The Merger
The History of the Iron City Brewing Company


This Document First Published: March 31, 2017

Note: Although this work is about the history of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, it does not contain the history of the family of breweries other than the Iron City Brewery or some others when pertinent. History and information to the other breweries can be found in other documents.

Pittsburgh Brewing incorporates on January 1, 1899.
United Brewing Company of Pittsburgh incorporates January 11, 1899.
The directors of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company met on February 13, 1899 and assumed active change of the company’s affairs.

Formation of Trust Companies


The American Sugar Refining Company purchased stock in four competitor refineries. In doing so American controlled 98% of the nation’s sugar refining. The US Government took action,
United States v. E. C. Knight Company, under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act but lost in an 1895 Supreme Court decision. The court determined that manufacturing was not a violation of the Anti-Trust Act. Manufacturing is not commerce. The court ruled in favor of the trust as the formation did not violate the interstate commerce clause of the constitution. Once manufacturers realized that they could consolidate without government oversight, they did.

Antitrust law originated in reaction to public outcry over trusts, which were late-nineteenth-century corporate monopolies that dominated U.S. manufacturing and mining. Trusts took their name from the legal device of business incorporation called trusteeship, which consolidated control of industries by transferring stock in exchange for trust certificates.

Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Sherman Anti-Trust Act was passed on July 2, 1890 was to prevent monopolies and to investigate trusts.

John Sherman (1823-1900) was US Senator from Ohio and was the younger brother of the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman.

United Brewing Company
It Begins Here


The company was created by members of the Pittsburgh stock exchange and it was alleged that this was done to control the price of beer and the market.

Published in the Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United Brewing Company of Pittsburgh was incorporated on January 10, 1899 with a capital stock of $1,000. Pittsburgh Brewing Company was incorporated on January 1, 1899. I had the 10th but will use the 11th as shown here.

On January 10, 1899, James A. Chaplin, W. I. Mustin, Arthur David, George W. Henderson, John M. Irwin and E. E. Jones formed the United Brewing Company of Pittsburgh. The company was quickly amended to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. Several of these men, if not all, were members of the Pittsburgh Stock Exchange. There was a claim was that United was formed to control and fix the price of beer. It was also claimed that state law at the time only permitted one brewing license to one applicant. The reasoning of changing the name of the company is not clear.

The
Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, March 31, 1899 announced an opposition to the granting of multiple brewing licenses to the United Brewing Combine. A Sharpsburg Methodist Protestant minister name Lyman E. Davis claimed that PBC did not meet the criteria of Pennsylvania law, was not a corporation, should not be permitted to brew and should not be granted a license. I will leave it to you to determine who won. American Brewers Review, Volume 12 repeated the story as told by the Commercial Gazette other than not noting the formation of the United Brewing Company. United was listed in Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with an incorporation day of January 19, 1899. It had a capital stock of $1,000.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has Pittsburgh Brewing Company incorporating on January 1, 1899. This may have been a reincorporation from 1891 when the company was under DeWald as we saw in the previous chapter. United apparently formed to acquire a number of breweries and then “allowed” Pittsburgh Brewing to acquire United. There are additional pieces of this puzzle that need to be found. I do find it interesting that the name United has never been mentioned in the history of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

Davis’ remonstrance as published, in part:
That in January, 1899, James A. Chaplin and a number of other persons organized themselves under the act of General assembly of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, approved the 29th day of April A. D. 1874, an entitled, “An act to provide for the incorporation and regulation of certain corporations,” and its supplements for the purpose of the manufacturing of and brewing of malt liquors, with a capital stock $1,000, divided into 20 shares of the par value of $50 each; that all of the said capital stock of the United Brewing Company was subscribed to by W. I. Mustin, Arthur David, George W. Henderson, John M. Irwin and E. E. Jones, and the board of the nine directors was elected for said purposed corporation, four of whom do not appear by said articles of incorporation to have been holders of any of the capital stock of the said purposed corporation; that subsequent by the title of said proposed corporation was amended to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

That said United Brewing Company amended to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, was not a bona fide corporation for the purpose of the manufacture and brewing of malt liquors expressed in its charter, but was an organization of the persons named therin and others to effect a combination of the individuals, partnerships and corporations licensed in the manufacturing and brewing of malt in the county of Allegheny for the unlawful purpose of limiting the manufacturing and brewing of said malt liquors repressing and preventing competition and fixing the market price of the malt liquors so manufacturing and brewing of said malt liquors so manufactured and brewed by said illegal combination.


