View from southwest (2007).
Orinoka Mills, c.1890
2753 Ruth Street, Philadelphia PA 19134
© Carmen A. Weber, Irving
Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick, Workshop of the World (Oliver
Evans Press, 1990).
This large complex just north
of the Reading Railroad tracks in Kensington contains
one, two, and three story brick buildings built between
1890 and 1920. The Solomon Brothers began the mills in
the 1880s. By the 1890s, the mill contained 85 looms for
silk upholstery and curtain materials.
production was abandoned by 1898 to specialize in
furniture coverings, with the mills employing 225 workers
at that date.
James H. Clarke, a superintendent in the 1890s, became president of the Orinoka Mills in the early twentieth century. By 1913, 300 looms were used to produce silk, wool, worsted, and cotton upholstery. However, by the 1930s the weaving operations were moved to York, Pennsylvania and the South. The company maintained their administrative offices in Kensington, along with two dye houses, finishing, and warehouse facilities. However, by the 1980s, the firm moved to Horsham, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, merging with Fangenthal, a Swiss company. Although some small textile and manufacturing concerns still operate in the Orinoka complex, most of the buildings have suffered serious deterioration, losing cornices and other features. 2
1 Hexamer General Survey #2439 (1891) "The Orinoka Mills, (Corporation,) Formerly B.L.Solomon's Sons."
2 Interview with James Arthur, President of Orinoka until January 1, 1989, (1987).
Update May 2007 (by Torben Jenk):
Vacant, in poor and deteriorating condition.