Had I mentioned that Albany was once the Piano City? I thought I might have. Once or twice. This ad from 1899 features only two of the numerous piano companies that operated here through the years, of which Boardman & Gray was the most prominent. The Lumber District may as well have been the Piano District.
A brief departure from the Tri-Cities. I lived for several years in Syracuse, the Salt City, the city where your feet are never dry or warm. One of the major industries there was New Process Gear. Just recently the long tradition of auto parts manufacture in Syracuse ended with the closing of its final incarnation, New Venture Gear. Founded in 1888, New Process Gear was part of Chrysler for many years. And what was this new process? Gears made of leather. I’m completely serious. Here’s a pair of 1907 ads (“Horseless Age” magazine) from the New Process Raw Hide Company.
Another wonderful ad from Hoxsie! George W. Hoxsie, “The Genuine Original,” ran the largest bottling establishment outside of New York (well, if it weren’t true he couldn’t print it, right?) at 25 Hamilton Street in Albany. That’s either the land of parking lots now, or it’s just possible that the Hoxsie bottling plant still stands. More research must be done!
It’s not possible to be interested in Albany history and not to owe a debt of gratitude to Joel Munsell. He was a Massachusetts native who came to Albany in 1827 and established himself as a printer and publisher. In 1850 he began the publication of his “Annals of Albany,” which along with numerous other publications preserved the history of this ancient city at it was known in the mid-19th century. We happened upon his tombstone in Albany Rural Cemetery today while out for a bike ride. It’s been 131 years since his passing, and yet he is one of the authors I read the most. That seems accomplishment enough.
If you want to know more about the man, the wonder of Google books, which presents us with his “Annals,” also presents us with a brief biographical sketch.
C. Reagles was no Louis Menand, but his Union Nurseries in Schenectady did have a wide reputation and his plants and seeds were sold by catalog all over. That Barrett Street address was probably pretty close to Union Street, hence the name. I like that C. Reagles and Son pledged themselves to use every exertion to render continued satisfaction to their customers and the public.