Milton D. Martin
M. D. MARTIN, president of the Martin Carriage works, and also president of the Guardian Trust Company, of York, is a conspicuous figure in the manufacturing and financial life of that place, and his life is a happy illustration of what energy, industry, courage and honorable business methods may accomplish.
Mr. Martin’s ancestors came from Germany in the latter part of the seventeenth century. His grandfather, Jacob Martin, lived in Lower Windsor Township, York County, and his father, Hiram Martin, a retired farmer, is living in York Township.
M. D. Martin was born in York County, Nov. 23, 1859, was educated in the public schools, and worked on his father’s farm until he was twenty-one years old. Soon afterward, in 1882, he established himself in the carriage business, originally as a member of the firm of H. Martin & Son. In 1888 the Martin Carriage Works was established, and in 1896 was begun the erection of the present commodious works, which are among the finest in the United States. In 1900 a stock company was organized, capitalized at $300,000, and today this concern employs from 350 to 375 skilled workmen, and does a business of from $500,000 to $600,000 annually. Mr. Martin, the originator and promoter of the business, served as president of the company.
We have already traced the steps of Mr. Martin’s progress from the time he began carriage building, in 1882, as a member of the firm of H. Martin & Son; through the organization of the Martin Carriage Works in 1888; and the organization of the present company June 1, 1900. The record of nearly unbroken success may be credited almost entirely to Mr. Martin’s superior management and judgment, and he deserves the many tributes of confidence and complimentary evidences of respect which he receives from his business associates and fellow citizens generally. The present immense establishment, completed in 1897, was built by him single-handed and alone. The works cover 6 acres, and the output includes pleasure carriages, buggies, spring and delivery wagons, in fact all manner of vehicles known to modern carriage builders. Shipments are made not only to all parts of the United States, but to almost all civilized parts of the glove, the company having patrons in England, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, and the South American States. The capacity of the works is 20,000 vehicles per annum. The History of York County would indeed to incomplete without due mention of this great enterprise and the view (See volume 1) of the works whose products have carried the name of York to so many distant climes, and which have been the means of distributing many thousands of dollars annually through the avenues of trade in the thriving city of York.
Mr. Martin was one of the promoters of the Guardian Trust Company, of York, which was organized June 1, 1903, with a capital of $250,000, M. D. Martin president. This company is recognized as one of the foremost financial institutions of York, and already has deposits amounting to almost $200,000.
Although the president of two such important corporations, Mr. Martin finds time for much quiet enjoyment in his elegant home on East Market street. He is a most affable and kindly gentleman, remembering his own early struggles in attaining the enviable position he now occupies, and is ever ready to lend a helping hand to others.
The factory of the Martin Carriage Works is the largest carriage factory in the East. It is four stories high and has a floor space of fully six acres. It is complete in every detail and equipped with the best and latest improved machinery. As to protection against fire the equipment is second to none. It is completely installed with automatic sprinklers and the buildings and lumber yards are encircled with water lines and hose houses. Two large steel tanks with a capacity of thirty thousand gallons of water connected with an Underwriter’s pump with a capacity of seven hundred and fifty gallons of water a minute are installed on the premises with automatic adjustments for immediate service in case of fire. The factory is located on the W. M. R. R. and P. R. R. lines, and has ample shipping facilities, and because of this advantageous location with a thirty-foot wide alley on the opposite side is afforded the very best possible light and ventilation. The absence of either one of these advantages would be detrimental to good workmanship and injurious to the health of the employees.
The capacity of this plant is twenty thousand vehicles annually, and its product is shipped to all parts of the world. The main part of this factory was erected in 1897. The total amount of the annual output is from five hundred to six hundred thousand dollars, and as an evidence of the popularity of the product of this factory at home the dealers and consumers in Pennsylvania alone buy annually one-fourth of the entire output.
In 1900 a stock company was organized, capitalized at three hundred thousand dollars. This concern now employs from three hundred and fifty to three hundred and seventy five workmen. The location of this factory is a natural output to the centers of trade and commerce, and is very well located for shipments abroad.
From the book: History of York County, Pennsylvania, Volume 2 1907