Henry Flach

23 November, 1835 - 13 November 1896


Brewery Information



The information for "100 Years of Brewing", "Philadelphia Census of Manufacturing", "Western Brewer", "American Breweries II" and "Hexamer Insurance Survey" was provided by Rich Wagner. Additional credits noted. Where necessary, corrections and additional information is provided in notes below the entries.


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Early Years

Henry was born on November 23, 1835 in house #5 in Neuenhain, a small village located southwest of Kassle in northern Hesse, Germany. He was baptised in the protestant church on January 1, 1836 and was confirmed in 1849. His godfather was Henrich Ehl who was a teacher in Bischhausen.


His father Johannes was an innkeeper, musician, brewer, farmer, and member of the village council. Johannes died at age 44 in 1847 on Henry's 12th birthday. Henry's grandfather was Conrad Flach, a blacksmith from the village of Zimmersrode which is about one mile west of Neuenhain. Conrad had died 15 years before Henry's birth. Conrad was the son of Nicholaus Flach.


On May 6, 1852, at the age of 16, Henry Flach arrived at the port of Philadelphia, Pa. He came from Bremen, Germany aboard the ship Louise Marie. The passenger list had his name spelled Heinrich Floch and his occupation was listed as a farmer. Henry became a citizen on September 28, 1860 and his home in Germany was listed as the "Elector of Hesse-Cassel." He married Rosalie Hartung, who arrived in the United States from Saxony, Germany in 1855.

1860 Census

In the Philadelphia census of 1860, Henry is listed as Henry HOGG, living in the 1st ward of Philadelphia on June 11, 1860. His occupation is listed as a wood turner. He hailed from Hesse Cassle and wife Rosalie shows as being from Saxony. Daughter Anna (age 5) shows born in Pa. Son Henry was age 3 and also born in Pa. Son George was 1 and reported born in Delaware.


In November 1869 Henry petitioned for membership into the William B. Schneider lodge as a mason and on December 21, 1869 Henry was initiated as a 1st degree member. On January 2, 1870 he was a 2nd degree. He became a Master on February 15, 1870 and passed to the Chair December 12, 1871.

Henry petitioned for membership to the St. John Commandery #4 on May 22, 1885. He was 34 years old and the 204th member. His occupation was listed as a Hotel Keeper.


His obituary in the Public Ledger on November 14, 1896 reads as follows:

Henry Flach, a well known brewer of this city, died yesterday at his residence, 1500 N. 52nd St.. Mr. Flach had been complaining of illness for a year past and three months ago underwent an operation, from the effects of which he, for a while, appeared to have nearly recovered.

Mr. Flach was born in Neuenhien, Hessen, Germany, November 23, 1835. He came to this country in 1851 and since resided in Philadelphia. In 1860, he opened a saloon, and in 1873 entered into a partnership and bought the brewery of Leimbach and Mohr, 32nd and Master Sts., the business being conducted under the name of Henzler and Flach until the death of Mr. Henzler in 1885. A year later Mr. Flach took his sons into partnership, the firms name being changed to Flach and Sons. He is survived by a widow, three sons and four daughters.

Mr. Flach was a Mason and was a member of the William B, Schneider Lodge, No. 419; Oriental Chapter, No 183; St. Johns Commandery No. 4; and among other organizations to which he belonged are the 34th Ward Republican Club, Philadelphia Lodge, No. 30 D. O. H.; Belmont Lodge, No.19, K of P; Philadelphia Rifle Club, the Bavarian Society, the Gambrinus Society and the Lager Beer Brewery Association.

Henry is buried at Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia, located off Broad Street a short distance from Temple University. His burial plot is shared with Philip Spaeter, who, according to Edna Godshall, was Henry's best friend and the reason Henry named his last son Philip.

In a letter to Richard Flach, Muriel Flach Eldridge, granddaughter of Henry, writes that there were 33 carriages in Henry's funeral procession.

Google Map of Northwood Cemetery

Satellite view of Northwood Cemetery

Brewery Information

100 Years of Brewing

American Brewing Company, Philadelphia.

In 1873 Henry Flack & Sons established a brewery in Philadelphia, the business being incorporated in 1879, under the name of the American Brewing Company. The present officers are: Patrick S. Smith, president; M.F. Wilhere, treasurer, and Joseph Medicus, secretary and general manager. The plant manufactures porter and lager beer.
(p. 392).

