Beagle Hame Works logo, from 1915 check

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Beagle Hame Works

What's on this page:

  • The Beagle Hames factory
  • The buildings/businesses at this Front street site
  • Freeland Wagon Works (Hontz. Bros.)
  • News reporting
  • Listing in directories
On related pages:

Top left: Beagle Hame Works logo, from a 1915 check. Hames were horse/mule collars made of wood and iron, developed for use in harnessing draft horses and mules for mining, lumbering and other heavy work, as well as for pulling carriages and wagons. Mules were particularly used in mine work.

Hames worn by mining mules Some can still remember an old blacksmith shop on Front street near the Y.M.C.A. There weren’t too many blacksmith shops left in Freeland by the 1940s-1960s, but from the time of Freeland’s founding (as Freehold, renamed Freeland in 1876) that neighborhood by the Public Park was at the center of a number of businesses related to using horses and mules for travel and labor: blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carriage and wagon makers, livery stables. Even after cars and trucks took over, mules were still being used in coal mines (even into the 1920s-1930s), and some people still had horses. On the map of Freehold in the 1873 Atlas of Luzerne County, one of the handful of businesses listed there was P. B. Cunningham’s Store and Wagon Shop on the northwest corner of Front and Washington streets. He was listed on the business index for that 1873 map as “Cunningham, P. B., Carriage Manufacturer and General Merchandise, P. O. Eckley.”

Beagle Hame Works ad, 1895 Beagle hame ad, 1914 Thanks to Charlie Stumpf, Ed Merrick (who found most of the newspaper reporting that this page is based on), Susan Green, Lyn Jackson, Charlie Gallagher, Joan Buday, Carol Jones, Mike Korb and others for research, information and images used on this page. Thanks also to the Hazleton Area Public Library, which has several early local directories on microfilm for public access, to the Greater Hazleton Historical Society, which holds some directories, and to the Freeland Historical Society.

The ad at left from an 1895 local directory includes this information: George Wise, proprietor; Henry S. Beagle, manager; successors to Thomas S. Beagle; removed to Freeland, Luzerne County, Pa. (moved to Freeland from Philadelphia). The ad at right is from The Colliery Engineer, June 1914 (thanks to Mike Korb).

Beagle Hame Works

Other names known by: Beagle Hame Factory; Beagle & Roth, Hame & Smith Works

Location: 606 Front Street

Dates: Company founded 1817 Philadelphia; moved to Freeland by 1895 or earlier – [1957, mentions blacksmith shop only] – 1960s

Owner(s): Thomas Beagle, Henry S. Beagle (known locally as Harry), George Wise (proprietor, 1895 directory; co-proprietor, 1900 directory), and later William F. Yannes (owner since 1931, died 1961)

Other principals: Founded in Philadelphia by Henry Beagle

Size of building(s):

Number of employees: unknown; William Yannes (later the owner) and Gary B. Hoch worked there. R. C. Roth had his own blacksmith shop on the property.

Products: Hames; also blacksmithing and some wood working

[Please send additions and corrections!]

The Beagle Hame Works was one of the most successful of Freeland’s early businesses. It was located on the site of the earlier Washburn & Turnbach Carriage Works on east Front street, and survived fires in 1901 (rebuilt in 1902) and 1926. In later years, a related blacksmith shop continued there into the 1960s. From 1817 Henry Beagle had a blacksmith shop in Philadelphia. He designed and developed his hames there, patented March 22, 1881, and had a hame factory built at the corner of Magnolia and Willow streets in Philadelphia. His sons Henry Beagle, Jr. and Thomas S. Beagle (1825-1903) joined him in the business, and reportedly they also made cigar boxes of wood. The company was relocated to Freeland around 1895. Henry Beagle, Jr. did not have any descendents, and the business was carried on by Thomas's son Henry S. Beagle (1851-1914, known as Harry). In 1896 Harry was asked when he would build a new factory in town. He had bought land on south Ridge street, and he said he was waiting for the borough to put in sewers there. He never developed that property and it was sold to C. Turri sometime before 1922. The business remained on Front street, and in 1931 William F. Yannes [one of the sons of John Yannes who had the Yannes Opera House] became owner until his death in 1961.

Henry Beagle Hame Factory in Philadelphia, before 1895 In Philadelphia Henry Beagle advertised “a general assortment of dray, cart, wagon and plough hames, ironed in every manner of best material and workmanship, which will be sold wholesale and retail at the lowest prices; orders shipped to all parts of the States. Also iron awning frames …” I assume that the two fine horses shown in this lithograph are wearing his hames. [From a lithograph of the Philadelphia factory in the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia, accessed from the Library of Congress – thanks to both libraries, and to Susan Green for originally sending me this image.]

George Wise advertising Beagle hames, 1882 George Wise advertising Beagle hames, 1882 George Wise advertising Beagle hames, 1884  George Wise advertising Beagle hames, 1885 At least 13 years before the business was moved from Philadelphia to Freeland as the Beagle Hame Works, Beagle hames were already being sold in the Freeland area. Here are four ads from the 1880s. One from 1882 at far left shows that harness maker George Wise was selling the Beagle PatentedGeorge Wise livery and shop in Jeddo Low Top Mine Hame from his livery and shop in Jeddo (shown at right, from the Freeland Pennysaver, date unknown) and from his shop on Walnut street in Freeland. He later moved from Walnut street to Centre street just above Main, next to the Birkbeck building, old address 24 S. Centre, modern address 608 Centre, which would later become the Seitzinger building. In 1887 he closed out his Hazleton location. For many years he was the Beagle company’s agent in the Pennsylvania coal regions. [Thanks to Joan Buday for the tan 1882 ad, and to Ed Merrick for the others dated 1882, 1884, 1885, left to right.]

Two checks from the Beagle Hame Works, dated 1899 and 1915
Beagle Hame Works check, 1899 Beagle Hame Works check, 1899 Beagle Hame Works check, 1915

Sales brochure from Beagle Hame Works in Freeland

Beagle Hame Works sales brochure Beagle Hame Works sales brochure Beagle Hame Works sales brochureIn addition to showing the various types of hames available, it highlighted the patented fastener which, unlike some other companies’ hames, locked automatically and would not work loose. The brochure also noted that “Beagle hames are made to fit the collar perfectly and prevent sore shoulders.” [Thanks to Lyn Jackson for the brochure photos.]

But how much demand was there, really, for this product? Consider this eye-opening reporting from the Freeland Tribune on March 11, 1897, just a few years after the Beagle business opened in Freeland (only the section about Beagle Hames is quoted here):

Two Busy Factories – Heavy Demand for Freeland Overalls and Hames – These Establishments Are Rushed With Orders and Have an Air of Prosperity About Them …

… Another of Freeland’s industries which is rushed to its utmost capacity is the Beagle Hame Works. For the past nine months the employees have worked on an average of four evenings a week extra to supply the demand for this famous mine hame. The orders now on file are large enough to keep the plant running steadily for several months to come. One of the reasons why work is always brisk in this line is due to the large territory covered by the firm. The hames go into every state in the union where coal is mined, and even Mexico has become a good patron of the establishment. However, over one-half of the hames made are used in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio, as the principal mining is done there.
The hame manufactured here is so superior to all others made that operators find it impossible to use any other kind to advantage, and standing orders are usually given by the large corporations. Within the past four months 1,700 pairs have been shipped to the Philadelphia and Reading Company.
When spring opens a building will be erected on South Ridge street for the sole purpose of manufacturing the Beagle hames.

The building(s) on Front Street, and Freeland Wagon Works (Hontz Bros.)

Site of Beagle Hame Works in Freeland, 1900 Washburn & Turnbach Carriage Works (Albert Washburn and Erwin Turnbach) was still at 54 E. Front street (later renumbered 606 Front street) in July 1895, occupying a long building stretching back on the lot, with a warehouse behind. At some point that year Beagle Hame Works also moved in. The carriage works changed hands by 1897 and Washburn was working for the Hontz Brothers there. The 1900 map at right shows Beagle Hame Works in the back building and Freeland Wagon Works (Hontz Bros., Frank and Benjamin) in the long front building. The 1905 map shows the long building sectioned off into two, with Beagle Hames in the middle building, a blacksmith and woodwork shop in front building, and the warehouse out back. 1912 map has Beagle in both front and middle buildings, a blacksmith and woodwork shop also in front, and the warehouse. The 1923 map shows the warehouse was gone and a small third building was built onto the back of the middle one; the hame factory was in the back buildings and the blacksmith shop in front. [Thank you to the Library of Congress and to Penn State for having and digitizing the Sanborn maps.]

Hontz Bros. – Freeland Wagon Works Somehow I only recently made the connection between this great Hontz Bros. photo and the Beagle Hame Works building. From the bits of documentation currently available to me, it looks like the Hontz brothers must have supplanted the Washburn & Turnbach Carriage Works by or before 1897. They were still there in 1898 because in December 1898 the owners of the building (William Williamson and Jonah Evans) had a new steam boiler installed in the Hontz shop. But it seems that the Hontz Bros. carriage works was only there at that site for a few more years, as it was no longer listed as a business in the 1900 directory or on the 1905 Sanborn map. In the 1921-1922 and 1928-1929 directories both brothers are listed as blacksmiths. Did they continue to do blacksmithing here in this building? If so, they would have been working with or for Richard C. Roth, whose blacksmith shop was there from around 1900, in front of the Beagle Hame Works; he and Beagle Hame Works apparently had a longstanding property sharing arrangement. That might be Richard Roth at far left of the group of workers in the photo, and the two men at far right might be Frank and Benjamin Hontz. By the time of the 1940 directory only the two Hontz brothers’ widows are listed, and Lloyd P. Hontz is listed as a machinist.

Hontz Bros. – Freeland Wagon Works  Hontz Bros. – Freeland Wagon Works Hontz Bros. – Freeland Wagon Works So I'm suggesting that this Hontz Brothers photo shows the buildings that also housed the Beagle Hame Works, and later Roth's blacksmith shop. The main building (not sure about the warehouse) was rebuilt in 1901-1902 after a big fire, and it suffered fire damage again in 1926. It was still there and in use in the 1960s but is now gone.

[Thank you to Carol Jones for lending this photo to Tom Landers in 2008 so that I could scan it; it had belonged to her dad and is now at the Freeland Historical Society. It’s taken me until fall of 2022 to understand where that Hontz Bros. business was. The wheels grind slowly. – CT]

More local newspaper reporting summarized
(and many thanks to Ed Merrick for finding these)

June 11, 1896 – Hazleton Sentinel – Proprietors asked when they’ll start construction of new factory on Ridge street; answer was as soon as borough puts sewer in there

December 16, 1901 – Plain Speaker – Unexplained fire destroyed blacksmith shop of Richard Roth and the Beagle Hame Works - The building was the property of Jonah Evans and Mrs. Wm. Williamson

December 16, 1901 – Freeland Tribune – Blacksmith shop of Richard Roth and the Beagle Hame Works destroyed by fire (proprietors H. S. Beagle and George Wise)

April 25, 1902 – Plain Speaker – Busy times for local industries, including those of Halpin Manufacturing Co., Beagle Hame Works, and Freeland Iron Works

January 23, 1903 – Plain Speaker – Rapid progress on new building of Beagle Hame Works

July 27, 1906 – Hazleton Sentinel – Beagle Hame Works rushed with orders

December 27, 1906 – Hazleton Sentinel – A very prosperous month for Beagle Hame Works

Beagle hame ad, 1914 June 1914 - The Colliery Engineer – Ad courtesy of Mike Korb

July 13, 1922 – Standard-Speaker – C. Turri is repairing and erecting building on property bought from Beagle Hame Works many years ago

May 18, 1926 – Plain Speaker – “Freeland had a fire scare this morning when a blaze was discovered on the top floor of the building jointly used as a blacksmith shop by R. C. Roth, and also by the Beagle Hame Works. … Considerable damage has been done to that part of the building used by the Beagle Hame Co., but the actual loss from fire and water has not been calculated. The building is owned jointly by Jonah Evans and R. C. Roth. ...”

April 15, 1932 – Plain Speaker – The new cars of the Lehigh Traction Co. recently equipped with new automatic controllers have been taken off the Freeland run, because they interfere with the Beagle Hame Works power

May 11, 1932 – Plain Speaker – Operations resumed after several days’ idleness

August 9, 1938 – Standard-Speaker – Mrs. Harry Beagle is visiting; wife of the late Harry Beagle, who formerly operated the old Beagle Hame Works located east of Birkbeck street near the Public Park [Beagle Hame Works was on Front street, west of Birkbeck street, and still in operation under William F. Yannes in 1938 – CT]

June 13, 1941 – Standard-Speaker – Death of Mrs. Harry Beagle; wife of the late Harry Beagle, “inventor of the Beagle Mine Hame, which he manufactured in Freeland for many years at the Beagle Hame Works on Birkbeck street.” [His grandfather Henry Beagle invented it, and the Beagle Hame Works was on Front street, not Birkbeck street. However, the Hoch Hame Works may have begun on Birkbeck street in its early years before moving to 175 S. Washington street, subject of a future web page on that business. – CT]

August 15, 1944 – Plain Speaker – Dick Roth retires from blacksmith business, selling his shop equipment. “Some of his material is being sold to William Yannes, who operates the Beagle Hame Works in Roth’s blacksmith at the corner of Front and Pine streets.”