Associated with United
William Wilson Chaplin
Chaplin was elected to the Pittsburgh Stock Exchange in 1899 and became its secretary and manager.

Arthur David
I can find nothing on this person.

George W. Henderson
Mr. Henderson, along with Mustin, were directors of the new company Pennsylvania Coal Co, incorporated in 1899.

John M. Irwin
He was a director and auditor for the Fidelity Title and Trust Company. Became vice president and assistant treasurer in 1917.

E. E. Jones
An ordinance for the construction of a sewer on La Place Street and through private property (one lot belonging to E. E. Jones) was introduced to the Common Council of Pittsburgh on October 26, 1903.

William Irwin Mustin
William Irwin Mustin was president of the Pittsburgh Stock Exchange. He and S. J. Wainwright were on the Select Council of Pittsburgh together.
Mustin was the father of Pittsburgher and actor Burt Mustin. William’s mother was Frances M. Irwin.

A. M. Neeper
According to
Courts and Lawyers of Pennsylvania, 1623 – 1923, Volume 4, 1922, he was counsel for the syndicate which formed the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and the only legal advisor employed in organizing the Independent Brewing Company. There is not very much on this fellow but it would be interesting to see what he had to say on the formation of the two syndicates. See Independent Brewing Company of Pittsburgh, below.

Let us observe that neither Frauenheim nor Vilsack appeared in any documentation (
that I have seen) in the formation of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. Let us also observe that the Iron City Brewing Company did not form the Pittsburgh Brewing Company but was absorbed into the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. None of the other breweries seemed to have any involvement other than they were taken over. What took place to convince these brewers, some rather large, to come under an umbrella on a sunny day?

The United Empire


These are the 14 breweries that merged into a trust of the United Brewing Company in 1899 (
edited in October 25, 2016):
Eberhardt & Ober Brewery
Hauch, George P. & Otto (South Side)
Hippiey, Isaac & Clarence (North Side)
Iron City Brewing (Lawrenceville) 1897
Keystone Brewing (South Side)
Lauer, Philip (South Side)
Nusser, John H. (South Side)
Ober Brothers, F. L. (North Side)

Phoenix Brewing (Strip District)

Seifert, John H. & John S. (South Side)
Straub, Herman 16th Ward (Bloomfield)
Wainwright Brewing (Lawrenceville)
Winter Brewing 26th Ward (South Side) 1873
Winter Brewing 27th Ward (South Side) 1887

Notice both of the Winter Brewing
locations. Others mention the 13 breweries within the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, which is technically correct if you look only at ownership and not location.

Dates of Incorporation
Published in the Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Passed at the Session of 1899 was listed the United Brewing Company of Pittsburgh having capital stock of $1,000. Incorporated: January 11, 1899. The Pennsylvania Department of State has Pittsburgh Brewing incorporating on January 1, 1899.

Missing from this Story
All the owners of the acquired breweries were made superintendents of the company and assigned to other plants. Owners of the Iron City Brewing Company were retained as corporate officers suggesting that they were key in the forming of the new trust company. But their names do not appear in any of the writings. Also missing is the widespread publication of the United Brewing Company. If I were a conspiracy nut I would think people not involved in brewing formed the trust and the owners of said companies were told to “not stir the kettle”.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company 1898


Officers of Iron City Brewing Company in 1898:
Aloysius Frauenheim, Secretary
Edward J. Frauenheim, VP
Edward Frauenheim had died
Leopold Vilsack, President

Officers of Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1899:
President F. W. Muller,
VP E. J. Frauenheim,
Secretary William Rusk,
Treasurer J. P. Ober.
Directors: L. Vilsack, Theodore F. Straub, H. E. Wainwright, E. J. Frauenheim, Joseph A, O’Neil, F. W. Muller, F. Gwinner, Marcus Aaron.


