Total Pageviews

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Henry Stanley and the Rotary Stove

Henry Stanley (1795-1878) and his Rotary Stove

Dimensions: 31" Wide, 50.5" Long, 46" High. 

Henry Stanley was the most important stove inventor and maker to emerge in Vermont.  His stoves sold nationwide and influenced many other makers to imitate or attempt to improve on them. This section of my old book manuscript will serve as an introduction to his career.  I wrote this post originally several years ago (August 2016), but a later attempt to extend it resulted in such a monumental formatting glitch that I had to take it down.  I am bringing it back now because I have recently come across a really nice surviving example of a probably older Stanley Rotary on Facebook's Antique Stove Collectors' page, with numerous pictures and even a movie of the turntable top rotating smoothly and easily about 190 years after it first did, and even without the graphite lubricant advised.


An even more successful example of a similar strategy [integration of iron smelting, stove making, distribution, marketing, and sales] did not enjoy the protection of distance from the main sources of stove supply, but depended instead on the quality of its innovative products, as well as on the dramatic improvements to internal transportation that took place in the 1820s. These enabled a Vermont machine-builder, Henry Stanley (b. 1795), to reach out and invade the urban markets of the seaboard in head-to-head competition with established manufacturer-wholesalers themselves.

Stanley, originally a maker of wool-carding and cloth-dressing equipment in the small, stagnant town of Poultney (about twenty-five miles south of John Conant in Brandon), turned disaster into opportunity in 1829 when a fire destroyed his machine-building facilities and left him with nothing but the foundry he had recently erected, reputedly the first in the state to use anthracite as its fuel. So he started making stoves, then just “coming into general use,” instead. At first he manufactured from other designers' patterns, and also produced prize-winning “handsome ... very light and smooth” cast-iron cooking utensils which he sold through dealers on New York's Water Street. Stanley relied on the Champlain Canal, completed in 1827 and at its nearest just ten miles west of Poultney at Whitehall, New York, to connect him with this market.1

By 1832 he had invented his own cooking stove, with a literally revolutionary layout. It was quite unlike most others, which had hardly any moving parts. But Stanley was a machinist, and his rotary stove featured a crank-operated turntable top, which enabled the cook to control cooking temperature by moving the pots closer to or further away from the hottest parts of the fire, and, like Conant's step-stove design a decade earlier, minimized heavy lifting (Figure 5.#). It was also craftily designed to permit the easy replacement of the parts subject to the most wear, something important to win the confidence of consumers buying an expensive new item of essential household equipment and living tens or hundreds of miles away from the maker. [See this 1834 advertisement in a Hudson Valley newspaper, for the stove's many claimed advantages.]2

Figure 5.#: Henry Stanley's rotary-top cooking stoves, Patents 7333X (1832) and 4238 (1845). The first picture (with turntable removed) shows its original derivation from low-topped step stoves like Conant's (Figure 2.#); the second is its mature version, with a large oven and downdraft flues G like other stoves of the 1840s. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.)  In Stanley's original model, no oven is shown on the design, but one could be sited at in the usual position behind the fire; or a reflector oven (tin kitchen) could be placed on the hearth plate; or, as in the picture at the head of this post, an elevated oven could be fitted, as well or instead.  It is not clear when this feature was added to the stove.

Stanley acquired a blast furnace of his own, the Mount Hope, about eight miles outside Fort Ann, New York, a town on the Champlain Canal south of Whitehall, thereby securing his pig iron supply. He went on to establish sales outlets in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Troy, run by other family members, and to become one of the most distinctive and also successful stove makers in the emerging national market of the 1830s.

A part of Stanley's competitive advantage depended on the control he enjoyed over all stages of manufacturing. His stoves' Albany distributor claimed in 1838 that “the quality of the castings and general workmanship of them, is unequalled by any other in this country.” The best that other firms not doing their own casting could promise at the time was that they gave careful directions to the furnace or foundry making their stoves, and inspected the work in progress. Stanley's production system was a variation on the usual decentralized pattern, but with one crucial difference: furnace, foundry, and factory were all owned and managed by the same few men, and the transactions among them were all internal to the firm and coordinated by it. Castings were packed flat in boxes and barrels at the foundry, teamed to Whitehall, floated to the Hudson on their own dedicated canal boat, the “Rotary,” and shipped downriver from Troy for his brothers to assemble, finish, and sell at their waterfront wholesale and retail depots.3

Sales of Stanley's stoves spread far beyond the East Coast territories that he supplied from his own foundry, because he also licensed his design (at $5 per stove) to be made and sold in markets that he could not easily reach. For example, 3,000 were produced in Cincinnati alone between 1832 and 1839, where its local maker claimed that “in the parts of the country where it had been introduced, it had superseded all others.” [In 1837, his dealer in Cleveland claimed that "Those who have used them say that they are superior to any others."] By the early 1840s the Stanleys were even making direct sales in the Midwest themselves: stove merchants in south-east Michigan were their second-largest group of customers, after New York's, and they were also doing a significant trade in Wisconsin and Illinois.4

But they lost control of their overextended business at the pit of the post-Panic depression in 1842. Henry Stanley was “enterprising” and “intensely active,” though let down by a “want of caution” -- or simply of luck. His firm came spectacularly unstuck, with liabilities of $82,274 ($63.8 million at 2019 values, using the GDP per capita method of comparison), the largest business failure in the New York stove trade. This was not the end of his career as a stove inventor, but from now on he depended on other companies to licence his patents and make his products. Ironically, by the time that Stanley's thirteen-year experiment in vertical integration of all stages of manufacture and distribution of stoves bit the dust, the pattern of business organization that he had helped pioneer was becoming the industry's new norm.5

1 Joseph Joslin, Barnes Frisbie, and Frederick Ruggles, A History of the Town of Poultney, Vermont: From Its Settlement to the Year 1875 (Poultney: Journal Printing Office, 1875), pp. 53 [population], 95-97 [quote], 298; The American Advertising Directory [1831], p. 117, for his hollow ware.

2 Stanley's key patents were “Cooking Stove,” 7333X (1832), “Revolving Cooking Stove,” 9282X (1835) [lost in the 1836 Fire at the Patent Office], and [same title], 91 (1836), probably its replacement.  The text of 91's is the same as 7333X's, a new copy of which Stanley would have supplied to the Patent Office after the Fire, because he took advantage of the destruction of earlier versions of his patent and a critical court ruling on it to make it more litigation-proof in future.  Stanley & Co.Remarks and Directions for using Stanley's Patented Rotary Cooking Stove: For Sale at No. 50 S. Calvert-street Baltimore, by Stanley & Co., and at No. 6 Chesnut-street, Philadelphia, by John P.E. Stanley & Co. (Baltimore: Sands & Neilson, 1834), for a full description in probably the oldest surviving stove instruction-manual, essential because Stanley's stove was so different in operation from any other. [Other editions: 1833 Troy; 1834 Cincinnati; 1835 New York]

3 William W. Mather, Geology of New-York (Albany, NY: Carroll & Cook, 1843)Part 1pp. 575-6; D. Kittle advertisement, Albany Evening Journal 1 Feb. 1838, p. 1 [quote], cf. J. & A. Fellows ad., same page; Stanley & Co.'s operations reconstructed from their 1843 Bankruptcy, Box 155, File 2099. The file is unusually rich, including small debts for unpaid wages to laborers, farmers, teamsters, and others in the villages along the Vermont-New York border area where they were based, as well as to their trade creditors in Troy, New York, and Baltimore. It also contains an inventory of the Water Street depot in New York, which contained both a steam-powered stove-finishing and assembly shop and the varied assortment of completed stoves, spare parts, and kitchen accessories vital for its wholesale and retail business. The assessed value of the stock and equipment was almost $8,000.

4 Stanley v. Whipple (1839), reported in James B. Robb, compiler, A Collection of Patent Cases Decided in the Circuit and Supreme Courts of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1854), Vol. 2, pp. 1-10, provides details of his licensing arrangements and Cincinnati sales [quotation at p. 5]; Stanley Bankruptcy, Schedule A, 25 Feb. 1843, for the geographical distribution of the firm's $32,000 worth of outstanding trade accounts.

5 Stanley Bankruptcy, Schedule A, 25 Feb. 1843, for liabilities; Joslin et al., History of the Town of Poultney, p. 353 [quote]. Stanley had moved to Albany by the time of his 1845 heating-stove patent 3876 (“Stanley's Coal Burner”), and assigned it to Charles Eddy, a Troy stove maker, whose firm valued it enough to reissue it in 1860 in order to maintain their exclusive rights (Reissues 944, 958, and 1078). Stanley himself went into a new business in Troy that also depended on high-quality charcoal-iron castings, the manufacture of railroad car wheels – Freedley, Leading Pursuits, p. 323.

* * *

See also, elsewhere in this blog: 

  1. "The Pioneer Cooking Stove, Indiana, Late 1830s" -- a humorous recollection of a frontier family's acquisition of a rotary stove;
  2. "Vermont Stove Inventors, Inventions, and Their Makers, 1817-1850," from which most of this text was taken, and which provides much of the context; and
  3. "Who Invented the Step (or Jews Harp, Premium, or Horseblock) Stove?" -- also relevant because Stanley's stove was essentially a modified step stove.]
  4. "Henry Stanley's Rotary Stove and US Patent Law";
  5. "Rotary Stoves -- Henry Stanley's and Others'";
  6. "A Stovemaker Writes to his Customer: John A. Conant, the Brandon Iron Co., & Henry W. Miller, 1835-1838." -- much discussion about Conant's rotary stoves, patent issues with Stanley, etc.

Monday, August 15, 2016

John Strong Perry of Albany, Stove Manufacturer {in progress}

[These are just stubs of biography -- taken from (a) Chapter 5 of my book manuscript,  "The Rise of the Stove Foundry, c. 1830-1845," pp. 48-9; and (b) the draft of my "Coping with Competition?" article, trimmed of some of its detail in editing for publication.  Even after writing those few (!) words, there was a lot more left in my notes.  After the two excerpts of semi-finished text, I've appended some of that raw material.  But as a result this thing has grown too large for a blog post.  I'll leave it here anyway for now, and then may reorganize it thus:  (1) A reasonably coherent biographical narrative, as this blog post; (2) a documentary appendix in a linked file or files on Google Drive.]

