Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Stoves (& other things)

To celebrate the passing of a milestone -- 20,000 page-views for this blog, almost a tenth of them in the past month alone -- I am just going to gather together a bunch of my raw research notes which I flagged up with the label "Firsts" because they struck me, when I came across them (mostly in 19th-century local histories), as nice illustrations of the way stoves (and stove makers) served as symbols or markers of modernization in rural America.  These notes are pretty much as I took them, mostly by cutting-&-pasting from online sources.  I haven't checked the web addresses; they may not still be live.

* * *

Chase, Benjamin
History of Old Chester [N.H.] from 1719 to 1869 (##: 1869).

p. 412 "The first cooking stove in Chester was bought by Daniel French, Esq., in 1824. The next about the same time by Hon. Samuel Bell. The James pattern was perhaps the earliest here."

p. 424 "In 1815 William T. James of Lansingburgh, afterwards of Troy, made the stove known as the 'James stove,' which not only continued the leading cooking stove for nearly a quarter of a century, but may..."

Hammond, L. M.
History of Madison County, state of New York (Syracuse: ##, 1872).

Chapter X. 


Lenox Furnace was another of the early enterprises of this town. It was located one mile south of Wampsville, and was, for a long term of years, the leading business institution of the town.

The "Lenox Iron Company" was organized in 1815... The first agent of the company was Lewis J. Dauby, of Whitestown, he being succeeded by Gardner Avery, who manufactured the first cast iron, in November, 1816. He operated the furnace successfully several years. William Cobb succeeded Mr. Avery, and was agent till 1827, when J. N. Avery received the agency, and continued till the business was closed in 1847, in consequence of the exhaustion of timber for charcoal, there being then no method of smelting iron with mineral coal. Iron ore was hauled to this establishment on sleighs, from Clinton, Westmoreland and Verona. The company manufactured hollow ware of all descriptions, including potash, caldron and salt kettles; also castings for plows, and all kinds of shop and cooking stoves in current use. They began in the stove line with the first invention -- "Dr. Noyes' [n10] Parlor Stove," then considered a great achievement. The first pattern of the "Franklin Stove" was also cast here, and we presume, also, the first cooking stove, invented by David Gage. Connected with the works were a number of dwelling houses, the general boarding house, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter and joiner's shop, and a store and office. The place bore the title of "Lenox Furnace Village," and was so given, conspicuously, on all the maps up to 1850.

[n10] Dr. Noyes was then a Professor in Hamilton College

Matthews, Alfred & Hungerford, Austin N.
The History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Everts & Richards: Philadelphia, 1884).


... interesting facts concerning the manufacture of the first stoves in which it was used as a fuel.  John Mears, a sheet-iron and tin-plate worker, established himself in the town during the first decade of its existence, and very soon engaged in making stoves in which the fuel so abundant in the neighborhood could be utilized for heating and cooking.

Asa L. Foster, a man of much mechanical genius, spent a great deal of time in experimenting to perfect coal stoves, and many of his plans were carried out by Mears.  Apropos of early stove manufacture in Mauch Chunk, we make some extracts from a letter written by John Mears to Thomas L. Foster:

Philadelphia, Aug 20, 1879

"I remember well all the efforts that were made at an early day in regard to stoves, and their subsequent failures, but you give me undue credit in reference to the contrivances which were made to perfect the art of cooking with (anthracite) coal, two or three of which you mention.  Your father was the inventor of these things, while I only did the work, and he spent much time and money upon them, with the success that commonly attends ingenious men, though, as nothing is lost, the ideas he suggested were carried out by others, some of whom have made fortunes and gained fame through different patterns of stoves, some of them of value and some not.  I presume that John Wilson, who so much delighted to be called 'John Wulson the tinker,' a man of rough habits and manners, but a good-hearted soul, nevertheless, made the first stove that ever was used for burning anthracite coal.  This John was one of the first eighteen workmen who came up with Josiah White and Erskine Hazard from the Falls of the Schuylkill in 1818, and commenced operations at Mauch Chunk.  The stove was a plain, round, sheet-iron
cylinder, such as you may have seen since, with fire-door, tearing-door, ash-pit, with drawer to carry off the ashes, and a screen under the grate, made also of sheet-iron, with holes punched in it.  I have made several of them.  John Wilson also made the first baking-stove I ever saw.  This was an improvement, or rather an addition, upon the other stove, by which an oven was placed on the top, and flues to carry off the coal-gas and lead it up the pipe.  This was a rude article, but answered the purpose.  I also made several of them, but with a square oven instead of round, and they were good bakers.  Samuel Lippincott afterwards tried to utilize the old-fashioned ten-plate stove by putting an additional story on the lower part, in order to make space for the coal-furnace.  This was only a partial
success, and did not last long.  The //p. 676 first attempt at warming by heated air was, I think, made by my father, at No. 3 Broadway, where we then lived.  This was effected by a chamber back of the open grate in the parlor, and a hot-air pipe passing from the same to the chamber above. 

