The Crane Company Building was built in 1905 out of cast concrete faced with brick in the Kensington warehouse and manufacturing area just north of Girard Avenue. It was designed by Philadelphia architect Walter Ballinger, an early innovator of concrete building techniques. The long wedge-shaped building was used as a plumbing warehouse, and had an adjacent three-story stable for delivery vehicles and draft horses. It was later used to process frozen seafood. The enormous concrete-block, first-floor addition which functioned as a walk-in freezer now serves as the Ice Box Project Space.
Ballinger & Perrot (fl. 1901-1920)
ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS
The architecture and engineering firm of Ballinger & Perrot was established in 1901 by Walter F. Ballinger and Emile G. Perrot. It succeeded the firms of Geissinger & Hales and Hales & Ballinger and was succeeded by the Ballinger Co. which began in 1920 after Walter F. Ballinger bought out the interests of his partner Emile G. Perrot. Ballinger & Perrot built upon the industrial building interests of the earlier firms but also expanded into workers housing, especially that associated with company or federal housing operations. Chief among these works was the village constructed for the American Viscose Company in Marcus Hook, PA. However, the partners were not limited to industrial building, but instead completed churches, schools, and commercial structures and pioneered in the use of reinforced concrete. During World War I Ballinger & Perrot also maintained a 125-person office in New York, supervised by Carl deMoll.– Written by Sandra L. Tatman.
Born: 8/13/1867, Died: 12/21/1924
Co-inventor of the “super-span sawtooth” type of roof construction, Walter F. Ballinger was born in Petroleum Center, Venango Co., PA, where his father, Jacob Howe Ballinger, operated a machine shop until his death in 1869. Ballinger’s mother, Sarah Wolfenden Ballinger, then moved the family to Woodstown, NJ, where they resided for 12 years. By age 13 Walter Ballinger was employed on a local farm. Later he worked in a factory where his abilities were noted and promotions forthcoming. While he worked during the day, the industrious young Ballinger attended a number of classes in the evenings at the local grammar school, the YMCA, and Drexel Institute until he could enroll fulltime in a business school. In 1889 Ballinger entered the prosperous Philadelphia architectural and engineering firm of Geissinger & Hales, where he was at first employed in a variety of business roles, including bookkeeper, stenographer, and clerk. By 1895 he had established something of an independent partnership with another member of the firm, William B. Brinkworth, but the new partners maintained their office at the same address as Geissinger & Hales. The connection to Brinkworth must have been brief, however, because in 1895 Ballinger replaced Geissinger as a named principal in the older firm; and this successor firm, Hales & Ballinger, operated until Edward M. Hales retired in July, 1901. At that time the chief draftsman Emile G. Perrot became a partner, and the firm continued in 1902 under the name Ballinger & Perrot. In 1920 Ballinger bought out the interests of his partner and revised the name to the Ballinger Co., a name which continues in Philadelphia today..– Written by Sandra L. Tatman.