Perry in his prime.
Perry full of years and troubles.


By the early 1870s the biggest firm in Albany, and second largest in the country, with a 5,000 ton annual capacity (about a quarter of the city's total), was John Strong Perry's Oriental and American Stove Works (John F. Rathbone's was then the second largest stove foundry in Albany, with a capacity of 4,000 tons a year, while Samuel Ransom's was third with 2,800 tons). Perry had entered the stove business in 1843 from a background as a crockery merchant – not so surprising, given that both products served the household market – by forming a partnership with an experienced iron founder to take over the old Eagle Furnace. Like Rathbone's firm, Perry and his partners started out by advertising their versatility. As well as “a large and complete assortment of Stoves and Hollow Ware of new and improved patterns,” they would produce steam engines, boilers, and mill machinery “of every size and description,” drawing on a stock of patterns accumulated over thirty-five years or making new ones to order; carry out “Boring, Turning, Finishing &c. ... with despatch”; and also make patent plows and the rest of the enormous range of iron products that the rural households and enterprises providing them with their market required. At the end of the decade they were still “actively employed in turning out castings of the heaviest description and the largest dimensions.” It was not until 1851 that the firm changed its name, to the Eagle Stove Works, and decided to specialize on what was by then the most distinctive and dynamic part of its product line. Like Bridge's in St. Louis, or Jewett & Root's in Buffalo, or John Rathbone's own, the Perry firm's road from its generalist origins to a single-minded focus on the stove trade took some years to travel. From the late 1830s through the early 1850s, the growing number of stove foundries in the United States certainly included some, like Joel Rathbone's or Warnick & Liebrandt's, that were specialists from the start and remained so, but there were many others that only worked their way toward that destination as one part of their business came to seem more promising than the rest.

[Dunlap, comp. & ed., Wiley's American Iron Trade, p. 339; William L. Stone, "Stoves and Heating Apparatus. Perry & Co., Albany, NY" in Industrial America, or, Manufacturers and Inventions of the United States – The Productive and Material Independence of the Country Through the Achievements of Its Artisans and Designers (New York: Atlantic Publishing & Engraving Co., 1876), pp. 450-56, for Perry biography; Eagle Air Furnace & Machinery Works advertisement, Albany Evening Journal (22 May 1845), p. 4; "Commercial Cities and Towns of the United States. -- No. XVII. -- The City of Albany," The Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review 21:1 (July 1849): 50-61 at p. 56; Perry & Co. Stove Works Albany, N.Y. (Albany, NY: 1872)from Asher & Adams' New Columbian Rail Road Atlas and Pictorial Album of American Industry ... (New York: Asher & Adams, 1875), for 1851 as the date of the decision to specialize; Treadwell & Perry, Price List of the Eagle Stove Works (Albany: C. Van Benthuysen, 1854) [see below], for their mature product range.]


By the early 1870s John Strong Perry was the senior partner in the second-largest stove company in the nation, Albany's Oriental and American Stove Works.  Perry was born in 1815, the same year as his collaborator Giles Filley, and less than a dozen miles away, just outside Hartford, Connecticut. His family was poorer than Filley's and Perry had to make his own way in the world, leaving school aged thirteen and soon joining the counting-house of a firm of Albany crockery merchants from whom he received “that rigid and thorough training so necessary to future success.” In 1843 he entered the stove business, and his partnership of Treadwell, Perry & Norton prospered until “the terrible convulsions of 1857-58,” after which it went bankrupt with more than $600,000 of debt. A syndicate of the old firm's bankers bought the foundry, patterns, and stock from the receiver, and hired Perry, desperate after a spell of unemployment for an income with which to support his family, as their superintendent. They soon became dissatisfied with the business's performance, and looked for a buyer at fire-sale prices. Perry, fearing another descent into poverty, took a gamble, borrowing $13,000 from one of his old unpaid creditors and friends, and issuing $13,000 of notes in his wife's name (as he was a bankrupt, he could not do this himself), so that she could pay the bankers the cash they demanded. The firm was resurrected as Mrs. Perry's, with John S. as her agent, just in time to cash in on the Civil War boom. In its first year they cleared $60,000 profit, in the second $150,000, and never looked back, surviving her death in 1864 by turning into a partnership of her heirs and other family members.

[William L. Stone, “Stoves and Heating Apparatus: Perry & Co., Albany, N.Y.,” in Industrial America; or, Manufacturers and Inventions of the United States (New York, 1876), pp. 450-456, quotation p. 455; George H. Hazelton, "Reminiscences of Seventeen Years Residence in Michigan, 1836-1853," Michigan Historical Collections 21 (1894): 370-417 at pp. 385-6 on Perry's career, character, bankruptcy, and recovery.]

With “unconquerable energy,” Perry restored his fortunes in the same way as Giles Filley would shortly afterward. He produced an array of attractive, well-made new goods of which the centerpiece was The Argand, a market-beating model of a new type of parlor heater recently invented, the base-burner. It was large, impressive, heavy, costly, covered with decorative features, immensely efficient, and capable with careful attention of burning continuously right through a long winter – an immediate middle-class must-have, and very profitable. He then went on to protect his competitive advantage with determined patent management.

[Stone, “Stoves and Heating Apparatus: Perry & Co., Albany, N.Y.,” p. 455; Perry & Co. Stove Works, Albany, NY (1875) – broadside, New York State Library, including a history of the firm.]

As his subsequent conduct would reveal, Perry's commitment to collective action rather than competitive individualism was pragmatic, provisional, and quite selective ...

Perry was “systematic and methodical in all things,” and a firm believer in the value of information – ideally, quantitative data – as a guide to action and for clinching an argument. ... 

[“John S. Perry,” Stoves & Hardware 9:5 (16 Aug. 1886): 3; Perry, “President's Address,” NASM Procs. 2 (Feb. 1873), p. 9; see also his Prison Labor, Showing the Proportion of Convict to Citizen Labor in the Prisons of the State of New York, and of the United States (Albany, 1885), as an example of his working method.]

Perry's own inability or unwillingness to subordinate his firm's individual interests to what he claimed to be the industry's collective interests was instructive, and corrosive of his authority. He seems to have thought that he could have it both ways: at the same time as lecturing about the virtues of solidarity, he carried on in the old competitive style. He quietly bought up the controlling patents in the anti-clinker grate (a real breakthrough, making it much easier to maintain a continuous fire) and then attempted an intellectual-property hold-up on his own members, from whom he exacted a stiff royalty charge if they wished to take advantage of a new technology consumers demanded while avoiding a costly lawsuit. They fought back, pooling resources to mount a legal defense and break his patents; so to prevent the Anti-Clinker Association's leader (one of Perry's Albany neighbors) attending the 1875 convention, Perry made sure to have him served with legal papers keeping him tied up at home. The result was a furious public row between Perry and another of his Albany neighbors, General John Rathbone (boss of another of the industry's oldest and largest firms, Rathbone & Sard, and a leading figure in the 1866 stove association and 1867 Great Lockout; his military title was for Civil War service), the end of Perry's presidency, and the commencement of an enormous and costly lawsuit embroiling much of the industry for the next several years.

Perry followed this move with another attempted coup – using his political connections to secure a monopoly over the cheap labor of the inmates of Sing Sing prison, where he built a huge foundry for the production of low-cost stoves. Perry's excuse was that his aim was to undercut the IMU, not to underbid his fellow-manufacturers: “he did not go to State prison out of spite towards other manufacturers [laughter] but went there to make money. [General Rathbone: Yes.] ... [H]e proposes to get all he can for his goods .... [H]e does not intend to slaughter prices; ... he intends to sell them at the best prices he can, but sell them he must.” When that maneuver eventually failed too, partly because stove manufacturers joined forces with their trade union enemies in lobbying the state legislature to restrict prison labor, Perry relocated production to the low-wage, non-union South instead, and even experimented with using 'colored' labor in what had until then been a lily-white industry. Perry's tactical flexibility clearly indicated that his own firm's profitability was his main objective, i.e., he displayed the stove manufacturer's normal competitive instinct, albeit in an extreme form.

[For Perry's and Rathbone's arguments, see NASM Procs. 4 (Feb. 1875), reported in The Metal Worker 3:8 (20 Feb. 1875): 2-3; “Fashions Even in Stoves,” The Sun [New York] 27 July 1884, p. 6, for an amusing account of the anti-clinker suit; NASM Procs. 7 (Jan. 1878), pp. 39-41, 46-51 [quotation at p. 49], 53-5 and 8 (16 Jan. 1879), pp. 73-89, and Perry, Prison Labor, for the prison labor issue; “From Albany to Chattanooga,” Atlanta Constitution 8 Dec. 1886, p. 4, “The New South: Transfer of the Albany Stove Works to Tennessee,” Atlanta Constitution 22 Dec. 1886, p. 4, and William D. Kelley, The Old South and the New (New York, 1888), pp. 9, 78-81.]

Personal Details:

Leavenworth, Elias W. A Genealogy of the Leavenworth Family in the United States: With Historical Introduction, Etc. (##: S. G. Hitchcock & co., 1873).

p. 60 Nathan Benjamin Perry, b. in Stockbridge July 31, 1830. M. Minnie Suvlah, dau., of Rodman H. and Wells, of North Adams, Mass., December 4, 1856, b. December 4, 1835. Mr. Perry now resides in Albany, and is a member of the firm of Perry & Co., one of the largest' manufacturers of stoves in the world. He is a man of quick perceptions, large business capacity, and great industry. [Nathan B. was John's cousin and partner after the death of Mrs. Perry in 1864.]

Erastus Perry, b. in Richmond Mass., April 17, 1787, m. September i, 1814, Mary, dau. of Gov. John and Mrs. Dorotha Pomeroy Treadwell, of Farmington, Conn., b there December 28, 1786, d. there August 10, 1825. He d. in Albany May 3, 1858. .... 

