Monday, August 19, 2019

Glen Mills Paper Mill closes Upcoming mill talks and tours see below

A very early rare aerial view of the Glen Mills paper mills before they closed in 1922. Ruins can still be seen along Chester Creek. Lots of mill talks and tours this Fall, see below.



      I will be given 2 tours September 7 at the Victorian Fair. One at 11am and the other at 1pm. Tour will cover parts of Swarthmore and Sellers Ave. and take about one hour. Price ten dollars. We will start at the old Wells Fargo Bank parking lot. I only take about 10 or 12 people on each tour so let me know if you would like to go. Just send me an email at and I will add you to the list. You can register on September 7, but space may be limited. Thanks Keith


September 5, 1922


 Plant Being Dismantled and Machinery Moved Elsewhere

                It now looks, reports a correspondent, as though the Glen Mills Paper Mills will soon be only a memory of industrial life in that section of Delaware County, the Chester Creek Valley.  The big paper plant has been shut down for several months, but now the machinery is being removed and shipped away and the place dismantled, which would seem to indicate that the Glen Mills Paper Mill will soon be a thing of the past.

                For many years this industry was operated day and night, and was always a hive of industry, providing employment to a small army of contented workers, most of whom live in tenement houses on the premises.  The Glenn Mills Paper Mill was built in 1838 by James M. Willcox who was at that time operating the paper mill at Ivy Mills, built by his ancestors in 1729.  In this factory at Glen Mills was made all the paper used in making currency and bonds for the United States Government, for Mr. Willcox had invented a secret process in making paper which made counterfeiting very difficult.  So great was the success of this new invention that the government had many guards and secret service men on duty all the time at Glen Mills, to prevent any tampering or loss through any of the paper getting into other hands.  Orders were also turned out for foreign governments, and until the Willcox paper was improved upon by the New England mills, all the paper money in this country was made at Glen Mills.

                So great was the demand for it that another mill was built there, but that has fallen into ruin from disuse many years ago.  When the Glen Mills mills were built in 1836, there was more paper made in Delaware County than in all the rest of the United States combined.  The natural water power and clear water made this creek the source of the country’s paper supply. 
The present Yorkshire Mills were then making paper, John B. Duckett being then the maker.  It was he who built the present big mansion now on the premises.  The West Branch mills were also then operated by the Mattsons, as a paper mill.

                For the past twenty-five years the Glen Mills paper mills had been conducted by the Dohans, under the trade name of Glen Mills Paper Company, whose offices are in the Drexel buildings in Philadelphia.  Its last product was a patent parchment paper, used for butter and sausage wrappers, etc.  The making of this paper required a lot of acid, and at periods this acid would escape into Chester Creek and poison thousands of fish, or all the fish then in the stream.

                The factory would make an ideal location for almost any manufacturing industry, as it is in fair condition with many houses for help, and having a modern steam power plant.  But it is not probable that paper will ever be made there again, and the passing of the Glen Mills paper mill removes the last exposition of the community’s one time all-important branch of industry.


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