South Jersey: A History 1624-1924
HARRY GILL KNOWLES—As a master iron worker and executive Harry Gill Knowles, now superintendent of the Concrete Steel Company of Camden, has a reputation that embraces all of Southern New Jersey, much of the State of Pennsylvania and extends to the Philippine Islands. He is considered an authority in his particular field, and he has been with countless manufacturing concerns in various important executive capacities. He has held a political post in Pennsylvania, and he is an active citizen and member of the Republican party, and he is a well-known fraternal member.
Harry Gill Knowles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 25, 1882, the son of Samuel Knowles, who spent most of his life in the cloth finishing and iron industry, and who was born in the same house in Philadelphia as his son, and Henrietta (Twist) Knowles, likewise a native of Philadelphia. Mr. Knowles was educated in the grade and high schools of Philadelphia, and he took a business course by mail with the Alexander Hamilton Institute. His first work in the iron field was in the employ of the Penn-Coyd Iron Works, Philadelphia, whose shops he entered in 1898. He was with this firm for two years. Then he went to work for the New York Ship Building Corporation, of Camden, for which he was an assistant ship fitter from 1892 to 1894. Another five years he spent in the employ of the American Bridge Company, at Ambridge, Pennsylvania, the first two of the five as layer-out and the last three as scratch layer-out. He was next employed in the plant of Milligan Brothers, Mariner Harbor, Staten Island, New York, where he began as layer-out and in three years became assistant sheet iron superintendent. His big opportunity came, however, when he affiliated himself with the Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Dredging Company. This firm sent him to Manila, in the Philippine Islands, and he was its shop superintendent in the territorial capital for two years. When he returned to the East he again worked for Milligan Brothers, first as shop inspector and eventually as chief inspector. Later he was with the Empire Engineering Corporation at Ephratah, Fulton County, New York, where on a dam building project he represented Milligan Brothers.
In 1912 he went into the employ of the Philadelphia Steel and Wire Company, whose plant was at Delaware Avenue and Pearl Street, Camden, as superintendent. When in 1916 the Concrete Steel Company bought out the Philadelphia Steel and Wire Company, transferring the plant and offices to the factory site at Federal and Seventeenth streets, Camden, Mr. Knowles continued as superintendent, and he occupies that post today, a much esteemed factory executive, one to whom much of the successful career of the Concrete Steel Company is attributed.
Mr. Knowles only affiliations outside of his firm and the Republican party are given to Camden Lodge 111, Loyal Order of Moose. When he was with the American Bridge Company at Ambridge, Pennsylvania, he served as one of the inspectors of elections during the voting season.
In 1908, just before he left for Manila, Mr. Knowles married Nellie Talbot, daughter of John and Katherine (Murray) Talbot, and a native of New York, born on Staten Island. There are three children: 1. Paul Russell, born in Manila, April 21, 1909. 2. Harry Vincent, born December 6, 1912. 3. Murray Anthony, born August 18, 1920, the latter two being natives of Camden. The Knowles family makes its home at No. 219 Vine Street, Camden.
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