Industry and Commerce in Red Hook and Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in the mid to late 1800s
History and Images


Red Hood/Carrol Gardens in the 1850s & 60s

"The Atlantic Docks had recently been built and the Hamilton Ferry established. The streets had many of them been graded, but there were few houses. A large hill extended from Forth Place to Degraw Street, and from Columbia street nearly to Gowanas canal, which was some forty to fifty feet in height,was being removed.

History of the City of Brooklyn by Henry R Stiles, 1870

The Atlantic Basin, build in 1847 by the Atlantic Dock Company, was an enclosed safe harbor for sailing ships. The Hamilton Ferry was original started in 1846 to facilitate traffic to and from Greenwood Cemetery. The Erie Basin around the "hook" from the Atlantic Basin was opened in 1864. All three were important components in the development of the Red Hood area.

Brooklyn docks 1916, Pictorial History of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Eagle 1916

This 1916 "Bird's Eye View" of the Brooklyn waterfront shows Red Hook in the left half of the image:

  1. At the extreme left, the New York Warehouses at the foot of Van Brunt st.
  2. Above the N. Y. warehouses are the Merchant Stores and the German America Warehouses
  3. Pretty much in the center is the Atlantic Basin, surrounded by the the various warehouses.
  4. Running through the banner towards the waterfront is Hamilton Ave ending at the Hamilton Ave Ferry.
Above the Atlantic basin is Governor's Island. And to the right of Hamilton Ave are the numerous other piers running all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond.

Red Hook 1880s to early 1900s

My family appeared in Brooklyn in the mid to late 1880s. My intention is to try and look at Red Hook at the time they lived there.


An 1886 map of "part of Ward 12" shows warehouse lining the Atlantic Basin and Erie Basin. In the northern part of Ward 12 several manufacturing establishments were indicated: Eggleston Spring Co, Richardson & Boynton Stove Works, S. Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Works, Hydraulic Pump Works, a glassworks, "Cheeseborough" Vaseline*, Atlantic Flour Mills, a sugar house, and a lumber yard, and Pioneer Iron Works.

Near the Eire Basin was the Brooklyn Fire Brick works.

Close to the bay at the southern end were the Manhattan Chemical works, an oil works, a lumber yard and a foundry. There was also a block marked "stores" which was actually the Lidgerwood Iron Works.

Warehouses and "stores" around the Atlantic Basin included: Atlantic Dock company, Finlay (Finley) stores, a "store" house between Bowne and Summit streets, Commerical Store houses, Franklin stores, Clinton stores, and Stranahan's Inspection stores. To the south on the bay near pier 41 were the German American Stores and the Merchants stores. On the waterfront at the end of Van Brunt were the New York warehouses and the Beard stores.

Public school No. 30 was on Wolcott between Conover and Van Brunt and P. S. 27 was between Columbia and Hicks on Nelson. There was also a Catholic school near the church of the Visitation.

Churches in Ward 12 in 1886 included:

  1. Visitation Roman Catholic at Richards and Verona. This parish was established in 1854 to serve Irish and Italian dock workers. The first church was at Ewen and Van Brunt. This building was later turned into a school. A second church was build in 1878 at Richards and Verona streets. It was destroyed by fire in July 1896. "the second building was burned on the night of Sunday, July 12, 1896, just after the interior of the building had been redecorated, even before the tools of the workmen had been take away." (Brooklyn Eagle November 14, 1898) The cause of the fire was never determined. The present church was erected in 1896.

  2. P. E. (Protestant Episcopal) Chapel on Wolcott near Van Brunt - listed as Christ P. E. Chapel in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle almanac of 1897 - AKA Christ Chapel - a mission chapel of Christ Church (Clinton and Kane Streets) Christ Chapel was completed in 1868-9. Maybe "Red Hook Mission" listed under Protestant Episcopal churches Rev. William Hyde in the 1886 Brooklyn Eagle Almanac.

    A building still stands at this location. However a cornerstone is dated 1899.

  3. The Norwegian Seaman's church on Williams (now Pioneer st.) between Richards and Van Brunt. The building still exists but it is not longer a church.

  4. St Paul's M. E. (Methodist) Church, corner of Sullivan street and Richards - celebrated its 9th anniversary. in May 1888. Listed in the 1886 Brooklyn Eagle Almanac. the building no longer stands.

