Interview with Frank T. Stirlith1960 January 12, 1960 January 14 [audio](part 2)

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  • Drinking milk and celebrating Christmas; Working conditions at Lea's Mills; Houses by the Brandywine and haunted houses; The Lea family
    Partial Transcript: "In April, I think the milk went off from six cents to eight cents a quart..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith says that his family did not drink much milk due to its cost. He talks more about working at Lea's Mills. He says that they ran the factory twenty-four hours a day and only closed on Christmas and the Fourth of July. He says that the mills lacked heating but had electric lighting. He describes how mill workers dealt with ice in the event that the millrace froze or became clogged with debris. He describes boarding up a house for some of his family members who lived on the Brandywine. He talks about the Thatcher mansion in Wilmington and how it was supposed to be haunted. He says that his mother believed their home in Chester may have been haunted. Stirlith says that all of the workers at Lea's Mills were adult white men. He says that he believes the Lea family was Quaker. He talks about the crew that loaded and unloaded shipments at Lea's Mills.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Christmas; Fourth of July; Haunted houses; Houses; Lea's Mills; Milk; Prices; Work environment; Working conditions
  • Job at Diamond Match Company
    Partial Transcript: "They sparked you know, too much water in the composition made them spark, you see..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about his job at Diamond Match Company and a particular job he had disposing of defective matches. He says that his sister worked for the company too. The first part of the interview ends.
    Keywords: Diamond Match Company; Matches
  • Leaving job at Lea's Mills; More on working at the Diamond Match Company; Oil company owned by Stirlith's brothers; Memories of E. Paul du Pont; Buying junk for scrap
    Partial Transcript: "The only thing I know, I might have had an argument with a boss over some little affair... I've never been fired any place but that..." "I probably helped my brothers..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about getting fired from Lea's Mills. He talks about an iron bridge over the Brandywine Creek in Wilmington, Delaware. Stirlith, and the interviewers discuss tolls over the bridge. He talks about his job at Diamond Match Company and tells a story about helping to tear down the old factory. He says that after leaving Diamond Match he worked with his brothers selling coal oil and gasoline. He talks about his memories of E. Paul du Pont. He talks about purchasing and selling junk.
    Keywords: Automobiles; Brandywine Creek; Coal oil; Diamond Match Company; Du Pont, E. Paul (Eleuthere Paul), 1887-1950; gasoline; kerosene; Lea's Mills; Wilmington, Del.
  • Working for his brothers in the scrap business; Playing professional baseball; Spanish-American War
    Partial Transcript: "I worked for my brothers for about thirteen years, I think..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about working for his elder brothers in the scrap business. He talks about the disagreements he had with his brother and how they often came to blows with each other. He says that he worked as a foreman for his brother and sometimes had as many as twenty-five men working under him. He talks about having to use old ship ropes to haul his scrap. He says that he briefly played professional baseball in Chester, Pennsylvania. He says that the Spanish-American War ended his baseball career because no one came to the games, and he returned to working with his brothers. He said he never took time off for vacations. He says that he quit working for his brothers in 1909.
    Keywords: Chester (Pa.); Dover (Del.); Scrap; Spanish-American War (1898)
  • Starting a business in 1909; Stories about salvaging; Scrapping Hagley Yard
    Partial Transcript: "They like to have me over there, 'cause I knew Frank and I knew Will Price..." "I picked up a 115 pound anvil and jigged it..." "I didn't want my brothers to pay him for anything that I could had learned..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about starting his own business with very limited capital. He describes some of his work and salvage jobs over the years, including removing old boilers. He talks about scrapping metal bed plates from the roller mills at Hagley Yard. He describes what it was like to be at the Yard as parts of the mills were being dismantled. He talks about using dynamite to break things down for scrapping. He says that he learned how to use dynamite so that his brothers would not need to pay someone else if they needed work done with dynamite.
    Keywords: Dover (Del.); Dynamite; Hagley Yard
  • Jobs at DuPont's Hopewell, Va., and Carney's Point, N.J., plants
    Partial Transcript: "My job was to teach those fellas how to load material onto cars..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about his work with DuPont. He details traveling to DuPont's plant in Carney's Point, N.J., and Hopewell, Va., to show them how to best load scrap on a railroad car. He says that a lot of DuPont's waste was lead and other heavy materials. He describes methods of separating metals from each other. He says the DuPont paid him five dollars a day and that working for DuPont did not interfere with his own business.
    Keywords: Carney's Point (N.J.); E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Hopewell, Va.; Lead; Scrap
  • Connections with the du Pont family; Scrapping and scrap metal; Dismantling Lea's Mills
    Partial Transcript: "My earliest connection was Frances, about 1901 or 1902..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about his personal connections to the du Pont family. He talks about how during World War II some of the scrap from Hagley went to Lukens Steel Company in Coatesville, Pa. He talks about the fires that destroyed Lea's Mills and scrapping the old mill.
    Keywords: Coatesville, Pa. Steel; Du Pont, E. Paul (Eleuthere Paul), 1887-1950; Du Pont, Francis I. (Francis Irenee), 1873-1942; Hagley Yard; Lea's Mills; Lobdell Car Wheel Company; Lukens Steel Company; World War (1939-1945)
  • Keeping books and records of the scrap business
    Partial Transcript: "My father didn't keep anything but what he made...no indeed, no books...my wife keeps my records..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith says that his father kept no written records of his business, and that legal requirements to keep books only came around shortly before he quit working. He describes how the scrapping business has changed since his father's time.
    Keywords: Cloth; Dyes; Metal; Records; Scrap; Scrapping; Wool
  • Meeting Francis I. du Pont and his interest in Delaware's Single Tax
    Partial Transcript: "He was a rigger, and Francis I...got in touch with him and went to meet with him in his house..."
    Synopsis: Stirlith talks about meeting Francis I. du Pont at a meeting for business owners interested in the Single Tax. He says that Francis I. du Pont once ran for the mayor's office in Wilmington, Del.
    Keywords: Du Pont, Bidermann, 1837-1923; Du Pont, E. Paul (Eleuthere Paul), 1887-1950; Du Pont, Francis I. (Francis Irenee), 1873-1942; Quarries; Single Tax; Wilmington, Del.