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C. West & Co.; West Co.
West & Blatchett, 1847-1952; C. West & Co. (#1) 1852-1875; C. West & Co. (#2) 1875-1916; West Company 1916-1922, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Associated Builders
L. Glesenkamp, Sons & Co.

L. Glesenkamp, Sons & Co. was the successor to C. West & Co. (#1) and located at 75, 77, and 79 Liberty Street (re-numbered in 1885 as 317, 319, 321, and 323 Liberty) with offices and a wareroom at 92 Penn Ave. (re-numbered in 1885 as 318-320 Penn.) 

Columbus West (b.1818-d.1880) was born in 1818 in Maryland. After he completed an apprenticeship with a local coachbuilder he worked for various vehicle makers in the east, eventually making his way to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where in 1847 he established a carriage works with a Mr. Blatchett at 194 & 195-197 Penn Ave. West & Blatchett’s factory was located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Fort Duquesne business district, on what would become some of the most valuable land in Modern Pittsburgh.

Fort Duquesne (originally called Fort Du Quesne in honor of the governor-general of New France) was a fort established by the French in 1754 at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

The blessed union of Columbus West and Troy, New York native, Catherine Edell (b.1815-d.1903), produced 2 sons, James W. and John, who by 1860 had joined their father’s business. Columbus West’s younger brother Lafayette F. West (b.1826) moved to Pittsburgh to join his brother’s firm, eventually establishing his own Pittsburgh butcher shop.

Soon after their 1848 arrival in New York City, two young German brothers, Louis J. (b.1826-d.1898) and William Glesenkamp (b.1831- d.1906), were scouted by a Columbus West associate and soon relocated to Pittsburgh. The Glesenkamps were born in Belm, in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany. Louis J. Glesenkamp’s first name is often mis-spelled as Lewis. William Glesenkamp was already a Pittsburgh native by 1850, and was included in that year’s census as a blacksmith.

In 1852 Louis J. Glesenkamp bought out the interest of Mr. Blatchett, and West & Blatchett was reorganized as C. West & Co., C. West and L. Glesenkamp, proprietors.

In 1854 the firm was awarded a certificate for Best Rockaway Buggy by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society at the group’s annual exhibition and in 1859 Columbus West was commissioned to either build or procure a steam fire engine for the city’s Eagle Fire Company.

By 1860 Louis’ younger brother William Glesenkamp was placed in charge of the firm’s smithworks. A period text advertisement follows:

“GLESENKAMP, L. & WEST, C. - C. West & Co - MANUFACTURERS OF Carriages, Rockaways, Buggies. Sulkies AND SLEIGHS, No. 197 Penn Street, Pittsburgh, Pa.”

The Wests and Glesenkamps were all listed in the 1860 Pittsburgh directory as follows:

Glesenkamp Louis, C. West & Co. home at 213 Penn
West & Co., carriage manufacturers, 194 Penn
West Columbus, of C. West & Co., 18 Hay
West James W., coach painter, 18 Hay
West John, painter, 230 Penn
West Lafayette, of C. West & Co., 195 Penn

Both the Hay St. and Penn St. numbers refer to the same group of buildings. Hay St. was renamed Fourth St. sometime before 1872.

In 1866 the City of Pittsburgh acquired the C. West & Co. factory in order to construct the new Mercantile Library Hall. A new factory was constructed by the partners in 1867 at 75-79 Liberty St. (317, 319, 321, and 323 Liberty), just one block away from the freight offices of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1868 an office and wareroom were built just behind the Liberty St. factory at 92 Penn Ave. (318-320 Penn).

After Louis Glesenkamp bought out the interests of Columbus West when he retired in 1875, Louis’s brother, William, along with Columbus West’s son, Edward M. West, re-established the firm at 63-64 Duquesne Way (renumbered as 420-422 Duquesne Way). The building was acquired from James Hutchinson and was located a couple of blocks away from the L. Glesenkamp works at the southwest corner of Duquesne and Evans alley, between Fourth and Fifth Sts. The firm went by various names including C. West & Sons, C. West & Co.

For a number of year’s immediately following the sale, Louis Glesenkamp advertised that L. Glesenkamp was the successor to C. West & Co., which caused some confusion, as C. West was still in business, albeit at a new address.