"I ought to mention in this connection that after this Josiah White had a more elaborate concern at his house on the hill, made also by John Wilson, and it worked well, as I believe, while it lasted, which was not long, for being made of thin iron it soon rusted away, and was abandoned.

"Before I close this subject I ought perhaps to tell you how we improvised a fire lining for the primitive stoves.  A wooden drum was made two inches less the diameter of the stove, with slats nailed round a short distance from each other and large auger-holes bored in each end.  This drum was filled with shavings and chips, then put in the stove, and well-mixed sand and clay rammed down between the iron and wood.  When all was finished fire was applied to the cotton, and, when partially burned, other wood was put in and then the coal.  This was the kind of 'cylinder' used in Mauch Chunk for many years, and, I believe, lasted as long as most of those of modern manufacture.

"I am your friend, as ever,

Copeland, David S.
History of Clarendon from 1810 to 1888 (Buffalo: Courier Co., 1889).

p. 47 1819 frame school house: "In the frame school-house at Clarendon the
entrance was to the north-west, showing the love of cold weather; the teacher's desk opposite the door, so as to see the scholars when they came in. In 1822 there were two large fire-places in this school-house, with plenty of wood to burn, and they were kept roaring during the winter-time.  As time advanced the stove came in that would burn four-foot wood, and this must have been somewhere about 1840. By this box-stove lay a large iron poker, which some village blacksmith had pounded out, big enough to stir up the fire, or knock any of the larger boys down, if //p. 48 necessary."

p. 141 [the Hines place] "the first stove to give forth its cheerful heat was the Bloodhound."

p. 169 "Samuel L. Stevens was born in 1801, and came into Clarendon in 1813
with his father, John Stevens, and lived at first on the present lands of Daniel Barker, under a bark roof, with basswood floor, and a blanket for a door. The first stove Samuel remembers was the Wilson [REREF hjh], and the Franklin, with open grate, for parlor."

p. 189 [old log-house] "The first carpet that Eunice had she wove with her own hands, and it was made from woolen rags; and she also wove woolen blankets to cover the sleepers. The first stove in this house was //p. 190 from Le Roy, and had two griddles, with a fire-place in front; and this stove would burn chunks." {a James ??}


b. 1804 -- frontier girlhood described

"Our house had no boiler until the stove came." -- open-hearth cookery

p. 207 "In 1824, I saw a stove in Batavia, when I worked there, and I cooked over it for three months. It had a place on which to broil steak, venison and chicken. The first stove I had was only one griddle, and was only for boiling, with no legs, but bricks."

Turner, Orsamus
History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, and Morris' Reserve (Rochester: W. Alling, 1852).

p. 499 PALMYRA: 

"Soon after 1818, and before the completion of the canal, there was a large accession to population, merchants and mechanics.  Pliny Sexton,() commenced there as a silver smith and watch repairer, in 1819 or, '20; afterwards, was one of the first to introduce the cooking stove into W.N.() York; engaged in the hardware business; and is now associated with George Cuyler in the banking business."

Slaymaker, Henry C., compiler
History of the descendants of Mathias Slaymaker who emigrated from Germany and settled in the eastern part of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, about 1710 (Lancaster, PA: n.p., 1909).

p. 18 There is a tradition extant to the effect  that the first anthracite coal used in Lancaster was at Slaymaker's Hotel. It was so hard that they had great difficulty in igniting it, but after it got fairly started, the stove  got so hot that they did not know what to do with it. Being  afraid that the house would take fire, they poured water  on it, and then took the stove out doors, vowing if they ever  "got the pesky thing out, they would go back to burning  hickory wood at three dollars a cord."