Notes: John D. Nicholson who is listed below was not a director in 1899. Rusk was president of Keystone Brewing in 1898.
Fred W Mueller was president of Phoenix 1898
Joseph A O’Neal Scottdale Brewing Co

The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians: noted Frederick Gwinner being a director until his death on September 4, 1909. The Pittsburgh Daily Post, September 3, 1909, reporting on his death said that he was an organizer of the Keystone Brewing Company and Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

Dates of Incorporation
The Pittsburgh Brewing Company was incorporated on January 1, 1899. I should say re-incorporated as the original date is January 12, 1891. Other documents report February 1899, which is incorrect. The Pittsburgh Dispatch reported the merger on February 3, 1899.
Per Pennsylvania Department of State:
1891, January 12 Pittsburgh Brewing Co. incorporates in Pa.
1899, January 1 Pittsburgh Brewing incorporates
1899, January 11 United Brewing incorporates
1996, January 9 Pittsburgh Brewing Co. incorporates
1995, October 10 Pittsburgh Brewing Co. incorporates in Delaware
1995, November 11 Pittsburgh Brewing incorporates in Pa. by Joseph Piccirilli
2005, July 9 Pittsburgh Brewing Co. dissolves and goes into bankruptcy
2007, July 17 Iron City Brewing LLC incorporates by United Growth Partners

Entry in the
Pittsburgh Press, February 14, 1899, page 2.
The directors of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company met yesterday and assumed active change of the company’s affairs. The following officers were elected: President, Aloyslus Fraurenheim; vice-president, F. W. Mueller; secretary, William F. Ruske; treasurer, John P. Ober. E J Frauenheim was elected general sales agent. The company will have offices in the Carnegie building.

Pittsburgh Dispatch, February 3, 1899
This is the date the newspapers
reported that the breweries applied to transfer their licenses in trust to Pittsburgh Brewing. This would follow the timeline that after PCB was formed paperwork would be needed to transfer the license and stock to one holding company and then re-organize the management of the breweries.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company 1899 List of Breweries


It is well known that the Pittsburgh Brewing Company acquired the stock of many breweries in 1899. What is not very well known is exactly how many breweries incorporated into this new combine. The number 21 is often used but so it 16 and 18 as well as a few other digits. Yes, a good number of breweries formed to make PBC, but some breweries were purchased just after the company was formed. Once the all of this happened the new company closed some of the smaller breweries. This could have added into the confusion as to how many breweries actually combined. A number of breweries transferred their licenses to a trust and on January 1, 1899 Pittsburgh Brewing Company was formed.

Breweries within Pittsburgh
These 10 breweries were within Pittsburgh when Pittsburgh Brewing was formed:

Hauch (South Side)
Iron City Brewing Company (Lawrenceville)
J. Seiferth Brothers (South Side)
John H. Nusser (South Side)
Keystone Brewing Company (South Side)
Phillip Lauer (South Side)
Phoenix Brewing Company (Strip District)
Straub Brewing Company (Bloomfield)
Wainwright Brewing Company (Lawrenceville)
Winter Brothers Brewing Company (South Side) Two locations

This list is slightly different than the list for the United Brewery Company. Winter Brewing is listed as one here rather than showing two locations. Still, it alludes that there were only 13 breweries that formed the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. The other would have been acquired after the fact.

The
Manual of Statistics: Stock Exchange Hand Book of 1902 listed 16 breweries in 1899. They included McKeesport, Latrobe, Jeannette, Uniontown, Connellsville and Mt. Pleasant, Hippely and Baeuerlein but omitted Seifert, Nusser, and Lauer.

Breweries without Pittsburgh
These 5 breweries were outside the City of Pittsburgh, but within Allegheny County when Pittsburgh Brewing was formed:
Baeuerlien Brewery (Allegheny Co. – Millvale)
McKeesport Brewery (Allegheny Co. – McKeesport) 1897
Eberhardt & Ober Brewing Company (North Side)
Hippely & Sons (North Side)
F. Ober Brewing Company (North Side)
In 1899, the North Side was Allegheny City

These 4 breweries were outside Allegheny County when Pittsburgh Brewing was formed:
Connellsville Brewery (Fayette Co. – Connellsville) 1892
Jeanette Brewery (Westmoreland Co. – Jeanette)
Latrobe Brewery (Westmoreland Co. – Latrobe)
Latrobe Brewery Ligonier St at Buttonwood St, Sanborn Map 1909, Sheet 3
Mt. Pleasant Brewery (Westmoreland Co. – Mt. Pleasant) 1891
Sanborn Map 1914, Sheet 3
The
History of Washington County, Volume 1, Chapter 37, notes that Alvah Cochran and others founded the Mt. Pleasant Brewery, but does not give further information. The dates are the brewery’s opening date.