    When it opened in May 1879 the St Paul's M. E. "mission" was located on Van Brunt between Sullivan and King Streets. The mission was originally on Williams street and known as the Williams Street mission. It was associated with the First place M. E. church "although not branch" of that church.


In 1892 some Red Hook businesses were listed in a history of the Brooklyn fire department.

"One of the finest water-fronts in the world was the inducement that attracted many large manufacturing firms in New York, and in fact from all over the country, to locate there. Besides that it was within five minutes' walk of Hamilton Ferry. In a short time immense factories and warehouses grew up with surprising rapidity. Now it is by far the greatest manufacturing centre in the city. Among the large industries that give employment to hundreds, who live in, and go to make up the large resident population of the region, are the stove works of the Richardson & Boynton Company, the factory of the Chesboro Vaseline Manufacturing Company, Worthington's Hydraulic Pump Works, the Pioneer Iron Works, the Lidgerwood Iron Works, the South Brooklyn Machine Company, the India Wharf Brewing Company, J. M. Williamson's Drop Forging Works, P. H. Gill's Elevator Works, Casey's Rosin Works, the South Brooklyn Fire Brick Manufactory, and many other large concerns. Besides these are the immense storehouses that line the water-front, including those of the Beard estate, the Robinson estate, the Atlantic Dock Company, the Erie Basin Stores, Findlay's Stores, and the Long Dock Stores. Added to these are the large shipbuilding concerns located along the bay, and thousands of vessels, large and small, that are continually loading and unloading their cargoes there. It is estimated that more goods are handled at the Atlantic Dock and Erie Basin than at any other similar places in the country. Recently the Inman and White Star Steamship Companies have purchased property in the district, and before long it will be the headquarters of these and other large lines of transatlantic steamship companies."

Our firemen: the official history of the Brooklyn Fire Department, By Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.). Fire Dept, 1892

Manufacturers in Red Hood in the late 1800s and early 1900s

This next section is an attempt to determine the types of industrial businesses in Red Hook in the mid to late 1800s and the early 1900s. I have used various sources including: maps*, the Brooklyn Eagle (BE), the New York Times (NYT), and other newspapers, google books,, the New York Public Library digital collection, the Internet, my own collection of images, and multiple walks through Red Hook. I started trying to identify business in Red hook using the 1886 map.

*Maps Include the years 1855, 1861, 1869, 1886, 1880, 1898-99, 1903, 1904, 1916. The maps do no all cover the same area, although they all cover some part of Ward 12 and Red Hook. Colors indicate buildings materials: red for brick, yellow for wood, and grey for stone. Some maps have annotations for some buildings.

Chesebrough Manufacturing Company, Between Verona and Delavan on Richards - Robert Chesebrough

The 1869 map shows an unlabeled structure on Richards between Delavan and Ewen (later Verona). The location on the 1880 map was listed as "Oil Works" and on the 1886 map as "Cheeseborough vaseline".

In 1886 the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company was located between Richards st., Dwight st. Verona and Delavan sts.

Robert A Chesebrough invented Vaseline, a popular home health care item. The Vaseline factory was on Richards between Verona and Delavan by 1870. The facility was enlarged several times over the years. In 1904 Chesebrough moved to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. American Stopper moved into part of the old Red Hook Vaseline factory.

For more information and images go to Chesebrough in Red Hook

Atlantic Flour Mills, Electric Sugar Refinery, Sonoma Wine & Brandy, Hamilton Ave Near the end of the Atlantic Basin

Listed on the 1861 map as "Smith and Jewell Flour Mill". Structure shown but not labeled on the 1869 map. Listed on the 1880 map unnamed "flour mill". I have found two 1886 maps. One lists the propert as "vacant" the other as "Atlantic Flour". The 1889-90 map of the area lists "Somonia Liguor" in the old mill building. The 1907 map lists the "Sonoma wine & Brandy co. The 1916 map lists Somoma Wine Co. No longer standing.

For more information and images go to Atlantic Flour

R. W. Adams Lumber Yard, Atlantic Sugar Refinery - Santa Rosa Sugar Refinery - India Wharf and the India Wharf Brewing co., 36-60 Hamilton Ave (at Conover)

The 1869 map of Brooklyn shows R W Adams Lumber and coal yard at the corner of Hamilton and Conover backing on India Wharf. This is where the Atlantic Sugar Refinery later stood. In 1869 R. W. Adams is also shown to have a lumber yard between Imlay and Van Brunt and Summit and Bowne. The location is listed a "Lumber Yard" on the 1886 map. The location was listed on the 1880 map as "Sugar Refinery" and on the 1886 map as "India Wharf Storehouse". No longer standing.

