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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn.

The first water system in Philadelphia was proposed by the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Company, whose 1792 charter included the right to supply water to the City of Philadelphia.  This company advertised for iron pipes in 1796 and attempted to secure financial support from the city and state, but was unsuccessful.

After suffering through yellow fever epidemics in 1793 and 1798, the city decided to build water works and engaged  Benjamin Latrobe to design them.  He constructed a system that began service with two steam engines and a reservoir at Centre Square in January 1801.  Wooden logs were initially used, but cast iron pipes were installed starting in 1801.  This initial system had severe technical problems, and a new pumping station at Fairmont was opened, again using steam engines.  In 1821 a dam was constructed across the Schuylkill River, which allowed pumping to be done with water power.  The Fairmont site was used until 1911.

Water is currently provided by the City of Philadelphia Water Department, which has a history page.


References
1788 The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Written by Himself: Now First Edited from Original Manuscripts and from His Printed Correspondence and Other Writings, Volume 3, edited by John Bigelow, 1875
Page 483-484: [Excerpt from Franklin's will and codicil dated July 17, 1788, in which he left a bequest of £1000 to the City of Philadelphia, which he calculated would be worth £131,000 after one hundred years, £100,000 of which was to be used for public works.] All the directions herein given, respecting the disposition and management of the donation to the inhabitants of Philadelphia, only, as Philadelphia is incorporated, I request the corporation of that city to undertake the management agreeably to the said directions; and I do hereby vest them with full and ample powers for that purpose. And, having considered that the covering a ground plot with buildings and pavements, which carry off most of the rain and prevent its soaking into the Earth and renewing and purifying the Springs, whence the water of wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use, as I find has happened in all old cities, I recommend that at the end of the first hundred years, if not done before, the corporation of the city Employ a part of the hundred thousand pounds in bringing, by pipes, the water of Wissahickon Creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants, which I apprehend may be done without great difficulty, the level of the creek being much above that of the city, and may be made higher by a dam.

1792 An act to enable the Governor of this Commonwealth to Incorporate a Company for Opening a Canal and Water Communications between the Rivers Delaware and Schuylkill, and for other purposes therein mentioned, April 10, 1792.
[Section IV.] And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said president and managers shall have power to form dry and wet docks for the accommodation of vessels, near the city of Philadelphia, to communicate with the waters of the said canal, and to supply the city of Philadelphia, and the neighborhood thereof, with water, by means of pipes and other conductors under the public roads, streets and alleys, conveying water from thence for the use of such persons, as will agree to pay for the same such annual prices as shall be established by the said president and managers. Provided always, that they shall immediately repair any injury which they may do to said roads, streets or alleys, by means of laying down or repairing any of the said pipes or conductors, and give as little obstruction to the use of the said roads, streets or alleys as the nature of the works will admit. Provided also, That the said company shall not be entitled to any greater price for water to supply the city, and neighborhood thereof, than will create the annual profit of ten per centum on the capital that may and shall be expended for that particular purpose, exclusive of the general expense of the canal.

1795 An act to enable the president and managers of the Schuylkill and Susquehanna navigation and the Delaware and Schuylkill canal navigation to raise by lottery the sum of $400,000 for completing the works in their acts of incorporation, April 17, 1795.

1796 Gazette of the United States, March 31, 1796, Page 3
NOTICE
The President and Managers of the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal, having determined to supply the City of Philadelphia with water, early in the year 1797, Proposals will be received in writing until the first day of June next, from any person or persons disposed to contract for the casting and delivery of Iron Pipes necessary for the above purpose.
By the Board, WILLIAM MOORE SMITH, Sec'ry

