American Water 125 Years
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  • "Customer service is an American Tradition." - Joel M., Mechanicsburg, PA
  • "Reliability is an American Tradition." - Frank C., Lakewood, NJ
  • "Ingenuity is an American Tradition." - Denise F., Haddonfield, NJ
  • "Commitment is an American Tradition." - Dave F., Marlton, NJ
  • "Innovation is an American Tradition." - Brett H., Philadelphia, PA
  • "Friendliness is an American Tradition." - Cheryl N., Clinton, IA
  • "Excellent service is an American Tradition." - Linda L., Honolulu, HI
  • "Working hard is an American Tradition." - Louie R., Los Angeles, CA
  • "Integrity is an American Tradition." - Ed G., St. Louis, MO
  • "Excellence is an American Tradition." - Debbie M., St. Louis, MO
  • "Perseverance is an American Tradition." - Jeff B., Bel Air, MD
  • "Camaraderie is an American Tradition." - Tracy O., El Campo, TX
  • "Lending a hand is an American Tradition." - Audric M., Dickson City, PA
  • "A "can do" attitude is an American Tradition." - Josh W., Newmarket, NH
  • "Finding solutions is an American Tradition." - Tish C., Plaistow, NH
  • "Getting the job done is an American Tradition." - Amy R., Dover, NH
  • "Creativity is an American Tradition." - Julie S., Hampstead, NH
  • "Helping others is an American Tradition." - Scott B., New York, NY
  • "Being a good neighbor is an American Tradition." - Rick B., New York, NY
  • "Perseverance is an American Tradition." - Kim S., Westmont, NJ
  • "Growth is an American Tradition." - Jessica H., Alton, IL
  • "Teamwork is an American Tradition." - Brent E., Davenport, IA
  • "Leadership is an American Tradition." - Carmen T., Marlton, NJ
  • "Working as a team is an American Tradition." - Marilyn R., Indianapolis, IN
  • "Providing the best quality product our customer can count on is an American tradition." - Jane H., Delran, NJ
  • "Dependability is an American Tradition." - Joi C., Mechanicsburg, PA
  • "Dreaming BIG is an American Tradition." - Lani V., Gilford, NH
  • "Making the time and going the extra step is an American Tradition." - Carolin B., St Charles, MO
  • "Completing the job is an American Tradition." - Mike H., Moorestown, NJ
What's Yours?

About John H. Ware Jr.

John Ware looks over a model of a proposed water supply system. John Ware (left) with his younger brother, Charles, in Philadelphia circa 1896. John Ware circa 1933 A favorite photo of John Ware with his divining rod. He was known to have an uncanny dowsing talent.

John H. Ware, Jr.
John H. Ware, Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1888. His entrepreneurial streak was apparent at an early age as the young Ware performed repairs around his neighborhood in exchange for pocket money. His success at tinkering and the needs of his family led him to leave school at the age of 14 and become an electrician.

By age 16, Ware was running the J. Elliott Shaw Electric Company in Philadelphia, and just two years later, he won a contract to wire a power station for the Pennsylvania Railroad. At 19, he married Clara Edwards, the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, daughter of a contractor, and the couple went on to have two sons, John H. Ware 3rd and Willard M. Ware. The family eventually resided in Oxford, Pennsylvania, and maintained a second home in Florida.

The panic of 1907 in the U.S. caused a downturn in his electrical business, and, to make ends meet, Ware turned to sales, proving talented enough to manage the local sales office of Collier's Magazine. Upon returning to his original trade, Ware opened an electrical shop and concentrated his efforts on bringing electricity to rural communities. He sold his services farm by farm, capitalizing on his newfound sales skills and established what may well have been the first rural electrification program in the U.S.

Ware became a millionaire at the age of 36. The young entrepreneur had developed his holdings in the electrical business over the years and, in 1924, he sold them to a syndicate of investors for a profit of $1 million.

Another milestone occurred in 1933, when Ware took over the management of the faltering National Water Works Company, putting him in the water business for the first time. He succeeded in turning around the Philadelphia-based company and, over time, gained control over several other water interests in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These were followed by the purchase of Northeastern Water & Electric Company in 1942, his largest acquisition to date. One year later, Ware consolidated his holdings, selling off the electric properties to create the Northeastern Water Company.

During World War II, while continuing to manage his growing water enterprise, Ware contributed to the war effort by establishing the Delaware Optical Company, which filled a critical shortage by producing high-precision optical lenses for military use. He then liquidated the plant at the war's end.

On September 25, 1947, Ware was the sole bidder for the water property for the American Water Works & Electric Company. In a financial coup, he purchased the New York-based company for just $8 per share.

Ware served as Chairman of the Board and President of the resulting American Water Works for the next six years. In 1953 he relinquished the role of President and in 1960, he retired.

In 1957, Ware received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, presented to Americans who have overcome significant personal obstacles to distinguish themselves in their careers. The honor put the self-made businessman in the company of several former U.S. Presidents.

Ware divided his final years between his Pennsylvania and Florida homes. He died at the age of 75 on March 10, 1963.