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Forget Carly, This CEO Was 19th C Quaker Powerhouse
This last week the Chester County, Pennsylvania Town Tour was in Coatesville, and the star was a woman who died in 1854. Rebecca Webb Pennock Lukens’ father would take her to his Federal Slitting Mill as a child, so she was no stranger to industry. Even today, a cluster of Lukens family homes on 1st Avenue in Coatesville has mills in their back yards, so the family was never far from their business. Her physician husband became involved in the business, but when both he and her father, Quaker Isaac Pennock died within one year of each other, Rebecca had no choice but to take over the family business in 1825.
On January 6, 1994, the 200th anniversary of Lukens' birth, the Pennsylvania Legislature and City of Coatesville declared her "America’s first woman industrialist." She was also honored in 1944 by having a "Liberty Ship" named after her, the SS Rebecca Lukens.
The Lukens family were no strangers to the shipbuilding business because Rebecca's husband developed rolled steel plates which were used to construct the first metal hulled steamboat in America, the Codorus, and were later used as boilerplate in steam engines and locomotives.
We were privileged to meet with Susannah Brody, ... more
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