The leather manufacturing firm of J. E. Rhoads & Sons grew out of an 18th century tanning operation on the Rhoads family homestead in Marple, Chester County (now Delaware County), Pa. The early business was a combination of farming, tanning, and the manufacture of scythe stones. In 1868 Jonathan E. Rhoads moved the tannery to Wilmington, Del., and in 1877 he formed a partnership with Thomas McComb under the style of Rhoads & McComb. The firm gradually shifted its emphasis from the tanning of sole and harnass leather the the manufacture of leather belting. In 1887 Rhoads & McComb was dissolved, and John B. Rhoads was brought into the business, which became J. E. Rhoads & Son. His brothers, George A. Rhoads and William E. Rhoads, joined the firm in 1888 and 1894. By the 1890s the firm was concentrating on tannate belting. In 1889 it opened its first Philadelphia store, and it moved its head office to that city in 1897. Branch stores were opened in New York (1906), Atlanta (1923), and Cleveland (1927). Both the factory and corporate headquarters were located in Wilmington, Del., until 1977 when they were moved to suburban New Castle County. The firm was incorporated in Delaware as J. E. Rhoads & Sons, Inc., in 1965.

From the description of Records, 1699-1969. (Hagley Museum & Library).

History of J.E. Rhoads and Sons, Inc.