James Butterworth

Philadelphia, PA

Figure:  James Butterworth
Source: Lamb’s Textile Industries of the United States Vol. II 1916

James Butterworth was born in Philadelphia, PA, September 4, 1840, the eldest son of Henry Whitaker and Emma (Cox) Butterworth and grandson of John Butterworth. Sometime before 1820, John Butterworth moved to Philadelphia and began a tinwork business in support of the textile industry. In 1844, the shop passed to his son, Henry. It was relocated to York and Cedar Streets where business was conducted under the name of H.W. Butterworth & Sons. James attended the public schools of Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School in 1857 with high honors. He became a clerk in the textile machinery business of his father. In 1860, he became manager and superintendent of the business. In 1866, he became a partner, along with his younger brothers, Charles C. and William B. In 1864, James joined the Pennsylvania volunteers, and served during the last year of the war in Pennsylvania. He became interested in various clubs and companies. His greatest service to the industry was that he represented the State of Pennsylvania in the early years of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art – the forerunner of Philadelphia Textiles now Philadelphia University.

He married, November 6, 1862, Julia Ann Gentry. Their children were: Harry Warner, Elizabeth Warner, Albert Whitaker, and James Warner.

H.W. Butterworth & Sons went on to become a major supplier of textile dyeing and finishing equipment in the twentieth century.

Figure: Butterworth Ad 1918, Courtesy Peter Metzke