The Fayette Brewing Company
The Fayette Brewing Company sold the Connellsville and Uniontown Breweries to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company on August 30, 1910 but the sale went through on November 1, 1912. Fayette Brewing had ownership of these breweries in 1899, thus, they were not a part of the original merger with Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

William Henry Soisson Sr. sold the Uniontown and Connellsville breweries to Pittsburgh Brewing. They were stared by his father, Peter. Peter had a controlling interest in the Snyder Brewery, which burned down. After that Peter operated the Connellsville Brewery. The
Annals of southwestern Pennsylvania, Vol. 4, (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1939), page 55 has the sale date as 1899 but I think that is in reference to the forming of the company.

Uniontown Brewing Company date disparity
Tavern Trove had Uniontown Brewing as a part of PBC in 1899. Uniontown Brewing was at 33 North Beeston Street and had Permit U-397 to brew after 1933. Brewing was active from 1933 to 1948. Uniontown was not a part of PBC until 1912.

Corporate Superintendents
The owners of the acquired breweries were made superintendents of the breweries as part of that takeover. This information was supplied to the Internal Revenue Service as part of the incorporation. The main office for the company was not at the Lawrenceville site but in the Carnegie building in downtown Pittsburgh.

A list showing where the superintendents were assigned to will be placed here.

Company Office Locations
Since 1899 the company’s main office was in the Carnegie Building until 1910 when it moved to the Oliver Building until 1919. In 1920 the company was at 3340 Liberty Avenue.

Carnegie Building
428 – 438 Fifth Avenue at Cherry Way
Longfellow, Alden & Harlow were the architects for the Carnegie Building. Construction of the 13-story building took place between 1893 and 1895. Demolition took place in 1952. Hopkins 1900 Atlas Plate 5 shows the land belonging to Lucy C Carnegie.

Historical Note: The January 24, 1903 letterhead indicated the PBC made Beer, Ale and Porter. The corporate office was located in the Carnegie Building on Fifth Avenue. Beer was the word used to denote lager.

Henry W. Oliver Building
535 Smithfield Street across from Mellon Square
The building was completed on April 1, 1910. The architect was D H Burnham & Company of Chicago. The firm also designed the Pennsylvania Station (1896-1903) on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh.

Liberty Avenue Building
3340 Liberty Avenue at the Herron Avenue Bridge
The company’s main office was now fixed to the brewery.
I am looking for the architect and other information on this bulding and will update then.

Independent Brewing Company of Pittsburgh


This is interesting as it illustrates how the Pittsburgh Brewing Company put forth a plan to create another trust company to control the remaining breweries in the region.

American Brewers Review, Volume 19, 1905, page 108 reported that Marcus Aaron and John D. Nicholson who were members of the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company promoted the creation of the Independent Brewing Company, which did incorporate on January 7, 1905. The Review had February 10, 1905 as when the plants were taken over by IBC, but the Review also listed July 1, 1904 as the take-over date. The Review cited Pittsburgh Brewing as the “old company” and Independent Brewing as the “new company”, making the inference that PBC had a financial stake in IBC. The Review also noted that ICB would be “independent” of PCB, leading one to venture how Independent came to have that name. The securities of each company were exactly similar (see below) as the formation of Independent was to merge with Pittsburgh in the near future. This never occurred due to prohibition. PBC did try to acquire the Duquesne Brewing Co. in 1965.

These passages are transcribed from the
Review:
The consolidation of most of the breweries in Allegheny, Butler and Washington counties, not belonging to the Pittsburgh Brewing Co., in the Independent Brewing Co., has now become a fact. The new company took possession Feb. 10 and elected officers as: President, John Benz, of the Duquesne Brewing Co., of Pittsburgh; vice-president, Walter R. Hansell, of the American Brewing Co., of Bennett; treasurer, Charles E. Succop, of the Duquesne Brewing Co.; general manager, J. P. Mulvihill, of the New Kensington Brewing Co. Additional directors were named.

The company is independent of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, but will operate in entire harmony with the older organization. The securities of the new company are exactly similar to those the older company and on the same basis of valuation, the desire of the promoters being to make it easily possible for the two companies to merge. It is expected that this will accomplished before long. The combination was started last summer by John D. Nicholson, a member of the advisory board of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, and Marcus Aaron, a member of the executive committee of the same company. The plants are taken over as of July 1, 1904.
Note my emphasis to the words exactly similar.

