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Series IV. President's Office Files, 1920-1929

Scope and Content Notes:

This series documents Rust Engineering's efforts to establish itself in Pittsburgh and its eventual prosperity during the Roaring Twenties. In 1920, the Rust Engineering partnership was dissolved and the company was incorporated into three functionally separate entities; the Rust Engineering Company of Delaware (Pittsburgh office), headed by S.M. Rust, the Rust Engineering Company of Maryland (Washington, D.C. office) and the Rust Engineering Company of Alabama (Birmingham office). Each company took jobs in its respective region and functioned independently from the others, but S.M. Rust was president of Rust Engineering as a whole and received reports from all offices. During the mid-1920s, the Maryland company was dissolved and transferred its assets to Pittsburgh, becoming a branch specializing in sales for the Pittsburgh office.

Much of the correspondence from the early 1920s concerns problems with particular jobs and attempts to correct them. Although some of the delays were related to weather conditions and railway strikes, problems were most often attributed to personnel; there is much discussion of habits and character as they apply to work, and the letters are surprisingly emotional and dynamic, but also fair. Other conversations concern orders and shipments, salaries and wages, attempts to land desirable jobs, and occasional run-ins with unions, particularly Pittsburgh Bricklayers Union No. 2. A series of letters between all three brothers, placed in a folder labeled "hard times," discusses the strain of financial difficulties on both the company and the family.

Despite the hardship, Rust Engineering took many jobs, especially to install boilers and build complete power houses and incinerators. In 1925, the company hired experienced chimney engineer Eric Plagwit and formed the Chimney Division, which would go on to erect more than 3,000 concrete and brick industrial chimneys. Rust's Furnace Division, which specialized in the design and installation of large furnaces for heating steel and other metals, became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1927 and thrived from then on. More information about the Rust Furnace Division can be found in Series VII.

Subseries 1. Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

Items in this subseries are not in original order, but have been filed chronologically by month. When exchanges covering several months were found together, they were filed by the date of the earliest letter. In addition to general correspondence, there are also files of letters between the Pittsburgh office and other branch offices. These interoffice files are present throughout the rest of the collection.

Folder 10 S.M. Rust correspondence regarding incorporation, 1920
Folder 11 S.M. Rust correspondence, 1920

Box 12
Folder 1 Correspondence between S.M. Rust and E.M. Rust, 1920
Folder 02-04 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December 1921
Folder 05-08 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1922

Box 13
Folder 1 "Hard Times" correspondence between Rust brothers, 1922
Folder 02-03 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1923
Folder 04-05 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1924
Folder 06-07 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-August, 1925

Box 14
Folder 01-02 S.M. Rust correspondence, September-December, 1925
Folder 03-06 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1926

Box 15
Folder 01-04 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1927
Folder 5 New York Office correspondence, 1927
Folder 6 Birmingham Office correspondence, 1927

Box 16
Folder 01-04 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1928
Folder 5 Washington, D.C. Office correspondence, 1928
Folder 6 New York Office correspondence, 1928
Folder 07-10 S.M. Rust correspondence, January-December, 1929

Box 17
Folder 1 Birmingham Office correspondence, 1929
Folder 2 New York Office correspondence, 1929
Folder 3 Washington Office correspondence, 1929
Folder 04-06 Abstracts of New York mail, 1925-1927
Folder 07-08 Personal mail and trade articles, 1920-1929

Subseries 2. Job Files

Scope and Content Notes:

Job files contain documents related to the acquisition of jobs, such as proposals and contracts, as well as folders on individual jobs filed alphabetically by client name. More information about these jobs, as well as those which did not receive their own folders, can be found in the correspondence files. The type of work, location, job number, and dates have been included where possible

Folder 9 Inquiries handled by New York Office, 1925-1926
Folder 10 Inquiry reports, interoffice, 1926
Folder 11 Inquiries and proposals for boilers and furnaces, 1927-1928
Folder 12 Prospect reports, 1928
Folder 13-14 Proposal file, 1928-1929
Folder 15 List of foremen, 1928