[Note that Treadwell was the name of two of Perry's first partners in the stove business, his cousins John Goodwin, b. 1812, and William Brewster Treadwell, b. 1813, and also the middle name of his first surviving son, John. Yet another Treadwell, George Curtis, b. Farmington, 1812, was by 1844 an established Albany fur dealer and manufacturer, and another Perry, Eli, was mayor in the 1850s.  John S. was well networked within the city's Yankee mercantile elite even before he joined it in his own right.]

Children, by first wife,

1. John Strong, b. December 17, 1815 [in Farmington, CT]

p. 61 John Strong Perry, b. in Farmington, Ct, December 17, 1815, m. May ii, 1846, Mary Jane, dau. of Josiah and Mary Willard, at Plattsburgh, N. Y. b. In Westminster, Vt., April 19, 1826, d, in Albany June 22, 1864. 

[The first Mrs Perry is the one who figures in George Hazelton's story, below, and who was formally the proprietor of the Perry business until her death, at which time the firm was reorganized and cousin Nathan taken in.]

Second, he m. in Boston, January 24, 1867, Mary Elizabeth, dau. of Calvin A. and Mary Wyman, of Woburn, Mass., b. October 22, 1833, d in Albany, N. Y., June 30, 1869.

Third, he m. in Brooklyn, N. Y., January 25,1871, Adeline L., dau. of Jones, of Clyde, N. Y., b. in Marengo, N. Y., June 30, 1825.

Children by first wife.

1. Harriet Willard, b. March 14, 1847, d. in Albany November 6, 1852.

2. Florence, b. July 5, 1849.

3. Henry Webb, b. July 14, 1851, d. in Albany July 12, 1852. [Webb was the name of his first employer; see below.]

4. John Treadwell, b. in Saratoga Springs May 24, 1853. [See below.]

5. Willard Elmore, b. January 31, 1856.

6. Jessie May, b. May 21, 1857, d. in Plattsburgh, N. Y., July 20, 1872.

7. Edith, b. July 21, 1859.

8. George Sterling, b. June 27, 1862, d. in Albany July 11, 1862.

Child by second wife.

Mary Elizabeth Wyman, b. June 10, 1869. [See at end.]

All except John Treadwell born in Albany.

Memoir by an old business associate and friend:

Hazelton, George H. "Reminiscences of Seventeen Years Residence in Michigan, 1836-1853," Michigan Historical Collections 21 (1894): 370-417. 

p. 371 catches "western land fever," sells out to partner, moves to Ann Arbor from Upstate NY [merchant in FLINT] 

p. 385 The early part of May, 1841, I left for New York City with letters of credit from Beach & Abel. Purchased my dry goods in New York and hardware and crockery in Albany. At the crockery house a salesman took my order by the name of Perry, a very bright, intelligent young man a year or two my junior.

[Perry was then 26.  He had been working for H. & C. Webb & Co. since he came to Albany from his home town of Farmington, CT in 1830 at the age of 15, and started out as a clerk.  Jonathan Tenney, New England in Albany (Boston: Crocker & Co., 1883), pp. 101-2.]

A few years later, purchasing goods in Albany, I found him at the head of the firm of Treadwell, Perry & Norton, manufacturers of stoves and hollow ware.

In later years, after removing to Chicago, my relations with this firm became very close and important.

[p. 395 Hazelton develops HARDWARE STORES in Flint, Pontiac -- stock from Albany (Erastus Corning, Treadwell, Perry & Norton).

p. 413 I returned to Flint [from Catskills] in September, and having made
arrangements  with the firm of Treadwell, Perry & Norton to make a
collection tour  through the States of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and
Wisconsin during  the fall and winter, arranged my business to be absent
and left the  first of November.

After completing the canvass of the States, returned to Flint to  make
arrangements for another summer at the Mountain House,  which opened June
1, 1853, ....

In July John S. Perry, of the firm of Treadwell, Perry & Norton, visited
the Mountain House for the purpose of arranging with me  to open a branch
house in Chicago for the sale of their goods.

Hall, E.H. [compiler]. 1855-6. The Chicago City Directory, and Business Advertiser (Chicago: Robert Fergus, 1855), p. 116: W. & J. Treadwell, Perry & Norton, stove manufacturers & dealers; manufactory N. Branch Pt., warerooms, 246 Lake & 237 S. Water; G.H. Hazelton, agent.]

I cannot refrain from giving a brief sketch of the wonderful perseverance and success of John S. Perry, after the most crushing disaster to the firm of which he was a member.

The firm of Treadwell, Perry & Norton became embarrassed, growing out of the terrible convulsions of 1857-58. After struggling a year or more and making great sacrifices, they were compelled to make an assignment [1858-59?]. Some two or three years later [1861-62?] Mr. Perry wrote me, inquiring if I had anything he could do, as he had no means of supporting his family. I replied I had nothing, and did not think he could find any employment in Philadelphia, where I was then in business, and advised him to remain in Albany, as I thought his chances were better there.

War had prostrated every branch of business, except army materials and supplies.

Perry remained where he was. The debts of the firm were mostly to banks. The assets were sold by a receiver; foundry, patterns and stock on hand, bought by a syndicate of bankers creditors of the firm who started up the business and employed Perry as superintendent. They soon became dissatisfied with the stove business and were looking for a purchaser.

Perry, being afraid if they did he might be again out of employment, conceived the idea of buying them out in the name of his wife and carrying on the business in her name, although neither //p. 386 had a dollar to purchase with. He ascertained they would sell the entire concern for $26,000 cash, no credit.

This was, a damper. He, however, proposed to purchase, paying $13,000 cash and give his wife's notes for $13,000, still not knowing where the first dollar was coming from. The proposition was accepted, and a few days given to raise the money.

He had a warm friend by name of Wells, a large creditor of the firm, living in Connecticut, the only man from whom he had any hope of raising the necessary funds. Immediately wrote him, and as he was leaving the office to mail the letter, on opening the door, met Mr. Wells face to face. After the usual greetings Perry said to him, "I hold in my hand a letter addressed to you, which I was just going to mail. It is a most outrageous one but I want you to read. In this letter I have asked you to loan my wife $13,000, knowing her husband is a bankrupt for hundreds of thousands, and you one of the largest creditors." Wells seemed a little staggered, but read the letter, and then said, "Well, Mr. Perry, this is pretty cool, but your wife shall have the money." And she had it before he left Albany.

The purchase was made, Mrs. John S. Perry, proprietor, John S. Perry, agent. 

One year later I was in Albany, a balance sheet of the year's business, just closed, shown me. The net profits being over $60,000; the second year a trifle over $150,000. A little after the close of the second year [June 1864] Mrs. Perry deceased, a most estimable woman and great loss. Mr. Perry was overwhelmed with grief, and his friends feared it would render him incapable of carrying on the business, but he recovered and organized a new firm, associating with the heirs a nephew, Nathan B. Perry, the firm name being Perry & Co., John S. remaining the manager, and in fact the life of the concern. Four or five years later I again visited Albany, and in conversation with him asked if he was not ready to give up active business. He replied, "No, I expect to die in the harness." He, in the name of his wife and new firm, had made more than half a million of dollars. His next move was to purchase the labor of six or eight hundred convicts from the State prison at Sing Sing, where they manufactured stoves as long as the State would sell convict labor. 

After this they moved the plant to Georgia, built one of the largest stove establishments in the country. 

In the midst of his active business life he died, as he said, "in the harness," April 4, 1889.

First Portrait of Perry's Firm:

S. Wilson, 1845. Albany City Guide (Albany: S. Wilson, 1845), pp. 64-5.  [Identical text and illustration in 1844 ed.]

The engraving represents the large establishment of Messrs. Jagger, Treadwell & Perry, between Hudson and Beaver-streets for machinery and stove castings. 

This establishment occupies an immense space between Beaver and Hudson-streets. It is a continuation of Mr. Warner Daniels, Corning, Norton & Co. and Many and Ward's Foundry, so favorably known for a long period of years to most of our business men. 

Besides the large quantity of castings made at this place, we notice the most powerful machinery castings. We were shown into the pattern room, which alone is a museum of itself; here are patterns for any machinery that is required. These patterns have been collecting for forty years past. Their capacity for making large castings, are equal to any in this country. They have facilities for handling these immense castings, which evince much skill and ingenuity. 

There is a steam engine of fifteen horse power which propels several lathes and drilling machines for turning and drilling iron, and other machinery, grind-stones, &c. 

[Note: the Eagle was still an "air furnace," where the draft was generated simply by the height of the chimneys.  In most stove foundries by the mid-1840s air furnaces had been replaced by cupolas, small blast furnaces dependent on water-wheel or steam-powered blowing engines to produce their pressurized air supply.]

They manufacture high and low pressure steam engines, and plain cylinder boilers; gearing and machinery of every description is done at this foundry. 

They have connected with it a machine shop, and do all kinds of boring, screw-cutting, turning, and finishing to order. 

In one department we noticed the manufacture of every description of tin and copper stove furniture done in the greatest possible perfection. In short, the huge unshapely massive blocks of iron, and other metals, are here converted into stoves fit to grace the palace of the [p. 65] queen of England. In the show rooms we observed some of the most elegant patterns of stoves for the parlor or for cooking that we have ever before seen in the market, both in point of durability, elegance, or economy. These beautiful castings show the great perfection at which they have arrived in this indispensable household article. 

In making these comments we have no desire to disparage the merits of other stove manufacturers in our city. Our principal design in giving this account is to show up this establishment as a criterion for strangers to judge of the excellence of our manufactures. 

They employ from 75 to 80 men and make 1000 tons of castings annually.

The Cultivator 5:10 (Oct. 1848): 328. 

CIDER MILL SCREWS. THE Subscribers are prepared to supply orders for Cast Iron Cider Mill Screws and boxes complete. Also Steam Engines, Mill Gearing, and Castings in general. JAGGER, TREADWELL & PERRY, Eagle Foundry, No. 110 Beaver Street, Albany. 

LARGE STOVES. THE Subscribers are making the largest and best Stoves in market for Dairymen, Planters, and Hotel keepers--to which their attention is invited. JAGGER, TREADWELL & PERRY, Eagle Foundry, No. 110 Beaver St., Albany.

