From its earliest days, Reading has been a leading force with countless examples of successful businesses and industries. Large and small, nationally or locally recognized, these businesses are what make the city and surrounding Berks County unique. While this is just a very small sampling, it is very easy to see that Reading is unmatched in the topic of industrial heritage.
- The Reading Railroad and Reading Shops
Location: 7th and Chestnut Streets, Reading.
It was here that locomotives as well as freight and passenger cars were manufactured and repaired for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad.
- Pomeroy’s Department Store
Location: 6th and Penn Streets, Reading.
Originally known as Dives, Pomeroy, and Stewart, this department store was founded in 1876. They sold an array of retail goods out of several locations before settling at 6th and Penn Streets. No history of Reading is complete without mention of this iconic store that remained a destination to shoppers until 1985
- Textile Machine Works, Winding and Measuring Department
Location: Wyomissing, PA.
Founded in 1892, these mills helped facilitate the development of Wyomissing as we know it today. Thousands of individuals worked from the factories that produced hosiery and other textiles for consumers.
Other businesses worth mentioning, though this list could never be complete:
- Breweries – Reading is well known for its several successful breweries from the late 1800s through the present day.
- Carpenter Technology Corporation – Founded in 1889, this business continues to lead in the steel-making industry.
- Colonial Business/Industry – 1700s Reading had many crafts- and businessmen that excelled at their trades. The city became well known for clock and furniture manufacturing, silver, pottery, iron
- implements, and more.
- Giorgio Companies, Inc. – Established in 1923 by Italian immigrants, this Temple-based business is known nationally for its freshly grown and canned mushrooms.
- Pretzel Manufacturing – Reading was once known as the pretzel capital of the world, producing over 1/3 of all U.S.-manufactured pretzels!
- Willson Products – founded in 1871, this was the first location in the United States to manufacture optical lenses. The site exists today as the Goggle Works Center for the Arts.