1797 Gazette of the United States, January 17, 1797, page 2
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met.
The Memorial of the president and managers of the Schuylkill and Susquehannah canal navigation, and the Delaware and Schuylkill canal--[Asking for aid from the legislature, canal information not included]
...and especially by the rich supply of pure and wholesome water, which it is intended to distribute to every house in our metropolis, as well for family use, as for the great purpose of preventing and subduing the ravages of fire--that dreadful foe to life and property, when not under our command.
On this subject, your memorialists beg leave to enlarge, in two distinct views.
First, with respect to pure and wholesome water in great towns, and cities, a writer in a late Boston paper, speaking of the great aqueduct now constructing in that metropolis to supply the houses and shipping, justly observes "That aqueduct water from rivers and pure springs, save half the expence in soap and half the labour in washing linen: that the ease with which it is washed may make another saving in the war of the linen in washing nearly equal to the above.  But a more interesting consideration and important benefit, is its tendency to increase the means to preserve health, as water enters into all of our food and drink. Our philosophers agree that health depends most essentially on the purity of this element.  It is observed also that all water continually grows worse in cities by the constant accumulation of matter which sinks into the earth; so that all well-water in old cities becomes extremely unwholesome and increases the bills of mortality; and therefore to have water pure and plenty in cities, by every way increasing the means of cleanliness, as well as by rendering the system of nutrition more wholesome, must be the highest consequence to prevent putrid and pestilential fevers and other fatal diseases."  The same writer mentions also the additional security from fire, which is to be derived from plenty of water duly distributed through out great cities; and concludes with a just pride, that "Boston will be the first large city in the United States thus accommodated."
Who is there among us, that can call to his remembrance, the number of valuable citizens, swept from us by the pestilential fever of 1793--when the heavens were as iron bound over our heads, without a drop of water for many weeks, and when, under Providence, had our canal system been in operation, the fever might have been prevented, or its rage soon subdued? Or who is there, that reads the late accounts of the dreadful fires at New-York, Baltimore, Savannah, and other places, with the failure of their well and pump water, or its inadequacy to subdue the conflagrations? Who is there, we say, that considers such dreadful calamities, and would set down to count the cost of preventing them if withing our power; when the loss of property, by one single conflagration, may sometimes exceed the whole cost of an artificial supply of water?  As to the loss of valuable citizens by pestilential diseases, all cost of prevention vanishes on the comparison; not to mention that when canals and aqueducts of this kind are once duly constructed and finished for great cities, they continue for the benefit of our children, and childrens children, to the latest generations.  In this view then, when the legislature by a liberal aid, shall have established a confidence in the work, and assured the public mind that this canal will speedily be completed, your memoralists cannot doubt but that the citizens of Philadelphia, so highly interested in its success, with their usual liberality and public spirit, by subscribing for new shares, or by a generous loan, will supply every remaining deficiency in the funds.  And the completing of one canal will, by the example of its utility, insure the completion of the other; and even add to the means, by converting the surplus emolument (beyond what the low allows to the stockholders) to the use of the other canal, if necessary, or to other similar improvements.
All which is respectfully submitted.  Signed by order and on behalf of the joint board.  ROBERT MORRIS, President.  December 24, 1796

1797 Supplement to "An act to enable the president and managers of the Schuylkill and Susquehanna navigation and the Delaware and Schuylkill canal navigation to raise by way of lottery the sum of $400,000 for completing the works in their acts of incorporation." March 17, 1797

1797 Porcupine's Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), December 7, 1797, Page 951
Dr. [David] Ramsay of South Carolina has presented to the medical society of that State, a memoir on the autumnal epidemic, or yellow fever, in which he wrongly recommends the introduction of fresh water from the county into Charleston.  He remarks that the water of Charleston is not good, and is constantly growing worse, from the filth of vaults and graveyards.
Hs supposes pure water may be obtained in pipes from a source near the ten mile stone.
The utility of a supply of fresh wholesome water for all large cities will become annually more and more apparent.  New-York is supplied with pure water from an inexhaustable source, but at a great expense; for is the water conducted in pipes, so as to furnish a large quantity to estinguish fire or wash the streets.  Besides the hill and part of the city which furnishes this source of water if nearly covered with inhabitants, and in time the water will be impregnated with impure particles.  Good water cannot be expeced beneath old cities; therefore early attention should be paid to the introduction of this second elementary principle of life from remote resources.  [Dr. D. Ramsay's paper on the impurity of the water of Charleston, Medical Society of South Carolina, December 1, 1797.]

