Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

James R. Kendrick, Inc., Knitting Mill, c.1856, 1915 and 1919
48 (later 133) Harvey Street—first mill
125 Herman Street—second mill
6139 Germantown Avenue—third mill (present building)
Philadelphia PA 19144

Harold E. Spaulding, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

Vincent Perry emigrated from England in 1855 and began a weaving business in 1856 on Miller (later changed to Sheldon) Street. 1 After his nephew, James Radford Kendrick arrived in Philadelphia in 1874, the company became known as Perry and Kendrick, Stockings, at 48 Harvey Street (later and presently 133 Harvey Street). Their business operated in a 15' x 30' two story brick mill, built at the rear of the property, and presently a lovely cottage. When Vincent Perry died in 1882, the company continued under James Kendrick's direction. 2 In 1904, James Kendrick incorporated the business with his four sons and six years later, he died.
 
The company moved to an interim home at 125 Herman Street in 1915. This structure was later demolished and rowhouses built in its place. No known descriptions of the Herman Street site survive except for a newspaper article that listed 50 knitting machines and 15 sewing machines in 1917.
3
 
In 1919, the firm moved to a new, modern, three story brick mill building on Germantown Avenue at Pastorius Street. In 1925, the company's growth necessitated the erection of a major addition at the rear of the building. Today, the company is still in business, producing surgical garments, elastic bandages, and medical trusses. The present mill on Germantown Avenue was designed to contain leased shops on the first floor (which was indicative of the conservative nature of the owners to be able to withstand slowdowns in sales of their products); presently, it houses Kendricks' local offices and contains one hand-operated flat knitting frame, and several circular-head knitting machines, powered from line shafts with flat belt leather pulleys, driven by an electric motor. In 1917, James R. Kendricks' Company boasted over 70 employees; at present, there are about 17 employees.
 
In October 1989, the firm was purchased by Lesley Emil DeVine, Jr.  Its new name is the Kendrick Company, Inc.

1  1856 Philadelphia City Directory and 1856 U.S. Naturalization Records, on file at the Germantown Historical Society.
2  Fergus Perry, mentioned in the description of Phillips Knitting Mill on Wakefield Street, was the son of Vincent Perry. The property remained in family possession until a female Perry died in the dwelling c.1982. The abandoned property was bulldozed by the summer 1989. Fergus manufactured elastic cords from 1884 on.  Prior to that, he made elastic stockings.
3  Taken from the E.C. Jellett Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, "Industries, Graveyards, Firehouses," dated 1917, at the Germantown Historical Society.


Update May 2007 (by Linny Schenk & Michael Parrington):
The brick mill building is currently occupied on the ground floor by small commercial establishments (a dance studio and a chair and table rental operation). A banner advertising loft space for rent in “Kendrick Mill" drapes the front of the building. The platform for the water tank still sits atop the rear fire tower.