The Jacob Reese home at Chester Pike and Cherry St. still stands. Sharon Hill was home to many large estates that faced Chester Pike. The Reese Estate ran from Calcon Hook Rd. to Cherry St.
NOTE: Although largely forgotten today, Jacob Reese, patent and inventor, was a major force in the American Steel Industry in the late 19th century as you will see below. Sharon Hill was the home of many prominent men whose large estates faced Chester Pike. Among the homeowners was Isaac Clothier of Strawbridge and Clothier. Please check my 1909 map of Sharon Hill at delawarecountyhistory.com to see the Reese Estate and others.
AGED INVENTOR DEAD AT SHARON HILL
Jacob Reese, Who Invented Over Three Hundred Patents Passes Away at the Age of 82 Years
Jacob Reese, aged 82 years, an inventor of over 300 patents which have made the iron and steel business what it is today, and, with his father, the maker of the first “bloom” by the boiling process in the United States, which revolutionized the iron industry, died late Monday night at his home on Chester Pike, Sharon Hill, after an illness of only a few days. Death was due to apoplexy.
He had just returned to his Sharon Hill home after having spent the fall and winter with his wife at his Florida resort at Daytona.
Mr. Reese’s father lived to be 104 years, and his grandfather, 113. Mr. Reese is survived by six children. The interment will take place in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Mr. Reese’s life is a story of achievement and shows him to have been of self-made man in the fullest sense of the term. He was born in Lianelly, Wales in 1825. At the age of 9 years he received his earliest impressions of the iron trade, while spending most of his time with his father, who was engaged in erecting a blast furnace fifteen miles from Huntingdon. In 1825, his father moved to Bellefonte, where, with the aid of his two sons, Jacob and Isaac, he built a furnace and introduced for the first time the “boiling” process for the Vallentines.
Mr. Reese built and operated some of the first oil works in Western Pennsylvania. In 1862, he built the Fort Iron Works; in 1864, the Fort Pitt Steel Works, and the next year he erected the South Side Rolling Mill and Tube Works. In all of these Mr. Reese introduced his many inventions and became immensely wealthy from his inventions, but in 1877, by a series of disastrous fires, explosions and litigations over his many patents, he lost every dollar of his immense fortune. He began over again and started to lay the foundation of a second fortune, which, although not as large as the one he lost, was a very comfortable one.
He was the inventor of the basic process for the manufacture of steel, to which, after a vigorous contest before the United States Patent Commissioner, it was decided that he was entitled to credit. The last patent on this was issued only last year, and will not expire until 1923. Mr. Reese was a member of Franklin Lodge, No. 221, F. and A. M. of Pittsburg, for over fifty years.