1797 "A Letter, to Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, on supplying the City of Philadelphia with Water. Boston, December 18, 1797" by James Sullivan, The Weekly Magazine, Volume 22, Number 22 (June 30, 1798)  This letter was reprinted in several newspapers.  Sullivan was involved in the Boston Aqueduct Company and later served as its president.

1797 Proposal by the The President, Managers, and Company of the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Navigation, To the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pennsylvania., December 19, 1797.

1798 Report of the Joint Committee of the Select and Common Councils, on the subject of bringing water to the city. January 31, 1798.

1798 View of the Practicability and Means of Supplying the City of Philadelphia with wholesome water, in a letter to John Miller, Esquire., from R. Henry Latrobe, Engineer, Dec. 29, 1798

1799 Address of the Committee of the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Company, to the Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, on the Memorial of Said Company. January 19, 1799.

1799 Remarks on the address of the Committee of the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Company to the Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives, as far as it notices the "View of the practicability and means of supplying the city of Philadelphia with wholesome water." by Benjamin Latrobe, January 21, 1799.

1799 Remarks on a second publication of B. Henry Latrobe, Engineer, said to be printed by order of the Committee of the Councils [of the City] and distributed among the members of the Legislature. January 26, 1799

1799 An Ordinance Providing for the raising of a Sum of Money for supplying the City of Philadelphia with Wholesome Water. February 7, 1799.

1799 Report of the Joint Committee of the Select and Common Councils, appointed to Receive Information on the Subjectd of Watering the City, and to Employ Agents, when necessary, for promoting that Object. February 26, 1799.

1799 An answer to the Joint Committee of the Select and Common Councils of Philadelphia, on the subject of a plan for supplying the city with water, &c, by Benjamin Latrobe, March 2, 1799.

1799 Philadelphia Gazette, March 25, 1799, page 3.
Extract of a letter from a gentleman of intelligence and information in Bethlehem, to his correspondent in this city, dated February 1.
"With pleasure I answer your's--I have several times read Mr. Latrobe's Report, concerning the supplying the city of Philadelphia with water.  My wish is, that is may be adopted without hestitation or delay.  In no part do I think it impracticable.  It appears the only advisable method of effecting it to the purpose required.  I also perceive the clashing it occasions with the proprietors of the Canal; but interest on such occasions, and in matters of such great moment, ought not to raise its head.  As to pipes, we have had the yellow and pitch pine.  Good pitch or yellow pine pipes have lasted 30 years, 2 1/2 inch bore.  No inconvenience with regard to the taste, and indeed our water was better and cooler than we have it at present through leaden pipes.  Here, it is to be observed, that a tree for a 4 inch bore should have 12 inches grain (heart) to leave 4 inches wood.  The sap will not last 2 years--the 12 inches must be at the thin end.  The next best is white oak; in Nazareth the pipes are all white oak, the water excellent, no taste of the wood, and have lasted 20 years.  When our water works were first erected we have pine pipes from the machinery to the reservoir.  The pine was very troublesome--we have to put many rings round the pipes, and yet we could not make them tight--the weight of the water, &c. would burst them.  We then used gum, a wood that will not splilt, but will last only about 12 years--yields no taste to the water.  If good yellow pine of the size mentioned in the gain of the smallest end (but straight it must be by all means, otherwise the hole will come too near the sap and will not last at all) it ought to be preferred to any other: but if it is not of this description, and every stick alike, white oak is preferable; for only one piece is bad in an extent of a compressed water course, the while is useless until that spot is repailed.  Mr. Henry, to whome I shewed your letter, gives the preference to white oak.  I wish good success to the undertaking, and anything required of me, will always be communicated with pleasure."

1799  Report to the Select and Common Councils on the progress and state of the Water Works, on the 24th of November, 1799.

1801 The Philadelphia Gazette. April 6, 1801, Page 2 Robert McCoomb and John Jacob Brown suffocated while working on the Schuylkill Engine House boiler.

