Guide to the Standard Iron Works Collection MS 96

Finding aid prepared by Samantha Mills
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.
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
February 29, 2012

Title: Standard Iron Works Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MS 96
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1885-1964
Abstract: This collection consists of business papers pertaining to the formation and operation of Standard Iron Works, founded in San Diego, California in 1891.
creator: Standard Iron Works.


Items in the collection are arranged by subject.

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.

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.

Separated Materials

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 780531.

Preferred Citation

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

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.

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.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Ames, A.
Hughes & Co..
Hughes, Moses
Iron Workers Union Local 627 (San Diego, Calif.).
Riffenberg, W. G.
Standard Iron Works.
Winsbey, Charles, Jr.
Winsbey, Enoch
Advertising, Magazine
Advertising, Newspaper
Camp Kearny
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
Pacific Fisherman
Receipts (Acknowledgements)
San Diego (Calif.)
Tax returns
Tuna canning industry

Box-folder 1:1

Deeds and ownership, 1885-1909

Box-folder 1:2

Finances, 1889-1895

Box-folder 1:3

City tax receipts, 1886-1907


Receipts for Hughes & Co., Standard Iron Works, and assorted individual partners.
Box-folder 1:4

State and county tax receipts, 1886-1906


Receipts for Hughes & Co., Standard Iron Works, and assorted individual partners.
Box-folder 1:5

Federal tax receipt, 1917


“Corporation Excess Profits Tax Return 1917” (2 pages) (in Oversize Collections D4)
Box-folder 1:6

Business correspondence, 1948-1950


Price inquiries from interested businesses and project proposals.
Box-folder 1:7

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
Box-folder 1:8

Parts diagrams, undated

Box-folder 1:9

Apprentice contracts, 1914-1917

Box-folder 1:10

Publicity correspondence and advertisements, 1948-1958


Pricing, print proofs, and agreements with Pacific Fisherman magazine, as well as other advertisement clippings.
Box-folder 1:11

Magazine articles and newspaper clippings, 1951-1964