The Duquesne Brewing Company was prominent in this and was the home of the Independent Brewing Company. Duquesne formed in 1899, the same year as Pittsburgh Brewing. At the time Duquesne’s office was in the Farmer’s Bank Building. What is perplexing is how does an organization take possession before incorporation? Why did Aaron and Nicholson suggest forming Independent in 1904 if the combine was already in existence? We see a parallel to this when United Brewing formed just before Pittsburgh Brewing incorporated. Let us take a look at this next passage.

Fifteen Breweries Join a Pittsburgh Combine
Under this headline on December 18, 1903 (dateline, Pittsburgh Dec 17), The Sun newspaper of New York City reported on page 11: By the terms of agreements which have just been closed fifteen breweries are absorbed into the Duquesne Brewing Company, forming one of the largest brewing concerns in the United States. The authorized capital of the greater Duquesne Brewing Company is $15,000,000. At present $4,000,000 preferred stock will be issued, with $3,825,000 bonds. John Benz, president of the Duquesne Brewing Company, will remain as president of the enlarged company.

The
Sun did not use the name Independent Brewing but reported on the “merger” more than a year before Independent was to have formed. We see Pittsburgh Brewing and Duquesne Brewing born within the same year. Independent, which took over Duquesne, was “formed” at the suggestion of members of the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. And as we have seen above, it was Duquesne Brewing that was the trustee of the other breweries before the creation of Independent Brewing. There are just too many connections to dismiss any suggestions of a conspiracy.

The
Commercial & Financial Chronicle, Volume 80, Part 1, 1905 reported the incorporation of Independent Brewing. The incorporation date was January 7, 1907 and purchased 16 breweries. The Chronicle has this entry: The plants were taken over on Feb. 9 it is understood, of July 1, 1904.
The Chronicle noted the company was organized by John D. Nicholson, a member of the advisory board of Pittsburgh Brewing and Marcus Aaron, a member of the executive board of Pittsburgh Brewing.

Thomas Jefferson Connection
George B. Nicholson (b. 1882) was a son of John D. Nicholson. George married Flora Randolph Mason of Fredericksburg, Va. on April 12, 1917 in Washington, DC. They moved to their home at 153 Riverview Avenue, Pittsburgh on the North Side. What is noteworthy of this marriage and residence is that Mrs. Nicholson was the great granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson.

The Philadelphia Connection
American Brewers Review had a passage in its 1903 issue, page 58 on the proposed consolidation of western Pennsylvania breweries. The people behind tis were not identified but the Review said J. P. Persch of Philadelphia was promoting it. The list of breweries that were in favor of consolidating were:

American Brewing Company of Millvale
Charleroi Brewing Company of Charleroi, Washington County
Chartiers Valley Brewing Company of Carnegie
Clairton Brewing Company of Clairton
D. Lutz & Son’s Brewery of Allegheny
Duquesne Brewing Company
First National Brewing Company of McKees Rocks
Highland Brewing Company
Hill Top Brewing Company
Home Brewing Company of Braddock
Homestead Brewing Company of Homestead
Lucyville Brewing Company of Lucyville, Washington County+1
New Kensington Brewing Company of Kew Kensington
Union Brewing Company of Sharon, Mercer County+2

The plan to consolidate these breweries was “
abandoned for the time being, owning to the prospective stringency in the money market”.

The Pittsburgh Press, August 9, 1903, page 36 also reported on this mater. Persch was identified as being from Baltimore. J P Mulvehill was noted to be a stockholder of the New Kensington Brewing Co.

Note the breweries that form under Independent.

+1: This became the Moose Brewing Company
+2: Chartered in 1900, President, Robert Levin of Pittsburgh

The January 4, 1907
Pittsburgh Daily Post confirmed that Pittsburgh Brewing and Independent Brewing was t be consolidated. ThePost wrote on page 11, It is asserted that the consolidation has been In view for some time and that the buying of the brewing stocks is made with an understanding as to the future. The Idea is that so many shares of the Pittsburgh Brewing will be exchanged for Independent Brewing stock, and that the inside interests may be in need of additional stock to work out the plan properly.