C. West & Co. received a number of awards at the 1882 Pennsylvania Exposition:

"Pennsylvania Agricultural Society. – 1882 Annual Report
Exhibition of 1882.
CLASS 73—Business Vehicles.

C. West & Co., Pittsburgh, broughams or close carriages, standing tops, Bronze medal.
C. West & Co., rockaways, Bronze medal.
C. West & Co., phaetons, Bronze medal.
C. West & Co., collection of top and no-top buggies, Silver medal."

William Glesenkamp, the firm’s senior member, served on the board of the Carriage Builders National Association and was a member of that body’s Road Committee. In the early 1870s William’s son and namesake, William C. Glesenkamp (b.1859-d.1901), joined his father in the firm of C. West & Co. as a blacksmith’s apprentice.

William Jr. remained in the firm’s blacksmith shops until he became ill and passed away in February of 1901 at the age of 42. Soon afterwards his father retired to his 1225 Locust street home in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where he passed away in 1906 at the age of 74. He was survived by his wife Louisa, and two living children, Annie C. (b.1861-d.1936) and Louis W. Glesenkamp (b.1858-d.1939).

Another German family would prove instrumental in the firm’s success later on. Louis F. Everman was born in Germany, on March 14, 1869, to Gerard and Charlotta (Guetbor) Eversmann. After a public education he was apprenticed to a local carpenter and at the age of 16 emigrated to the United States, locating at once to Pittsburgh where he found a job with C. West & Co. as a laborer in the firm’s wood-working department. Everman’s younger brother, Frederick H., eventually joined him in the firm, and the pair slowly advanced through the ranks, guided by the firm’s senior member, William Glesenkamp.

Columbus West’s daughter Emma J. West married Henry McGaffey, a salesman for the Fairbanks Scale Co., in 1872 and to the blessed union a son, Mark W. McGaffey, was born in 1876. Emma passed away one year later during childbirth, and Mark was brought up by his grandparents, as his father spent long periods on the road. After graduation from Perdue University in 1898 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Mark went to work for his grandparent’s carriage works, C. West & Co.

The April 7, 1910 issue of The Automobile announced:

“C. West & Company, carriage builders, who have be in Duquesne Way, Pittsburg, since 1847, are opening mobile department, which will be under the management of F. Melhuish, Jr. They will handle the Simplex car and build bodies for the Buffalo truck chassis.”

Later that year C. West & Co. purchased the assets of the Commercial & Knickerbocker Automobile Co. of Pittsburgh, an early automobile dealer. Not much was heard from the firm until May 1, 1914 when it was announced that the two Eversmann brothers had purchased a controlling interest in the firm from the West family.

The firm’s various automobile distributorships were sold off and in order to facilitate the further development of the firm’s core business, the Eversmanns incorporated it in 1916, reorganizing as the West Company, Inc. At that time the officers were as follows: Louis F. Eversmann, president; Frederick H. Eversmann, treasurer, and William E. Freyl, secretary. 

The West family retained the aging Duquesne Way plant which was sold to R. Sadowsky, a wealthy New York City garment manufacturer. The Eversmanns relocated their new business to 4017-31 Liberty Ave.

A new modern 24,000 sq. ft. factory was erected along Pittsburgh’s emerging automobile row at 4901 Liberty Avenue, at the corner of Millvale.

The new West Company factory was up and running by May 1, 1921 and the firm’s 36 hands started turning out automobile and business bodies for Pittsburgh’s motor vehicle dealers and commercial concerns.

However, the firm did not enjoy the same success as C. West & Co, and vanishes from the Pittsburgh City Directory starting in 1924. It’s assumed that the Eversmanns withdrew from the Automobile Body business at that time.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -






John Newton Boucher, John Woolf Jordan - A Century and a Half of Pittsburg and Her People‎. pub 1908

The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians – Leader Publishing Co. pub 1913

George Henry Thurston - Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the Centennial Year. pub 1876

George Thornton Fleming - History of Pittsburgh and environs, from prehistoric days to the beginning of the American revolution Vol. 5. pub 1922

Industries and wealth of Pittsburgh and Environs. pub 1890.

Automobile Quarterly‎ - Vol. 36 No. 3 pp37

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

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