Held at: Historical Society of Fort Washington [Contact Us]Clifton House, 473 Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA, 19034-2313
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Fort Washington. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Keasbey-Mattison Company was founded by wealthy financier Henry G. Keasbey and chemist Dr. Richard V. Mattison in 1873. The company originally focused on pharmaceuticals, and found success with products including their best-seller Bromo Caffeine. After discovering the potential for asbestos insulation, the company shifted their focus to asbestos product development and manufacturing, and moved their factory from Philadelphia to Ambler (Pennsylvania) in 1882.
The company spurred development of the Ambler community in many ways. They built affordable housing for their workers, and helped support a library and opera house in the center of town. In the process of bringing electricity and water to their factory, the company also built up infrastructure for the town to use these utilities. Dr. Keasbey built a palatial estate, Lindenwold, which today is used as a Catholic orphanage, St. Mary's Villa.
K-M helped with war production during World War I, and through some changes in ownership, continued to produce asbestos and related products as Nicolet Industries until 1987. By that point, the health risks surrounding asbestos had hit the news, and asbestos factories were being shut down across the county.
Edmund Plumley (1913-1987) was an amateur photographer and a production supervisor for Keasbey-Mattison in Ambler. This collection is comprised of photograph scrapbooks compiled by Edmund E. Plumley. The scrapbooks cover multiple topics, but the bulk are focused around his time as an employee of the Keasbey and Mattison Company. These scrapbooks are full of photographs of fellow employees as well as the factory, many of which are captioned by Plumley. There are also a few newspaper clippings dealing with Keasbey and Madison. The other topics covered in these scrapbooks are local snowstorms, Ambler, and antique cars with postcards and photographs.
- Historical Society of Fort Washington
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Historical Society of Fort Washington for information about accessing this collection.