The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is proud to announce the release of the J. G. Brill Company Photograph Index, a new, web-accessible database containing information on 12,578 images produced by the J.G. Brill Company. The database is freely available to the public, click here to begin exploring.
The J.G. Brill Company and its various incarnations dominated the world of trolley and undercarriage manufacturing for most of its seventy-year history. Based in Philadelphia, Brill was founded in 1868 by a German immigrant and held in family hands well into the 1930s. At its height, The J.G. Brill Company owned plants in six states as well as in Canada and France. The photographs include interior and exterior views of railroad cars, trolleys, buses, ambulances, and trucks, as well as images of undercarriages, small parts, and seats. The collection also documents the factory grounds at 62nd and Woodland, particularly for World War I. Order books provide information on the quantity and types of items purchased, the companies purchasing them, and their dates of order and delivery. Many images from the J.G. Brill Company collection are currently available in HSP's Digital Library.
The J. G. Brill Company Photograph Index is the latest database developed by HSP's Digital Services staff. Researchers that visit HSP's Reading Room are also able to freely access HSP Encounters, a database system containing references to over 258,000 unique names found in HSP's collections. Sources include Oliver H. Bair Company funeral records, Philadelphia Home for Infants registers, Philadelphia Placement Office registers, Home Missionary Society of Philadelphia records, and others. This system is a great resource for family history researchers. Remote access to HSP Encounters is available as a benefit of HSP membership.