was born in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, in October 1830
the son of James McShane and Margaret McCartney. His family
history, with some small help from my business, has been
researched by a descendant so this short article briefly
refers to his success in the USA.
In 1847 he emigrated to the
United States on the
Scotia departing Liverpool for Baltimore and soon
obtained employment in a brass foundry in the latter town.
Nine years later he opened Mc Shane's Bell Foundry in
Baltimore. As well as bells it also for a while produced
piping, plumbing fixtures etc. When the railroad followed
the foundry to the area in 1895 it needed a name for the
railroad stop. William James McShane, the son of Henry and
vice-president of the foundry, gave it the name 'Dundalk'
after his father's birthplace. Thus began the modern town of
Dundalk, Maryland, USA.
Source: The McShane Bell Foundry, Henry McShane
Manufacturing Co., proprietors,
Baltimore, Md, USA, catalogue, The Library of Congress.
It was stated in 1873 that:
'The firm has rapidly
enlarged its sphere of operations, and is to-day one of the
largest establishments of that character in the United
States. The Works are located on North street, the building
occupying a front two hundred and fifteen feet with a depth
of one hundred and fifty feet. Two hundred and sixty hands
are employed by the firm, of whom sixty are engaged in their
Phoenix Iron Works, Holliday street, where six tons of iron
are run down daily into light castings for plumbers' and
machinists' use. Electroplating in silver and gold forms a
very important feature of the work of this firm.'
(Source: Howard, George
Washington, The Monumental city: Its Past History and
Present Resources, 1873, p.203)
It was further stated that
'.... the reputation of the
McShane Bells extends to all parts of the world, and their
clear tones are heard from Maine to California, in Europe,
Asia and South America, from the belfries of Churches,
Cathedrals, Mission Chapels, Fire Stations, Factories,
Schools, Steam Boats, &c. Messrs. McShane & Co. have not
only the satisfaction which arises from individual success,
but also of having built up an establishment which is of
immense importance to Baltimore and is heralding throughout
the world its name. They are literally ringing the Bells
which call attention to us from near and afar, inviting the
world "to come to us and buy."
Source: The McShane Bell Foundry catalogue,
op. cit. p.12
Source: Ibid, p.14
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uploaded 10 September 2012) Last update 30 December 2021.