Box 18
Folder 1 Chimney contracts, ca. 1925
Folder 02-04 Contract reports, 1926-1929
Folder 05-06 American State Bank, office building at Grant & Sixth, Pittsburgh, PA (Job #101), 1927-1928
Folder 7 Balmer Company, incinerator, Floral Park, NY, 1925
Folder 08-09 Ford Motor Company, manufacturing plant, Chester, PA (Job #1600), 1926-1931
Folder 10 Davison Coke & Iron Company, cement plant, Neville Island, PA (Job #2150), 1928-1929
Folder 11 Delaware River Steel Company, blast furnace, Chester, PA (Job #1797), 1927
Folder 12 Henry Clay Hotel Company, 8-story hotel building, Ashland, KY (Job # 1828), 1927
Folder 13 Koppers Construction Company, Koppers Building, Pittsburgh, PA, 1927-1928

Box 19
Folder 01-03 Koppers Construction Company, Koppers Building, Pittsburgh, PA, 1927-1929
Folder 4 Koppers Seaboard By-Product Coke Company, office buildings at Waverly, NJ and Clifton, NJ, 1929
Folder 5 Koppers Seaboard Company, office building, Kearny, NJ, 1929
Folder 6 Koppers Seaboard Co., office building, Jamaica Yard, NY (Job #2370), 1929
Folder 7 Published plan for Koppers Construction Co. By-Product Recovery Plant, date unknown
Folder 8 New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, boiler settings, Van Nest, NJ (Job #2192), 1929
Folder 09-11 Packard Motor Car Company, contract for additions to a building, Pittsburgh, PA (Job #104), 1928
Folder 12 Phoenix Utility Company, chimneys, Trinidad, TX, 1925

Box 20
Folder 1 Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Company, construction work, Glen Rogers, WV (Job # 1227), 1921
Folder 2 U.S. Government, addition to a government printing office, Washington, D.C., 1928-1929
Folder 03-04 YMCA, building, Newell, PA (Job #102), 1928

Subseries 3. Subject Files

Scope and Content Notes:

There are several files related to the dissolution of the partnership and creation of the three companies, as well as information about Rust's attempts to purchase brick plants.

Folder 5 Dissolution of Partnership, 1920
Folder 6 Annual meetings and stocks, 1920-1924
Folder 7 J.B. Mingle vs. Rust Engineering, 1921
Folder 8 Agreements with other companies, 1922
Folder 9 Expenses related to International Bricklayers and Plasterers Union Local #2,June 17, 1922
Folder 10 Annual report of Washington, D.C. Office, 1923
Folder 11 Financial information, 1923-1928
Folder 12 Receipted invoices, 1924-1926
Folder 13 New Hope Brick Company, purchase of plant, 1925
Folder 14 John Fenson Company, sales, 1925-1926
Folder 15-16 Applications for a construction executive position, 1926

Box 21
Folder 1 Cumberland Brick Company: lease, 1926
Folder 2 Potomac Fire Brick Company; purchase of plant, 1926
Folder 3 Valley Fruit Company vs. Rust Engineering, 1926
Folder 4 Report of profits and losses, 1926
Folder 5 International Cement Corporation, 1927
Folder 6 Portable boiler, 1927
Folder 7 Proposed purchase of brick plant, 1927
Folder 8 Discussion on Piercing Mill Furnace Design, August 7, 1928
Folder 9 Patent: Method of and Apparatus for Supporting the Side Walls of Excavations, 1928
Folder 10 Proposed Chimney Builders Association, 1928
Folder 11 Report of profits and losses, 1928
Folder 12-13 Woodbridge Property for brick manufacturing, 1928-1929
Folder 14 Letters of recommendation by S.M. Rust, 1928-1930
Folder 15 Drawings, Study for River-Rail Terminal, February, 1929