Albany

Treadwell Seal Skins

The importance of the fur trade to the very existence of Albany cannot be overstated. Although Killian van Rensselaer tried to promote agriculture and tobacco-planting, and the Dutch East India Company tried to maintain strict control over the fur trade, it was river transport and an abundance of beaver within two hundred miles or so …

John Ferris Brushes

From 1940, an ad for John Ferris Jr., manufacturer of brushes since 1833. He was one of what seems to have been simply hundreds of businesses on Broadway at the time. It’s hard to imagine how different it must have been. It’s still a very busy place, but it’s all office work. No one’s making …

Purity at the Capitol

You’ll be shocked to learn that in the 1890s, there was scandal about the legislature. The water supply, however, was above reproach, thanks to the efforts of the Albany Steam Trap Company. “Every drop used there now for drinking purposes is as pure as if it trickled from ‘The icicle which hangs on Dian’s temple.’”

The Fire That Time

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 …