Situated near major rail facilities, and possessing a large waterfront. Harrison was favorably situated to trade. Some of the industries which called Harrison home included the Edison Lamp Works, Worthington Pump and Machinery, the RCA Company, the Peter Hauck Brewery, Driver-Harris Company, the Crucible Steel Company, Otis Elevator, Hartz Mountain, Nopco Chemical and Hyatt Roller Bearing.
In 1882, 6 years after Edison's laboratory in Menlo Park perfected the incandescent bulb, Edison Light Works opened up their factory at Bergen St, and Fifth Ave in Harrison N.J. As electric light became popular, demand for bulbs increased dramatically. When this location opened there were on 150 workers, but by 1912, 4000 people worked in this single plant. In 1929 the plant was phased out, and its operations were moved to other plants in the country. In 1930 R.C.A. bought the property, and began to manufacture radio tubes. R.C.A. was very successful, and expanded the plant to cover 9.5 acres, with 26 buildings. They made over 3 billion radio tubes at this location. The R.C.A. employee base consisted of more then %80 woman, providing employment for women in Harrison's industrial age. New technology was forcing the radio tube out of existence, and in 1976 the plant closed its doors. The site is presently occupied by the Harrison Plaza Shopping Center.
As the U.S. moved into the 20th century, these facilities played a major role in development of revolutionary new products for both the private and public sector. These industries reached a peak during World War II. The small town of Harrison, about only 14,000 residents, had more then 90,000 workers commuting into it on a daily basis.
Harrison is a most important distributing point, due to its proximity of the largest Eastern Metropolitan cities. It has unsurpassed access to the largest ports and railway terminal facilities and direct short haul trucking over super-highways to the Ports of Newark and New York. The Town is within 15 minutes of Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the busiest air terminals in the world, and 17 minutes to New York City via the PATH trains.
Some of the larger plants operating in Harrison include the Tri-Chem, Inc., Public Service Electric and Gas Co., Harrison Baking Co., Guyon General Piping Co., APL Corp., Campbell Foundry, Henkel Corp., Federal Casters Corp., C.S. Osborne & Co., Clayton Container Corp., Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Lechters Kitchen, Trader Horn, Hockmeyer Equipment Corp., J. Supor Trucking & Rigging and Spiegel Trucking Co.
Education in Harrison was established before the Revolutionary War. The Present High School was opened in 1962 and accommodates 700 students with the most modern facilities, including a beautiful auditorium, a gymnasium, and a swimming pool.
A program was established for Senior Citizens with the building of a Senior Citizenís Center in 1978 containing the most modern facilities. Meals are served to the senior citizens during the week days and bus service is available for shopping and other purposes.