Thwaites, Reuben G.
Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 (Cleveland, OH: A.H. Clark, 1907), vol. 12

Part II of Faux's Journal

p. 11 leaves PRINCETON, 1 Jan. 1820

p. 17 [Somerset, Ohio ??] -- "Warmed at an old quarter-section man, a Dutch
American, from Pennsylvania. He came here 11 years since.... p. 18 Has a fine stove below, warming the first, and all other floors, by a pipe passing through them."

Buley, Roscoe C.
The Old Northwest: Pioneer Period, 1815-1840, Vol. 1 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1950).

p. 221, n. 201: "One of the first advertisements noted in the West was that
of 'C. Postley's Patent Cooking Stoves, or Portable Kitchens,' in the Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, August 25, 1821.  Franklin and cooking stoves were for sale in Cleveland in the middle 1820's.  See cuts in Cleveland Herald, October 6, 1826. 

'...up to 1828 there was no such thing known as a cast stove. John Sheets brought a seven-plate stove from the east to town [Madison, Indiana] for his stove, but there were no cook stoves until 1835 or '36. It was stipulated when I got my wife that I was to furnish a cooking stove for our kitchen.' Lewis, 'Pioneers of Jefferson County,' in ... 

Briggs, Erasmus
History of the original town of Concord: being the present towns of Concord, Collins, N. Collins, and Sardinia, Erie County, New York (Rochester: Union & Advertiser Co.'s Print, 1883).

p. 123 Sixty years ago frame houses began to take the place of the log ones. In structure they differed but little from those of to-day-save in one feature--every main room in the house whether parlor, sitting-room or kitchen, was supplied with an open fire-place. That in the kitchen was much larger and always so arranged that it contained a brick oven in one of the jambs. This oven was used as often as once a week to do the family baking, and around the kitchen fire, usually, the family passed the long winter evenings. The children in reading or conning lessons that must be recited to the district pedagogue the following day, in peeling beech nuts or roasting chestnuts in the embers, or cracking butternuts in the corner.
Perhaps an elder member of the family would read aloud "Tales of the Arabian Nights," "Thaddeus of Warsaw," or the fate of poor "Charlotte Temple." But change, inexorable change is stamped on everything that pertains to kitchen life of 60 years ago. The range and cook stove have supplanted the fire place of our father's time, with its ruddy and welcome cheer, and in its banishment vanished many of the fondest joys that belong to childhood's home and years. {QUOTE} The good wife's household burdens may have been greatly ameliorated by the new order of things, but when modern improvement invaded the old-fashioned kitchen, and banished the "ingleside," we felt it to be sacrilege, and as a descendant of the pioneers, we feel called upon to earnestly protest against the change. Think of listening to "folk-lore," or fairy tales by the side of a coal stove, or playing "blind man's buff," and "hunt the slipper" around a range. No, we say it, and without fear of contradiction, that when the fireplace was banished from our American homes, one of its sacred and most endearing altars was destroyed. The old fireplace with its endearing associations has attuned many a lyre, and poets have sung its praises. No fool of a poet ever attempted to immortalize a coal stove or cooking range in verse; nor ever will. Coal and cast-iron are too practical and only used to "save fuel."

We are not in enmity to the cook stove in its proper place, but the family sitting-room should be supplied with an open fire, //p. 124 either of wood or coal. It is far healthier and a thousand times pleasanter. 

p. 294 Jedediah S. Barnett was born in Sullivan, Madison county, N. Y., came to
Springville in 1834. While engaged in the foundry business with his father, he cast the first cook stove and plow made in town. He was proprietor of the foundry at Springville for a while and was employed for twelve years in the foundry at Gowanda, N. Y. He was married Dec. 25, 1839, to Lydia Demon.

Brown, Abram E.
History of the Town of Bedford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from Its Earliest Settlement to the Year of Our Lord 1891 ... with a Genealogical
Register of Old Families (Bedford: Author, 1891).

p. 102 "The first cooking stove owned in town was used here by George
Fisk." -- c. 1824 (not earlier than)

Morris, John E.
The Resseguie Family: A Historical and Genealogical Record of Alexander
Resseguie of Norwalk, Conn., and Four Generations of His Descendants
(Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood & Brainard company, 1888).

p. 37 "In 1824 Mr. Riggs built the largest dwelling house in the town,
where his children and their families often met, to the number of thirty or
forty. On one of his visits to Albany he purchased a cooking stove, which
was the first one used in the town of Groton."