For more information and images go to Adams Lumber

Worthington Hydraulic Pump Works, between Van Brunt and Richards and Seabring and Rapelye streets (including Bowne st.)

The 1869 map shows a large unlabeled structure on Van Brunt between Rapelye and Bowne. Worthington Hydraulic was listed on the 1880 and 1886 maps. The major area of this complex (between Rapelye and Bowne, Van Brunt and Richards) has been cut away by the widening of Hamilton Ave and the entrance to the Battery Tunnel. There are still tightly backed warehouse type buildings in the area.

For more information and images see Worthing Hydraulic Pump Works

Pioneer Iron Works, Williams Street (between Conover and Van Brunt and William and King)

On the 1880 map the building is shown and labeled "Machine Shop". It is listed on the 1886 map as "Pioneer Iron Works". There was a building at this location on the 1869 map but it was not labeled. Parts of this complex are still standing.

The Pioneer Iron works were located at 149-163 Williams Street (between Conover and Van Brunt and William and King - end of Imlay Street.). Williams street is now Pioneer Street.

The company was founded by Alexander Bass and later managed by his son, William Louis Bass.

For more information and images see Pioneer Iron Works

South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works, AKA South Brooklyn Boiler Works, between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit - Daniel McLeod, Delphin B. Cobb, Delphin McLeod Cobb, John J Riley & J. Joseph Reily.

The South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works, AKA South Brooklyn Boiler Works, was located between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit. There is a unlabeled structure at this location on the 1869 map. The South Brooklyn Engine Works and Foundry were listed at this address on the 1880 map. It was listed on the 1886 map. The South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works was shown on the 1886 map between Imlay, Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets. It was also known as the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works, and the South Brooklyn Boiler Works both also located at Van Brunt and Summit Sts, Brooklyn. In 1890 they had offices on Wall Street. They also had a dry dock in the Erie Basin.

For more information and images see South Brooklyn Iron Works

New York Wire and Wire Rope, Columbia Iron Works, and Columbia Engineering Works - Imlay between Verona and Williams (now Pioneer Street) corner of Imlay and Williams

There was a building indicated at the corner of Williams and Imlay on the 1869 map. It may say "wire Works" but it is not very clear. There was a unlabeled brick building at this address on the 1880 map. Shown but not labeled on the 1886 map. Listed as Columbia Iron Works on the 1898-99 map. There was a building on this corner with a date of "1900" over the main door. Listed in 1904 map.

For more information and images see New York Wire and Rope Company

Columbia Engineering

1912: Columbia Engineering Works boiler makers at Pioneer and Imlay were involved in proceeding for involuntary bankruptcy in November 1912. The creditors wer Munkenbeck Brothers 88 Hamilton ave, Thomas Grogan's son, 403 Van Brunt and the sharp Brothers at 68 Summit street. The creditors claimed that the company's liability was $80,000 and thier assets only $25,000.

Eagleton (Eggleston Spring Co), East side of Imlay between Verona and Williams (now Pioneer Street) closer to Verona

The 1880 map shows a wooden building labeled "Wire Works"on the west side of Imlay extending from the corner of William almost to Verona. The 1886 map lists "Eggleston spring company" on the east side of Imlay mid block. Not listed on the 1898-99 map. Not on 1904 map. Unnamed "Store House"listed in 1904. Not listed on the 1907 map.

For more information and images see Eagleton Spring Company

Lidgerwood Iron Works, on Ferris between Coffey (formerly Partition) and Dikeman

There are some unlabeled buildings indicated on the 1869 map in the block between Ferris, Partition and Dikeman and the Buttermilk Channel, but they do not correspond to the position and shape of the buildings on the 1886 map. The 1880 map also shows a small unlabeled brick building in this block. There are unlabeled brick buildings on 1886 map. One of these buildings may be the building indicated on the 1880 map. The position and approximate size are the same, although the outline is slightly different. Buildings still standing 2013.

