Compressed gas cylinders, as we know them today, have only been around for little more than 100 years. The history of colonial iron manufacturing, and compressed gas cylinders, are synonymous. William Allen (the founder of Allentown, Pennsylvania), and his partner Joseph Turner, began producing iron as Union Forge in 1742 (a company now known as Taylor-Wharton). Mr. Allen and Mr. Turner later hired Robert Taylor as a bookkeeper, who eventually headed the firm, naming it Taylor Iron & Steel Company.
This company, along with other colonial forges, filled the gap for a “consistent supply” of iron. (Shipments from Britain were not always dependable and they became less certain once hostilities began with the king.) This company supported the “call of patriots” by supplying General George Washington’s army with cannon balls!
5The Revolutionary War’s end brought a return to the manufacturing of; shoes for ox, steel rims (for wagon wheels), and other small forgings. By the mid-1800’s much of the American requirement for iron & steel was in the railroad industry. Taylor Iron & Steel was producing wheels, axles, and other parts for the railroads. Another company, the William Wharton, Jr. Company was producing track rails and switches for this same industry.