p. 95 TIN AND COPPER SMITHS. -- John Dulty, Sen., from Wheeling, Va., started
his son George in this business in 1809. About the first work he did, was to make the ball for the top of the cupola of "old 1809," court house. George returned to Wheeling and was succeeded by his brother John, in 1811, and he returned to Wheeling soon after and remained until after the close of the war of 1812, when he returned and continued the business alone until 1826, when his brother Michael joined him. In 1830, they built a two story brick store, where Bennett's jewelry place now is, and did a wholesale and retail business. They sold the first cook stove, out of a store in this county, in 1826. In 1843, Michael withdrew. In 1850, he bought the concern of his brother, and continued the business until the fall of 1854...

Butler, Jos. G., Jr.
History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio (Chicago: American
Historical Society, 1921), Vol. 1.


p. 769 The earliest settlers were aware that coal existed in this locality, as they found it cropping out on the hillsides, encountered it in sinking wells and even found it when digging cellars for their houses. They paid little attention to the mineral, however, as they did not need it for fuel and could see no other purpose for which it was valuable. Blacksmiths and furnace men used charcoal, and the few steam boilers were fired with wood, which was likewise the only domestic fuel known.

The first coal mine in the Mahoning Valley of which there is any record was opened in 1826 on land owned by Mary Caldwell, in Crab Creek, within what is now the City of Youngstown. The first coal used for domestic purposes in a stove was burned at Col. William Rayen's hotel in the same village about 1829, this stove having been brought from Pittsburgh by James McCay as a curiosity. The novelty of the idea appealed to Colonel Rayen, who bought the stove and fired it up with coal for the benefit of his guests. {QUOTE}

Some coal was doubtless used by blacksmiths and as household fuel from that
time on, for mines were opened at a number of places, one of these being Brier Hill, where David Tod began taking the mineral out in a small way. The Brier Hill coal was the best to be found in the valley, and the deposit there was also among the most extensive. It was soon found to be a most excellent fuel and Tod, always on the alert for opportunity to develop a new source of wealth for the community, made a number of trips to Cleveland and finally persuaded some of the concerns operating steamboats on the lakes to try Brier Hill coal in place of wood. There was much opposition on the part of boat captains and crews, but a trial proved that coal was far superior to wood, requiring less work in stoking, as well as less room in the boats. The first coal shipped from the Mahoning Valley was sent to
Cleveland in two canal boats, or barges, in 1841, and from that time forward the mining industry prospered. In 1845 it was found that raw Brier Hill coal, as well as the Mahoning block coal generally, made an excellent blast furnace fuel, and this still further encouraged the development of mines. Tram roads were laid direct from every mine of importance to the furnaces and the canal, and later to the Cleveland & Mahoning Railroad, and the work of taking out and shipping the fuel went on at a rapid pace. 

By 1870 the coal mining industry had reached its zenith, and from that time began to decline, as mine after mine emptied the basin in which it was located and the vein thinned out so as to become unworkable. ....

p. 771 -- already "a thing of the past" with few surviving physical traces by time of writing.

Taylor, William A.
Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio (Chicago: S.J.
Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), Vol. 2.


John Loriman Gill was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 14th of February, 1806. ... At the early age of fifteen John L. Gill was left an orphan with six
younger brother and sisters. In 1822 he located in Pittsburg and placed two
of his sisters in Braddocksfield Seminary. In 1826 he came to Columbus and
with Colonel James A. Greer, of Dayton, established the business of handling stoves and the manufacture of other things. This was probably the first manufactory located in Columbus. These stoves were made for him at the old Mary Ann furnace, then located near Newark, Ohio. About 1827 or 1828 he took four six-horse wagon loads of stoves to Athens; and on the trip saw a blacksmith using coal. Inquiry developed that the coal dug was //p. 814  from the Athens hills. The blacksmith was induced to dig sufficient coal to load the wagons on their return trip. On arrival in this city the coal was sold to W. A. Neil, Sr., at sixty cents per bushel or fifteen dollars per ton, and used for blacksmithing purposes in connection with the stage coach line. ...  This was the first coal brought to Columbus and was the beginning of the immense coal traffic. Mr. Gill afterward owned many acres of this coal land. He was the first president of the Board of
Trade, and in 1890 delivered an interesting address before that body, in which the above facts were given.

