Reading. (rĕdˈĭng) [key] 1 Town (1990 pop. 22,539), Middlesex co., NE Mass., a suburb of Boston; settled 1639, set off from Lynn and inc. 1644. Printing is the major industry. A 17th-century tavern is in Reading. 2 City (1990 pop. 12,038), Hamilton co., SW Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati; platted 1798, inc. 1851. Chemicals are among its various manufactures.
3 City (1990 pop. 78,380), seat of Berks co., SE Pa., on the Schuylkill River, in the Pennsylvania Dutch region; laid out 1748, inc. as a city 1847. Once an important industrial, commercial, and railroad city, Reading has become a major factory outlet center. Its products include foods, specialty metals, crushed stone, detergents, machinery and manufacturing systems, and plastic parts. Industrial growth began in the late 18th cent. Reading was an early iron-producing town; cannons were made there during the American Revolution, and it was a Union ordnance center during the Civil War. The completion of the Philadelphia and Reading RR added to the city's economic growth, which was also spurred by the production of automobiles there in the early 1900s. Reading is the seat of Albright College, Alvernia Univ., and the Berks Campus of Pennsylvania State Univ. Also in the city are the county historical society, a museum, and a planetarium. Nearby points of interest include the birthplace of Daniel Boone (a state historic park) and the Pagoda, a Japanese-style observation tower on Mt. Penn.