1801 Report. The joint committee, to whom was referred the memorial and remonstrance of Nicholas J. Roosevelt,

1801 Report of the Committee for the introduction of wholesome water into the City of Philadelphia, October 12, 1801
Page 6-7:  In the Distribution much difficulty has been experienced on account of the leakage of the pipes of conduit, and the devices connected to them.  Most of those difficulties have been surmounted.  Perseverance, and the knowledge which is only to be acquired by experience, will, it is hoped, finally prevail over the rest.  In the opinion of some gentlemen, iron has been thought to be the best material for pipes; and, in order to procure a fair experiment, the committee have obtained a few feet, which are now at the Centre-square, and appear to be well cast.  Directions have been given to place these pipes, fourteen in number, each six feet long, under the greatest pressure of the water, in order to prove a method of securing their joints, which it is supposed will be substantial, and cheaper than the common mode.

1802 Report of the joint committee, appointed by the select and common councils for the purpose of superintending and directing the water works, December 5, 1801
Page 48:  Twenty-nine thousand nine hundred and sixty-three feet of pipe are now laid.
Page 61:  Robeson & Paul, iron pipes, $128.62.
Page 80:  From the specimen we have had of the iron pipe which has been delivered and tried at the Center Square, there is no doubt of its answering effectually for the purpose intended--and though the first cost will be much greater than wooden pipe, yet, ultimately, it may be the cheapest.


Per Foot.
The cost of that delivered is, 1.53
Fitting up, including leaden joints, 8
Digging the pipe-trench and filling up, 7
Labour in laying the pipe 3

1.71

Making the whole cost of six inch cast iron pipe, of three quarters of an inch thick, to be one dollar seventy-one cents per foot, running measure, when laid, all expences, except re-paving over them, included.
The four and one-half inch pipe, need not, perhaps, be more than five-eighths of an inch thick.  This would cost, if procured at the same rate per ton as the six inch, not more than one dolalr twenty and one half cents per foot, running measure, when laid excepting paving, as above.
Page 81:  Yellow pine pipe may be laid for about sixty to seventy cents per foot, either with spigot and fawcet joints, as now practiced, or with the cast iron cylinder joints joines, as mentioned above; including every expence but repaving.

1802 Report of the Joint Committee Appointed by the Select and Common Councils for the Purpose of Superintending and Directing the Water Works, December 6, 1802.

1803 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils of Philadelphia, November 1, 1803.

1804 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 1, 1804.
Page 4:  The quantity of pipe which has been laid in various parts of the city this season, if about thirty-two thousand five hundred and fifty feet, of which twenty-eight thousand five hundred and seventy-two is of wood, and three thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight feet iron, exclusive of nineteen hundred feet used in repairs.

1805 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, October 7th, 1805

1806 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 13, 1806.
Page 5:  The number of houses supplyed with Schylkill water amounts to 848, of which 318 are under water rights.

1807 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 13, 1807

1808 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 24, 1808

1809 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 2, 1809

1810 Report of the Watering Committee, November 5, 1810.

1811 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 7, 1811

1811 An Act to incorporate the Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania. April 2, 1811
Sect. 11. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid:-- That it shall be lawful for the president and managers of "The Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania," to contract with the Mayor, Aldermen, and citizens of Philadelphia, for supplying the city of Philadelphia with water; and with the commissioners and inhabitants of that part of the township of the Northern Liberties, lying between the West side of Sixth-street and the river Delaware, and between Vine-street and Cohocsink creek; for supplying the said incorporated part of the said township with water; and with the commissioners of the county of Philadelphia, for supplying with Water, any of the built parts of the said county, not incorporated; and also with any private individual, or bodies corporate, not within the limits of the city of Philadelphia, or the said incorporated part of the township of the Northern Liberties, for supplying such individuaJa with water; and for tbe purpose of effecting such contracts, or any part of them, the said "Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania," shall have power to lay pipes and other conductors under the roads, lanes, streets, alleys, or other passages, which may be requisite; doing as littie damage as may be, and replacing the ground as it was before: also to form wet and dry docks, for the accommodation of vessels near tbe city of Philadelphia, to communicate with the waters of the said canal.

