MS 96 Standard Iron Works Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Standard Iron Works.
Standard Iron Works Collection
MS 96
Date [inclusive]
0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
This collection consists of business papers pertaining to the formation and operation of Standard Iron Works, founded in San Diego, California in 1891.

Preferred Citation

Standard Iron Works Collection, MS 96, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

In 1885, business partners Moses Hughes and W. G. Riffenberg began to buy up real estate in Block 137 of Horton’s Addition to San Diego, with an interest to starting a local iron works company. Ownership fluctuated over the next several years in a series of partnerships and dissolutions involving Moses Hughes, W. G. Riffenberg, A. Ames, Patrick Joseph Wallace, and William Gehring. In 1888 Hughes & Co. was officially formed. In 1891 that partnership was dissolved and Standard Iron Works was announced in its stead.

The shop, originally located at the corner of Seventh and L Streets, focused on metal casings, house fronts, agricultural castings, and mill and mining machinery. In 1909, they moved to 1821 Colton Ave at the foot of Beardsley Street. A fire swept the plant on Christmas Day in 1912, and they had to rebuild.

At the end of the 1890s, the company was taken over by Enoch Winsbey. The company was later passed on to his son, Charles Winsbey, and then his grandson Charles Winsbey Jr. Under their care the company expanded considerably. During World War I, they made cast iron water fittings for nearby Camp Kearny. By 1938, they were making gold mining machinery, Dodge transmission machinery, and other specialty items. By the 1950s, the company was best known for making all of the equipment used in commercial fishing industry processing plants, including automatic tuna flakers and can washing machines. They sold their products all along the Pacific coast line, as well as to canneries in Maine and South America.

In 1964, Charles Winsbey Jr. sold 15% of the operation (their share in San Diego fire plugs and manhole covers) with plans to start making “space-age” items of stainless steel and aluminum. In the same year the plant was part of a strike by the Iron Workers Union Local 627.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of business papers of Standard Iron Works, founded in San Diego in 1891. Papers include hand-written deeds, bills of sale, and other county recorder documents leading up to the formation of Standard Iron Works, including the creation and dissolution of its previous incarnation, Hughes & Co. There are also project proposals and apprentice contracts, as well as financial documents including city, state, and federal tax returns. Correspondence includes inquiries from potential clients in the fish canning industry and publicity correspondence from Pacific Fisherman magazine. Clippings of magazine and newspaper articles and advertisements are also included.

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Items in the collection are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection February 29, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 780531.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Samantha Mills on February 29, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Original photographs and negatives separated to the SDHC Photograph Collection, Accession 1987/011, OP15537-OP15540 and Accession 1987/012.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Hughes & Co..
  • Iron Workers Union Local 627 (San Diego, Calif.).
  • Standard Iron Works.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Camp Kearny
  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Ames, A.
  • Hughes, Moses
  • Riffenberg, W. G.
  • Winsbey, Charles, Jr.
  • Winsbey, Enoch


  • Advertising, Magazine
  • Advertising, Newspaper
  • Canning and preserving — Equipment and supplies
  • Commercial correspondence
  • County government — Records and correspondence
  • Gold mines and mining
  • Iron foundries
  • Land titles
  • Machine shops
  • Mining machinery
  • Receipts (Acknowledgements)
  • Tax returns
  • Tuna canning industry

Subject Uniform Title(s)

  • Pacific Fisherman

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Collection Inventory

Deeds and ownership, 1885-1909 1:1
Finances, 1889-1895 1:2
City tax receipts, 1886-1907


Receipts for Hughes & Co., Standard Iron Works, and assorted individual partners.

State and county tax receipts, 1886-1906


Receipts for Hughes & Co., Standard Iron Works, and assorted individual partners.

Federal tax receipt, 1917


“Corporation Excess Profits Tax Return 1917” (2 pages) (in Oversize Collections D4)

Business correspondence, 1948-1950


Price inquiries from interested businesses and project proposals.

Projects, 1916-1953 and undated


Plans for laying out a piping system in a dryer plant in 1916

Plans for creating a services and parts binder in 1945, including hand-drawn plans

Parts diagrams, undated 1:8
Apprentice contracts, 1914-1917 1:9
Publicity correspondence and advertisements, 1948-1958


Pricing, print proofs, and agreements with Pacific Fisherman magazine, as well as other advertisement clippings.

Magazine articles and newspaper clippings, 1951-1964 1:11

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