Credit: One Hundred Years of Brewing, A complete History of the Progress made in the Art, Science and Industry of Brewing in the World, particularly during the Nineteenth Century. A Supplement to the Western Brewer, 1903. Chicago and New York. H.S. Rich & Co., Publishers, 1903. Reprinted by the Arno Press, A New York Times Company, New York, 1974.

Note: There are three things wrong with the information above. First, Flach is misspelled with a "k". Second, in 1873 Henry Flach entered into a partnership with John Henzler. It wasn't until 1888 that Henry brought his sons into the business and the brewery was known as "Henry Flach & Sons". Third, the date when the brewery became known as the "American Brewing Company" was 1897 and not 1879. The officers and the type of beer produced refer to the American Brewing Company period.

Philadelphia Census of Manufacturing, 1883

…At the western extremity of the Twenty-ninth ward the great breweries are located, chiefly in a compact group, extending from Thirty-first to Thirty-fourth streets, and from Thompson to Master and Jefferson. There are here eleven breweries and three malt houses, employing about 550 men, with very large steam power. A small group of three or four only lies southward in the Fifteenth ward, and another group is on Broad street, north of Columbia avenue. The breweries of this district are large, that of L. Bergdoll, on 29th street, near Poplar, employs 100 men; that of Bergner and Engel, 32d and Master streets, 200 men, with 500 horse power steam; next are four or five averaging about 50 men each; namely, J. & P. Baltz, F.A. Poth, Henzler & Flach and Charles Theis, all these in the one group, 31st to 34th streets, Thompson to Jefferson. P.J. Lauber, near Broad street, Eble & Herter, H. Muller, and others, employ a less number. The site selected for the greatest group was chosen because of the facilities there afforded to secure cool ripening vaults in the hillside, but this refrigeration is now effected artificially, the great vault of Bergner & Engel being cooled to 34 degrees by the use of ice, salt water and ammonia. All the machinery and appliances are adapted to the most effective and perfect work of their kind, both in this and several other establishments. …Among 20 city breweries, 660 are employed; 654 men, 4 women and 2 youth. Producing $2,970,000 worth of malt liquor.

Western Brewer

"Gambrinus in Philadelphia"

September 15, 1878

Mr. Felix Geiger, the popular foreman of Bergner & Engel's brewery, Philadelphia, sends us the following: Yesterday was the day selected by the Gambrinus Beneficial Association of this city for their annual parade and picnic at Schuetzen Park. This is an association composed of brewers and brewers' employees, and is formed for the object of benefiting the members when they may be in a condition to require aid. The procession was formed on Broad Street, shortly after 8 o'clock in the morning, the right of the line resting on Girard Avenue. Shortly thereafter the command to march was given and the procession, headed by the marshal and his aids, proceeded down Broad Street to Arch, thence to Twelfth, down Twelfth to Chestnut, thence to Third, to Girard Avenue, to Eleventh, to Columbia Avenue, to Broad, and out Broad to Schuetzen Park. Felix Geiger, chief marshal; Charles Birkenstock, assistant marshal; August Vollmer, second division marshal, and Joseph Gentley, Assistant, all on horseback, headed the line, following which was a large wagon draped in evergreen and bunting, drawn by four horses. This representing the establishment of F.A. Poth. In this wagon was a band of music.

Then followed another large wagon, drawn by four horses and similarly bedecked with evergreens, etc., bearing the name Henry J. Walter. Following this wagon came others belonging to Bergdoll & Psotta; J. & P. Baltz, and Eble & Herter, all gaily festooned. Then came a number of carriages in which were seated several foremen of the various breweries. The horses wore plumes, and flags almost obscured the box of the carriage from view. Next in line was another large wagon of Bergner & Engel's equipped, as were the others, in evergreens and gay colors. Then followed in regular order, Keller's, Klump's and Goldbeck's four-in-hand teams; Amrhein's double team; one of Bergdoll's big wagons, in which was a throne for King Gambrinus, who was impersonated by a stout German, in becoming costume and with beer mug in hand; another Bergdoll & Psotta wagon, decked in evergreens; P. Schemm's brewery wagon, in which were a number of men wearing hop leaves and blossoms in their hats; Henry Mueller's four-in-hand, with a canopy of evergreens; two wagons from Magee's ale brewery, carrying American and Irish flags.

