Plain Street, which once ran west from South Pearl between Hudson and Hamilton, is no more, destroyed by the South Mall Arterial.
However, if you were creating a document with the intention of making multiple copies of it, you had a few options other than letterpress. Mimeograph made high-quality, black-ink documents created by typing on a stencil; ditto machines, which anyone my age remembers well from school quizzes, had both distinctive purple ink and a delightful smell from the duplicating fluid.
In Albany in 1940, there were a number of full-service mimeographing firms. They also provided addressing services, which required that every address be typed onto an individual stencil, which was framed in cardboard and then run through a machine called an Addressograph. There were also mimeos and dittos in thousands of offices.
Apparently there’s still quite a market for Hartshorn shade rollers, and their ads only got better.
Christian Weeber was an inventor and tinkerer who built a variety of things in his Albany shop in the early part of the last century: handbuilt automobiles, some of the earliest automobile mufflers, gasoline-powered electric generators, a type of railroad rail. And with his brother Emil, he made and sold bicycles. Weeber had a variety of locations for all his ventures, which were going on at the same time: 170-172 Central Ave., 47-53 Bradford Street, 250 Sherman Street.
Unfortunately, this jack of all trades is forgotten today.
In Dr. Morse’s American Geography published in 1789, he says, “Albany is said to be an unsociable place … To form a just idea of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, we must confine ourselves to the Dutch, who being much the most numerous, give the tone to the manners of the place.”
in 1795, the Duke de la Rochefoucault-Liancourt visited Albany, and gave his views of the inhabitants as follows: “I was by no means displeased at leaving Albany. The Albanians, to speak generally … are the most disagreeable beings, I have hitherto met with in the United States.”
In 1800 Gorham A. Worth writes, “Albany was indeed Dutch, in all its moods and tenses; thoroughly and inveterately Dutch. The buildings were Dutch – Dutch in style, in position, attitude and aspect. The people were Dutch, the horses were Dutch, and even the dogs were Dutch.”
(Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association, Volume 10: “Real Burial Place of Lord Howe” 1911)
Or not, because look at that disease. I’ve posted this image from an 1860-something Albany directory before over on My Non-Urban Life, but it deserves a second look. I don’t know what’s wrong with
the eye on the right, but I’ll say this: I don’t want it. Also, whatever
the surgical cure would have been in the time of the Civil War, I don’t
want that, either. Catarrh (excessive buildup or discharge of mucus in the nose or throat) was practically a blessing compared to the other ailments that Dr. Liston treated in his offices on Grand Street. I’m not saying he wasn’t a good doctor, I’m just saying there may have been a reason he had the largest selection of artificial eyes in the country.