"Commercial Cities & Towns of the United States. -- No. XVII. -- The City of Albany," The Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review 21:1 (July 1849): 50-61.

p. 56 "Albany has become, within a few years, one of the first manufacturing cities in the State. ... The principal branch of manufactures pursued here is that of iron, which is manufactured into stoves, steam-engines, and castings of every description. The foundries of Franklin, Townsend & Co., and Jagger, Treadwell & Perry, are actively employed in turning out castings of the heaviest description and the largest dimensions."

[As late as 1852, JTP still figures in the Albany Directory as a boiler-maker, machinist, and stove manufacturer and wholesale dealer -- Directory to the Trades in Albany, for the Year 1852 (Albany: J. Munsell, 1852), pp. 6, 30, 42.]

Greenberg, Brian. Worker and Community: Responses to Industrialization in a 19th.-Century American City, Albany, NY, 1850-1884 (Albany: SUNY Press, 1985). [limited preview]

p. 35 ... Albany molders in the 1850s found that their labor 'had become something impersonal to be obtained as cheaply as possible.'[n33] ... iron founders in the Albany & Troy area tried to corner the national market for iron stoves by underselling their competitors. To//p. 36 accomplish this they reduced profit margins and cut costs. ... [cont'd pressure on labor costs]

* 1852 Jagger, Treadwell, & Perry [Eagle Furnace] propose move from weekly to monthly pay & retention of 2 weeks' wages until end of molding season -- workers protest before seasonal layoff, JTP introduce when recommence in April. Result: STRIKE

John S. Perry's First Stove Patent, March 1851

An attractive "square wood cook" with (probably) a small oven (or an ashpit?) under the firebox, and the useful addition of two more boiler holes below the firebox doors at the front.  This might have been permanent, or it could have been a "summer apparatus," enabling the cook to do a limited amount of cooking (particularly in hot weather) by having a small fire in the box underneath the plate, its smoke passing off through the body of the stove.  This saved fuel and prevented the kitchen from getting overheated.

Perry's second design patent, No. 489, for his "Black Diamond" cooking stove, is barely visible in the online version of his drawings, except for the cross sections of the thin, complicated plates.  However, the other patent he took out the same day, No. 490, for the "May Flower," is worth including.  It shows how Perry was helping create his firm's product line by designing two attractive cooking stoves -- the core of most firms' business.  The "May Flower" was a more conventional design than his 1851 stove, with the oven space definitely projecting under the firebox and front hearth plate, which was then the norm. 

Treadwell & Perry (Albany, NY). The Lowell Gas Burner: Patented by Mr. D.G. Littlefield ... manufactured by Treadwell & Perry, Eagle Stove Works, No. 110 Beaver Street (Albany: C. Van Benthuyten (sic), Printer; The Firm, 1853). 12 pp.

Catalog was used by John C. Welch, Saugutis (sic; Saugerties), NY -- ink signature, n.d.


[Location: Winterthur] 

Page images:

Perry extended his company's product line by buying the right to make and sell Dennis Littlefield's pioneer base burner stove.  This transaction led to numerous hard-fought patent cases twenty years later between the two men and the firms they dealt with, until in 1874 the Supreme Court finally decided in Perry's favour. 

First Surviving Account of the Firm's Product Line after Deciding to Concentrate on the Stove Business [1851/2?] and Change Its Name Accordingly [1853?]

This picture shows the Eagle Furnace a generation after the first picture, completely rebuilt.
By then Perry had outgrown it and moved to a much larger new plant.

Price List of the Eagle Stove Works, ... Albany, NY Treadwell & Perry (Albany: C. Van Benthuysen, 1854).
[Location: Albany Institute]

p. 2 TERMS OF PAYMENT -- One-half each first Jan'y and first April, 1855, or a discount for cash of one per cent. a month, counting from date of payment until Feb'y 15th, ensuing.

Hollow Ware will in all cases be a separate charge from the Stoves; also, Grid- irons, except when specified.

The prices will not be increased during the season, unless there shall be a material advance in iron and labor.

$40.00 per gross ton allowed for a fair quality of OLD CAST IRON, to be delivered at Albany before the first day of November, payable in Stoves, &c."

Smallest stove is a #5, $5-50; cheapest #7 = $6, most expensive = $47

59 named models or variations on models, pp. 3-8, incl. parlor & cannon stoves

(extras: coal linings; cast iron oven bottoms; gridirons, water backs, large rings; broiling covers; pan; soap stone linings; fire brick; self regulators; hot air fixtures)

pp. 8-9 Hollow Ware (Pot, Kettle & Spider = standard) -- Farmers Boilers ... Potash kettles -- etc. Variety!! (n.b. sizes)

pp. 10-11 non-stove hardware (Spittoons, Foot scrapers, well wheels, sinks, horse troughs, hoppers, urinals, cistern pumps, water coolers)

p. 11 Odd plates, 5.5 cents per lb.

pp. 12-13 Registers & Dampers (patented)

p. 14 Hods, shovels, ash tubs

STOVE FURNITURE -- tin, copper ... p. 15 tea & coffee kettles, steamers

Stove pipe (English / Russian)

[Catalogues and price lists are about the best way of knowing what a firm was actually making and selling at any particular time, and their formal conditions of doing business, because so few company records survive.  So at the outset of my research, before I acquired a digital camera, I spent quite a bit of time reading and transcribing them.  Advertisements in the press are also useful, but less comprehensive.  Catalogues from two of Perry's major competitors survive from the early 1850s and are available online: Vose & Co.'s Book of Stoves (Albany, 1853), and Rathbone & Kennedy's Circular (Albany, 1854),  By this time most stoves looked and worked much like other stoves, and most Albany and Troy stove firms produced similar broad product lines, so these probably give a good idea of Perry's stoves too.]  

Chapin, John R. The Historical Picture Gallery of Scenes and Incidents in American History ... Vol. 5 (Boston: D. Bigelow & Co., 1856).

p. 265 TREADWELL, PERRY & NORTON (Furnaces, Set Range) [ALBANY] advertisement.  

[Furnaces and set ranges were products for a narrower, more urban and elite market than the wood cooks which were Perry's and almost all of his competitors' most important sellers.  What their presence in his product line shows is that Perry, like almost all of the biggest stove firms, aimed to be able to supply any consumer need.]

Treadwell (W. & J.), Perry & Norton, Albany.
"Economist" cooking Stove, for wood or coal, with or without the sand oven (Albany?: 1859).
[Location: New York State Library]

[I transcribed almost the whole of this 24-page brochure, and will link it here rather than inserting it.  Its significance is that Perry seems to have been competing head-to-head with Fuller & Warren of Troy and their market-leading P.P. Stewart Stove, making similar claims for it -- economy, durability, excellence in baking, etc.  The "sand oven" was an oven with sand-filled insulating panels, designed to produce a more even temperature.  It had been invented by James Easterly of Albany in 1858, patent no. 20,133, and Perry had bought the patent from him.]

The Cultivator 8:1 (Jan. 1860): 38.

THE ECONOMIST COOKING STOVE, for Wood or Coal, with a Sand Oven, is the most valuable improvement that has been made in Cooking Stoves during the past 20 years. Do not fail to examine it! It is manufactured by 

Jan. 1, 1860. Albany._N.Y. and for Sale Everywhere.

Treadwell (W. & J.), Perry & Norton, Albany. 
Littlefield's Improved Coal Burner. Patented 1851 -- Improved 1853 & 1859. THE BEST PATTERN OF THE SELF-FEEDING & PERPETUAL BASE-BURNING STOVE! Manufactured and Sold to the Trade only by W. & J. Treadwell, Perry & Norton (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons & Co., c. 1859).  
[Location: New York State Library]

[inside front cover = Savage's Parlor Ash Shifter, Pat. 12 June 1859 -- for sifting indoors without dust]

p. 1 picture of Littlefield's very Gothic Base Burner

p. 3 "A STOVE which shall supply itself with fuel and keep up a continuous fire with very little attention, has long been a desideratum. ..."


happily unites many principles long known but never before brought together in such a simple and effective shape.

It is not a new thing, but has been before the public for several years -- has stood the test of actual trial under all circumstances..." [testimonials]

slow, steady fire -- 24 hrs -- "The dirt and dust caused in rooms by the constant renewal of fires is thus avoided, and the careful housekeeper saved much trouble."

gas consumer, too = economy & not in the room

p. 6 "It is tastefull in design. Not overloaded with ornaments or so roughed by deep carving as to be difficult to clean. The castings are made with great care, and are of the very best material and will wear well. Each stove has 12 mica windows, from which the light in the evening is very attractive."

pp. 8- Testimonials: Poughkeepsie -- from friends ... banker ... PO ... county officers

p. 11 Brundage Tompkins, A.B. Smith & Robert G. Hicks: "We have known one scuttle full of coal to keep a fire in the stove several days without touching it; and as to the economy of your stove, we are satisfied that in one winter we shall, in kindling wood alone, to say nothing of the labor of dumping and rekindling fire every morning, and the consequent injury to carpets and furniture, save a large proportion of the cost (the expense) of the stove. The constant, even temperature, at which this stove may be kept causes it to warm a large area without scorching or injuring the air about it."

Perry & Co. The Oriental: Improved base burning coal Stove Manufactured and Sold to the Trade only, by Perry & Co., (Late Treadwell & Perry,) ... Albany, NY. Sold at retail by S. & W. Hudson, Laurens, NY (Albany: The Company, 1866). Physical description: 20 p. : ill. ; 19 cm. 
[Location: New York State Library]

Inside front cover = diagram

pp. 1-3 setting up & use instructions


Premiums [listed]

Patents: Littlefield 24 Jan. 1854, 11 Dec. 1862, 18 Aug. 1863, May, 1856; & Samuel B. Sexton, 19 Apr. 1859; & reissues

"A stove which is a perpetual burner, which requires feeding but once a day, which radiates a gentle and delightful heat without burning the impurities in the air, which will 'keep fire' for one or more days without any attention, which is simple and easily managed, which does not clinker or clog with impure coal, which gives all the cheerfulness of an 'open fire,' and is economical in the use of fuel, and withal a powerful heater, cannot fail to meet with public favor.

Much study and experiment has been given to produce a stove combining all these qualities."

