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Orenstein-Koppel Car Company/Pressed Steel Car Works - Koppel PA

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In 1876 two German businessmen, Benno Orenstein (1851-1926) and Arthur Koppel (1851-1908), founded a Berlin-based engineering company that specialized in manufacturing light railway cars. About a decade later they somewhat divided the company, with Orenstein overseeing the interests in Germany and Koppel handling all the overseas business. In early 1906, after purchasing about 558 acres of land in Beaver County, Arthur Koppel began erecting the Orenstein-Koppel Car Company and establishing the new settlement of Koppel. (c1900)

The Orenstein-Koppel Car Company (or Koppel Car Works), which made narrow gauge railway cars and had headquarters in New York City, was put in operation in mid-1907. H. Alfred Ellis oversaw local operations as the General Manager. Several large additions were soon made and the company – and the town of Koppel – quickly thrived. Arthur Koppel, at the age of 57, passed away in Berlin in May 1908. In June 1918, in the midst of World War I, the U.S. government seized the German-owned Koppel plant and soon sold it to the Pressed Steel Car Company. The plant remained in operation until it was closed down in 1937. (1928) Full Size

(c1906) Full Size

The various plants of Orenstein-Koppel produced many different types of narrow-gauge railway cars. (c1906) Full Size

(c1906) Full Size

(c1906) Full Size

(c1906) Full Size

(c1906) Full Size

Narrow-gauge railway cars made by Koppel were in use all over the world. This photo depicts cars in use in Chesire County in northwest England. (c1906) Full Size

Koppel car in action at the Ougree-Marihaye Company plant in Marihaye, Belgium. (c1906) Full Size

Koppel manufactured light railway cars for passenger service as well. This photo is taken at the North Sea resort of Wittdun in northern Germany. (c1906) Full Size

Koppel cars in action in the Department (Province) of Colonia in southwest Uruguay. (c1906) Full Size

In early 1937 the operations of the Koppel Works were relocated to McKees Rocks and the plant was closed down. After no buyers stepped forward the plant was dismantled and all the equipment was sold in 1938. The site was completely cleared (as seen above) and basically remained so until Babcock & Wilcox erected a steel mill at this location in 1958-59. (May 1939). Full Size


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