Forry Laucks, 1870-1942
Last autumn the Saturday Evening Post carried a patriotic cover-page and beneath it appeared the title of the leading article of the issue – “Washington Calling York, PA.” The article itself dealt with the unique achievements of a Pennsylvania “Dutchman” named S. Forry Laucks whose plan for subcontracting war ordnance orders was adopted by the military and came to be known as the “York Plan”.
Laucks’s firm, the York Safe and Lock Company, was the first firm to receive an ordnance contract when we bagan our rearmament program in 1938. Laucks showed the Washington officials how they could capitalize on the skill of women employed in small tool shops throughout the nation and virtually stunned the “brass hats” with his very uncommon common sense. When he died, on April 12, of this year, William L. Batt, Production Board, pronounced a eulogy saying “Sub-contracting will be his monument.”
At Lauxmont Farms, near Wrightsville, many of the eminent men of state came to pay this two fisted industrialist their respects when his remains were interred in Prospect Hill Cemetery, York. The funeral services were held in the Trinity Reformed Church in York. Senator Guffey of Pennsylvania; James A. Farley, former Postmaster-General; George H. Earle, former governor, and Theodore Distler, president of Franklin and Marshall College, were among the honorary pallbearers.
Laucks was the youngest of six children born to Israel and Imalda Laucks, both parents descended from a line of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. In selecting the name Lauxmont for his country estate Forry Laux reverted to the ancient spelling of the name Laux, as it appears on the Palatine records, of those early pioneers who settled, first in New York province, and then found their way to the Tulpehocken and Swatara regions of Berks and Lebanon counties. Western Berks still is the home of many persons whose names are derivatives of the old Hugenot name Laux, even though it may now be spelled Loucks, Louck, or Laucks.
From office boy in the York Safe and Lock Company Forry Laucks rose to become its president, adided somewhat by the fact that his father was a large stockholder in the firm. Under his management the company shifted its activities from the manufacture of locks to the construction of bank vaults and this firm soon became the national leader in that field of manufacture.
There is something innate, something atavistic, about the Pennsylvania Dutchman’s love of the farm. Many farm boys have sought their fortunes in cities , only to return to farming for relaxation and real living. So, too with Forry Laucks. This multi-millionaire purchased many farms in his old neighborhood and there he specialized in breeding prize Holstein cattle, winning many prizes at cattle shows throughout the East.