For more information and images see Lidgerwood

P. H. Gill & Sons Forge and Machine Works - Philip H Gill, Lorraine at Otsego

There are no buildings indicated at Lorraine and Otsego on the 1869 map and Lorraine is listed as Leonard St. The 1880 does not show any buildings in the area. Not on 1886 map. On the 1907 map on Otsego between Lorraine and Creamer. No longer standing.

In 1900 Philip H Gill premises were listed as "southerly side of Lorriane street, about seventy feet east of Otsego street".

For more information and images see P. H. Gill and sons, Forge and Machine Works

James H. Williams, Drop Forging, 9 Richards Street

The 1869 map does not show any buildings on the east ride of Richards between Seabring and Bowne. The 1880 map shows an unlabeled wood frame building in this location. On the 1886 map there is a small brick buildings on two lots on the east side of Richards between Seabring and Bowne. The 1907 map shows J. H. Williams & Co. Machine and Forge Shop as a much bigger complex at this location.

For more information and images see James H. Williams, Drop Forging

Richardson and Boynton Co., Van Brundt between Imlay, Bowne and Commerce

On the 1869, 1880 and 1886 maps labeled as Richardson and Boynton Co.. Richardson & Boynton made stoves and furnaces. They were one of the biggest employers in Red Hook before they moved to Dover, New Jersey in 1896.

For more information and images go to Richard and Boynton

Casey's Rosin works - Casey's Rosin Oil Factory - Pitch and Rosin Refinery, Commerce and Richards Streets

The turpentine works were not noted on the 1869 map. The 1880 maps shows "Turpentine Works" on the N E corner of Commerce at Richards. Indicated but not labeled on 1886 map (several of the buildings are wooden). The 1907 map shows a brick building labeled "John Casey Storage" on the South East corner of Commerce and Richards and J Casey Co. Rosin, Oil on the North East corner and extending down Commerce street. Some of the buildings are brick and some are wooden.

In April 1869 a fire caused by a pitch pot that had boiled over was reported at Samuels and McGowan Turpentine Distillery. The address was variously given as "Commerce near Richards" and "Commerce near Van Brunt". The one story building was totally destroyed.

On April 23, 1886 a fire at the rosin factory of John Casey at Commerce and Richards streets was caused by an explosion of a kettle of varnish. Damage to the factory $3,000. Insurance unknown. Thomas McGowan, age 26, who was in charge of the kettle when it exploded died of burns leaving his wife and three small children "in destitute circumstances".

In March 1888 there was a fire in a shed at Casey's rosin oil factory.

On November 20, 1888 a fire in the pitch and rosin refinery of John A. Casey at 10:30 in the morning "occasioned considerable excitement in South Brooklyn." A workman inserting a hot poker in one of the pipes that conveyed the resin caused an explosion. Two alarms went out. Six engines and two hook and ladder responded. The building was completely lost. There was no insurance.

In August 1892 John A. Casey's rosin works was destroyed by fire. The one story brick building was located between Commerce and Seabring near Richards street. The material in the building was very flammable and it did not take long for the fire to spread out of control. "A first and second alarm brought seven engines and three trucks"." There was little to be done with the Casey building so the efforts of the firemen were directed to protecting nearby buildings. There was no insurance on the building.

In April 1898 Casey's rosin factory was again in flames. The factory was then located at Delevan and Richards street. The fire was confined to one building.

Rosin is a pitch obtained from plants - mostly pine trees. Rosin oil has little smell at room temperature but has a strong odor of resin when heated. When aflame it causes a very smoky fire. One can only imagine the discomfort these fires caused the workers and residents in Red Hook.

Rosin oil is a viscous liquid which has/had many uses. It was uses as a lubricant, especially for machinery. It is also used in varnishes and printing ink.

John A Casey's Rosin Works were not the only ones to go up in flames:

  • In December 1886 a fire occurred at Edward Smiths' rosin and oil Works at Ferris and Wolcott streets. The building was completely destroyed. Damage $5,000 insurance $2,000.

