Trenton Spotlight

Industrial History


Strategically located on theDelaware River, and with additional canal and rail access, Trenton developed early on in the nation'shistory into an industrial and manufacturing hub. Iron works and potteriesflourished early in Trenton,with steel and ceramics developing into the iconic industries of the city,followed closely by rubber manufacturing. Trentonchina graced the dining room at the White House, and porcelain fixturesfurnished the kitchens and bathrooms. Manufacturers like Lenox, Boehm, andAmerican Standard become household names. Meanwhile, the John A. Roeblingcompany moved to Trenton in 1848 and built the Brooklyn Bridge, constructing suspension bridgesaround the country and the world. By 1910 the thriving city chamber of commerceheld a contest for a civic slogan, selecting "Trenton Makes The World Takes"whose neon letters still grace a steel span across the Delaware. The I-beam was invented in Trenton, and Roebling wire rope was instrumental in the industrializationand urbanization of America,a critical element to elevators in the newcity skyscrapers being built as well as bridgesconnecting those cities to the world. Roebling's wire works closed in 1974 and Trenton's industrial heyday was by then behind it, butevidence of industry can still be found everywhere, from the potteriesgalleries in the TrentonCity Museum,to renovated Roebling factory buildings repurposed as shops and offices.




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