Three Marshals led the next division of the line, which was headed by the Continental Brewery wagon, drawn by four handsome horses and carrying a band. The large wagon of J. & P. Baltz was the most conspicuous feature of the procession. The entire body of the wagon was hidden in drapery of German and American colors. A number of young ladies dressed in white and wearing green crowns were seated about the centre piece of the wagon, which was a clump of pine trees. On the top of a small flight of steps was a throne, on which was seated a gaily caparisoned figure of Gambrinus wearing a saurel crown. The remainder of the procession was made up of the wagons from the breweries of F.A. Poth, Henzler & Flach, Manz, Rothacker, Christian Schmidt, etc.

American Breweries II


AB II # Company Address Years
PA 517 Nentzel (Fred) & Hentzel (ler?) 1001 N. 3rd St. 1854-1860
PA 453a Nentzel (Fred) & Fink NW side Thompson bet. 31st & 32nd 1859-1873
PA 453b Henzler (John) & Flach (Henry) 1873-1880
PA 454 Henzler & Flach, Plant 2 705 Girard Ave. 1875-1876
PA 453.1b Henzler & Flach 1400 N. 31st & Master Sts. 1880-1885
PA 453.1c Flach, Henry, Eagle Brewery 1885-1888
PA 453.1d Flach, Henry & Sons 1888-1897
PA 453.1e American B.C. 1897-1920

Other Businesses Address
Bergman's Vault, Brehm's NE c. 33rd & Penna. Ave.
Ditchie, Xavier, Beer Vaults 32nd & Thompson, adj. Bergner & Engel refr.
Joly's Beer Bottling 31st St. adj. Perot stable, Bergner & Engel
Kolofrath's Malthouse N side Penna. Ave. bet. 32 & 33
McCarty Malthouse, aka Fisher's East of Eble & Herter on Penna. Ave.
Spaeter, Ph., Steam Cooperage 1334 N. 30th St.
Schemm, P. Lager Beer Vaults

Credit: Van Wieren, Dale. American Breweries II. Eastern Coast Breweriana Association. West Point, PA. 1995.

Note: I believe the relationship between Henry Flach and the companies listed in the Other Businesses table above reflect business relationships rather than any ownership in the companies.
One item worth mentioning is that according to Edna Godshall, Philip Spaeter was Henry's best friend and the reason he named his last son Philip.

Brewerytown Production (bbl.)

AB II # Company 1879 1902 1913
PA 453 American B.C. (Flach) 10,000 52,374 43,130
PA 409 Arnholt & Schaefer B.C. 329 40,947 61,780
PA 365 Baltz, J. & P. 3,915 127,006 181,965
PA 381 Bergdoll, Emma C., Burg & Pfaender 4,617 20,000 3,823
PA 375 Bergner & Engel 124,860 234,702 261,859
PA 404 Eble & Herter 9,990
PA 408 Eisele, Franz 329
PA 481 Finkenauer, Theodore B.C. 1624
PA 471 Keller, George B.C. 17,566
PA 509 Mueller, Henry 18,040
PA 371 Poth, F.A. B.C. 34,178 196,957 223,396
PA 563 Rothacker, G.F. 6,755 30,102 25,545
PA 612 Walter, H.J. 8,086
PA 505 Weger Bros.Theis 7,372 24,832 25,537
Totals 247,661 726,920 827,035

Credit: Rich Wagner.

Note: In 1879 Henry Flach was in partnership with John Henzler. Henry Flach died in 1896 and in 1897 his sons sold the brewery. After the brewery was sold the name was changed to the American Brewing Company.