13 years' experience -- "the oldest house in that trade" -- now best Base Burner (matches advantages of p. 5 "'revertible flue' stoves, and without their liability to leak gas." ... increased power ... proportions & ornamentation 

p. 5 "We shall not ask the public to read a lengthy dissertation on 'the history of base-burning or horizontal draft stoves,' or to wade through the details of the various patents relating to them in which we are interested, for that class of literature and science is not particularly interesting to the public..." [dig at LITTLEFIELD]


"There is no more unpleasant task when rising from a warm bed on a cold morning, than to make up a fire in a coal stove..." [costly; smoke & dust] -- now "the day is not far distant when stoves constructed without this feature (continuous burning) will be utterly unsaleable."


"All persons who have suffered in a close room the unpleasant sensations experienced from inhaling air which has been heated by a cast-iron stove, in which the coal comes in direct contact with the exterior plates, will appreciate what is meant by this term.

Th air under such circumstances is dry and close, the oxygen having, to a considerable extent, been burned out of it, thus leaving it most unpleasant to the lungs, and vitally injurious to health. Stoves of this character can only be endured in bar-rooms, railway stations and such places that are more or less exposed to the external atmosphere, but in any case their consumption of fuel is enormous without corresponding results." {Burnt Air}

(Base Burner has a case around fire-pot)

"It is now generally admitted, that in giving off an atmosphere at once soft, healthful and delightful, the 'Oriental' stands at the head."

(pp. 7-14 missing)


"The conflicting claims existing between the subscribers in relation to the ownership and control of the rights within the States of New York and Connecticut, to manufacture and sell the Base Burning STOVE, an invention secured to DENNIS G. LITTLEFIELD, by letters patent ... and also for certain collateral improvements to some made and secured by SAMUEL B. SEXTON, of Baltimore, Md., have been so far harmonized that hereafter each party hereto has the right to manufacture in the city of Albany, and sell to any part of the United States, their respective Stoves...

The suits now pending of JOHN S. PERRY, Trustee, &c., against DENNIS G. LITTLEFIELD and IRA JAGGER, and against The Littlefield Stove Manufacturing Co., remain to be decided by the Court.

[This would take another eight years, eventually reaching the Supreme Court. Much of the confusion seems to have resulted from Treadwell, Perry & Norton's bankruptcy and Perry's desperate measures to buy the assets of the firm from the creditors, in his wife's name, in 1862.  That was when he sold and then repurchased the firm's rights to the valuable Littlefield patent, and Littlefield, in collaboration with Ira Jagger, one of Perry's former partners, began to make and sell stoves in his own right, thereby violating his own patent.  Perry is called a "trustee" because his formal role by 1866 was simply as his deceased wife's trustee.]

The injunction against the said Corporation has been vacated by virtue of a stipulation given by the said PERRY, TRUSTEE, &c. Whatever may be the result of this litigation, parties who may purchase any of the said Stoves will not be subject to any liability therefor, under any of the claims covered by said patents." [PERRY & LITTLEFIELD, signatories]

p. 18 Prices: Stoves $26 - $45 (9-13), with extension top 13-16 $50 - $65, Parlor Heaters 11-13 $45 - $60.

pp. 19-20 testimonials (NY, MD) 

Perry & Co. (Albany, NY).
1868. Oriental Stove Works. -- Catalogue of Stoves and Hot Air Furnaces
Manufactured by Perry & Co. (Albany: The Company, 1868). 48 pp.
FRONT COVER: 111 to 123 Hudson St. 92 to 102 Beaver St. Office, 115 Hudson St.
[Location: Winterthur]

{insert link to Flickr album of photographed pages}

Perry & Co. The New American Hot Blast Cooking Stove: with patent low enameled reservoir, also with patent low copper iron clad reservoir, and cast iron warming closet ... / manufactured by Perry & Co. (For sale by Stowell, Plowman & Co., Elmira, NY).

PUBLICATION DETAILS: Albany, N.Y. : The Firm, 1872 (Van Benthuysen Printing House) Physical description: 1 folded sheet (12 p.) : ill. ; 17 cm. Note: On cover: For sale by Stowell, Plowman & Co., Elmira, N.Y. 

[Location: New York State Library]


complicated game with dampers (pipe, back, & front) to light & control ... keeping the fire (overnight) ... don't over-fuel (or waste via too much draft) ... clean the flues (common problem: "always a disagreeable & troublesome job" -- facilitated) ... dustless ash-removal

THE GREAT AMERICAN HOTEL COOKING STOVE -- largest size has 1.5 barrel tank... "has all the modern improvements, is one of the most perfect that has ever been placed before the public, and will meet a want that has long been felt for a first class Stove for hotels and large boarding houses."


"It is probable that there are more American Cooks in use to-day, than any other first-class stove in the world. Th number cannot be less than 100,000. For seven years the New York State Agricultural Society awarded it the FIRST PREMIUMS, and in 1871 it took the SILVER MEDAL over all the best stoves in the country, at the 'Fair of all New England' held at the City of Lowell. During the years of 1870 and 1871 alone, it was awarded no less than 107 FIRST PREMIUMS, a flattering tribute that probably was never realized by any three stoves together. It is our aim, in this stove, to approximate perfection, as near as it is possible for human effort to accomplish; to this end we have spared no cost and no labor. In 1870 we made radical improvements in the Old American, which enabled us to increase more than 50 percent upon the sales of 1869. In 1871 we entirely rebuilt the stove, embodying many new features and thus producing


For the present year (1872) we have made still further progress...

We hereby challenge any and all constructions for cooking to a trial, either on the score of convenience, economy, or effectiveness, separately or combined.

(lists state fair prizes 1870-71: NY, VT, IL, MI, NEW ENG)

[pic. -- problem -- it just looks like a stove. Date; makers' name; trade names -- American, Hot Blast]


"The public acknowledgement of the superiority of the Am Hot Blast Cooking Stove over all others, as shown by the unprecedented number of premiums awarded to it at the different Fairs held the past two years throughout the country, has stimulated us to put forth the most strenuous efforts to improve still further (if possible) this far famed stove; and we are glad to say that our labors in this direction have been attended with the most successful results.

We have thoroughly remodeled the Stove, correcting every defect, and adding to its former merits by every means that an experience of 30 years could command.

We have long since made it our aim to surpass all other manufacturers, in the quality of our castings and in the perfection of the mounting.


SALES: 1870 c. 7,000 -- 1871 c. 8,000 -- 1872 "we expect to make it at least 10,000. A number unequalled in the annals of the trade."

now perfect, faultless -- "a standing challenge to the world" [no takers]

"We hold ourselves ready to try conclusions with any Stove, at any time; but we shall insist that the trial be made with such ordinary furniture as is generally used in a farmer's kitchen. A result obtained in the use of extraordinary appliances can possess little value as showing what the real merits of the Stove are.

With a given amount of fuel, and the ordinary articles of furniture, we agree to cook more pounds of meat and vegetables, make more pounds of bread, and boil more gallons of water than can be done with any other Stove."


"The radical defect in most of the Cooking Stoves in market is their CONTRACTED FLUES. Pattern makers, who in the main regulate these things, have a theoretical formula, which is almost universally applied. We take this formula, and add 50 per cent to it, increasing, of course, the weight very materially, but producing a Stove that will draw in any chimney in which smoke will ascend."

FIRE BOX -- ANTI-DUST feature "which will be appreciated by careful and tidy house keepers" -- THE SIFTING ASH GRATE "which cannot be applied to any other Stove in the State of New York without the manufacturers becoming liable to us for damages." ... "By the use of our improvement, what is generally a dirty and unpleasant job, can be accomplished without causing dust, and with very little trouble."

"In this day, when true economy is being more carefully studied..."

THE HOT BLAST = air warmed before enters fire box (economy: experiment -- 25%)


"These pieces are all carefully ground on an emery wheel..."

= ability keep fire overnight AND cook in morning with no more fuel


"are made unusually thick, and with heavy flanges, which insures their durability."

RESERVOIRS -- will boil within 20 minutes on wood, 30 mins. coal

"No improvement has been made in cooking stoves which is of more real value than this reservoir -- a constant supply of hot water, day and night, produced without extra fuel must be an untold blessing to any household.

But to enjoy this blessing, care must be used to select a stove that will REALLY heat the water, and not one that simply pretends to."

"In connection with this subject, we beg to call especial attention to something entirely new, and which we think will take the eye of every lady who shall see it -- viz:


This attractive finish is given in the same manner as upon slate mantels, if not surpassing in beauty the real mantel itself.

We use in this process the most expensive colors, and subject the pieces to three successive bakings, in a highly heated oven, and we can therefore promise that the surface will not only remain perfect, but will by frequent rubbings soon become polished like a mirror.

We have taken steps to secure the right to the exclusive use of this new and valuable process, as applied to this article.

THE CAST IRON WARMING CLOSET (food, plates & dishes, raising bread in cold weather)


in the new American are somewhat larger than in the former stove; they are ventilated strictly in accordance with scientific principles; the doors are closely fitted, and lined with bright tin plate, which acts as a reflector, and also as a non-conductor for the heat, thus retaining it in the oven where it is needed, instead of radiating it into the apartment where it is not.

There is no operation connected with a cooking stove, that is more disagreeable than


Many good stoves are condemned from the almost utter impossibility of removing the soot and ashes that will sooner or later collect, and become firmly baked to the plates, and particularly so at the end opposite the opening. ... [cover at BOTH ends] ... With this provision we think the Stoves will last for some years longer than when allowed, as in the old way, to become clogged." 

A.P. "Our State Institutions. -- XIV. The Albany Iron Foundries," New York Times 2 Jan. 1872, p. 5.

"Albany is far more a manufacturing than a trading city. With the one marked exception of lumber, her jobbing trade is comparatively small. ... [competition from NYC too strong] But this rapid and easy communication with New-York, while damaging to the jobbing trade of Albany, is very valuable and fostering to her manufacturing interests, and, in conjunction with unusual transportation facilities in other directions, gives her a commanding position from which to ship her goods to every purchasing district in the Union. Albany, moreover, has advantages for manufacturing which New-York has not. Rents are comparatively low; labor is abundant, and wages about twenty-five per cent. lower than in New-York. Still [because lower cost of living]..., labor is equally well paid. There is plenty of capital, and it is freely lent by private individuals, or by the banks, to respectable and responsible persons. Albany, therefore, wisely takes her pitcher to the well from which the water is easiest to draw, and throws herself, heart and soul, into her manufacturing business, and swears by stoves, hollow-ware, malt, beer, and boots and shoes.