Mr. Gill, seeing in use on Ohio river boats sheet-iron stoves for cooking purposes, adopted the plan and had patterns made for the same kind of stove in cast iron, and it is believed that this was the first square cook stove ever made. Prior to this time nearly all the cooking was done in Dutch ovens and skillets. Mr. Gill was a member of the firm of Buttles & Gill, the first commission and forwarding house to receive consignments of merchandise and produce by canal from the north and forward the same by wagons to Cincinnati and other points south and west of Columbus. In connection with the firm of Gill & Glover he erected a foundry at the foot of Town street, ... and there manufactured stoves. plows, mill-gear and
agricultural implements. This was in the '30s. About 1858 Mr. Gill invented and patented the movable cast-iron point for the combination steel plow, and now probably more than a million of these plows are manufactured each year. He was one of the chief promoters of the Columbus Gas Works, and for years was the largest stockholder in the company. Through his energy and enterprise many industries were induced to locate in Columbus, and he played a prominent part in making Columbus a railroad center. ...  In 1862 he bought the old Ridgeway and Kimball works on the west side, which had previously been partly consumed by fire, and commenced the manufacture of freight cars, which were sold direct to the Federal government. The old foundry at the foot of Town street was continued, at which place, for a time, the car wheels and castings were made for the cars. He built the first refrigerator car. These car works were continued by Mr. Gill until
1884, and grew from a few employes until as high as eight hundred and fifty
names appeared on the payroll. He owned several brickyards and manufactured
brick in large quantities. He owned a great deal of valuable real estate in and about Columbus. In early times a large portion of business was transacted on the credit and barter system, and owing to this custom his losses were at times very heavy.

Lewis, James E.
Pioneers of Jefferson County.  Reminiscences of James E. Lewis

from Madison Courier, Dec. 1874

Up to 1828 there was no such thing known as a cast stove.  John Sheets brought a seven plate stove from the East to town for his stove, but there were no cook stoves until 1835 or 36.  It was stipulated when I got my wife, that I was to furnish a "cooking stove" for our kitchen. 

[Jefferson County, INDIANA -- settled in 1800s.  Lewis = b. 1811, to
Madison c. 1816]

see also in James B. Lewis, "The Pioneers of Jefferson County, 1. Reminiscences," pp. 214-27
from Indiana Magazine of History 12:3 (Sept. 1916), quote at p. 221

Clarke, S.J.
History of McDonough County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: D.W. Lusk, 1878).


p. 108 -- settlers' log cabins: "huge fire place, large  enough to contain a back log as heavy as any man would care to  carry, and holding enough wood to supply an ordinary stove a  week;"

p. 122 early settler, 1829-: "Mr. Woods brought the first  stove ever seen in McDonough County, - a stove that was a great  wonder in its day. We have heard of women making their bread,  and carrying it a distance of nine miles to have the honor of  baking it in that stove. Mr. Woods has yet a portion of it."

History of McDonough County, Illinois (Springfield: Continental Historical Co., 1885).

"The first cooking stove was brought into the county of McDonough by Salem
Woods, to Pennington's Point, in 1832.

James M. Campbell brought the second one to the county."

De Forest, Heman P. & Edward Craig Bates
The History of Westborough, Massachusetts. Part I. the Early History

p. 224 "The business of the place felt the coming of the railroad and its facilities at once, though it did not increase with the rapidity of later times.  In 1833 John A. Fayerweather opened a store in the Elijah Burnap house, and a year later started a stove and tin shop ... In 1836 he moved his variety store to ... the north side of Main Street, and continued to do business there, with various changes in the firm, until 1858.  It greatly astonished the good people of that day when Mr. Fayerweather, in the first store he opened, undertook to sell meal. It was an unheard-of thing that any one should think of buying meal anywhere but at the mill. Everybody said it would be a failure; but it proved a great convenience, and  soon superseded the old way."