Hexamer Insurance Survey #1981

Henry Flach, Eagle Brewery (Year 1886)
Owner:Henry Flach.
Superintendent:Geo. W. Flach, son of proprietor.
Name:Eagle Brewery.
Age:Buildings erected 1879. New ice house built 1888.
Location:Situated N.W. Corner N. 31st and Master Streets, 29th Ward, Philadelphia.
Communications:According to plan.
Power:Steam used for pumping, mashing, grinding, hoisting and brewery operations.
Height:Brewery: 7'-14'- 14'- 12'- 10' and 14'.
Ice houses: 14' 3'- 20' 8'- and 14'
Beer Vaults: 16'
Stable: 12'- 10'
Length:See plan.
Walls:Brewery, 36"- 22" and 26"- 18" and 22"- 18" and 22"- 18" and 22"- 15" and 18".
Ice Houses: 36"- 22"- 18"- 13" and 18"
Stable, 18"- 9".
Columns:Of iron to 3d story, wood above.
Gutters:Of metal.
Cornice:Of galvanized iron.
Scuttles:In roofs and stairs to them.
Ladders:None permanent except in stable.
Tower:Cupola on roof of brewery.
Lightning Rod:None.
Floors:Brick floors in beer vaults and boiler room. Asphaltum floors in fermenting room, engine room and ice houses. Drip floors in ice houses of galvanized iron. Other floors of wood. Plank floor in stable.
Windows:As per plan and view.
Stairways:Located as per plan, of wood, partly cased.
Elevators:At (a) in brewery, (brick cased on 3 sides,) communicating with every story. Belt and bucket elevators (b and c) in brewery, for conveying malt and meal.
Ceilings:In beer vaults and cellars, also in fermenting and racking off room and boiler room are brick, arched. Boarded ceiling in office. Iron-lined ceiling over the malt mill.
Machine Shop:None. Little repairing done in engine room.
Wood Shavings:None made. No coopering done. 1 circular saw and chip machine in 3d story of brewery, not used.
Heat:Rooms warmed by 1.24" wrought iron steam pipes resting on iron.
Stoves:In dwelling part only.
Light:By city gas. Tallow candles used in cellars.
Watchman:Night watchman on premises.
Watch Clock:None. Will have a portable clock.
Fuel:Anthracite coal.
Boilers:2, in basement of brewery, in fire-proof room.
Smoke Stack:Of brick, rising 10 feet above the roof of brewery.
Steam Engines:Two, 35 and 4 horse power.
Brewing Kettle:1, in 2d story of brewery, of copper and heated by steam. Capacity of kettle 160 bbls.
Malt Mill:Situated in 2d story of brewery, Small hopper below the mill; friction rollers are used, held together by set screws, no springs. A cylinder sieve, fan and scourer to remove dust and foreign matter; the grain passes over a series of plate magnets before reaching the rollers. Open gas jet in mill room, seldom used. Elevator box of wood, not lines. Automatic steam jets into mill box and in both conveying and return elevator box. Automatic sprinklers over the top of malt mill.
Varnishing:Of tubs done inside, casks varnished outside. Sheilac and alcohol is used only.
Ice Machine:None.
Malt Kilns:None on the premises.
Oils:10 gallons of lubricating oil and 1 bbl. of machinery oil kept at a time in store room in cellar of brewery.
Occupancy:As per plan.
Provisions for Extinguishing Fire:
Pump:Blake pump (d) in engine room, with one 2" hose connection. Pump supplied by city main.
Stand pipe:2.25" stand pipe (e) in brewery, with one 2" hose connection in every story, supplied by city main and connected with pump (d.)
Hydrants:In 2d, 3d, and 4th floor, at (f,g,h and i)
Hose:50 feet 2" rubber hose, attached to stand pipe (e) in every story. Several hundred feet additional 2" rubber hose used in manufacturing, which can be used in case of fire.
Steam:Two 1" automatic steam jets into malt mill box, and one 1" automatic steam jet into each leg of the meal elevator in 2d story of brewery.
Sprinklers:Automatic sprinklers over the malt mill in 2d story of brewery, supplied by city main.
City Steam Fire Engine:Within 5 squares.
Street Fire Plug:As per plan.
Character:Buildings in good condition and kept clean.
External exposures:As per Plan.
Occupation of Brewery Building:1st floor: office, scale, drive way, wash house.
2d floor: malt scale, private office, malt mill, beer pumps, brewing kettle and mash tub.
3rd floor: malt storage bin, supply room, cleaning malt, meal bin, make chips, rice tub, reserve (hot and cold water) tanks, top of brewing kettle.
4th floor: general store room, burr stone corn mill, corn and dust bins.
Four story brick, mansard (slate and tin) roof.
Scale 30 feet to one inch.F. Bourquin Lith. 31 So. 6th St. Philadelphia.