Stoves are the piece de resistance of Albany manufacture. The proprietors of the foundries have a splendid business, and, by sending out traveling agents in all directions, compete successfully with the Western foundries of Cincinnati, St. Louis, and other cities. Thus Albany stoves cook the dinners and boil the tea-kettles of the lumberers of Maine, the settlers in Texas, and the pioneers on the extreme North-western frontier."

* 1828 as start of revolution: JOEL RATHBONE contracts w foundries of MANY & WARD (Eagle Air Furnace) instead of Penna/NJ (also lighter patterns)

* Albany as centre/origin other stove mfg centres

* 1830 max 1K tons stoves mfd/sold in Albany -- now 14 foundries, 20K tons, $3M, 1,500 men (=8,000 of Albany population supported)

"The proprietors of the foundries are always in search of new patterns and improvements. Probably $100,000 a year are expended in the construction of new patterns; while the improvements which have been made from time to time during the last 40 years are in keeping with the progress of other leading manufactures."

* start of BASE-BURNING principle -- 1853 > TREADWELL & PERRY, under LITTLEFIELD patent

* 1863 > John S. PERRY brings out improved patterns -- takeoff of demand ... 70-80K Oriental base-burners, + furnace of same name, + now cooking stoves -- $700Kpa

* JOHN F. RATHBONE $800Kpa of stoves & hollow-ware

* SAMUEL H. RANSOME c. $700Kpa

* both have CHICAGO branch houses -- PERRY in NYC

* other firms mentioned

* SHEAR, PACKARD & Co. sold out to PERRY in 1870 -- incl right to mfr/sell 'American' cooking stove, c. 60K since 1860

* visits RATHBONE's & PERRY's warehouses ... conversation w PERRY about nature/extent of demand [quotes] ... "extensive and almost insatiable" -- indispensable ... estimates c. 5 yr lifespan

[Advertorial, 1875]
Perry & Co. Stove Works Albany, N.Y. (Albany, NY: 1875).  
[Broadside in New York State Library; zoomable digital version at David Rumsey] 

From Asher & Adams' New Columbian Rail Road Atlas and Pictorial Album of American Industry ... (New York: Asher & Adams, 1875).

"The firm of John S. Perry & Co. ... are among the largest manufacturers of stoves in the world. The growth of their business is one of the many evidences of what can be accomplished by an active and well managed mercantile establishment. In 1804 [1808?] the making of plows and machinery of various kinds was commenced on the site of the present office, 115 Hudson Avenue, by Warner, Daniels & Co., and was continued till 1835; the concern having in the meantime changed owners twice. In the latter year the proprietors, W.V. Many & Co., added the manufacture of stoves and hollow-ware to the work in hand. In 1843 the establishment was purchased by Treadwell & Perry, and the business continued by them till 1851, when they decided to confine their business solely to the manufacture and sale of stoves. The present proprietors, John S. Perry, Nathan B. Perry and Andrew Dickey, assumed control in 1864, and by their sagacity, energy and perseverance have brought the business to its present proportions. The works cover an area of nearly 5 acres, and can turn out 50,000 stoves per annum. The consumption of coal per week exceeds 8 tons and the production of finished castings 30 tons [must be wrong -- 50,000 stoves = c. 5,000 tons = over 100 tons/week]. About 600 men are employed with a weekly pay of about $10,000.

199 varieties of stoves and heaters are made by this firm ... including 83 of cook stoves and heaters, 66 of parlor stoves, and 50 of heaters, besides an endless variety of hollow ware, registers, copper and tin work. To keep pace with the requirements of the times Messrs. Perry & Co. are constantly bringing out new patterns of all classes. ... [Argand esp. main brand] The establishment gained much reputation in the manufacture of base burning stoves, which originated with them [no mention of Dennis Littlefield!] in 1853. Their fame now extends across the continent from New York to San Francisco. In every place accessible by rail or wagon their wares are to be found. Recently a dealer from Montana, while in Albany, bought 100 cook stoves, and 250 of Perry & Co.'s parlor stoves. Within the last two years a considerable trade has sprung up in Japan... The original location on Hudson St, containing 55,000 feet, has been utilized in every possible manner. A substantial brick building, 172 feet in length and five stories high, standing upon the street, gives room for the offices, sample rooms, &c. The sample room occupies the whole area of the second floor, and afford a fine opportunity for the display of the various stoves, ranges and furnaces made by the establishment. The offices are fitted up in excellent style, with every convenience. The shipping, financial and accounts departments are so arranged as to give every facility for the transaction of business and for communication with one another. Other buildings adjoining the main one are arranged for the accommodation of pattern makers, pattern fitters, carpenters, tin and copper-smiths, cleaners of castings and stove mounters while a large shop well lighted and ventilated is reserved for the moulders (sic), numbering here about 70. ... [outgrown: so 82,000 sq ft foundry on Grand St. + 90 more moulders "thus enablg them to more than double their yearly productions (sic)" & another opposite at Broad & Grand = 74,000 + 60 -- i.e. moulders = 220 of 600 "giving direct support to not less than 3,000 of the people of Albany. The two Grand Street foundries are connected with the offices in Hudson Avenue by telegraph, thus combing the advantages of concentration of mind with diffusion of space.

It has ever been a cardinal principle with this firm to do well whatever they attempt. Their patterns and designs are all made in their own shops under their own directions, and to this department the most attention -- sometimes extending to months on one special point -- is uniformly given. No stove is allowed to appear until the patterns are as perfect as they can be made. When after much exhaustive experiment the patterns are completed, the next step is to make the castings. To this department, also, great attention is given. The most competent foremen and inspectors are provided, whose sole duty it is to see that not one imperfect piece goes into the finished work. In the mounting department the most complete machinery is used, and no stove is accepted until it has passed under a rigid scrutiny.

With this excellence of work it is not surprising that their stoves and other wares should have acquired great popularity, though this is also largely attributable to the new and useful inventions they have from time to time introduced. They are the owners of all the controlling patents for the 'Clinkerless Grate,' or 'Anti-Clinker,' so called, and of the devices for illuminating the base sections of stoves; patents which they do not wish to monopolize, however, but offer to other manufacturers on liberal terms, believing that they thus further the interests of the public and promote the general prosperity of the trade.

For years this firm have felt obliged to keep up a branch house in New York, as that is the most convenient shipping port in the US, and during the season it is almost impossible to supply their goods from Albany fast enough.

* NY store -- mgr C.R. Adams -- St George Bldg, 66 Beekman St -- "The building is of iron, painted white, and presents a graceful and imposing front to the passer-by." -- opened Dec. 1870 -- 30 x 100 ft ... "On the 1st & 2d floors are the offices & salesrooms, the other 4 floors & cellar being filled with goods, of which they carry a stock of about $75,000.

A prosperous & successful business can only be developed by enterprise, skill and honest worth. Such success as Messrs. Perry & Co. have attained is a proud monument for them. More, it is a beacon light for the young. An ever present aim of this firm has been to make only the best possible articles, to always amply fulfil every representation made as to the superior excellence of their goods. Let this same principle be carried out by all manufacturers and business men, and we would have more marked success and fewer failures to record.

Neither pictures nor words of ours can convey to the mind of the reader the merit of the different varieties of stoves manufactured by this firm so well as does the fact of their universal use.

The great number of kinds and styles produced and kept in stock by them, will readily enable the purchaser to select something that will just suit.

One of the chief sources of prosperity in our country is found in its manufacturing industry, and a wise government will, therefor, by every means in its power, protect and foster it."


  • top LH Argand parlor oven stove (w. urn swung aside & flat pot on top); 
  • top M Fire Place Heater; 
  • top RH Argand Parlor Furnace; 
  • middle: Argand double oven stove (size 8 on fire door, Argand on oven door, 1874); 
  • bottom -- main works -- "Oriental & American Stove Works"

"The Finest Stoves. Perry & Co., of Albany, N.Y.," Chicago Daily Tribune 24 July 1875, p. 5.

* Recent establishment of "house" at 15-17 Lake St. -- mgr Charles E. Clark, "a gentleman most favorably known to the trade in the West."

* "very attractive" warerooms -- "Surprise and gratification is generally expressed at finding such an advance in the construction and artistic beauty of these articles so indispensable to the comfort and well-being of every household.

The cooking-stove is unquestionably the most important article of furniture in every dwelling, and, next to this, in our rigorous climate, the heating stove. It cannot be doubted that heat is, if possible, more important than food; and it is, therefore, wise to provide those constructions which produce the best results. True economy, in money and in health, is found in the use of the very best stoves that the market affords.

Messrs. Perry & Co. were the pioneers in the manufacture of the celebrated base-burners, of which the Argand is the crowning effort. More than thirty thousand of those stoves have been manufactured and sold by this firm during the past two years a sale unprecedented in the history of stoves. This pattern killed nearly every base-burner in the market, and led to the scores of imitations which have since appeared.

Th latest firsst-class cooking-stove produced by the firm is the Cunard, which may truly be called the most perfect of its kind yet produced. In its proportion and ornamentation it is faultless; in the perfection of its castings and finish it is admirable; while in its improved construction there is nothing more to be desired. It should be seen and carefully examined by all who desire to have the best and the most elegant cooking-stove in the world.

This firm present some 50 or 60 varieties of stoves from the very lowest to the highest price. They can suit any market. They are taking the lead of the trade in Chicago, as they have done for many years in the Cities (sic) of Albany and New York. They have ever believed in and acted upon the principle of producing first-class goods, and to this is mainly due their great success. The trade should secure the sale of the goods manufactured by this firm."

[This is clearly a sponsored article.  Curious -- apparently the intended readership is "the trade" -- jobbers, harware and furniture dealers, stove and tin shops -- but the Tribune will be read by thousands of potential customers, and they seem to be addressed directly too.]

