Manufacturer Notes: Whitehead, Ihmsen & Phillips

PHILLIPS, COLONEL WILLIAM, Manufacturer, was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, about the year 1814. His parents were both of Irish descent. Being early left fatherless, his education devolved upon his mother, who well performed her duty. Early in life he entered the works of Page & Blakewell, in order to learn the glass business. Mastering it fully, he became one of the firm of Whitehead, Ihmsen & Phillips, in the same trade, and finally started new works, with his brother, under the firm name of R. B. & W. Phillips, which, on his brother's retirement, became Phillips & Best. He also ventured in the iron business, and with J. E. Brown and others built a rolling mill at Kittanning, which likewise proved successful. He retired from active business in 1862, and at that time his rent roll in the Second Ward alone was over $20,000 per annum. Just after this he accepted the position of President pro tempore of the Allegheny Railroad, and soon after became actual President; he succeeded in relieving this deeply involved corporation of its heavy debt, extended its lines and made it one of the most successful roads in the country—all this by his personal exertions and influence. In early life he was a Democrat, but during the war gave his services and money cheerfully in the cause of the Union. For more than twenty consecutive years he represented the Second Ward in the City Councils, and at one time was Chairman of nearly all the leading standing committees. The amount of direct and indirect good he conferred upon his city is incalculable. He was at one time a member of the firms of William M. Lyon & Co., Nimick & Co., the Prosphor Bronze Company, and a glass firm. He was an organizer and director of several banks, insurance and deposit companies. He died April 14th, 1874.

The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Pennsylvania of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia, Galaxy Publishing Company, 1874)

The following establishments are given from data collected from Lyford's and Harris' Directory, 1837, and other publications:


Style.                   Firm.                                                          Hands.             Value.

Pennsylvania, . . Whitehead, Ihmsen & Phillips,     Flint, . . 114              120,000
         "                        "                  "                "            Black, . . 32                60,000

Thurston, George H.; Pittsburgh And Allegheny in the Centennial Year (Pittsburgh, A. A. Anderson & Son, 1876) 

In 1838, Thomas I. Whitehead, Christian Ihmsen, Chas. Ihmsen, and William Phillips, organized a firm under the style of Whitehead, Ihmsem & Plunket and built the glass works on the corner of South Tenth and Carson streets. Subsequently this firm changed to Young, Ihmsen & Plunket...

In 1840 Mr. Phillips, afterwards President of the Allegheny Valley Railroad, formerly a partner in Whitehead, Ihmsen & Plunket, built a glass works for making flint glass at the corner of Try street and Second avenue. He subsequently associated with him Wm. Best, under the firm of Phillips & Best. Subsequently Mr. Phillips disposed of his interest, and Mr. Best retiring from the business the works ceased to exist about 1868-70.

Thurston, George H.; Allegheny County's Hundred Years (Pittsburgh, A. A. Anderson & Son, 1876)

Doubts of the reliability of the scrip issued by Birmingham, of its amount and of the intention of the town authorities concerning it, continued to increase and circulate. Finally a number of the strongest business men of that borough published a card, in which they agreed to pledge all their estate, real, personal and mixed, for the full payment on the part of the borough of all scrip or certificates of loan which had been issued, or which had been authorized to be issued by the borough ordinances, to the amount of $60.000. This card was signed by J. & J. Patterson, Whitehead, Ihmsen & Phillips, Thomas Blackmore, Hodge, Wetmore & Co., John McClurg, David Bealer, William Phillips, Thomas Whitehead, R. A. Bausman, William Noble, James Barr, David Chess, Jr., John Shawhan, A. McKibben, William O'Leary, Charles Ihmsen and W. Symmes. 

Wilson, Erasmus; Standard History of Pittsburg Pennsylvania (Chicago, H. P. Cornell & Company, 1898)

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