It is always a pleasure to see true merit suitably rewarded and behold the prosperity of those who eminently deserve success, as does the subject of this review. Early in life he learned the value of industry and enterprise as the initial step toward success, and has made these qualities his salient characteristics throughout a business career in which he has worked steadily upward. From a humble beginning he has advanced step by step until he is now manager of the Jupiter Steel Company, one of the largest and most important enterprises of San Francisco, and truly he may be called a self-made man in the best sense of that term, for he deserves all the praise that it implies.

Mr. Arnold is a native of Massachusetts, his birth having occurred in Stockbridge, Berkshire county, on the 16th of June, 1848. He is the eldest in a family of four sons and three daughters born to John and Annie (Paten) Arnold. His father was a native of the north of ireland and belonged to a Portestant family. Crossing the Atlantic to America in early manhood, he first settled in Massachusetts in the year 1848, and continued to reside in that state for about eight years or until 1854, when he came to California, locating in Tuolumne. there he engaged in mining, and was one of the original locators of the now famous Raw Hide mine, which has paid millions of dollars in dividends. mr. John Arnold continued a resident of the Golden state until his death, which occurred in 1902, when he was seventy-nine years of age.

Matthew Arnold pursued his early education in the public schools of Stockbridge, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, continuing his studies there until he had mastered the branches of the high school course. He was reared upon his grandfather's farm, being left there at the time of the removal of his parents to California in 1854. At the age of fifteen years he put aside his text-books and came to the west with his father, who had returned to Massachusetts for the purpose of bringing his son to the Pacific coast. After his arrival in the Golden state Matthew Arnold worked for his father, underground in the Raw Hid mine, and was thus employed until 1864, when he came to San Francisco and entered upon an apprenticeship to the machinist's trade in the old Union Iron Works, now the Union Iron Works at the Potrero. He completed his apprenticeship in 1868, after which he continued as a journeyman in the shops of the company until 1870. In that year he left his position and entered the employ of the Central Pacific Railroad Company as a machinist. He was employed by that company to go from San Francisco to Wadsworth, Nevada, ut on the expiration of twelve months he re-entered the employ of the Union Iron Works and for two years longer continued as a journeyman, after which he was appointed assistant foreman of the department. He acted in the latter capacity for three years, and in 1876 was made superintendent of the entire place, a promotion which came to him in recognition of his superior mechanical ability and marked devotion to the interests of the company he represented. For twenty years he occupied that responsible position and then resigned.

In 1896 the new corporation of the Union Iron Works was awarded a contract for the building of the cruiser Charleston and afterward received the contracts for the cruisers San Francisco, Olympia and the battleship Monterey for coast defense, and also the Oregon. It was during the period of Mr. Arnold's superintendency of the shops that these vessels were built, and under his personal supervision the work was carried on from the time the raw material was received on the grounds until the ships were ready for launching. Prior to this time Mr. Arnold superintended the removal and reconstruction of the plant of the Union Iron Works at Potrero. his business career has been one of continuous progression, in which he has year by year more thoroughly mastered the great scientific principles which underlie his work. After resigning his position with the Union Iron Works he was appointed professor of mechanics in the Lick Mechanical Art College, serving in that incumbency for two years, from 1896 until 1898. In 1900 he accepted the position of superintendent of the Risdon Iron Works and designed and built their new plant located at Potrero. During the succeeding year he engaged in no active labor, spending that period in rest and recreation.

In the month of May, 1903, however, he accepted the position of general manager of the Jupiter Steel Company and immediately took up the work of designing and constructing the plant. The company was incorporated for one million dollars and the site of the plant covers twenty acres, communicating both rail and water, so that excellent shipping facilities are afforded. The building is two hundred and thirty-eight feet in length by eighty-five feet in width. It has a capacity of thirty tons per day. It is supplied with all modern equipments in the line of improved machinery for the manufacture of steel castings, and this is the first enterprise of the kind west of the Rocky Mountains. Under the capable management of Mr. Arnold it has already become a profitable enterprise of the great west, and certainly no more competent man could be secured for the position of superintendent than he whose name introduces this review, because of his comprehensive knowledge of mechanical principles and his broad understanding of the practical workings of the shop.

In 1877 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Arnold and Miss Mary Anne Hickey, a native of Boston, and a daughter of Miles Hickey, a native of Ireland. Four children have been born of this marriage, but two have passed away. Those now living are Evelyn, the wife of Wilder Killis, a native of Dallas, Texas; and Walter, who is attending school. The wife and mother died in 1901, and Mr. Arnold has since married Miss Mathilde Schmacker, a native of Germany and a sister-in-law of George Beleney, of the firm Ivoncovich & Company, on Commercial street, No 209, wholesale produce merchants of San Francisco.

Mr. Arnold gives his political allegiance to the Republican party and has taken a deep and active interest in its work in his home locality and in the state. He was president of the State Republican League in 1894, and his efforts in behalf of the organization have resulted greatly to its good. His life has been one of continuous activity, in which has been accorded due recognition of labor, and to-day he is numbered among the substantial citizens of his county. His interests are thoroughly identified with those of the west nd at all times he is ready to lend his aid and co-operation to any movement calculated to benefit this section of the country or advnce its wonderful development.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

Return to Biographies Index, Volume II

Return to California AHGP home page

Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page