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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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EDMUND COGGSWELL CONVERSE. One of the most brilliant and deservedly successful iron-masters in this great district is Assistant General Manager E. C. Converse, of the National Tube-works company. Mr. Converse was born Nov. 7, 1849, at No. 5 McLean street, Boston, Mass. His father was James C. Converse, Esq., now in good health at the age of eighty-two years, and president of the National Tube-works company, having preserved his faculties to a wonderful degree. His mother, who died some years ago, was Sarah Ann Peabody, of the New England branch of the Peabody family, the original members of which settled in America during the early period in the history of the country. On the Converse side his ancestors came over in the Mayflower with Miles Standish, and settled at Woburn, Mass. The family were of Norman origin, the name being spelled Conieres, then changed to Convers, and then finally changed with the new class of family spelling to Converse. During the progress of the colonial days the family were always identified with military affairs, and during the Revolution took an active and prominent part.

Mr. Converse was educated at and graduated from the Latin school of Boston, and afterward finished by an English course at the Boston English high-school, the mathematical branches of the latter being ranked with the best of colleges. He entered his father’s dry-goods house in 1866, working for nothing as errand-boy. The firm name of the concern was then J. C. Converse, Blagden & Co. He was afterward transferred to their New York branch office, and put in charge of the receiving department in 1867. He remained there until 1872, at which time he applied to his brother-in-law, J. H. Fagler, the general manager, and to his father, the president of the National Tube-works company, for a position at the new works of this concern then being located at McKeesport, Pa. Mr. Converse still has his letter of appointment, which offers him the position of storekeeper at $450 per year, and which he accepted, entering the service of the company in August, 1872. He inaugurated the system of rigid inspection of skelp-iron, which has ever since existed at this company’s works, and by close application made himself valuable in all mill departments. He rapidly gained detail knowledge of the business by the study of metallurgy and kindred matters pertaining to improved iron-working, oftentimes spending his evenings in welding, heating, and performing other operations of work for pleasure, and to obtain a thorough practical knowledge of the business in all its intricate branches. From the position of storekeeper he was promoted to that of iron inspector, thence to general receiving clerk, thence to job clerk, thence to assistant correspondent, thence to correspondent, thence to order department, thence to cost clerk, thence to assistant superintendent, thence to private secretary to manager, thence to assistant to manager, thence to assistant general manager, and now he is one of the directors of the company. Mr. Converse is also chairman of the Republic Iron-works, limited, of Pittsburgh; president of the Edith Furnace company, vice-chairman of the American Water Works & Guarantee company, limited, as well as a director in the American Bank Note company, several banks and other large organizations.

As a young man Mr. Converse was noted for being the most successful pipe salesman in the United States, his ability in this direction no doubt being the result of his thorough practical knowledge of his business and the different processes through which the material had to go, from the ore to the finished product This knowledge, coupled with his keen mercantile experience and foresight, is shown by the very great success his company enjoys under his management of the sales of the National Tube-works company, the present tonnage of finished pipe, tubes, etc., amounting to from eight hundred to twelve hundred tons daily. It is a very rare exception to find, in the iron business especially, a master so thoroughly competent in both practical and mercantile knowledge as is Mr. Converse. He possesses a clear and original mechanical mind, with that of a shrewd business-man. His inventions are numerous, the most important of which is his Converse patent lock joint water and gas works system, the first patents of which were taken out by him about 1882. Up to that time a perfect connection for wrought-iron pipe, without cutting threads, was unknown. After inventing the joint he perfected the system in all its details, and at this writing it is the only wrought-iron water and gas works system in the world. The sales from this department alone have amounted to millions of dollars; and thousands of miles of the pipe with this joint have been laid throughout this country during the past few years.

The great development of the National Tube-works company has rendered it necessary for Mr. Converse to take up his headquarters in New York city, where he is now permanently located, and from which point he manages the entire sales of the company, as well as conducting the operations of the New York branch house.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

View additional Allegheny County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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