Devoy, John, comp.
Rochester and the Post Express: A history of the City of Rochester from the earliest times; the pioneers and their predecessors, frontier life in the Genesee country, biographical sketches; with a record of the Post Express (##: 1895). 

pp. 201-202


William H. Cheney was born in Newport, New Hampshire, March 5, 1807. His parents were William and Tryphena H. Cheney. His father was a merchant, a
man of indomitable energy, and principal founder of Sullivan county, New
Hampshire. Mr. Cheney was educated at Windsor, Vermont, and commenced his
business life as a merchant in his native place. In 1836 he removed to Albany, New York, and engaged in the iron business. In 1838 he came to Rochester and immediately rented of Dr. Elwood the old Gilbert warehouse which stood at the upper end of the canal bridge on South St. Paul street, at the junction of the feeder with the Erie canal. He put in an engine and boiler and started an iron foundry, in which he cast the first cooking stove made in this part of the country. It was of an old "saddle-bags" pattern gotten up in Philadelphia. He remained there for eight years when he erected a brick building on St. Paul street near Court, removed his furnace and soon commenced us architectural iron works, making fronts, columns, etc. He stayed in this place and continued in active business
until 1879, when his health began to fail. Mr. Cheney was one of the builders and owners of the Genesee Chief, a propeller which was built at Charlotte for passenger and freight traffic on the lakes. He was also one of the owners of a large blast furnace near Sodus Bay. In politics he was in early life a Whig afterwards he became a Democrat, and remained so until his death. In 1845 he was elected supervisor of the Third ward. He repeatedly declined to become a candidate for mayor. He was one of the earliest elected trustees of the Rochester Savings bank, and was at one time vice-president. He was for a number of years president of the old Eagle bank. He was the first president of the Humane society, then called the Bergh society, in which he was greatly interested. His ear was always open to the cry of distress from brute as well as human. ...

Federal Writers' Project
The Ohio Guide (New York: Oxford U.P., 1940). -- 3rd printing, 1946

p. 56 "The first contest of a manufacturers' group and a national union occurred at Cincinnati in 1868, when the American National Stove Manufacturers' and Iron Founders' Association in convention voted to test their strength by cutting wages of local foundry workers 60 per cent. After 9 months the employers, refusing to arbitrate their radical wage cut, finally broke the strike. The union turned to the 'radicalism' of co-operative foundries."

p. 283 [HAMILTON] -- "The ESTATE STOVE COMPANY PLANT ... founded in 1842,
covers 13 acres. Originally manufacturing skillets, stove lids, and heavy castings, the company has gradually extended its line of products, and today is one of the world's largest stove makers."

p. 500 LAFAYETTE -- Red Brick Tavern, built 1837: "In the long dining room and kitchen to the rear was installed the county's first cook stove. It was viewed suspiciously by some people as an invention of the devil that would 'keep people from doing an honest day's work.'"

Montgomery, Morton L.
Historical & Biographical Annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania (Chicago:
Beers Publishing Co., 1909).

p. 823 JOHN R. PAINTER (deceased), who for many years was one of Reading's
prominent business factors, was born Jan. 19, 1823, in Chester county, Pa., son of John and Margaret (Thomas) Painter. The parents of Mr. Painter were also natives of Chester county, but they were of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The father was a farmer in moderate circumstances, who lived and reared his family in the neighborhood of St. Mary's, where he gave them every advantage in his power as to schooling and position in life. ...

John R. Painter was still a child when his father died, in 1829, and only a youth when his mother passed away ten years later. His education was obtained in the common schools of Chester county and he supported himself by working for neighboring farmers until he was eighteen years of age, when he secured a position with the Isabella Furnace Company. There he learned the molder's trade, which he followed at Spring City, Philadelphia and Linfield, until 1867, when he was considered a competent and experienced man in this business. In the year mentioned Mr. Painter came to Reading, where in association with Jess Orr, Jasper Sheeler, Elijah Bull, Henry Posey, William Schick, Peter Nagle and others, he organized the Reading Stove Works. This firm did an immense business from the start, each member being skilled in the various departments of the industry. The plant was enlarged from time to time to meet increased demands and it became one of the largest stove foundries in Pennsylvania. Their trade connections
covered the whole world. This company had the reputation of never having
discharged a man who did his duty, and a remarkable fact is that workers were so anxious to enter the employ of this just firm that applications would be filed years ahead, many waiting for mechanics to die to fill their places.

In this company Mr. Painter's personality largely entered. While he possessed business keenness and executive ability of a high order, his character was that of a man of high principles and no man could ever rightfully accuse him of injustice. His charities increased in proportion to his means, and as he was wholly without ostentation, the world will never know the extent of his good deeds. His relations with his associates and with his army of employes were cordial and friendly and the latter knew that in him they always had a friend. Personally his tastes were simple and his happiest hours were those spent at his own fireside. His lamented death
took place Dec. 12, 1883, after an illness of two years duration. His afflictions were borne with patience and forbearance. The death of such a man as John R. Painter was indeed a loss to Reading, where his memory will long remain green.

