Courtesy of the Butler County Historical Society.

Standard Steel Car Company Employee Records Collection

Butler, PA

Employee Record Cards, 1902-1946 with the bulk of the records dating from approximately 1916-1925. 

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            When the Pullman Standard Co. closed in 1982, the employee record cards were discovered strewn on the floor in an abandoned office.  Recognizing the historical and genealogical value of the records, individuals from the community salvaged them, and the cards were eventually distributed to three repositories: Butler Area Public Library, Butler County Historical Society, and the Depreciation Lands Museum.  The collection from the Depreciation Lands Museum was eventually transferred to the Butler County Historical Society.  The Butler County Genealogical Society has microfilmed all of the cards currently held by the Library and Historical Society.  A small number remain in the hands of private individuals and family members.

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Organizational History

            The Standard Steel Car Co. opened on 04 April 1902 on the western edge of the Butler City limits.  When production began on 01 Sept. 1902, 2,500 men were turning out sixty steel-bed railroad cars daily.  When the company closed its doors as Pullman Standard in 1982, it had manufactured over 350,000 cars.  As the Standard Steel Car Company grew, it needed workers, and the workers needed homes.  John Hansen, the company entrepreneur, spawned the Lyndora Land Company that laid out the town of Lyndora to provide housing for the employees and their families. 

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            This collection is estimated to contain over 21,000 employee record cards.  The cards have been placed in alphabetical order.  They provide a wealth of genealogical information as they note the places and dates of birth for employees.  In some cases, family data is provided.  Migration can also be discerned from information about previous employment.  While the fields of data are standardized, the depth of response by the employees varies considerably. 

            Specific fields of data relating to the employee include: name, place and date of birth, marital status, race, age, address, check/badge number, date of employment, occupation, pay rate, if previously employed by Standard Steel Car, reason for leaving, wife’s or parents’ address, number of children with their dates of birth, previous employers and their addresses,  education, citizenship, and if land is owned.  Signatures include those of the employee, witness, foreman, and superintendent.   Some cards were stapled to dated safety instruction certificates and are signed by the employee and foreman.  These certificates have also been microfilmed.  Employees may have generated a number of record cards, one for each time they were hired.  Interestingly, spellings and dates varied for employees and their family members.  While many of the employees were emigrants from Eastern Europe, Italians, Greeks, and Mexicans were also hired as were people from all over the United States. 

            Not all employee record cards are contained in the collection.  Some may have been lost when the company closed and others were given to family members or kept as souvenirs.  It is not known when the employee record keeping system was initiated.

©Luanne R. Eisler.February 2009   

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Copies of the employee records referenced in this index may be obtained by clicking here and mailing the order form.  The cost is $5.00 per name you request.  Copies of all cards for that name will be sent to you for that price whether there is one card or 10.  The handwriting on many of these cards is hard to read.  We have done our best to decipher it and have indexed the names with as many spellings as possible so that you have the best chance of finding your relative. 

All proceeds benefit the Butler County Historical Society and the Butler Area Public Library.

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