"Stoves. Perry & Co.," Chicago Daily Tribune 1 Jan. 1881, p. 16.

* PERRY & Co.'s 15-17 Lake St. branch source of info on trade in DT'sannual review

* "The firm was established in 1835, and is one of the oldest as well as the largest stove manufacturing concerns in the country, employing 1,400 men exclusively in the manufacture of their own goods.

Their assortment is the largest made by any one concern in the world, comprising nearly 400 different stoves and ranges.  They make a specialty of first-class ranges and base-burning heating stoves, but also sell an immense number of the cheaper cook and heating stoves throughout all parts of the West, being enabled by reason of their very large capacity to manufacture stoves suited to all the different markets of the West at the lowest possible cost."

* 1873-> Argand base-burner: "revolutionizing the trade." -- 100,000+ sold & W {reref HJH; = ??} & "in actual use.  This stove, as now made, is really a work of art, being ornamented throughout with nickel plate, in chaste and elegant design."

* CHICAGO branch 1875-> now trade of "vast proportions" -- at least HALF of the firm's output

60,000 sq ft of floor space -- 18,000 stove capacity

"This enormous capacity was fully tested during the past year, to the great advantage of their customers, as the firm were enabled to fill orders promptly long after the stocks of other houses of less capacity were broken."

1880: His son John Treadwell reflects on joining the family firm.

pp. 58-9 JOHN TREADWELL PERRY, son of John Strong and Jeannie (Willard),
was born at Saratoga Springs, N. Y., on May 24, 1853, but entered college 
// from Albany, where he fitted at the Albany Academy. On August 1, 
following graduation, he entered his father's establishment of Perry & Co., 
stove-founders at Albany, as a clerk, and has remained in the business ever 
since. He says that volumes could be filled with what he has not done and has 
not been, but that the above covers his entire affirmative history. 

Address: 115 Hudson Avenue, Albany, N. Y.

1883 Biographical Article:

Jonathan Tenney, New England in Albany (Boston: Crocker & Co., 1883), pp. 101-2.;view=1up;seq=107

John S. Perry, b. Dec. 17, 1815, in Farmington, Ct.; came to Albany in 1830, as clerk in crockery store of H. & C. Webb & Co.; in 1843 went into the manufacture of stoves and machinery; 10 years later confined his business to improving, making and selling stoves, which, with different partners, he has continued ever since, with remarkable success. Since //p. 102 1864 his partners have been his cousin, Nathan B. Perry, and Andrew Dickey, from Wilton, N. H. Their annual product of stoves has gone up, in 40 years, from 500 tons to 12,000 tons, now exceeding any other foundry in the world. Mr. P. was the first to introduce the base burner, which has culminated in the argand burner, which has revolutionized the coal-heating stoves of this country. He was for 3 years pres. of the U. S. National Asso. of Stove Manufacturers, which he helped organize. He is prominent in the financial and religious organizations of the city.

Perry & Co. (Albany, NY) Catalogue & Price-List of Stoves, Ranges, &c. (Albany: The Company/ Charles Van Benthuysen & Sons, 1885). 152 pp.

[Albany -- Chicago 15-17 Lake St. -- New York City 84 Beekman St.]

p. 2 "For the convenience of our patrons we have combined our Catalogue and Price-List, which we are pleased to present for their careful & thorough inspection. ... many new and desirable patterns are illustrated, together with improvements in the construction and ornamentation of previous patterns.

In order to produce goods at a minimum cost the product must be large. Our unequalled facilities enables (sic) us to manufacture and offer a line of goods suitable to the wants of every section, which has enabled us to secure trade from every state and territory of our ever growing country, creating a demand for our goods requiring a large annual product, which so reduces the cost that we are enabled to offer prices that are very favorable.

We have adopted the long price system, subject to discount great enough to net our goods as low as equal grades can be bought for elsewhere.

With our quotations of discounts we will be glad to name the rate of freight at which our goods can be transported to your place, or your nearest shipping point, if desired. Our arrangements with railway and other transportation companies are such that we can secure the most favorable freight rates, enabling us to compete successfully for the trade of the most distant sections as well as that of our immediate vicinity."

p. 3 BRANCH HOUSES Chicago -- John B. Hughes Resident Partner, NY Willard C. Perry [younger son of John S.] Manager

p. 4 TERMS

"4 months from date of invoice, or 5 per cent discount for cash, if paid within 30 days from date of invoice. All Time Bills to be settled by note the first of each month. Interest allowed on all payments made after 30 days at the rate of 1 per cent per month.

All bills payable in NY par funds, without allowance for exchange or express charges.

If the above terms are not complied with, the account will become due and collectible (sic) at the end of 30 days.

Claims for deductions to be made within 10 days after receipt of goods.

After obtaining a receipt for goods 'shipped in good order,' our responsibility ceases, and claims for damage or breakage must be made on the transportation company.


p. 40 QUINCY -- "the most desirable cheap Range that is offered. It is very largely sold, the number reaching several thousand annually. It has been improved in many ways from time to time, as the demands of the trade seemed to require."

p. 49 AMERICAN -- "bears the name of what was once the most popular and universally satisfactory Stove on the market."

1886: The Semi-Official Hagiography:

Howell, George R. & Tenney, Jonathan, eds. (Assisted by Local Writers) 
Bi-Centennial History of Albany: History of the County of Albany, N.Y., 
from 1609 to 1886 with Portraits, Biographies and Illustrations 
(NY: W.W. Munsell & Co., 1886).
p. 568: The Company
The Perry Stove Company, doing business on Hudson avenue, and at Sing Sing, 
is an old established concern, the senior member, John S. Perry, commencing in 
1843. He then used the old foundry at no. Beaver street, his partner being 
William C. Treadwell, the firm name Treadwell & Perry. 
In 1860, the firm was dissolved, and shortly thereafter organized under the 
name of Perry, Treadwell & Norton. Upon the dissolution of this firm, Messrs. 
Treadwell & Perry and Ira Jagger continued the business until 1864, when the 
present firm was organized. The members are John S. Perry, Nathan B. Perry, 
Andrew Dickey (of Sing Sing) and John Hughes (of Chicago). The buildings now 
in use were built in 1856. The bulk of the manufacturing is now done at Sing Sing. 
The first stove manufactured by Treadwell & Perry was in 1843, and was named 
the "Premium," but was more generally known as the "Step Stove," from the fact 
of its rear boiler being raised. They now make several leading kinds of stoves. 
Annually they make from 8,000 to 10,000 tons of stoves, equal to 75,000 to 
90,000 stoves, representing a value of $1,250,000. About 1,500 workmen are 
employed, including those working at Sing Sing.]

