Crosby St. substation of Philadelphia Electric Company
1926 - 1973

Chester Sign; Photocopy courtesy of Delaware County Historical Society

Above, a photocopy of a picture of the sign on the Crosby St. substation of
Philadelphia Electric Company,
courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Society

   Daily Times photo and article courtesy of Delaware County Historical Society
HISTORIC CITY SLOGAN at 6th & Crosby Sts. is taken down by Tony D'Ancona, a Cutler Sign Co. employee

The following article from the Delaware County Daily Times on March 14, 1973,
courtesy of the archives at Delaware County Historical Society:

Famous "What Chester makes" sign lights go out - forever

CHESTER - "What Chester Makes Makes Chester" has dominated the sight lines of railroad travelers through the city for 47 years.

But progress has turned out the lights on the city slogan devised by Philadelphia Electric Co. in the 1920's as a promotional idea for the city and an inspiration for its citizens.

Samuel Corpening, divisional manager of the electric company office in Chester, said today the sign has been permanently removed.


"About six weeks ago that substation went automatic, and the lights on the sign went out. We decided it would be better to take it down than leave it up there unlighted."

Corpening doesn't feel the message of the sign is outmoded, however.

"Certainly, it's just as applicable today. What Chester makes still does make Chester," he said, but travelers will no longer be told about it.

The nationally known slogan was developed as a result of a competition conducted in 1926 by the electric company when the late Albert R. Granger was regional vice president for PE.

Granger, who wrote a book about his 55 years service with the company, told about the slogan contest in his book.

"...With sales of electrical merchandise in sustained and rather satisfying volume, the thought occurred to some of us that we should have an electric sign, with an appropriate slogan, on our new Crosby Street substation," the story states.

"With the approval of Tenth Street (PE's main office in Philadelphia) we asked the public to fashion such a slogan, offering two prizes, a $160 washing machine and a modern vacuum cleaner," said Granger in his book.

Winner of the slogan competition was Mrs. Marin D. Garvey.

Among the judges for the slogan competition were the then Mayor Samuel E. Turner, Norris Hall, manufacturer; John C. Hinkson, banker; Col. James A. G. Campbell, president of Delaware County Trust Co., and James G. Lamb, vice president of Scott Paper Co.

2002 John A. Bullock III.
Graphic Details Publications

This page last updated 10/18/05