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History of Freeland, Pa.
Hoch Hame Company

What's on this page:

  • The Hoch Hame factory
  • Garrick (Gary) Brinton Hoch
  • News reporting
  • Relevant directory listings
On related pages:


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.

Thanks to Ed Merrick, Charlie Gallagher, Donna Maso and others for research.


Hoch Hame Company

Other names known by: Hoch Hames Company, Hoch Hame Works

Location: First on Birkbeck Street (near Front or Johnson?); listed in 1912 at 175 Washington Street; by 1921 their building/site was shared with Freeland Bobbin Works at 175 Washington, where a fire in April 1921 caused massive damage to the building(s); after the 1921 fire, Hoch Hame was back on Birkbeck near Front

Dates: before 1906 – [1921 fire] – closing date unknown

Owner(s): Garrick (Gary) Brinton Hoch (1871-1965) and Victor Oswald, founders

Other principals: in the 1921-1922 directory: Hoch Hames Co. Inc., G. B. Hoch Pres, Edgar Albert Sec., S. S. Hess Treas, Birkbeck nr E. Front

Size of building(s):

Number of employees:

Products: Hames

[Please send additions and corrections!]




The Hoch Hame Company was Freeland’s second hame manufacturer, following Beagle Hame Works, where Gary B. Hoch had worked before beginning his own hame business. He and Victor Oswald are said to have established the Hoch Hame Works on Birkbeck street, and in 1906 Mr. Olewine’s Hazleton Hame Works consolidated with Hoch Hame Works, adding the Hazleton firm’s machinery to the Hoch plant. [Question: Where was this on Birkbeck street?]

There are two hame patents by Garrick Brinton Hoch listed on the Freeland patents page that Charlie Gallagher put together. One is for a hame fastener, patented in 1903, and the other is for a hame, patented in 1905.

Hoch Hame Company, 1912 At some point before 1912, Hoch Hame moved to 175 Washington street just below the train tracks. I don’t know whether they were already there when the merger with Hazleton Hame Works took place or not. Hoch Hame was not shown at that location on the 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance map, only on this 1912 map. Sometime around 1920 the building was enlarged and/or renovated to also accommodate the newly formed Freeland Bobbin Works. On April 5, 1921 a fire destroyed the building(s) of both companies and resulted in an estimated $50,000 in damages (see reports further below). A later newspaper report in July 1923 indicated that the bobbin factory was founded around 1920, so it had only been in operation for a year or so when the fire happened.

Fire at Freeland Bobbin Works and Hoch Hame, 1921 Fire at Freeland Bobbin Works and Hoch Hame, 1921




From here the story is more difficult to trace. The 1921-1922 directory lists both of these businesses on Birkbeck near Front, likely after the fire on south Washington street. Were they both temporarily renting space somewhere on Birkbeck near Front while the business site at 175 Washington street was being recovered/rebuilt after the fire? By the 1928-1929 directory the bobbin factory was back at 175 Washington street. I am wondering whether 1921 could have been one of the times when the silk factory on Birkbeck near Front wasn’t operating, and whether perhaps the owner(s) might have temporarily rented space to the bobbin factory and Hoch Hame Company. And perhaps when the bobbin factory reopened on south Washington street within a year or so of the 1921 fire, Hoch Hame either stayed on Birkbeck street or closed down. [This is all speculation on my part. – CT] The 1928-1929 directory shows Garrick Hoch living at 938 Washington street (near North street) and lists Hoch Hame Co. at that address, where he continued to live for the rest of his life. But I don’t know if his hame business was ever operating at that address. If anyone reading this has information to share, please contact me. [Thank you to the Library of Congress and to Penn State for having and digitizing the Sanborn maps.]



Garrick (Gary) Brinton Hoch

In 1950 the Plain Speaker reported that Gary B. Hoch would be celebrating his 79th birthday on November 25th. “Coming to town many years ago, Mr. Hoch was employed as a blacksmith by the firm Washburn & Turnbach, which had its smithy on Front street. Later he worked some years for the Beagle Hame Works, when that industry was one of the town’s leading businesses. Some years later, he and Victor Oswald, now of Hazleton, established the Hoch Hame Works on Birkbeck street. When it closed down as the demand for hames slacked off, he joined the Freeland Overall Co. staff on South Ridge street, and has been employed there ever since. In his many years in town, he has been very active in Presbyterian church affairs. In his earlier years, he was also active in musical affairs, and played in the old P. O. S. of A. band and Mayberry’s Band. His sons, Drs. O. Reynold and Malcolm S. Hoch, local dentists, and Carl B. Hoch, assistant cashier of the First National Bank, are also active musically.”

In July 1965 Gary Hoch’s death at age 93 was reported [obituary source and date not identified]. Before his final three months in the Lutheran Home in Hazleton, he lived at 938 Washington street, where he had been since at least 1921 if not before. He was born in Dorrance Township, son of George and Mary (Harter) Hoch; he married Harriet Solt in 1895, and they moved to Freeland in 1896. After working at his Hoch Hames Company for years, he closed that business and went to work for the Freeland Manufacturing Company until his retirement at age 85. He was an elder of Freeland’s Presbyterian Church. For more than 60 years he was a member of Arbutus Lodge No. 611, F. and A. M. He was the lodge past master in 1911, again in 1924, and treasurer for 20 years. He was also a member of the Lehigh Consistory. He received a 50-year Masonic membership pin in 1953. At the time of his death he left three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a number of nieces and nephews.



Local newspaper and industry reports quoted / summarized

(and many thanks to Ed Merrick, Charlie Gallagher and also Donna Maso for finding these):

November 30, 1906 – Hazleton Sentinel – Hazleton Hame Works (Mr. Olewine) and Hoch Hame Works of Freeland will consolidate. The machinery of the Hazleton plant will be installed in the Freeland plant; the Freeland firm has had a long experience in this business, and consolidation will benefit both parties.

1921 – The Iron Trade Review – “The plants of the Hoch Hame Works and the Freeland Bobbin Works, which occupy the same building, were recently damaged by fire.”

1921 – Iron Age – “The plants of the Hoch Hames Works and the Freeland Bobbin Works, Freeland, Pa., occupying the same building on Washington Street, were destroyed by fire, April 5, with loss estimated at $50,000.” [Thanks to Charlie Gallagher for these two 1921 references.]

November 15, 1922 – Standard-Speaker – An article about Mrs. William H. Barton leaving for California to live with her sons. She had been living on Birkbeck street, active in the Presbyterian church and teaching Sunday School there. “It will be remembered that Mrs. Barton came to town many years ago when her husband William Barton, now deceased, became associated with the Hoch Hame Works Co., on Birkbeck street, that was destroyed by fire several years ago.” [CT: Hoch Hame at 175 Washington destroyed by fire April 1921.]

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; “When it closed down as the demand for hames slacked off, he joined the Freeland Overall Co. staff on South Ridge street, and has been employed there ever since.”

July, 1965 – Freeland Resident Dies at 93 in Lutheran Home – Garrick B. Hoch, father of two Freeland dentists, Dr. O. Reynolds Hoch and Dr. Malcolm S. Hoch; married to former Harriet Solt; born Dorrance Township, lived in Freeland since 1896; for many years owned the Hoch Hames Company; later worked for the Freeland Manufacturing Company, retiring at age 85.



Directory listings related to this business

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

1895 city directory
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works, hame manufacturers, 54 Front
Washburn & Turnbach, carriage manufacturers, Front

1896 city directory
Beagle, H. S., mgr Beagle Hame Works, h 20 w Walnut
Beagle, T. S., h 20 w Walnut
Hoch, G. B., blacksmith, h 79 Birkbeck
Turnbach & Washburn (Albert Warsburn [Washburn], Erwin Turnbach), wheelwrights, h 54 e Front

1897 city directory
In business listings:
Freeland Carriage and Wagon Works, Hontz Bros. props., E Front near Washington
Hoch, G. B., blacksmith, Birkbeck near Johnson
Washburn, A. W., blacksmith, Front corner Washington

1897 city directory
In individual listings:
Hoch, G. B., blacksmith, Birkbeck near Johnson, h
Hontz Bros. (Frank and Benjamin), carriage works, Freeland Carriage and Wagon Works, E Front near Washington, h
Washburn, A. W., blacksmith, Front corner Washington, h

1900-1901 city directory
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works, Harry S. Beagle & George Wise, proprietors, Freeland
Roth, R. C., blacksmith and wheelwright, Front street

1912 telephone directory
In general listings:
Beagle & Roth, Hame & Smith Works – Front
Hoch Hame Co – Washington
Roth & Beagle, Smith & Hame Works – Front

1917 telephone directory
In general listings:
Hoch Hame Co., Mfg., hame works, Birkbeck
Roth & Beagle, Smith & Hame Works, Front

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

1921-1922 city directory
In individual listings:
Hoch, Garrick B., pres Hoch Hames Co. Inc., h 938 N Washington
Hoch Hames Co. Inc., G. B. Hoch Pres, Edgar Albert Sec., S. S. Hess Treas, Birkbeck nr E. Front.

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

1928-1929 city directory
In individual listings:
Hoch Hame Co. (Garrick B. Hoch), 938 Washington
Hoch, Gerrick B (Harriet; Hoch Hame Co), h 938 Washington

1937 phonebook
In business listings:
Beagle Hame Works

1937 phonebook
In individual listings:
Hoch, G. B., 938 Washington

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

If you have information or thoughts to share about this business, please contact me and I will share them here.

Thanks to Ed Merrick, Charlie Gallagher, Donna Maso and others for research.




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