p. 570: The Man
{tba -- can't get the text to format as paragraphs...} <> John S. Perry is not only eminent as a business man, but as a citizen largely interested in things touching the prosperity and advancement of the city. He has occupied this position so long and with such public respect, that a sketch of his life naturally belongs to and makes a part of the history of our city and county. Such a history will always be read with interest and pleasure, not only as an example of encouragement for young men preparing to act in responsible and honorable positions in life, but to those more advanced in a business career; because, the success which one man has attained, others may hope to achieve, by imitating his example, making true the oft-repeated maxim, that biography is history and philosophy teaching by example.
<> John Strong Perry was born in Farmington, Conn., December 17, 1815. This beautiful town is situated on the river of the same name, with scenery which has been the admiration of tourists, and has excited the imagination of the poet and painter for many generations. It is a lovely stream, blending the pleasures of angling, fowling, boating, and other aquatic sports, presenting to the young advantages for physical exercise that develop the health and strength of well-formed manhood. Mr. Perry traces an honorable ancestry far back in the annals of New England history. His maternal grandfather, a descendant of the Pilgrims, was Governor John Treadwell, LL.D. , of Connecticut, the last of the Puritan line of Governors. His paternal grandfather was the Rev. David Perry, of Richmond, Mass., who was settled over the Congregational Church in that town for about forty years. Indeed, his ancestors on both sides, including the Pomeroys, of Northampton, Mass.; the Lords, of Colchester, Conn.; and the Leavenworths, of Woodbury, Conn., are all of the old Mayflower stock. Mr. Perry's Christian name, John Strong, is derived from a relative, the Rev. John Strong, a Puritan minister of Connecticut.
<> Mr. Perry is a self-made man, the successful artificer of his own fortune, which he has carved out by that indomitable energy and practicability which to young men is of more value than wealth.
<> He began his education in the district schools in his native town, where he made good progress in his studies; so good that, when, at the age of thirteen, circumstances compelled him to leave school, he was prepared to enter a counting-house in Hartford, Conn., where at that early age he began his business career.
<> After remaining there for some time, he entered the store of his uncle, John B. Perry, in Lee, Mass., where after spending several months, he came to Albany, which was destined to be his future home.
<> [p. 571] Arriving in that city on the 23d of October, 1830, he entered the crockery store of that old and well-known firm composed of Henry L. and Charles B. Webb and Alfred Douglas, honorable and high-minded merchants, from whom he received during thirteen years that rigid and thorough training that tended so largely to his future success.
<> From 1843 to 1860 he was largely engaged in the manufacture and sale of stoves, but from well-remembered causes, which wrecked so many prominent houses at that time, his firm, known under the name of Treadwell, Perry & Norton, was compelled to suspend. This embarrassment, however, did not discourage him; he still had the confidence of the public, and what is, perhaps, of equal value, unconquerable energy. These advantages soon enabled him to resume business, and so successfully, that in a few years it far exceeded any former limits. It will be readily perceived that this success was due to Mr. Perry's habits and business capabilities. His experience enlarged his views of the relations of business, quickened his insight into difficult problems, rendering him more vigilant in keeping well informed in all the details of business life. Few men are more accomplished in the particulars which make the successful business man than he.
<> Notwithstanding the great demands upon his time, he allows nothing to suffer for lack of attention. Having devoted, through many years, the early hours of morning and late hours of the night to his pursuits, he may justly be considered one of the most industrious and laborious of men. Promptness and method are among his most prominent characteristics, and it is in a large degree owing to these qualities that he has been enabled to accomplish so much. By his quick perception and intuition, his decisions, soon reached, are rarely wrong.
<> Identified from an early period of his life with the stove interests of the country, he has perhaps done as much as any man to make that industry a power of acknowledged influence. Chief among the causes that have contributed to this result, has been the formation of the National Association of Stove Manufacturers, of which he held the office of First President for several years, the object being to cement more closely, both in business and social bonds, the different members of the trade throughout the United States. In the formation and development of this organization, Mr. Perry has been one of the chief actors and its early and persistent advocate. He saw other trades rising rapidly in wealth and influence by similar organizations, and he asked the co-operation of the stove trade for the same end, believing that the principle of co-operation was a correct one, and that "in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom." Having thus determined upon the course to be pursued, he was not content to sit and theorize, but threw himself heartily into the work both by voice and pen. Under his auspices six or more important conventions were held in different parts of the country, and more than twenty since under his successors, and the result is that to-day the stove manufacture is one of our most important industries, and its history is replete with interest. ...
<> Among the great establishments in Albany which are regarded as truly representative, is the house of Perry & Co., composed of John S. Perry and Nathan B. Perry, of Albany; Andrew Dickey, of Sing Sing; and John B. Hughes, of Chicago, Ill., their works being one of the oldest for the manufacture of iron-castings north of the Highlands.
<> Warner Daniels, their early predecessor, made stoves as early as 1813. The immediate successors of Mr. Daniels were William V. Many & Co., before mentioned, who were also pioneers in this business. ... In 1843, William B. Treadwell and John S. Perry succeeded to the business, and conducted it with some intervening changes until 1862, since which it has been carried on by Perry & Co. The offices and ware-rooms of the firm are three, viz.: 115 Hudson avenue, Albany; 84 Beekman street, New York; and 15 & 17 Lake street, Chicago, Ill. The Albany works employ about 250 men and produce 3,000 tons of stoves annually, and the works in Sing Sing Prison employ 900 convicts and 200 citizens, and produce in the same time 6,500 tons, thus giving a total production of 9,500 tons, or about 90,000 stoves, representing in sales about $1,250,000. The market for these goods is not confined to the United States, orders coming from almost every part of the world -- from China, Japan, Germany, Norway, Turkey, Africa, South America and other countries being of considerable importance. <> Such are Mr. Perry's manufacturing interests, and such his extended relations to this great American industry, relations which, as we have said, give Albany a place in the stove business second to none in the Union. <> We will now speak of his character as a citizen.<> In 1846, he was united in marriage to Mary J. Willard, of Pittsburgh, N.Y. Eight children were born to this marriage, four of whom survive. Mrs. Perry died in 1864. <> His second marriage took place in 1867, to Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Thompson, of Woburn, Mass., by [p. 572] whom he had one daughter. This lady dying in 1869, his third marriage took place, in 1871, to Adaline L. Jones, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who still survives. <> His eldest daughter is the wife of Rev. William Tatlock, D.D., of Stamford, Conn. <> Mr. Perry has long been a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Albany, one of the oldest churches in the United States, and is now Senior Warden of that Parish. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Young Men's Christian Association, and of the Albany Philharmonic Society; also one of the Board of Trustees of the Albany Railroad Christian Association. <> He is a Director of the National Exchange Bank of Albany, and a Trustee of the Albany Exchange Savings Bank. <> It is thus seen that Mr. Perry's life has not only been active and enterprising, but useful; devoted to the promotion of religion, education, and whatever tends to the refinement and cultivation of the capital city. He has never sought nor accepted political preferment of any kind. He divides his time, to a certain extent, in agricultural pursuits, which tends largely to the preservation of his health. [[p. 331: Guernsey Cattle -- "There are in the county some fine animals. Those belonging to the herd of John S. Perry have been selected with great care from direct importations or progeny of imported stock."] <> He is what may be termed a well-preserved man; vigorous, both mentally and physically. He possesses many attractive social qualities and a fondness for society, in which he is a favorite. <> Mr. Perry is very fond of music and books, and an appreciative and somewhat diligent reader of some of the best authors. There are very few men whose life, habits and associations tend more directly to rational and high-minded enjoyments; it is therefore no affectation to say that, in a work like this, which contains a record of the men and of the events which make up the history of the capital city, no one is entitled to more honorable mention in it than this gentleman.

The Skies Darken:

"Stove Works Burned Out," New York Times 30 May 1888, p. 6. 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- PERRY Stove Co., moved 1887 (1 yr +) to South Pittsburg, 35 mi below Chattanooga on the Tenn. river --

"Late Saturday night their works were burned, probably by an incendiary, entailing a loss of $200,000, at least one-quarter of which amount was for patterns.  The insurance is for $178,000, in 30 companies.  Four acres of buildings were swept away, and the town had a very narrow escape, losing one business block.  The company is in doubt as to what they will do, but it is supposed the works will be rebuilt."

Another Bankruptcy:

"Perry & Co. Get an Extension," New York Times 13 Mar. 1889, p. 3.

LIABILITIES c. $330,000, "a large part of which was borrowed money" -- extensions of 6-12-18-24-30 months -- committee of creditors, Albany-Boston -- "The firm's indebtedness is to be liquidated by the collection of the bills and accounts receivable due the firm, which will require considerable time.

It is said that Mr. John S. Perry has also transferred all his individual property, estimated at $80,000, to the committee of creditors as security for the payment of the firm's debts. The Perry Stove Company has succeeded to the bus of the firm. The company was incorporated Jan. 1, 1889, with an authorized capital stock of $500,000, and take the plant and foundry of the old firm, valued at $345,000.

The firm of Perry & Co. was known from one end of the country to the other, and, it is said, did the largest business in their line in the US. The firm was composed of the venerable John S. Perry, who is over 70 years of age, and his cousin Nathan B. Perry, who was admitted in 1864."

Troubles Continue:

"In Prison for Embezzlement. A.A. Thompson of the Perry Stove Company 
Charged with Taking $19,000," New York Times 1 Sept. 1893, p. 5.

* employee at NY agency, Beekman St.

* worked for PERRY since 14 (now 29) -- errand boy, Sup't of NY agency since age 19 -- formerly Lieut in 23rd Regiment, Brooklyn

* suspicions aroused: "a frequenter of race tracks and frequently bet large sums of money."

* salary $5Kpa

* John T. Perry (company president) offers not to press charges IF Thompson's friends would find the money

A New Life after Stovemaking:

John Treadwell Perry, B.A. 1873.
Born May 24, 1853, at Saratoga Springs, N Y
Died July 4, 1927, at Twilight Park, N Y

Father, John Strong Perry, a manufacturer, member of firm of Perry & Co. 
(stoves), which he founded in 1836 [1866], son of Erastus and Clanna 
(Chittenden) Perry, descendant of John Perry, who came to America from 
England in 1632 and settled at Roxbury, Mass. Mother, Mary Jane (Willard) 
Perry, daughter of Josiah and Mary (Brown) Willard, descendant of Simon 
Willard, who came to Cambridge, Mass , from England in 1638.
Albany (NY) Academy Member Delta Kappa, Phi Theta Psi, and Psi Upsilon, 
graduate member Wolf's Head. In 1873, entered his father's business as a clerk 
and remained until the business was discontinued in 1897; secretary & treasurer 
of Perry Stove Company, which bought in 1889 the foundry property previously 
owned by Perry & Company, with Albany Savings Bank from 1899 until 
his retirement from active business in 1917, holding the position of assistant 
secretary for many years; elected an alumni trustee of Albany Academy 1900, 
made a permanent member of the board 1903, and served as its clerk 1911-17; 
trustee of Albany Orphan Asylum since 1908; vestryman of St. Peter's Church 
(Episcopal), Albany, for thirty-three years and of All Angels Church, Twilight 
Park, where he had a summer home, since 1922, president of Yale Alumni 
Association of Northeastern New York 1909-1911.
Married January 22, 1890, m Albany, Gertrude, daughter of Philip and Caroline 
(Crane) TenEyck, and sister of Henry J TenEyck, '79 One son, Henry TenEyck, 
'12. Death, due to apoplexy, occurred after an illness of ten days. 
Buried in Albany Rural Cemetery. Survived by wife and son.
Family links: 

Spouse: Gertrude Ten Eyck Perry (1861 - 1940)
Children: Henry Ten Eyck Perry (1890 - 1973)

Collateral Damage:
Carhart, Lucy A.M. & Nelson, Charles A. Genealogy of the Morris family: descendants of Thomas Morris of Connecticut (##: A.S. Barnes Co., 1911).  

p. 371 NORMAN WILSON STORER, born January 11, 1868, married, June 14, 1899, Mary Elizabeth Wyman Perry. She was the daughter of John S. Perry, of Albany, N. Y., and was born June 10, 1869. Her father was a wealthy stove manufacturer, who failed while she was still at school and died leaving his family without support. Elizabeth taught at St. Agnes' School in Albany for several years, went to Boston and took a two years' course of training at the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, where she graduated in 1896. After this she was for three years a director of the gymnasium at the Central Y. W. C. A. in Pittsburg, Pa. She died January 14, 1908, after a happy married life of less than nine years. 

A Reflection on Business Failure:

Hazelton, George H. "Reminiscences of Seventeen Years Residence in Michigan, 1836-1853," Michigan Historical Collections 21 (1894): 370-417.

p. 418 The world knows little of the fearful struggles that business men are compelled to pass through in times of great financial disturbances, which have agitated the country at intervals, during all the past ages, and will in all human probability continue to, so long as credit and ambitious men are found in the business world. As I look back over the battle field of this class of men, what do I see? Occasionally men who have reared monuments to their names, such as Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia; Peter Cooper, of New York; Johns Hopkins, of Baltimore; Leland Stanford, of California, and a few others equally well known.

While comparatively few have acquired vast fortunes, there is a large class who, after the toil of years, find themselves with moderate fortunes, and retire to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

These two classes are not more than twenty-five per cent of the business world, while three fourths, at least, have been slain on the battle field and buried out of sight.

However valiant they may have been in fighting for their creditors, their families and friends, still there is no remembrance of them, unless it be in the hearts of their families, or at the head of their graves, and ofttimes not there.

The conclusion of the whole matter is, as Solomon the preacher hath said: "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought and on the labor that I had labored to do, and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun."