O'Neill Machine Shop


An early photo of the O’Neill Machine Shop at its original location
at 947 2nd Ave., Huntington, shows owner Thomas O’Neill,
seated at the center of the photo, and members
of the shop’s crew of workers.


HUNTINGTON — One of the city’s earliest businesses, what would
become the O’Neill Machine Shop and Foundry was established
 in 1886 as a partnership between Thomas
 O’Neill and George Ingram. 

When the two men opened their firm, Ingram was engineer
of the city’s first fire engine, and O’Neill was driver
 of the city’s horse-drawn hose reel.

 Ultimately O’Neill became the sole proprietor of the business. Blacksmithing,
fabricating, welding and machinery repair and rebuilding constituted
the primary work the shop performed. Its metallizing machine
was said to be the first installed in the city. Other
 equipment at the shop included a variety of
lathes, drills, mills, planers, presses,
shapers, grinders, punches
 and sheers

For 71 years, the business operated at its original location at
947 2nd Ave., although eventually doubling its size by
expanding into an adjoining building. In 1958,
the firm relocated to 837-41 Adams Ave.

On April 1, 1966, the Adams Avenue shop was destroyed in a
 spectacular fire that raged out of control for more than an
 hour. The blaze attracted a crowd of more than 1,000
spectators. Fire chief John Gallagher said eight
pieces of equipment were sent to the scene,
along with 24 on-duty and another
 24 off-duty firefighters.

Charles Howard, president of the firm, told The Herald-Dispatch
three machines valued at $50,000 each were lost in the
 fire, along with the two buildings and considerable
inventory of other equipment. Total damage
 from the fire initially was estimated at
$500,000 but later was scaled
back to $375,000.

The fire put the long-time firm out of business.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Nov. 30, 2021.


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