|About the Book|
A rich history of the unique relationship between life and work in an American factory town from 1840 to 1984, A Place to Live and Work tells the remarkable story of Henry Disstons saw manufacturing company and the factory town he built. The bookMoreA rich history of the unique relationship between life and work in an American factory town from 1840 to 1984, A Place to Live and Work tells the remarkable story of Henry Disstons saw manufacturing company and the factory town he built. The book provides a rare view of the rise of one of Americas largest and most powerful family-owned businesses, from its modest beginnings in 1840 to the 1940s, when Disston products were known worldwide, to the sale and demise of the company in the postwar years. Henry Disston, however, not only built a factory- he also shaped Tacony, the town in northeastern Philadelphia where the workers lived. The book describes the companys interdependence with the community and profiles the lifestyle that grew out of Disstons paternalistic blueprint for Tacony.Using original letter books, shop committee meeting notes, photographs, and a wealth of other documents, Harry Silcox reveals Disstons highly sophisticated distribution and marketing system as well as a management system that, unlike the one advocated by Frederick Winslow Taylor, responded to the concerns of workers and foremen. Through two world wars, the Depression, and the rise of unions, Disstons innovative business practices enabled the company to remain active and strong even when factories across the nation were failing.This study raises important questions about the demise of the factory system and its impact on urban communities and family life. The Disston company provides one example of how people could work and live together successfully within the larger framework of the factory system.