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HISTORY LIVES: Doylestown’s Rubber Industry


At 16 N. Franklin St. (between West State and Wood streets) in Doylestown, a wagon spoke factory burned to the ground in 1901. It is unclear when the property was rebuilt, but in 1923 the RUBBERCRAFT CORPORATION began production in a three-story brick factory on the site. Less than one year later, in March 1924, the property was again damaged by fire.

“Great quantities of rubber balls were destroyed along with a large number of rubber dish scrapers.” The fire was contained to the third floor and roof, avoiding damage to the manufacturing equipment, and it is presumed that production resumed. However, an article in The Intelligencer dated July 28, 1932, referred to a RUBBER PRODUCTS CORPORATION, supposedly at the same address. It made hard rubber supplies for electrical and other appliances; and by March 1933 the factory was again closed.

The INDEPENDENT RUBBER MANUFACTURING COMPANY began operations in the rubber mill on Franklin Street Nov. 1, 1933, moulding rubber specialties such as washers, gaskets and “V” belts used in automobiles and industry.

The firm of MACEWAN AND SMITH took possession of the factory in November 1937. Extensive alterations were made for the manufacture of “precision molded rubber products” in January 1938, and production continued until at least the late 1950s.

RUBBER CRAFTERS INC. was occupying 16 N. Franklin St. in January 1964, when a 6-foot-by-15-foot sign was commissioned to advertise the manufacture of “precision rubber products for industry.” This company remained until the brick building at 16 N. Franklin was put on the market in December 1975.

It eventually sold and was converted to office space, which opened in 1977 and remains today.

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