Because early Doylestown lacked access to a strong source for water power or waterway transportation, industry did not develop until after the 1850s, when a railroad connected the borough to Philadelphia. Manufacturing farming machinery then became the town’s most significant industry.
The Doylestown Agricultural Works produced farming implements such as the Doylestown Thresher, which won first prize in at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Over the course of its history, from 1867 to 1967, the company supplied equipment to farmers throughout the United States and abroad, including Peru and Jerusalem. The firm also produced specialty metal work, for example park benches for New York, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City, and the bronze gates for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia. After the company ceased operations, in 1986 the building in this photograph was restored and renovated for offices, shops, and restaurant space.
Other agricultural enterprises developed near Doylestown included the W. Atlee Burpee Seed Company, founded in 1876, and the National Farm School, the forerunner of Delaware Valley University.