The Sidney Hollow Ware Company began in 1859 as “P. Smith Bro. & Co.” Philip Smith began working a small foundry in Sidney Ohio with capital of just $25 in 1859. His brother Michael joined him in the business a short time later. P. Smith Bro. & Co. was also known as “the successor to W. M. Toy Co.,” as Philip Smith also bought out Toy Plow Works, makers of moldboard plows.1
P. Smith Bro. & Co. originally took on whatever work was available including manufacture of “wagon wheel spokes and other metal wagon parts.” 2 A fire wiped out the company in the 1860s, and the Smith brothers set about rebuilding and expanded; casting bells in different sizes for schools and farms, as well as sugar kettles, lard presses, and a variety of machinery. 3 Philip Smith eventually bought out his brother.
By 1886, P. Smith Bro. & Co. had changed its name to Sidney Hollow Ware, and was manufacturing cast iron cookware. 4
Among the various trademarks incised on pieces made by the company is a personal favorite of mine – the “Script” trademark.
John Clough, a cast iron collector from Virginia, has a very unusual piece of Sidney Hollow Ware. The cursive marking on the bottom of the pan has the “Y” reversed.
The company also produced products marked with the full name of the company.
“In March of 1888, Smith expanded his business to meet increasing customer demand and hired 20 additional men. He continued this segment of his business, manufacturing the finest quality of polished hollow ware until 1897.” 5 In 1897, he sold the business to the Wagner Manufacturing company of Sidney, Ohio.
Philip Smith reincorporated in 1907 as the Philip Smith Manufacturing Company, but Smith retired that same year over health concerns. 6 An anonymous biographer of the time said the following about Philip Smith:
Looking over his business career, with its many ups and downs, pinched financially most of the time, requiring all his wits and his indomitable energy to pull through, he reminds one of the man who rolled down a hill with arms around a log and when he got to the bottom cheerfully remarked that the log did not get any the best of him for he was on top half of the time.