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A Short History of the Frailey Foundry

Originally Published in Emmitsburg Chronicle Dec 6th, 1957

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the closing out of one of Emmitsburg's principal industries. Unknown to the youth of today this business was at one time one of the most prosperous and employed about 10 local men. The business in reference is the old Frailey Foundry which closed its doors back in 1927.

The foundry was located on the site which is now the home of Mayor Clarence G. Frailey. Original founders of the industry were Messrs. Jones and Hardman who instituted operations back at the turn of the 18th century.

At first the building was located where the Clay Z. Green, Pastry Shop, is now situated. In later years the entire plant and building, intact, was moved to the Frailey site on W. Main Street.

Jones, a member of the original two founders gave in to his urge to find his future security in the new West and sold his share to the late Fred Troxell who died in 1852. Hardman continued the operations later relinquishing his interests to the Hays Brothers, who traded as Joseph and J. T. Hays.

A number of years later ownership of the concern was taken over by the Frailey brothers (1881) and David Ohler was head blacksmith, assisted by the four Frailey boys, Thomas, WiIliam, George and Oscar. The business remained in the hands of the Fraileys until its extinction in 1927, a period of 46 years.

Machinery and household articles were manufactured by the concern which made its own steel, hauling a special type of sand, by horse and wagon from near Frederick. The main equipment for operating the plant was a cupola, a number of blowers to heat the molten steel, portable engine, a carpenter shop and other essential paraphernalia. During the Civil War wounded soldiers were treated at the foundry after being injured at Gettysburg.

Items manufactured by the foundry included plow points and shears (both iron and wood), heavy stone crusher jaws, freight train brake shoes, window sash weights, iron stoves, iron fencing (some still standing in Emmitsburg), watering troughs, paper weights, alligator bootjack and stoves for all public schools in the county.

Just as the horse gave way to the automobile so did the foundry to progress. Year after year new inventions made available to the public cut deeply into the production and usefulness of the foundry. Electricity eliminated horse powers, cars made useless wages and buggies and horse-shoes; oil outmoded the coal stove; tractors sounded the death knell to horses. Other changes in the mode of living put the finishing touches on the local enterprise and in 1927 the old foundry succumbed to modern advancement, after an interesting history of 127 years.

Read Samuel Hays' - Frailey's Foundry

Have your own memories of the Frailey's Foundary? 
 If so, send them to us at history@emmitsburg.net