1811 "Water Works," from The picture of Philadelphia, giving an account of its origin, increase and improvements in arts, sciences, manufactures, commerce and revenue. With a compendious view of its societies, literary, benevolent, patriotic, & religious. Its police--the public buildings--the prison and penetentiary [!] system--institutions, monied and civil--museum by Mease, James, 1771-1846

1812 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 5, 1812.

1813 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, November 11, 1813.

1815 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils. Read January 11, 1815.

1816 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils. Read January 25, 1816.

1817 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, read January 23, 1817.

1818 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, read January 22, 1818.

1818 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, read Novenber 12, 1818.

1819 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, read January 14, 1819

1819 An additional report, on water power, by the Watering Committee, March 8, 1819

1820 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, read February 10, 1820.

1820 Report of the Watering Committee, on the subject of obtaining water power from the river Schuylkill.

1821 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils, read January 18, 1821.

1822 Report of the Watering Committee, January 6, 1823. To the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia.

1823 Report of the Watering Committee to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia. Read January 9, 1823

1824 "Centre Engine House and Fair Mount Water-Works," from Picture of Philadelphia, for 1824, containing the "Picture of Philadelphia, for 1811, by James Mease, M.D." with all its improvements since that period by Wilson, Thomas, 

1826 The Boston News-letter; and City Record, Volume 1.  January 28, 1826.
Page 80:  Water Works.- The City of Philadelphia is well supplied with water from the Schuylkill River, at a very great expense.  The whole extend of iron pipes, which conveys the water, is now upwards of fifteen miles.  It is estimated that the aggregate of water rents for 1826, will be $24,160.  A handsome revenue will accrue to the city in a few years, as "the water rents," after defraying all expenses, except those incurred by the purchase of new iron pipes, yield and annual surplus in the sinking fund of 15,000 dollars.

1833 Correspondence of the Watering Committee with the Schuylkill Navigation Company, in Relation to the Fair Mount Water Works: Together with the Reports of the Watering Committee to Councils, Made Dec'r. 11, 1832, and Febr'y. 11, 1833

1837 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1836, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 5, 1837

1838 Annual Report of the Watering Committee, for the Year 1837, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia. January 4, 1838

1838 Sketch of the civil engineering of North America: comprising remarks on the harbours, river and lake navigation, lighthouses, steam-navigation, water-works, canals, roads, railways, bridges, and other works in that country, by David Stevenson
Page 278-288:  Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia

1842 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1841, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 20, 1842

1844 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1843, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 4, 1844

1845 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1844, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 2, 1845

1846 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1845, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 8, 1846

1848 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1847, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia

1850 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1849, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 3, 1850.

1851 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1850, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 2, 1851.

1851 “Autobiography of John Davis, 1770–1864,” Maryland Historical Magazine 30:11-39 (1935).  Was clerk of the Philadelphia Water Works under Benjamin Latrobe and worked with Frederick Graff to design and build the Fairmount works.

1853 Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioner of the City of Detroit. In 1853, the new Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Detroit sent superintendent Jacob Houghton, Jr. to visit and report on water works in other cities, including Philadelphia.
Page 23-24:  Philadelphia. Fairmount Water Works.  At the Fairmount Water Works the water is raised from the Schuylkill river, by means of water power. A dam, eleven hundred and forty-nine feet in length, and thirteen and a half feet in height, above low tide, is constructed.  From this dam water is supplied to run eight breast wheels, and one "Jonval Turbine," each driving a double-acting force pump. The water is forced to a height of ninety-six feet, through mains of sixteen inches diameter, varying in length from one hundred and eighty-three to four hundred and thirty-three feet. On the hill at Fairmount are four reservoirs, containing, in the aggregate, 22,031,976 ale gallons, and at a distance of three-fourths of a mile is a fifth reservoir, containing 16,646,247 ale gallons, making the total storage of the Fairmount works equivalent to 38,678,223 ale gallons. During the year 1852 the average quantity of water pumped daily was 5,731,744 gallons, which was distributed in a district containing 26,821 houses, in which there were 27,592 rate-payers. The cost of these works to January 1st, 1853, was $3,247,894.
These works were the first of any importance erected in the United States, and have served as a model for almost every city in the country, where the project of water supply has been undertaken.
Spring Garden Water Works.The districts of Spring Garden and Northern Liberties are supplied with water from separate works, erected upon the Schuylkill, about a mile above Fairmount. Three condensing engines are in use, which force the water to a height of one hundred and fifteen feet, into an earth embankment reservoir. There are three pump mains, two of eighteen and one of twenty inches diameter, and thirty-three hundred feet in length.
The district of Kensington is also supplied by independent steam power works, situated upon the Delaware river. These works, however, I did not examine.

