wilson was a principal. John R. Griffith was working there as a salesman in 1871, at 119 N. 3rd St., and this building is standing today.
|Griffith Tool Works paper label|
In the early 20th century, this area of downtown Philadelphia was densely constructed 4 and 5 story brick warehouses and retail stores, including several hardware stores. Hardware wholesaler Supplee-Biddle occupied most of the opposite side of Commerce St.
|GTW brick hammer with new handle|
The partner's sons took over both businesses by 1922. John's brother Paul C. Griffith (1846-1934) was a long-time Shields employee and sales manager. With the urban renewal occurring downtown by 1956, Griffith Tool Works was using the plant for their office address, 5143 N. 2nd St., 1½ blocks south of Duncannon Ave.
|Griffith mansion, 2015, work in progress|
The last known owner of GTW was John R. Griffith (1912-1985), grandson of Paul C. Griffith (1846-1934). Paul became manager of the wholesale hardware firm and his grandson was a salesman there in 1930. When John R. Griffith's (1839-1918) 5 children died with no offspring, the business and mansion appears to have passed to John R. Griffith (1912-1985).
Following are some dates and addresses associated with GTW's history:
1840 – Shields & Brother founded, retail and wholesale hardware, Philadelphia
1858 – Germantown Tool Works began manufacturing tools, according to their 1915 and 1922 advertisements
1871 – Germantown Tool Works is not in city directory, John R. Griffith was a salesman at Shields & Brother (James Shields, owner), 119 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia. George Selsor & Co. was in Germantown.
1899 – Germantown Tool Works, office 518 Commerce St., Philadelphia
1901 – Germantown Tool Works, plant 59 Armat St., Germantown, Philadelphia
1902 – listed as Shields & Brother (Germantown Tool Works) in Annual Report by Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
1908 – construction bids being accepted for a 3-story building 68x80 feet, offices at 85 Armat St.
1911 – Germantown Tool Works, partnership of Samuel F. Wilson & John R. Griffith
1912 – Germantown Tool Works plant under construction at N. 2nd St. and W. Ashdale St., to replace one that burned 27 Feb. 1912
1916 – Germantown Tool Works, office 520 Commerce St.
1918 – Shields & Brother, office 521 Market St., Philadelphia
1918 – Germantown Tool Works, owner Charles F. Griffith
1919 – (approximate) changed name to Griffith Tool Works
1920 – Griffith Tool Works, office 520 Commerce St., Philadelphia
|GTW foil label with Zip code|
1956 – Griffith Tool Works, office 5143 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia
1959 – Griffith Tool Works, GPO Box 8657, Philadelphia 1, Pa.
1958 – US Patent issued
1977 – Griffith Tool Works Inc. PO Box 8657, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101