Schenectady Newsies

101 years ago, there was no TV news. There wasn’t even radio. The only way to get information about the greater world was by newspaper. And newspapers were sold by newsboys on the streets of every city in the country. As child labor went in those days, the newsboy’s lot was fairly cushy.  I’ve previously …

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 …