1853 Annual Report of the Watering Committee for the Year 1842, to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, January 6, 1853.

1854 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 5, 1854

1855 New Map of the Consolidated City of Philadelphia

1855 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, April 19, 1855

1856 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 17, 1856

1856 Map of the Water Pipes now supplied from Fair Mount Water Works, by Frederick Graff.

1857 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 22, 1857

1858 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 21, 1858

1858 Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia for the Year 1858
Page 530: February 24. Resolved:  That the Chief Engineer of the Water Department be, and he is hereby instructed to report to these Councils on the expediency of providing for the erection of water works in the upper end of the Twenty-first Ward, for the purpose of supplying the northern section of the City with a better supply of water, and the probable cost thereof.

1859 "Self-Propelling Steam Fire Engine," Columbus Gazette (Columbus, Ohio), July 8, 1859, Page 2.

1859 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, 1859

1860 History of the Works and Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 9, 1860.

1861 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 21, 1861.

1862 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 16, 1862.

1863 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 5, 1863.

1864 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 28, 1864.

1865 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 2, 1865.

1866 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 15, 1866.

1867 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, January 31, 1867.

1868 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 20, 1868.

1869 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February, 1869.

1870 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 10, 1870.

1871 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 16, 1871.

1872 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 8, 1872.

1872 Annual Report of the Department for Supplying the City with Water, December 31, 1872

1874 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, March 5, 1874.

1875 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, April 4, 1875.

1876 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, April 6, 1876.  Includes History and Review of the Water Supply of Philadelphia.

1877 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, 1877

1878 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, October 3, 1878.

1879 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, June 10, 1879.

1880 Annual report of the chief engineer of the Water Department, of the City of Philadelphia, April 29 1880.

1875 Report on the Water Supply for the City of Philadelphia: Made by the Commission of Engineers Appointed by the Mayor Under the Ordinance of Councils, Approved June 5th, 1875

1881 Philadelphia, Engineering News, 8:102 (March 12, 1881)

1882 Philadelphia from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1884 Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, March 1883.

1884 "Surveys for the Future Water Supply of Philadelphia," by Rudolph Hering, Assistant in charge, Philadelphia Water Department, January 27, 1884.  Journal of the Franklin Institute, 118(2):138-152 (August, 1884)

1884 History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 1, by John Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott
Pages 499-501:   Early development of water works.
Page 510: Water works in 1801.
Pages 560-561:  Necessity of moving the water-works from Chestnut Street.  New Fairmount works started on September 7, 1815.
Page 597:  1819.  The City Councils in February memorialized Congress to remit customs duties upon iron pipes imported from London for the water-works.  The joints had to be nine feet long, and of twenty and twenty-two inches diameter.  It was difficult to procure contracts for such large-sized pipes in this country.  Congress, however, took no action on this memorial.
Page 605:  1822.  The Fairmount Water-Works were fairly completed by the end of the year, the dam being finished and the water-wheels in order.  The substitution of iron pipes for wooden pipes was not entered upon until 1818; and by the end of 1822 there were still thirty-two miles of wooden water-pipes in use in the city.
Page 632:  1832.  The old engine-house of the water-works, near the Schuylkill at Chestnut Street, was fitted up as a place of refuge for the poor, and a large number of shanties were erected in the same neighborhood.

1884 History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, by John Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott
Page 1743:  Water Department.

