Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

Thomas Develon's Carpet Mill, c.1875
Lehigh Avenue and Hancock Street, Philadelphia PA 19133
(south side between Hancock & Mutter Streets)

Carmen A. Weber, Irving Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

This mill resembles many of the others along Lehigh Avenue; it has been associated with a number of different operations, until recently, all concerned with the textile industry. In 1875 Wilson Childe's wagon works were situated here, a typical industry in this area at that time. 1 Later, on this location, Baist's atlas depicted a carpet factory, although the 1891 Hexamer insurance map showed S. Whittle, Nottingham Mills, a hosiery factory. In 1887 the Develon name was first associated with the carpet mill, the name Victoria appeared later. 2 From 1910 through 1918 the name continued but it was operated by the sons of the previous owner. 3
By 1922 the operations changed completely and the Wilmar Manufacturing Company's peanut butter factory was depicted at this corner.
4 Previously Wilmar had been at 3rd and York where twenty employees produced canned and preserved goods. 5 In 1940, having moved to Lehigh Avenue, the company employed eighteen persons, but the number dropped to thirteen in 1943. 6 Wilmar was still there in 1956, 7 but today the Flame Heating and Plumbing Supply Company occupies the premises.
The building is brick, of five story construction, although the lower two stories have been stuccoed, including all the windows. The upper windows and frames are of wood, with twelve-over-twelve panes. A one-story rear attachment carries a square brick smokestack.

1   Hopkins, 1875.
2   Bromley, 1887; and Hexamer and Son, 1891.
3   The Philadelphia Commercial Museum, p. 23; and William H. Boyd's Son, 1918, p. 355.
4   Bromley, 1922.
5   Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania, 1916, p. 1368.
6   Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, Philadelphia, p. 16.
7   Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania, 1956, p. 799.

Update May 2007 (by Torben Jenk):
Converted to multi-tenant commercial and office use. Windows have been replaced with single pane glazing.