Category Archives: Albany

Gimme those hot 88s!

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As mentioned in the previous post, there was a bit of a fire at the Brandow Publishing house in 1891, just as “The New Albany” was set to roll off the presses. But not just presses and type were consumed in that conflagration . . . numerous innocent pianos died that day as well. And others just suffered fire damage. Again, lemons, lemonade.

“Did any one say that the wives and daughters of 5,000 of Albany’s best men are not interested in pianos?” Not just sexist, but oddly specific. But who can blame Frank Thomas for trying anything to off load his remaining stock. Perhaps smoke inhalation led him to see destroying angels and Dame Rumor, but again I offer evidence that ad copy was once very different.

The Fire That Time

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Just before the publication of the first number of “The New Albany” in 1891, Brandow Printing Company’s plant was consumed by fire. Type was made of lead then, and lead melts at a pretty low temperature, so when a printing plant burned, there wouldn’t be much left. But the sufficiently insured Brandow turned lemons into lemonade and took the opportunity to establish “as modern and progressive a printing office as the ingenuity of man can devise.”  Every press, new! Every font of type, new! Just imagine.

This fire also led to a great piano fire sale, about which more anon.

The Albany Filter

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Not much advertising copy throws in a dig at Dutchmen these days, so for that alone this ad from the Albany Steam Trap Co., 1891, is worth a look. But it’s also a reminder of the Albany of yesteryear, the Albany that is known to be fastidious, the Albany that has no sympathy with humbugs, the Albany whose verdict commands attention anywhere. (Well, that last one may be more true than we would like.)

The Albany Filter was apparently a water-cleansing miracle from the Albany Steam Trap company. A steam trap is generally part of a boiler system, for discharging condensate and noncondensable gases. So how did they move from this piece of heating and plumbing hardware to water filtration? No idea. The point is, they named it for Albany, and were certain that was the best name they could give it.

“There is no excuse for drinking impure water. It is a mere matter of choice. You drink it, or you use an Albany Filter, and you don’t drink it. Which do you prefer?”

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The Cans Opened.

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Can’t resist another ad from Thepure Baking Powder Company. Hoxsie agrees that ladies should know which baking powder retains its strength until used, and that the housewives of the land are fit to decide upon the proper course to pursue. 8.33 percent more leavening gas than the Royal! How much leavening gas would your baking powder create in the middle of a hot loaf? Well?

Comment is unnecessary. All grocers sell Thepure.

Thepure Baking Powder

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Wow. From the land of overheated advertising copy comes this wonder from “The New Albany,” Vol. 1, No. 1 (and perhaps the only one) from Brandow Publishing, 1891. And right on the front page is this paean to the marvels of baking powder. “If there is any one product of the New Albany in which its citizens take pardonable pride, it is THEPURE BAKING POWDER. Two years ago the name was unknown — it was not even invented . . .”

“Backed by Albany capital, pushed with Albany enterprise, and indorsed by twenty thousand Albany house-keepers, it was sent broadcast into the world with the home stamp of hearty approval.”


This marvel of Albaniness was made by the Albany Baking Powder Co. at 17-19 Green Street.  Why was it “Thepure”? Because it was free from adulteration, and no alum. There are still collectible trade cards to be found on the internet, and this wonderful old receipt.