The Red Lion Area Historical Society will host another of their Speakers Series with a program on October 23, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. Rev. Dr. Stephen Nicholas Jr. and Terrence Downs will be the guests. The meeting will be at St. John’s Church, 161 North Main Street, Red Lion. The meeting room is on the ground floor, accessed from the parking lot behind the church. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Dr. Nicholas will speak on the incredible life of S. Morgan Smith who began life as a farm boy in North Carolina, trained and served as a minister in the Moravian Church, enlisted as a chaplain in the Union Army, then became an inventor and arguably the leading industrialist in the history of York County. Five existing companies in York, including American Hydro and PCC, trace their roots to the efforts of S. Morgan Smith. Jim McClure, editor of the York Daily Record, refers to Smith as “the pre-eminent industrialist in the history of York…”
Smith’s first patent was granted for a mechanical washing machine invented in 1870 which he called the “Success”. The Success was the first commercially successful washing machine and earned thousands of dollars for Smith. One of four existing machines is on display at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum in York. His third patent, issued December 16, 1876, was for an improved water turbine also named the “Success”. This turbine became the foundation of Smith’s industrial empire.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Nicholas Jr. is a retired Moravian Minister, a member of First Moravian Church in York, where S. Morgan Smith served as pastor from 1861-1866, and a distant relative of Smith. Rev. Nicholas has recently completed a biography of Smith, titled, “Reinventing the Wheel, the Incredible Story of S. Morgan Smith, Minister, Inventor, Industrialist.” Local historian Downs is a native of York and graduate of Central High School. He is an heritage environmental artist and advocate, columnist for the York Sunday News, consultant for the renovation of the Yorktowne Hotel, and member of the board for the Goodridge Freedom Center in York.