Julius Saul, clothier of Troy

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The Biggert Collection has preserved this custom commercial envelope from the firm of Julius Saul, depicting his building at 326 River Street in Troy (probably the Atrium parking garage today). Saul was born in Posen, a province of Prussia around 1835 and came to America in his youth. He opened stores in Hudson and Catskill, and then came to Troy in 1867.

Weise’s 1888 “City of Troy and Its Vicinity” says: “At the large clothing house of Julius Saul, any one can be convinced that the greater number of the male inhabitants of Troy buy their clothing ready-made. The attractive, four-story, brick building extends 150 feet to Fourth Street. The spacious sale-room on the first floor is stocked with seasonable coats, vests, and trousers to supply the numerous customers which the popularity of this well-known clothing house attracts. The custom department is on the second floor, where patterns may be selected from the stock of cloths and other stuffs to be made into such fashionable styles as may be desired . . . ToSaul's.png obtain all the advantages of a prosperous clothing manufacturing house, he removed his manufactory from Troy to New York, where he has recently established one of the largest manufactories in the metropolis.” He retired from the business in 1895, living at 401 West End Avenue in New York City, and spent the remainder of his life traveling with his wife and, once she died, a daughter. He died December 15, 1914, and his obituary appeared in the New York Times.

Weise’s book used the same cut as appeared on the envelope, so I’ve presented a clearer version here. A Google search will turn up numerous Julius Saul trade cards.

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John G. Myers

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John G. Myers’s dry goods store was one of the long-time anchors of the North Pearl Street shopping district in downtown Albany. The store was founded in 1870 and was rivaled only by Whitney’s. Today it’s probably best remembered for its terrible collapse in 1905, which killed at least 13 people. The store was rebuilt, and in 1917 merged with Fowler’s of Glens Falls.

On this billhead from 1882, a J.C. Hughson of “1 Lumber Dist.” bought 85 cents worth of lace — 5-1/2 yards worth. The address, not a real street address, makes one wonder if Hughson was outfitting curtains for an office window, but perhaps it was for one of the small residences that did exist down in the lumber district.

Gloeckner & Co. Furniture

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Another glorious billhead from the Biggert Collection, this one from B. Gloeckner & Co., Inc., a furniture dealer at 81-83 South Pearl St. in Albany. It would appear that on Feb. 24, 1915, Mr. J.H Vrooman, Jr. of 294 Hamilton Street bought a refrigerator (#942) for the princely sum of $28.00.

In 1870, the firm of Gloeckner & Wolf, at 115 S. Pearl St., were listed as manufacturers and retailers of furniture, “their stock of Mattresses, Spring and Feather Beds is of the best quality.”

According to the Albany Rural Cemetery’s site, Bernard Gloeckner was born in 1842 in Darmstadt, Germany. He came to the U.S. and served in the Civil War at age 19. He later was chairman of a committee to raise funds for a monument to Civil War General Adolph von Steinwehr at the cemetery. Gloeckner died in 1911 and is buried in the cemetery.

The building, sadly, is long-gone, but was most likely right around Market Street, where the South Mall Expressway construction took out a couple of blocks of once-vital business district.

Here’s an ad from Gloeckner and Wolf in the 1870 Albany directory:

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G.G. Maxon

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G G Maxon.jpgThis billhead is from what was then one of Schenectady’s most prominent businesses, G.G. Maxon & Son. They owned a large grain elevator right up against the Erie Canal, and dealt in flour, grain, meal, feed, produce, lime, cement and more. The elevator was right up against the canal at the corner of Pine and Jefferson streets, pretty much where the Grossman’s Bargain Outlet on Erie Boulevard is today. In fact, I have often wondered if part of the building on that site was part of the original Maxon complex. (The naming of Maxon Road, which is now an eastern continuation of Erie Boulevard, might lead one to mistakenly believe the Maxon elevator was further east than it was. Larry Hart wrote that the road was so-named because it connected to Maxon’s “country” estate, well outside the city at where Van Vranken meets Anthony Street today.) Maxon also had a flour and seed store on Wall Street next to the old train station, in a building known as the Maxon Block. In addition to bulk goods, Maxon started the Schenectady Insurance Company, housed in the Maxon Block, and he served as president of the Mohawk National Bank.

George G. Maxon was born in 1818, and died in 1886. His once-fine home at 404 Union Street, not far from the grain elevator, later became Physicians’ Hospital, then Mercy Hospital, and later was home of the Spencer Business Institute. It still stands. 

This billhead from 1873, part of The Biggert Collection, depicts the elevator with a canal boat docked alongside.


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Fuller, Warren & Co. Stoves

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Fuller, Warren & Co. was a major manufacturer of stoves in Troy, at a time when the Capital District was the national center of stove making. This billhead from The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery shows their riverfront factory in Troy. The works, originally Johnson, Cox & Fuller, and known as the Clinton Foundry, was along the river between Madison and Monroe Streets, an industrial area just below the Poestenkill. Their offices and showroom were at 257 River Street, in the Monument Square area.

