Greystone and CCHS Talks Lecture Series Part Two

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Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 -
6:30pm to 8:30pm

Tickets are priced at $30 each per night, or $75 for all three nights.

RSVP to or call 610-692-4800 


Greystone Hall 

1034 Phoenixville Pike 

West Chester, PA 19380 


First Talk

 The Topic

“The Sharples Separator Company: West Chester’s Largest Industrial Firm in the early 20th Century”

by James “Jim” Jones

 West Chester University Professor and Historian and Author 

Professor Jones will talk about Philip M Sharples (“P.M.”) and the Sharples Separator Company and Works.  After starting out as a machinist, Sharples acquired a license to manufacture hand-operated cream separators, a device invented by Carl Gustav de Laval of Sweden to extract cream from milk using centrifugal force.  Because it was faster and more hygienic than skimming cream from the top of open trays, the cream separator enabled farmers to keep an extra cow or two, and increase their income by selling off the most valuable component of milk.  Sharples patented his own design and constructed what became West Chester’s largest factory complex to build them.  Dr. Jones’ talk will reflect on Philip M. Sharples’ expertise as an inventor and manufacturer, his impact on American dairy production, and how his company contributed to major changes in the way Americans produced and consumed their food.

Biography of Jim Jones 

Professor Jones earned his PhD in African History from the University of Delaware in 1995.  His research focuses on the interaction between industrial and pre-industrial societies, including that of West Chester, where he has lived for 25 years. He is a prolific public speaker and community volunteer, having served over the years on the West Chester Planning Commission, the Zoning Hearing Board, the Library Board, the Bicentennial Commission and the Borough Council. His numerous publications include his book about railroad workers in West Africa entitled Industrial Labor in the Colonial World: The African Workers of the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger (2002), Railroads of West Chester: 1831 to the Present (2006) and Made in West Chester: The History of Industry in West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1867 to 1945 (2003), including a chapter dedicated to the Sharples Separator Company (1881-1933). 

Second Talk 

The Topic

“International Marketing and Branding – How Products Were Sold the Sharples Way”

by Catherine Quillman

Journalist, Historian and Author 

Ms. Quillman’s talk will focus on the extensive and innovative ways P.M. Sharples marketed and branded his invention, the first American Cream Separator.  She will explain how Sharples placed targeted advertising in the multiple state and regional dairy farming periodicals and participated in countless county and agricultural fairs all across the United States. She will describe the Sharples Separator Company’s aggressive ads pronouncing the superiority of its products, unlimited guarantees on their parts, making up clever and memorable catch phrases to describe the products and using testimonials by its satisfied customers. 

Biography of Catherine Quillman 

Catherine Quillman has been a freelance arts journalist since 1985.  She began her writing career as a “stringer” with a small-town newspaper but soon was hired by the Philadelphia Inquirer. She wrote about the arts for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1987 until 2007. Ms. Quillman did her undergraduate studies at Manchester College, Oxford University and Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland, where she graduated with honors with a BA in English. She also holds a MA degree in English from Temple University, where she earned the Maurice Beebe prize for essay writing.  She was the Inquirer’s only reporter to be granted personal interviews with the late Andrew Wyeth concerning the “Helga” paintings and his 2006 retrospective at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Her articles on numerous topics have appeared in many local and regional publications. She is also the author of several books about the Brandywine Valley.  She is a sought after speaker on topics ranging from the early Quakers and the Underground Railroad to the early iron industry of northern Chester County and the history of local transportation and taverns.

There will be an intermission between the talks on each evening with light refreshments. 

Please click here for more information on Part III of the Series:

Tuesday, October 4