In 1874, brothers and coal marketers, Charles and Edward Berwind, split from Robert Hare Powel’s Powelton Coal and Iron Company, to form the Berwind-White Company with Allison White, a lumber and coal investor from Lock Haven.
Their coal business exploded and became the main supplier of coal to large New York steamship commercial lines and the U.S. Navy.
During the 1880’s, the Pennsylvania Railroad was suffering from shortages of coal cars. To solve a severe car shortage problem and reduce shipping costs, the Berwind brothers bought all of the cars from the Powelton Coal and Iron Company.
They continued to purchase new cars until the number reached over 1,000. The Osceola car foundry was built to guarantee that the Berwind brothers (Charles, Edmund, Harry and John) would maintain their own available fleet of 3,000.
They painted a logo of a black ball centered inside a white square on every car along with the words “Return to Tyrone, Pa., Penna., RR”.
With headquarter offices located in Osceola Mills until 1897 when they were moved to Windber, Pa., the cost-effective Berwind-White Coal Mining Company eventually grew to become the fourth largest coal company in the world.
Edward Berwind took over as president when Charles died at the age of 44 and led the company from 1890 until 1930.
By 2007, the Berwind family members diversified their wealth with investments in real estate alone that reached a total of over $3 billion dollars.