Philadelphia

  • Baldwin Locomotive Works, c. 1900 formed a giant industrial district just north of Center City
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Philadelphia prided itself on being the “most American City,” meaning the city with least number of foreign immigrants. What it lacked in foreigners it made up for with young immigrants from around the nation who were drawn to the city’s technological education and its innovative businesses. Outsiders Samuel Merrick and William Keating formed the Franklin Institute in 1824 to provide education and a center for technological transfer and innovation. By the middle of the century industry dominated Philadelphia, shaped its ideas from industrial standards to a national Centennial celebration, and provided the capital and vision that rebuilt the city’s institutions in the industrial image. Soon scientific management enabled businesses to grow and become more efficient, making Philadelphia the center of the greatest assembly of manufacturing in the nation. This in turn doubled wages and led to the city residents becoming consumers of housing, goods and services and soon, experiences. As the twentieth century dawned, Philadelphians looked forward to a new century of innovation.