  • In June 1867 a fire broke out at the rosin works of Messrs. Blossom and Haines at the corner of Ferris and Dikeman streets when the still overheated. The flames caught barrels of rosin and oils and "in a few minutes dense volumes of smoke rose and rolled away over the river, sttracting the attention of thousands of persons". The fire completely destroyed the establishment describeds as "a small fram building". The fire then "communicated to Leavitt & Smith's Turpentine works which was also destroyed." Damage to both concerns $12,000. Insurance NONE. (BE) The N. Y. Times also reported this story saying that "Blossman Haynes, was a frame structure on the corner of Dikeman and Ferris. Spreading to the brick edifier of Messrs. Leavitt and Smith the fire totally destroyed that building as well. Two men were scalded in the explosion of one of the boilers at the Haynes shop. A little boy was "run over" by one of the fire-engines but was not seriously hurt.

  • In 1867 fire destroyed the rosin oil works of Messrs. Luckney and Fisher at the corner of Richards and Delevan Streets. Loss of the stock was not insured. Loss of the building $6,000. Insurance $2,400.

  • The same factory suffered a fire in February 1870 - Cause - "boiling over of a tank of molten rosin". Damages $8,000. Insurance NONE. A neighboring building belonging to Edward Murtha was damaged to $500 - no insurance

Library of Congress

Rosin yard

William Carroll age 103 died at his home at 705 Henry street. It was claimed he had never been sick a day in his life and until about 10 months before his death had worked in Casey's rosin factory in south Brooklyn. He was born in Kings Co. Ireland in 1796. He was married to a woman 20 years his junior. He came to America about 1880. He had two sons, John age 51 and William (no age given) and four daughters. (The New York Herald, October 7, 1898 and other papers. In 1895 it was claimed that William Carroll was 107. He and his wife had been married for 80 years. He said he liked his glass of beer but never smoked. Neither he nor his wife need glasses to read.

Glass Works on Delevan between Van Brunt and Richards - Later Progress Machine Works and Thompson Son and Co.

The 1869 map lists "Glass Works" on the east side of Richards between Commerce and Delevan. The 1880 map lists "La Bastelle Glass Works" mid block on the south side of Delevan between Van Brunt and Richards. The 1886 map lists "Glass Works" at the same location. The 1898-99 map lists "Progress Machine works". Shown on the 1904 map as "Thompson Son & Co. Electrical Machinery" and "Machine Storage Warehouse" (not necessarily for the Thompson Son & Co.). No longer standing.

Progress Machine Works was cited in November 1899 for violation of the Smoke Nuisance Law.

In March 1870 there was a strike at the Constitution Glass Works at Thiery and Co. on Delevan street near Van Brunt.

In 1875 a "bursting pot of metal" caused damage at Thiery and Co. glass works on Delevan and Van Brunt.

Making La Bastie glass was a process developed by French engineer Francios de la Bastie. Clames were made that it was unbreakable and malleable. The claims were debunked by many scientists in numerous articles.

A process for increasing the cohesive power of glass has been invented by a French engineer, Franćois de la Bastie. This process consists in heating the glass to a certain temperature and plunging it while hot into a heated oleaginous compound. The time occupied in the actual process of tempering is merely nominal, for directly on being heated to the requisite degree, the articles are plunged into the bath and instantly withdrawn. The toughened glass cannot be cut by the diamond, and hence when it is used for windows it must be cut to the proper size before it is tempered. Articles of this toughened glass, such as watch-crystals, plates, dishes, and sheet-glass, were recently exhibited in London, and experiments made to show wherein this material differs from common glass. Water was boiled in a saucer over a fire, and the saucer quickly removed to a comparatively cold place; it was unaffected by the sudden change of temperature. One corner of a piece of glass was held by the hand in a gas-flame until the corner became exceedingly hot, but the heat was not communicated to the other portion of the glass, nor was it cracked from unequal expansion. The following experiment was then made to show how this toughened glass compared with common glass in power of resistance to fracture by the impact of a falling weight. The two pieces of glass to be tested were each about six inches square, and placed in frames, the weight being dropped upon the centre. With the ordinary glass, a two-ounce brass weight, falling on it from a height of twelve and eighteen inches respectively, did no damage, but at twenty-four inches the glass was broken into fragments. With a thinner piece of the toughened glass no impression was made by the same weight falling from heights ranging from two to ten feet, the weight simply rebounding from the glass. An eight-ounce iron weight, tried at two to four feet respectively, gave similar results. The height being increased to six feet, the glass broke. Some of the public prints have ascribed to Bastie's tempered glass properties which the inventor himself has never claimed for it. Thus it has been qualified as malleaable and "unbreakable." But Mr. Thomas Gaffield, of Boston, a perfectly competent judge, who has examined specimens of this tempered glass, thinks that the true value of this invention is by no means determined as yet. He perceives in it sundry qualities which detract from its usefulness. First, as we have stated, it cannot be cut by the diamond. Then, on being subjected to the sand-blast, it flies into small fragments. Many of the specimens seen by Mr. Gaffield were not transparent, but only translucent. In ordinary window-glass, if a large pane be broken, the fragments may be cut into smaller panes, but with the De la Bastie glass such economy is out of the question. From the fact that this improved glass, though before the public for a whole year, has not yet found a place in commerce, Mr. Gaffield is inclined to suspect that the invention is for some reason impracticable.

