Pin Mill

Route 75
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The barn-like building to the right of the photo is the mill and the lumber shed is toward the center of the photo. The TVRR rail bed passed behind the mill and from there it would lead to the railroad bridge crossing the Tuscarora Creek. This provided for an easy transfer of pins to the Pennsylvania Railroad in Port Royal.
Contributed by rkohler3 on 3/21/13 - Image Year: 1928

On a parcel of land at the eastern end of the Route 75 bridge to Old Port, a Mr. [Benjamin] Demaree built and operated a Pin Mill. (A Pin Mill produced the pins that sat on the cross arms of electric and telephone poles onto which glass insulators were fastened. They played an important role as electricity and telephone service came to the nation.)

The following progressions of the mill were noted in the Port Royal Times:

"Nothing preventing, carpenters will commence this week the building of the Port Royal Pin Mill. Mr. Demaree says it will be one of the most complete and up-to-date mills in the state. He is ready to receive locust pin wood at the mill yard for which he will pay cash. Wood must be sound and sawed fifty inches long." (March 20, 1907)

"In a few days the wheels of industry will be humming at the Port Royal pin mill." (July 10, 1907)

"The Port Royal Pin Mill is a busy place these days. On last Saturday 75,000 pins were shipped over the P.R.R." (July 17, 1912)

"The Port Royal Pin Mill will start full in a week or ten days. Mr. Demaree expects to have all machinery placed in first-class condition. There are plenty of orders for fall and winter." (July 30, 1913)

"The Port Royal Pin mill started yesterday with enough orders on hand to run all winter and late into next summer." (August 27, 1913)

In the McGraw Electrical Trade Directory of 1917, the Port Royal Pin Mill is listed as a supplier of wood insulators.

(In July 1941, after closure of the mill, Benjamin and Myrtle Demaree conveyed the property to Robert and Joyce (Hower) Robinson and in October 1942 the Robinsons conveyed it to Darwin Kohler.)

THE FOLLOWING by Susan Wert (now Vogt) from interview with Edgar Patterson Esh (1893 – 1981)


After the Juniata County Fair in the fall (which had train excursions to it daily on the Pennsylvania Railroad from Altoona, Harrisburg and Tyrone), local industries would get back into full swing.

One of the firms, which closed during the summer and re-opened in the fall, was the Port Royal Pin Mill. Located at the end of the Old Port Bridge (on the Evard Meloy and “Skip” Kohler properties), it manufactured cross arms for phone lines. The firm bought wood, mostly locust, from the farmers who transported it on the Tuscarora Valley Railroad.

The pin mill would make a supply of these cross arms or pins, used to hold the glass insulators in place, during the winter months. The supply would be depleted in the summer months when the new phone lines were usually installed because the weather was nicer.

At one time there were forty some wires for the telephone line which came through our valley. Eventually this complex of wires would be replaced with cable which could carry more circuits.

We had about 30 people on our party line so there was not much privacy and gossip and news traveled fast. If you did not want the rest to know what you were saying, you carried on your conversation in Pennsylvania Dutch.

Sammie Yoder and my Dad did this many times because they knew no one else on our line understood it.

We got our first phone in 1908 which functioned with the magneto-electrodes system. Each hamlet had its own operator and all phones were the crank types installed on the wall. Switchboard operators in our vicinity were Guy and Will Conn of Conn's Store, Spruce Hill, and Maggie McCulloch at Honey Grove.

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