Albany

Two cities can play at that game

In the old days, cities took their reputations as manufacturing centers very seriously, and so did the companies. When inter-company (and intra-family) rivalry broke out in the burgeoning bell industry, one company took pains to point out that only their bells were actually made in Troy; that other pack of scoundrels (who dominated the industry) …

Scientist, Practical Dyer.

In the 1850s and 1860s, Robert McFarlane was the editor of Scientific American. “A genuine Scot, from Rutherglen, near Glasgow,” he was instrumental in promoting the benefits of Gail Borden’s invention of condensed milk, and wrote an important treatise on dyeing and calico printing. By 1870, he had left the big city life and editing …

Fix that umbrella!

Daniel Weaver of 49 Green Street was not only a manufacturer and dealer in umbrellas and parasols, he also re-covered and repaired them. An Albanian from 1870 was likely hard pressed to imagine why you would throw away an umbrella when it could be repaired; today we can hardly imagine how you could repair one …

Where to get your tassels

McEntee, Dunham & Co. imported both French and American paper hangings, and manufactured and dealt in window shades, shade fixtures, and picture cords and tassels. If you know anything about Victorian decorating, you know that someone who could corner the tassel market would live like a king. in 1870, McEntee’s shop was on Green Street, …

Mimeo

Kids, prepare for a shock. It used to be that when you needed a copy of something, you couldn’t just pop it in a Xerox machine. Before the advent of xerography in the 1960s, there actually was no way (short of full-scale printing methods or photographic duplication) to make a copy of an existing document. …

Hartshorn’s Shade Rollers

Okay, so Hartshorn’s shade rollers weren’t made in the Capital District, but how often do you see ads for interior decorating, or window treatments, or anything, that tout that they are in use at many public buildings, including (shouting now) THE NEW CAPITOL AT ALBANY? Not often. Not often enough. Apparently there’s still quite a …