They held the patents of Philo Stewart, who had perfected the cast iron kitchen cooking stove in 1838, and sold their stoves as “Stewart’s Air-Tight” summer and winter cooking stoves. As a leader in the industry, they were wary of having their stoves copied outright — so wary that they presented on their billhead this admonition: “For use as a manufactured article and not as a pattern to cast from.” So be warned!

The company went out of business in 1934, and its last president, William H. Warren, died in 1951.

Fort Orange Milling Company

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Rather than a billhead or a receipt, this specimen from The Biggert Collection is a sight draft, a term that has fallen out of favor but which was essentially a check that was payable immediately (rather than at a future date certain), or “at sight.” This was made out to the Loomis Bros. of Granby, Connecticut, for $341.09 to be charged to the account of the Fort Orange Milling Co., a flour roller mill operation on the riverfront. It was signed by Charles B. Woolverton, a member of the firm, June 4, 1890.

A little more than two years later, Mr. Woolverton would be terribly burned in an explosion and fire that brought down the Fort Orange Milling Company on Dec. 19, 1892. As The New York Times reported:

At 12:30 o’clock this afternoon a terrific explosion occurred in the elevator shaft of the Fort Orange Milling Company’s building backing up on the Erie Canal basin. The sparks set fire to the dry grain and flour. In an instant the blaze rushed up the shaft, and before an alarm was sent in the entire structure was a mass of flames. Charles B. Woolverton, a member of the firm, was in the office at the time, and when the explosion occurred started for the rear of the office to close the safe. Before he could get out he was surrounded by flames, and when he managed to fight his way through them he was burned in a most terrible manner.

The fire burned through the afternoon, and as the men of Steamer Company No. 4 were ordered home, the 60-foot-high east wall toppled over, buried seven firemen. Three were killed immediately, and one more was expected to die from his injuries. No one from Fort Orange Milling other than Woolverton was injured; he was, The Times put it, “terribly burned,” and died January 2.

DeGolyer Varnish Works

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Another elegant billhead from The Biggert Collection. This sample from 1930 is from the DeGolyer Varnish Works, manufacturers of varnishes, japans, shellacs, &c.  Apparently a G.W. Peters was in need of two gallons of E-kon-o-me Remover, which ran him a neat $3.60 plus parcel post. According to the billhead, the company was established in 1840, and had its office and factory at 77-79 13th St. in Troy. That would be just east of RPI’s current campus. That’s now a residential street but there was historically manufacturing mixed in in that area up the Congress Street hill.

I don’t find much information about DeGolyer, other than a 1923 Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company was selling shellac that was less than pure excretions of the lac beetle without saying so. Arthur Weise in his “City of Troy and Its Vicinity” listed brothers Joseph and Watts DeGolyer as a varnish manufacturer at 113 Sixth St., and mentions that Joseph served on the building committee for the Troy Railroad Young Men’s Christian Association in 1882.

I love that companies used to be named very simply — there was a family name, perhaps, and a product. Thus, “DeGolyer Varnish Works.” Today the marketers would consider that too old-fashioned, too limiting, too much of an association with varnish and some people don’t like varnish so shouldn’t we call it DeVarnCo?

Capitol, Capital – as long as it’s sweet!

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Another entry from The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery, and another one from the establishment of Jacob Kreischer. Coming nearly twenty years after our previous entry, this one has a great depiction of the smoking Albany of used-to-be, with a lovely view of Mr. Kreischer’s building at 31 Hudson Avenue. It’s a curious drawing, laid out more to capture the painted signage on the side of the building and the smoking factories behind it than the building itself.

This letter was written June 11, 1895, to the First National Bank in Cooperstown: “Mr. Cashier, dear Sir, Last week I sent you two notes of $36.29 and $34. 75 order of John M. Eldred due on June 6th, Kindly let me know whether those papers have been paid or not. Respectfully Jacob Kreischer”

In the ensuing years either Mr. Kreischer or his printer decided to make it “Capital” rather than “Capitol,” a confusion that reigns to this day.

In addition to the wonderful cut, admire the type in this billhead; it’s just marvelous, particularly the script “Albany, N.Y.”

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Capitol City Steam Confectionery

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Ah, steam! Is there nothing you can’t do? As the last word in modernity (at least as far as the 19th century was concerned), the application of steam made every process seem more efficient, modern and marvelous. And so here we have a billhead from the Capitol City Steam Confectionery of Mr. Jacob Kreischer, patentee and manufacturer of  The Famous Dessert Fruit Confect. His imposing general office was located at 31 Hudson Avenue, and the factory was at the corner of Hudson and Quay Street, down by the river. The former is parking, the latter highway.

On March 20, 1876, Kreischer was obliged to write to F.L. Palmer, Esquire, perhaps a collection agent: “Dear Sir  Inclosed please find E.D. Shumway note for collection amt. $68.00. After deducting exchange please forward my draft and oblige. Yours Respectfully Jacob Kreischer”

Previously in the Albany steam chronicles:

This is another entry from The Biggert Collection.