(Popular Science Monthly Volume 7)

June 15, 1876 a fire destroyed the De La Bastie glass works at Delevan and Van Brunts streets. The fire was caused by an explosion in a small oil tank. The building was 180 feet by 100 feet and constructed of brick. Everything was destroyed and the fire department was hard pressed to keep adjoining buildings from catching fire.

1877 E. De L Chappell and Lear Muzard, La Bastie Glass works, South Brooklyn (Proceedings of the American Chemical Society, Volumes 1-2 By American Chemical Society, 1877)

Scientific American 1877, March 10

A number of prominent citizens of New York and Brooklyn, including William Cullen Bryant, Erastus Brooks, Chief Engineer Nevins, Secretary Edward A. Kollmeyer, of the Brooklyn Fire Department, and others, paid a visit on Tuesday to the La Bastie Glass Works of South Brooklyn to witness the manufacture of glassware under the process patented by M. de la Bastie, of Paris, in 1875. This process seems to differ from the manufacture of other glassware only in the component parts of material used, as oxide of lead, soda ash, acid, broken glass, sand, etc. After the ware has passed from the workmen's hands it undergoes the annealing process by being thrown into a bath of tallow. The visitors were conducted through the works and the process of manufacture was explained. They were then conducted into the store room, where lamp chimneys, tumblers, plates, globes, etc. were subjected to a test by throwing them carelessly around the floor, driving nails into boards with a lamp chimney and pitching the plates 15 to 20 feet on a hard floor. One small plate was thrown into the air about 25 feet and allowed to fall upon a brick floor, without breaking. Lamp chimneys were placed on lamps and heated, and cold water was sprinkled on them, but these severe tests did not affect the ware in the least. The works employ about 150 persons, mostly boys and girls, and turn out about 1,000 dozen lamp chimney's daily.

More on this resilient glass.

Toughened Glass Making in Brooklyn. - A reporter of the New York World has lately visited the works in Brooklyn where the manufacture of La Bastie toughened glass is now in active progress. The manufacturer states that, in June last, his factory was destroyed by fire, and the introduction of the glass into our markets has for that reason been delayed. Only one kind of goods, lamp chimneys, are now made, and the process is as follows: A workman, having in his hand a pole about eight feet long, with a knob on the end of the size of a lamp burner, fits a chimney on the knob and plunges it into the flame of a furnace. He withdraws it twice or thrice that it may not heat too quickly, turning the pole rapidly the while, and when the glass reaches a red heat quickly shoots it into one of a dozen small baths fixed on a revolving table, and seizes another chimney. A boy keeps the revolving table always in position, and as the chimneys come around to him, having been the proper time in the bath, he takes them out to be dried, sorted, cleaned, and packed. The bath has to be of just the right temperature, as, if it be too hot or too cold, the chimneys are liable to explode. In either case the process of annealing is imperfect. By working the tables at a certain rate, the baths are kept at the right temperature by the immersion of the red-hot glass. Oil or tallow is used in the bath. Any greasy substance will do, though tallow has proved most satisfactory. M. De la Chapelle, the manufacturer, states that he has already sold $ 150,000 worth of the chimneys. The toughened chimneys are about sixty per cent, dearer than those of ordinary glass.

