Letters to the Editor

Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

An American Empire

Please pardon my irreverence, but until I read the article about the Colemans (“A Dy­nasty Tumbles,” winter 1987), I thought Lebanon County was a heritage of bologna and pretzels. Sorry. My family and I are planning to visit Pennsyl­vania this summer. Do any of the family’s vast operations exist? Are they open to the public?

Francis L. Knauber
New York, N.Y.

Cornwall Iron Furnace, once heart of a vast industrial plantation and landmark of Pennsylvania’s iron and steel industry, is now admin­istered by the Pennsylvania His­torical and Museum Commission. In operation for a century and a half, from 1742 until 1883, the furnace complex is a popular visitor attraction in central Penn­sylvania. Located at Rexmont Road and Boyd Street in Cor­nwall, the historic site is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, Noon to 5 PM. For additional informa­tion, as well as traveling direc­tions, write: Cornwall Iron Furnace, P.O. Box 251, Cornwall, PA 17016; or telephone (717) 272-9711.


A Masterpiece of Medievalism

Recently I visited Bryn Athyn Cathedral and was on a tour conducted by Ariel C. Gun­ther. He went to the Church Academy starting in 1918 and stayed on to work on the ca­thedral. He became the glass­maker for the stained glass windows. He has worked for, and been retired by, the institution. Mr. Gunther told me that the building is asymmetrical (see “Where Man May Forget The World,” fall 1986). No wall is straight, no surface is com­pletely smooth, and no door knob, hinge, and nail head­ matches another. To have made things perfect, he said, would have been a sacrilege since man is imperfect and only God is able to achieve perfection. I thought this in­formation too interesting not to pass along, for it is true on careful examination that no dimensions match.

Ralph W. Miller
Glen Mills, Pa.


Pennsylvania’s Automakers

I was surprised by the errors and omissions in “A Brief Brilliance: Pennsylvania’s Early Automakers” which appeared in the fall 1986 edition. Read­ing’s first automaker, Charles Duryea, was overlooked en­tirely; he and his brother man­ufactured the world’s first automobiles in 1895. The au­thor repeatedly referred to J. Middleby, when he seems to mean Charles M. Middleby from Connecticut who built an air-cooled engine in Duryea’s former factory in Reading. Lee Chadwick, whose speedy cars (built in Pottstown) won racing glory, was never connected with the famous Fleetwood Metal Body Company. The Reber Manufacturing Com­pany was one of several na­tional bicycle makers headquartered in Reading at the turn of the century, yet it was characterized as a “dimly lit back alley bicycle shop.” Sadly, the article did not give interested readers advice on how or where to learn more about Pennsylvania’s fascinat­ing vehicle history.

Kenneth D. Wells II
Boyertown, Pa.

Mr. Wells is executive director of the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.

The editorial staff regrets these errors. Readers interested in automobiles produced in and near Reading, Berks County, are en­couraged to visit the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, which exhibits a number of ex­tremely rare automobiles, includ­ing one of two known air-cooled Middleby cars. The museum’s extensive collection boasts more than one hundred examples of vintage carriages, automobiles and trucks. To obtain additional infor­mation, write: Boyertown Mu­seum of Historic Vehicles, 28 Warwick St., Boyertawn, PA 1582, or telephone (215) 367-2090.