Mrs. Painter resides at No. 454 Douglass street. When a young girl she united with the Reformed Church, and she has been prominently identified with the work of that denomination to the present time. Mr. Painter was a member of St. Peter's M. E. Church. In politics he was a Republican. He was a charter member of Welcome Lodge, I. O. O. F., of Philadelphia.

p. 1537 Charles E. & William H. Sproesser -- Charles b. 1821, blacksmith in
Germany, pattern fitter in US with Leibrandt & McDowell -- comes to Reading 1868 to work for Orr, Painter -- 1873 goes into hotel business; bro. William stove molder with L & M, comes to Reading 1868 too: 

"On March 1st of this year he made the first cook stove manufactured in Orr, Painter & Company's stove works, and he continued with that firm until 1873, when he engaged in clerking in his father's hotel."

Meginness, John F.
History of Lycoming Co. Pa. Illustrated (Philadelphia: D.J. Stewart/J.B.

John B. HALL, Geneva, NY & 2 foundrymen from Auburn seek foundry site, summer 1831

p. 40 find small foundry at MILTON on W. Branch, started in 1830 by Jos. Rhoads, coppersmith

* WILLIAMSPORT because proposal in 1832 from local Dr. & another inexperienced local investor

"A bargain was made, and Mr. Hall went to work to build his engine, boilers, cupola, and all the tools, etc., necessary to make iron." -- at first 40 x 60, soon enlarged 60 x 80 

* equipment made in Geneva, brought to W'port by wagon June 1832, ready to
start castings by start Sept: 

"This was the first engine in the West Branch Valley, and the first foundry in this County, Tioga, Centre, or Bradford, and many other counties west of this. He brought the patterns to town for the first coal stoves, and made and sold all used in town, and for fifty miles around, for some years."

* focus = steam saw mill equipment -- for "vast pine and hemlock" forests

"He brought a few mill-gearing patterns for grist, and also saw-mills, of the old style used in those days..., plow patterns, etc. 

Novelty of the Business ... When they commenced running the engine and melting the iron, the foundry was crowded with people every day they took a heat, which at first was only two days in the week."

* Transport problems -- coal & iron -- wagon, river boat, arks during high water, because CANAL not completed

* 1833 contract with STATE for railroad castings (Phila.-Columbia)

* story of first canal shipment from Lock Haven/Williamsport

* importance for building local industry

* 1840 new buildings incl. machine-shop, wareroom, smith-shop, office, wood-turning & pattern shop, tin- & copper-smith shop "now used as iron-railing shop and show-room for stoves and railing" -- 90 x 90 site

p. 125 "Mr. John B. Hall was born in Geneva, N. Y., June 1, 1804. When a boy  he learned the blacksmith's trade of his father. It is rather a coincidence that  Mr. Hall, his father, his grandfather, and great-grandfather were all workmen of this trade; also his maternal grandfather, General John Burrows. ....

Having learned the foundry business from his father, and worked at it for some years, he located in Williamsport in the summer of 1832, and was the builder of the first foundry and machine-shop in this place."

John F. Meginness, 
History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania (Chicago: Brown, Runk & Co., 1892).
p. 803 HALL -- "He received a fair education and learned the blacksmith trade." -- works for his father "who promised to give him his shop and tools upon reaching hi majority. ... afterwards clerking in a store for a few years. About 1825 he formed a partnership with his father and did a prosperous business in a foundry at Geneva until 1832. Their beginning was the manufacture of ploughshares () by hand-power and subsequently by engine." ...

Myers, Eloise S.
A Hinterland Settlement: Tyringham, Massachusetts and Bordering Lands
(Pittsfield, MA: Eagle Printing & Binding Co., n.d.).

p. 66 FORTY YEARS AGO (poem composed for Frederic Cone's wedding
anniversary, 1871):

"How wondrous are the changes Fred, / Since forty years ago;

[Clothes, school, homespun, hard & early work, sleds, wagons, oxen]

O, well do I remember, Fred, / That Wilson's patent stove / That father
bought and paid for / In cloth our gals had wove; / And how the neighbors
wondered / When we got the thing to go, / They said 'twould bust and kill
us all / Some forty years ago."

No comments:

Post a Comment