Potter's American monthly, Volumes 8-9, 1877 and other publications

Dela Chappelle E. & Co, Glass Manufactures listed at Van Brunt cor "Delaware" St. J.A. Berly's British, American and continental electrical directory and ... By Jules Albert Berly, 1883 and 1884 La Bastic Works cor Delevan and Van Brunt, glass Manufactures, American and continental electrical directory and ... By Jules Albert Berly, 1883 and 1884

Listed as La Bastie Works cor. Delavan and Van Brunt in 1884 J. A. Berly's directory. Messrs. E. De la Chapelle of Brooklyn manufactured glass using the Bastie system. (Report on the manufacture of glass By Joseph Dame Weeks, 1884) E. De la Chapelle brought the Bastie patent with him from France. Mr. A. Thiery also from France worked with Mr. de la Chapelle. They had employed 200 to 250 skilled workmen. In 1883 they moved their business to Ottawa, Ill. (ILLUSTRATED NEW YORK: THE METROPOLIS OF TO-DAY (1888)

There was still a glass works on the 1886 map, but I have not yet figured out who was on the premises at that time.

John Pearce came to America in 1869 where he originally settled in Brooklyn and opened a glass works in Brooklyn. About 1880 he and his son, John moved to Ottawa, Illinois with the E. De La Chapelle & company. La Bastie Glass Company was organized in 1903 to succeed De La Chapelle. In Ottawa they manufactured a patented glass chimney. The Ottawa plant was built in 1885 and destroyed by fire in 1900. (1906 History of La Salle County, Illinois By Urias John Hoffman)

PROGRESS Machine Works 65 Delevan, 1897-98 LAIN'S DIRECTORY Brooklyn

Progress Machine Works Delavan between Richard and Van Brunt streets was found in violation of the Smoke Nuisance Law (Report of the Special Committee of the Assembly appointed to ..., Volume 5 By New York (State). Legislature. Assembly. Special Committee to investigate the public offices and departments of the city of New York)

South Brooklyn Fire Bricks AKA Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Brick Works and J. K Brick & Co., Van Dyke between Richards and Van Brunt (both sides of the street)

The J. R. Brick Retort & Fire Brick Works was shown on the 1869 map on either side of VanDyke between Van Brunt and Richards. It was indicated on subsequent maps and is still standing.

For more information and images see Brooklyn Clay Retort

Comte Building, corner Ferris and Wolcott

Not on the 1886 map. Built between 1889 and 1926. Several masonry buildings unlabeled on 1904 map.

Le Comte & Comapany of Brooklyn were manufacturers of cans and metallic compounds.
"Le Comte & Co. Celebrating 60th Anniversary Established in 1903 Le Comte & Company manufacturers of a specialty general line of metal cans and metal waste baskets are currently marking the sixtieth anniversary' Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Bush Terminal - 1962 - Snippet view

Photo Maggie Land Blanck September 2012

Manhattan Chemical Works, Zophar Mills, between Dykeman, Wolcott, Ferris and the Buttermilk Channel

The same shaped buildings were indicated on the 1880 and 1886 maps and were at the same location on the 1869 map but were not named. On the 1880 and 1886 maps as "Manhattan Chemical Works". Listed as "Zophar Mills Oils and Pitch" on the 1904 map and in several fires in the late 1800s. There is a relatively new building on this site.

Projected Buildings for 1881 S. Walcott st. and W.s. Dikeman st. bet Ferris st and River: frame storage shed --x200 2 story graveled roof Manhattan Chemical Works. (Sanitary and Heating Age, Volume 15)

Manhattan Chemical Works was listed on the 1880 and 1886 maps between Dykeman and Wolcott between the Buttermilk Channel and Ferris street.

Brooklyn Eagle ad October 21, 1800: "Notice - To Builders and Contractors - a large quantity of ashes for filling. Apply to MANHATTAN CHEMICAL COMPANY WORKS foot of Wolcott St."

Real Estate record "Kings Co. Colden, W. Foot of Wolcott at .... Manhattan Chemical Co, Horses, Trucks $1,000. Real estate record and builder's guide, Volume 28, 1881)

In January 1881 Manhattan Chemical company was sued by Isaac Brown for $25,000 in damages for lead poisoning. I have not yet found the outcome of the suit. In another suit for lead poisoning brought against the Brooklyn Eagle by the widow of a compositor for the paper, the jury voted in favor of the paper.

In January 1882 Frank V. Valentine of Lafayette avenue was the superintendent of Manhattan Chemical at Red Hook (BE)

In January 1882 during a drunken altercation at the oil works corner of Ferris and Wolcott, Peter McCauley shot Thomas Newton in the hand. (BE)

December 19, 1882, Brooklyn Eagle

Edward Graham, aged 39, fell off one of the wagons of the Manhattan Chemical Works, which he was driving, yesterday afternoon and was seriously injured by the truck passing over his body. He was attended by Ambulance Surgeon Buckmaster and take to his home at No. 89 Dikeman street"
Zophar Mills made waterproofing and insulating waxes and compounds.


