The Lampshade Factory
2519 - 2537 Germantown Avenue
The ACME Wire Products Factory was established in 1962. It comes after a long line of establishments that previously occupied a large 50,000 square foot space. From 1895-1910, a yarn company known as Glenmore Worsted Company was here before the site was converted into Ritter Bros. Chair Factory from 1910-1942¹. The chairman, Benjamin Ritter passed away in 1942 which lead to the expansion of the company into all furniture until 1962². There is thought they expanded into Delaware based of a newspaper clipping from 1949³. It was then used by ACME Wire Products to produce wire lampshades. They expanded in the 1970’s to also create custom engineered wire products as the computer and printer industries were growing⁴. In 1974, the founder and former president Manuel Shenker passed away. He founded the firm in 1927 and retired in 1969⁵. Currently, it operates as a home care facility known as Alma Conway Home Care Facility although it does not take up the entire lot size. In 2017 some of the space was used for an art installation called “Material Memory.” It was created by Olanrewaju "Lanre" Tejuoso and brings together Nigerian traditions of creating intricately knotted fabric that was cascaded in strips along the walls along with fluffy pom-poms that were strung from the ceilings or walls⁶. The Village of Arts and Humanities received the space at a discounted price owner of the ACME Wire products company. The community hopes to continue to use this space as an art installation for the surrounding low-income communities.
Provided by Yolanda Coles
"My cousin Carlos worked at the Lampshade Factory up until around 2000. They made lampshades all day long, from the metal part to the fabric covering. It was a place in the neighborhood where people could get a job. It was steady employment and most people could walk to work. A lot of the condominiums that you see now used to be factories like this one."
¹ “GeoHistory Resources.” n.d. Search by Address - Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/search-address.cfm?Address=2519+Germantown+Ave,+Philadelphia+Pa&Search=Search.
² "May 7, 1942 (Page 28 of 40)." The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969), May 07, 1942. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1833062931?accountid=14270.
³ "November 8, 1949 (Page 19 of 44)." 1949.The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969), Nov 08, 19. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1835104299?accountid=14270.
⁴ “About.” n.d. Acme Wire Products. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.acmewire.com/about.
⁵ "July 5, 1974 (Page 28 of 48)." 1974.Philadelphia Inquirer (1969-2001), Jul 05, 28. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1842316549?accountid=14270.
⁶ Melamed, Samantha. 2017. "North Phila. Memorials Inspire an Art Project: Nigerian Artist Olanrewaju Tejuoso Uses found Objects and Collaboration with Local Artists to Create a Tribute to Memory." Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan 06. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1856025446?accountid=14270.