JOHN H. WARE, JR. (1888 – 1963)

  John Ware (left) with his younger brother, Charles, in Philadelphia circa 1896.

John H. Ware, Jr,  born in Philadelphia 1888. His entrepreneurial streak was apparent at an early age as he repaired things for neighbors for pocket money. His knack for tinkering, and the needs of his family led him to leave school at 14 to become an electrician.

By 16, John was running the J. Elliott Shaw Electric Company in Philadelphia, and two years later won a contract to wire a power station for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

At 19 he married  Clara Edwards, daughter of a Pennsylvania contractor.

The couple had two sons, JOHN H. WARE III, and Willard M. Ware.

The couple resided in Oxford, PA, and maintained a second home in Florida.

The panic of 1907 caused a downturn in the electrical business, and, to make ends meet,, Ware turned to sales. He was successful enough that he became manager of the local Collier’s Magazine office.

Upon returning to his original trade, he opened his own electrical shop and concentrated on bringing electric power to rural areas, selling his service farm to farm, establishing what well may have been the first rural electrical program in the US.

John became a millionaire at the age of 36, as he had developed his business holdings over the years, and 1924 sold to an investment syndicate for a profit of over one million dollars.


John Ware circa 1933

In 1933 Ware took over management of the failing National Waterworks Company, putting him in the water business for the first time. His success in turning this company around, allowed him to buy several other water companies.

In 1943, John consolidated his holdings, sold off the electronic businesses and created the Northeastern Water Company, covering the Pennsylvania New Jersey area.

During WWII, Ware established the Delaware Optical Company, which furnished top quality lens for optical devises used by the military. He liquidated the firm at the close of the war.

In 1947 John won the bid to take control of the American Water Works and Electric Company. He served as President and CEO until his retirement in 1960.


A favorite photo of John Ware with his divining rod. He was known to have an uncanny dowsing talent.

In 1957, John received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, given to persons who, by diligent effort, overcame difficulties and became successful. This put John H. Ware, Jr, in the presence of several US Presidents.

John passed away at age 75, March 10. 1963.


A Tribute to John H. Ware, Jr, by the American Water Works  Assoc.




Note:  Photos later added by Vicki W Cheesman from:

AW 125th : About John H. Ware Jr.


JOHN H. WARE, JR. (1888 – 1963) — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this documentation of the amazing accomplishments of my beloved Great Grandfather who was referred to as Paw Paw by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was born in the midst of the great March blizzard of 1888. That was just the beginning of his connection to water. I learned some details I hadn’t heard before in this summary, Thank you!

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