1888 "Philadelphia," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Philadelphia," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Philadelphia," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1897 "Philadelphia," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1902 "Bureau of Water," from Report on the Public Archives of the City and County of Philadelphia  By Herman Vandenburg Ames, Albert Edward McKinley

1906 "Cast Iron Pipe History," by Henry G. Morris, Iron Age 78:156 (July 19, 1906)
Cast Iron Pipe History.  To the Editor: In a recent issue of your journal a reference was made to the early manufacture of cast iron pipes, which I think should be corrected as making false history. According to the early reports of the Philadelphia Water Works, for reference to which I am indebted to John C. Trautwine, Jr., former chief engineer of the Water Bureau of Philadelphia, the first experiment with cast iron pipe was made in 1801, at the Centre Square, (now Broad and Market streets), by laying 14 lengths of 6-in. cast iron pipe, each 6 ft. long, which were procured from Robeson & Paul, merchants of this city, who were running the Weymouth Furnace at Atsion, N. J. In 1804 the same parties furnished 56 tons of 3-in. pipes. which were laid in Water street, in 1817. The subject of substituting iron pipes for the wooden ones in use was a burning question, and a lot of pipes, ordered from England, arrived in 1818. Samuel Richards appears to have furnished a large amount in 1819 and 1820, which in all probability were made at one of the New Jersey furnaces. These were as large as 20 and 22 in. in diameter. In 1821 Benjamin B. Howell of Hanover Furnace, on the head waters of the Rancocas Creek. furnished pipes and castings to a considerable amount, and the ownership of this furnace having passed to his son-in-law, Benjamin Jones, the manufacture of cast iron pipe was continued until the late 50's, when the furnace was abandoned owing to exhaustion of ores. The Pascal Iron Works was not established until 1835. although wrought iron pipes were first made by Morris, Tasker & Morris, at the southeast corner of Third and Walnut streets, prior to that date. The development of the business then demanded the establishment of the Pascal Iron Works at that time. Within the memory of the writer, cast iron pipes were made there in considerable quantities from 1849 to 1869. HENRY G. MORRIS. PHILADELPHIA, July 11, 1906.

1907 "Notes on Municipal Government. The Relation of the Municipality to the Water Supply. A Symposium,"  Frederic Rex, Henry Ralph Ringe, Henry Jones Ford, Edward W. Bemis, A. C. Richardson, Murray Gross, Max B. May, James J. McLoughlin, Delos F. Wilcox, Daniel E. Garges, Frank E. Lakey and W. G. Joerns.  The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 30:129-164
(Nov., 1907).  Pages 134-139 contains a good summary of the Philadelphia water works.

1908 "A glance at the water supply of Philadelphia," by John C. Trautwine, Journal of the New England Water Works Association, 22:419-441 (December 1908)

1909 "Philadelphia Wars on Typhoid," Municipal Journal and Engineer 27(22):826 (December 1, 1909)

1909 "Views of Experts on Typhoid Fever," The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 1909, Page 20.

1956 Water for the Cities:  A History of the Urban Water Supply Problem in the United States, by Nelson Manfred Blake. | Also on HathiTrust |  Includes a lot of information by Philadelphia.

1962 "Philadelphia," from Public Water Supplies of the 100 Largest Cities in the United States, 1962, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1812, by Charles Norman Durfor and Edith Becker

1981  “A Public Watchdog: Thomas Pym Cope and the Philadelphia Waterworks,” by Eleanor A. Maass, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 125(2):134-154–49 (April 1981)

1988 “The Fairmount Waterworks,”by Jane Mork Gibson, Bulletin, Philadelphia Museum of Art 84.360–61 (Summer 1988) [Text ony at PhilyH20] [OCR enabled PDF]

1999 "Introducing…clean Water," by Darwin H. Stapleton, Invention and Technology, 14(3):24-35 (Winter 1999) | pdf |

2010 "Palladianism on the Schuylkill: The Work of Frederick Graff at Fairmount" by Arthur S. Marks, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 154(2):201–257 (June 2010) [Also on JSTOR]

The History of Philadelphia's Watersheds and Sewers Compiled by Adam Levine Historical Consultant Philadelphia Water Department

Philadelphia Watershed History, by Philadelphia Water Department

Philadelphia Water Department Historical Collection




© 2015 Morris A. Pierce