Guide to the Records of the Trimble Company, 1883-1967

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Records of the Trimble Company
Creator
Trimble Company
Collection Number
MSS#80
Date [inclusive]
1883-1967
Extent
3 cubic feet (5 boxes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The Trimble Company was a prominent construction firm in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, founded in 1858 by William F. Trimble. The company had four names in its 100 year history; Trimble Company, changed to W.F Trimble & Sons Co. in 1903, The Trimble Company in 1942, and A. H. Trimble Construction and Engineering in the early 1960s. The collection includes contracts, correspondence, financial documents, patents, projects, and other matters relating to the estates of various family members. Of note are near-comprehensive photographs of the company's projects.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Records of the Trimble Company, 1883-1967, MSS# 80, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

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History of the Trimble Company (1858-c1967)

The Trimble Company was a construction firm in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania beginning in the mid-19th century. Trimble was founded in 1858 by William F. Trimble as a construction company in Allegheny City (Pittsburgh). William and Margaret Ann had nine children, of which four sons (Charles, William, Samuel, and Alexander) eventually joined the firm. The company changed names four times in over 100 years; first name change occurred in 1903, when the company adopted the name W.F. Trimble and Sons Company. William F. Trimble Jr., son of Anthony Trimble, joined the firm in 1910 and was named president of the company upon his uncle's death (William L Trimble) in 1937. The company, in 1942, was again reorganized and the name was changed to The Trimble Company. In the early 1960s, the company reorganized and again changed its name to A.H. Trimble Construction and Engineering. The Trimble family also started the Locust Land Company in the late 1800s. The Locust Land Company was also located in Allegheny City, at the same address. The Locust Land Company concentrated their land holdings in this area of the city.

The Trimble Company was a prominent contributor to the construction industry in the Pittsburgh region. The company concentrated its work on industrial and institutional buildings, and projects. Among its most notable construction projects were: the Stephen C. Foster Memorial and Heinz Memorial Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh, Buhl Planetarium, the Pennsylvania Railroad Warehouse, the Horne's Department Store Warehouse, Gimbel's Department Store Warehouse, and Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary. The Trimble Company also completed a major amount of work for the United States Armed Forces; including the construction of military bases, war housing, and veterans' housing. The largest contract that the Trimble Company worked on was the Indiantown Gap Military Reservation for the United States Army in 1939-1940. This project was done in conjunction with the Ferguson-Edmonson Company and Huffman-Wolfe Company. The Trimble Company's list of clients included The Aluminum Company of America, Gulf Oil Corporation, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Bell Telephone Company, the United States Army, the United States Navy, the Veterans Administration, the City of Pittsburgh, the County of Allegheny and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Trimble papers include contracts, correspondence, financial documents, patents, projects, and matters relating to the estate of various family members. Most of these items document the company, with an overlap of estate papers dealing with company business. Notably, these records include near-comprehensive photographs of the company's projects. These photographs have been arranged as MSP# 80.

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Arrangement

The Trimble Company Records are arranged in two series. Series I contains the business records and Series II the estate papers.

The Trimble Company Records are housed in five archival boxes.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Spring 2000

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These materials came in one accession, in 1982.

Acc# 1982.251 -- Gift of Anthony F. Trimble. Records: Anthony Trimble was the last head of the Trimble Company.

Processing Information

This guide to the collection was originally prepared by Historical Society Staff in 1982. Records rearranged and inventory rewritten by  Erin Clougherty on March 24, 1994.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Robert V. Fletcher on March 1, 2000.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Buhl Planetarium (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • University of Pittsburgh. -- Stephen C. Foster Memorial.
  • Gimbels (Department store : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Horne's (Department store : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • University of Pittsburgh. -- Heinz Memorial Chapel.
  • Indiantown Gap (Military reservation)
  • Locust Land Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Pennsylvania Railroad Warehouse (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Pa.)

Subject(s)

  • Buildings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Commercial buildings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Construction industry -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Department stores -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Dwellings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Transportation buildings -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.

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Collection Inventory

Series I Business Records 

Scope and Content Notes

These records includes board material, organizational documents, financial material, contracts, project reports, scrapbooks and other sundry items, primarily documenting the financial aspects of the company. These records are not comprehensive of inclusive years of the company, but are concentrated in different periods, primarily 1936 through 1960. Of special note are the patents awarded to Charles P. Trimble in 1911, for a construction clamping devise. The correspondence provides little information on the company but does include a letter of a personal nature, written during the Great Depression, explaining why a debt was not repaid. Members of the Trimble Family also owned the Locust Land Company (which later became part of the Trimble Company), owners of land in Allegheny City (Pittsburgh's north side). This material contains leases, correspondence of a financial nature, tax forms, journals and ledgers. The papers on specific projects are primarily sketchy correspondence and financial material dealing directly with each project. The publications are ones that the Trimble Company distributed with their name on it. While these records do not provide a comprehensive view into the activities of the Trimble Company, they provide sufficient insight into the operations of a construction firm in Pittsburgh during the twentieth century.

Arrangement

The Business Records are arranged alphabetically with an informational folder arranged to the front.

  boxfolder
Informational folder 11
  folder
Board Meetings  1937-1957 2
  folder
Charters  1903-1942 3
  folder
Contracts  1926-1950 4
  folder
Correspondence  1930-1961 5
Financial 
Accountants-Audits 
  folder
 1947-1953 6
  folder
 1954-1956 7
  folder
 1957-1958 8
  folder
Accountants-Correspondence  1950-1959 9
  boxfolder
Balance Sheet  1967 21
  folder
Bank Book  1883-1911 2
Charitable Organizations 
  folder
 1956 3
  folder
 1957 4
  folder
Equipment Sales  1961 5
General Ledger  1936-1949 
Shareholder and Taxes 
  folder
 1940-1948 6
  folder
 1949-1953 7
  folder
 1954-1961 8
  folder
Union National Bank  1960-1961 9
Voucher Register  1959-1960 
  boxfolder
Legal  1960-1961 31
Locust Land Company 
  folder
 1898-1927 2
  folder
 1939-1944 3
  folder
 1945-1958 4
  folder
Journal  1938-1947 5
  folder
Ledger  1938-1947 6
  folder
Patents  1911 7
  folder
Personnel  1951-1960 8
  boxfolder
Personnel-Manual  1947 41
  folder
Projects 1
Expenses 
  folder
 1897-1903 2
  folder
 1903-1906 3
  folder
Gimble's Warehouse  1946-1927 4
  folder
Horne's Warehouse  1926-1947 5
  folder
Indiantown Gap  1940-1942 6
  folder
Edgar Kaufman Jr.  1963 7
  folder
Navy/Dravo  1943-1944 8
  folder
Record Book  1956-1961 9
  folder
Sisters of St. Joseph  1960-1961 10
  folder
Miscellaneous 11
  box
Publications 5
Scrapbook  1931-1935 

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Series II Estate Papers 

Scope and Content Notes

This series includes wills, correspondence, and other financial documents. The earliest records document the estate of Company Founder William F. and Margart Ann Trimble. The bulk of the remaining estate material documents the William F Trimble Jr estate. Given the tight control of the company by members of the Trimble Family, these records provide insight in the personal wealth of the family members and genealogical information on the family. These records provide little additional information on the company except the family members' personal stake.

Arrangement

The Estate Records are arranged chronologically.

  folder
 1909 2
  folder
 1939-1942 3
  folder
 1954 4
  folder
 1955 5
  folder
 1956-1958 6

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