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Jackson & Sharp Car Company Records and American Car & Foundry Company Collection

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Catalog Data

American Car and Foundry Co. (Jackson & Sharp Car Co.)  Search this
Jackson & Sharp Car Co.  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Transportation  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Transportation  Search this
2.5 Cubic feet (6 boxes, 21 volumes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Cost account books
Albumen prints
Account books
Order books
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains order books, including design details of a wide variety of passenger, freight and specialty cars (including self-propelled electric cars), and cost accounts for the production department. Also included are 21 volumes of photographs of finished cars, arranged by lot number. These have separate indexes arranged alphabetically and by photograph number.
The collection is divided into two series. Series 1: Records, 1885-1948 Series 2: Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
The Jackson and Sharp Car Company, a manufacturer of railroad passenger cars, street railway cars, and ships, was incorporated in Delaware on February 24, 1869, as the successor to the partnership of Jackson & Sharp. Job H. Jackson (1833 1901), a tinsmith and mechanic, and Jacob F. Sharp (ca. 1815 1888), an experienced car builder, opened a small car building shop in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1863. Wilmington was a major center for the manufacture of railroad passenger cars prior to the development of Pullman, Illinois, in 1881. Sharp retired from the business in 1870. Soon after, Jackson erected the larger Delaware Car Works facility at the foot of 8th Street. A shipyard was added in 1875. By the late 1880s, the company was turning out about 400 cars per year, as well as sash work and panelling for buildings. The American Car & Foundry Company purchased Jackson and Sharp in 1901 when Jackson died. American Car & Foundry, incorporated in New Jersey in 1899, was a typical late 19th century merger of many small car building companies. The Jackson and Sharp plant in Wilmington was used primarily for the construction of railroad cars for export orders until around 1920. From the end of World War One until 1938, the plant was kept open by building small pleasure boats. During World War Two the plant produced minesweepers. The plant was closed around 1945.
Related Materials:
The Delaware State Archives Collection of approximately 3,000 negatives and photographs from Jackson and Sharp and American Car & Foundry. These include views of ships, electric railway cars, and railroad equipment. A description of the Delaware State Archives' collection can be found in the control file for coll. #156 and a copy of the microfiche listing of these photos is available in the Archives Center's microfiche cabinet. The Archives also holds over 160 drawings and blueprints for cars and ships, dating from 1881 1937 The Hagley Museum and Library of Wilmington, Delaware, contains several collections of Jackson & Sharp records. These include historical materials; contracts for car orders, 1898 1905; and drawings and blueprints, 1895 1930. A smaller body of Jackson & Sharp records is in the Historical Society of Delaware, in Wilmington. New Jersey Historical Society Manuscript Group 802, William F. Cone (1874-1966), Business records and negatives, 1880s-1966 Series 6 documents the production of railroad cars and marine vessels by the Jackson & Sharpe Plant of the American Car & Foundry Co., Wilmington, Delaware mostly between 1913-1929. Images of railroad cars the company produced include wooden and steel open platform cars, baggage cars, refrigerator cars, Pullman cars, railway post offices, sleeping cars, dining cars, engine rooms, parlor cars, box cars, gondola cars, flat cars, four-wheel trucks (the sets of wheels under train cars), underframes, interior furnishings for railroad cars, mantles, moldings and medallions. These products were made for railroad companies in the U.S., South America, Central America, and Cuba. Also included are images of the marine vessels the company produced including tugboats, scows and dredges, and several "named" vessels. John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library Collection consists of the corporate archives of the American Car and Foundry Company and selected predecessor firms. Materials include plans, production data, promotional and advertising items, and thousands of rare photographs cover the many products ACF manufactured for the world's transportation needs. Included are thousands of photographs depicting the company's freight and passenger cars, many of which are shown in multiple views. Selected movies produced by the firm are also included. The collection includes the records of the firm's Research and Development Department. Many of ACF's other business interests - such as nuclear power plants and wartime military production -- are well-represented in the collection. The collection is notable for the inclusion of thousands of detailed Bill of Materials listings for individual freight and passenger cars.
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Collection is open for research. Special care required in handling photographs, as the bound volumes are in poor condition.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Railroads -- Cars  Search this
Cost account books
Albumen prints
Account books
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver albumen -- 1850-1900
Order books
Lists -- Photographs
Jackson and Sharp Car Co. Records and American Car and Foundry Co. Collection, 1884-1948, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Jackson & Sharp Car Company Records and American Car & Foundry Company Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History