Beagle Hame Works help wanted ad, 1945 January 11, 1945 – Standard-Speaker – 1945 help wanted ad for “light blacksmithing and bench work”

November 16, 1950 – Plain Speaker – William Yannes Sr. of Fern street, owner of Beagle Hame Works, is having a new roof and other repairs made to his blacksmith shop

November 21, 1950 – Plain Speaker – Will Be 79 Saturday – “Gary B. Hoch … coming to Freeland many years ago, employed as a blacksmith by Washburn and Turnbach on Front street; later worked some years at Beagle Hame Works; later he and Victor Oswald started the Hoch Hame Works on Birkbeck street; if closed down as the demand for hames slacked off …”

June 29, 1954 – Standard-Speaker – Mr. and Mrs. W. Yannes wed 50 years – she was a Marchetti; he was born in Tyrol to the late Mr. and Mrs. W. Yannes, came to U.S. in 1890, settling in Freeland – “He is now the owner and operator of the Beagle Hame Works, Freeland, an industry which was founded in Philadelphia in 1817, and with which company Mr. Yannes became affiliated in 1900.” [Yannes was owner since 1931. – CT]

Beagle Hame Works ad, 1957 August 19, 1957 – Standard-Speaker – Ad for the Beagle Hame Works blacksmith shop, selling firewood, clothes trees, bushel crates, gate springs, burlap bags, and saying all kinds of blacksmith work done. This harkens back to earlier days in the company when they were reportedly also making wooden cigar boxes.

January 3, 1961 – Standard-Speaker – Hame-maker dies – “The death of William F. Yannes, Sr., of Freeland, ended a life that spanned the period of transition from horse and buggy days to the motor-age. Mr. Yannes was a hame-maker and operated the Beagle Hame Works for many years. Many of our younger generation have no knowledge of the curved pieces of wood or metal in the type of harness adopted for heavy draft to which the traces are attached. While hames are still in use, the number of draft horses is so small, harness nomenclature is best recalled by the oldsters.”

January 3, 1961 – Standard-Speaker – “Old Freeland Resident Dies - William (Viglio) F. Yannes, Sr., died at the family residence, 628 Fern street, Freeland, on Sunday. He was born in Tyrol, Austria, a son of the late Viglio and Theresa (Kershbaumer) Yannes, and lived in Freeland for 70 years. He was a member of St. Anthony’s R. C. Church, Freeland, secretary of the St. Vigilio Mutual Benefit Society, and a member of the Holy Name Society of the parish. Mr. Yannes came to this country on October 31, 1889, and was employed as a blacksmith and hame maker at the Beagle Hame Works, Freeland. In 1931, he became sole owner of the company which had its origin in Philadelphia in 1817, and operated it until his death. … Surviving are his wife, Olive (Marchetti) Yannes …”

Directory, map, phonebook listings and an ad

[Find a full list of these businesses on the page about Transportation by horse.]

1895 Freeland city directory
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works, hame manufacturers, 54 Front
Halpin, Michael, carriage manufacturers, Pine corner Walnut
Washburn & Turnbach, carriage manufacturers, Front
Wise, George, harness maker, 24 Centre St.

1897 Freeland city directory
Freeland Carriage and Wagon Works, Hontz Bros. props., E Front near Washington
Halpin, Michael, wagon works, Pine corner Walnut
Washburn, A. W., blacksmith, Front corner Washington

1900-1901 city directory
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works, Harry S. Beagle & George Wise, proprietors, Freeland
Halpin Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of carriages, wagons and sleighs, cor. Pine and Walnut
Roth, R. C., blacksmith and wheelwright, Front street
Wise, George, saddler, Centre

1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. map
Beagle Hame Works

1912 telephone directory
In general listings:
Beagle & Roth, Hame & Smith Works – Front
Hoch Hame Co – Washington
Roth & Beagle, Smith & Hame Works – Front
Wise George, Harnessmaker – Jeddo
Wise George, Harnessmaker – Centre

1917 Telephone Directory
In business listings:
Hoch Hame Co., Mfg. - Birkbeck
Roth & Beagle, Smith & Hame Works - Front
Wise, George, Harnessmaker - 608 Centre [also Jeddo]

1921-1922 city directory
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works, The, hame manufacturers, 606 E. Front
Hoch Hames Co., Inc., hame manufacturers, Birkbeck nr Front
Roth, Richard C., blacksmith, 606 E. Front
Wise, George, harness maker, 608 Centre

1928-1929 city directory
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works, hame manufacturers, 606 Front
Roth, Geo B., blacksmith, 606 Front
Roth, Richard C., cabinetmaker, 606 Front

1940 city directory
In business listings:
Roth, Richd. C., blacksmith, 608 Front

1957 Standard-Speaker ad for small wooden goods and blacksmithing:
Beagle Hame Works Blacksmith Shop, Front St. (see previous section for the ad)

[Find a full list of these businesses on the page about Transportation by horse.]

Thanks again to Charlie Stumpf, Ed Merrick (who found most of the newspaper reporting that this page is based on), Susan Green, Lyn Jackson, Charlie Gallagher, Joan Buday, Carol Jones, Mike Korb and others for research, information and images used on this page. Thanks also to the Hazleton Area Public Library, which has several early local directories on microfilm for public access, to the Greater Hazleton Historical Society, which holds some directories, and to the Freeland Historical Society.

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