Zophar Mills, the veteran fireman of this city, died suddenly last evening of heart disease. Mr. Mills was returning to his home, No. 310 Lexington-avenue, at 11:10 o'clock in the evening, and had got within three doors of his own house, when he suddenly reeled and fell heavily to the sidewalk. New York Times, March 01, 1887

He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Zophar Mills, Find a Grave

In September 1897 the oil works of Zophar Mills occupying half a block at the foot of Wolcott Street exploded. The building and two adjacent buildings were destroyed. "The firm manufactured pitch, tar and naptha from lime oil." The night watchman had just left the building and was standing on Ferris street when the explosion occurred. The firemen made no attempt to but the fire out but "devoted their energies to protecting surrounding property". There was $10,000 of uninsured damage to stock and $8,000 damage to the building owned by the Atlantic Dock Company. (BE, September 6, 1897)

A leaky naptha still caused a fire in January 1898 - damage $1,000.

1899: The United States brought action agains Zopher Mills, "a resident of Suffolk county" to force him to remove the wreckage of an oil barge, the Narcissus, which had sank and was obstructing navigation in the Buttermilk Channel.

1901: Febraury 1901 A fire in a wooden shed at Zophar Mills (foot of Wolcott) was discovered at 7 o'clock in the morning by the an employee, William Lawlor of 100 Coffey st, who immediately notified the fire department. The shed, which measured 50x75 feet, housed tanks of tar one of which had boiled over. There were 8 big oil tanks nearby but the fire department got the flames under control before the fire could spread. Damage was estimated at about $1,000.

In 1901 Zophar Mills, established 1838, manufacturer of Tar Products Distillate, Solvent, and Fuel Oil, Roofing, Paving, Ship and Brush Pitch Eureka Net Preservative, Office 144 Fount Street New York advertised in the new York Times Jubilee supplement.

In June 1902 a fire at Zophar Mills between Dikeman and Wolcott streets was caused by a leaky pitch still causing $1,300 damage to the yards.

In 1904 Zophar Mills ran the same basic add as in 1901 except they also listed "Factory, Wolcott street, Brooklyn, N. Y." and did not list the date they were established.

1906: Zophar Mills Residence Year: 1906 Street Address: 205 Wolcott Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1906

The Mills Family:

"Jonathan Mills was born Oct. 23, 1710. He married Ruth Rudyard, and had a large family, among them a son, Zophar Mills, who settled at Wading River, where he married Deliverance, daughter of John Miller. Their children were Zophar, Frances, and Nathaniel.

Nathaniel Mills settled on Staten Island, where he had a large estate. He married Huldah Reeve. Their children were Sophia, Mahlon, Frances, George W., Huldah M., Zophar, and Sophronia E.

Zophar Mills (son of Nathaniel,) was born at No. 10 Gold Street, New York, Sept. 23, 1809. He entered business life first as office boy and afterwards as partner with Robert M. Blackwell and John Abrams, dealers in naval stores at No. 144 Front St. The firm was dissolved by the death of Mr. Blackwell in 1863, and after that the business was conducted by Mr. Mills under his own name until 1884, when he retired from active labor. Mr. Mills was for many years connected with the Volunteer Fire Department as chief engineer and afterwards as president. The fire-boat "Zophar Mills," which performed such efficient service, was named in his honor. After a life of usefulness he died Feb. 28, 1887.

When Mr. Mills retired from business he was succeeded by his son, Zophar Mills, Jr., who still conducts at No. 146 Front Street the same line of business so ably pursued by his distinguished father.

Mr. Mills was married in 1836 to Miss Eliza Phillips. Their children were Charlotte, Angeline, Josephine, Zophar and Adelaide."

Records of the Town of Smithtown, Long Island, N.Y.

In 1926 the plant of Zophar MIlls was located at 597 Court st corner of Creamer when a huge vat of pitch boiled over, caught fire, and spread over the floor of the one story galvanized steel structure turning the building into a "seething furnace".

1932: Died - Mills, on Thursday March 17, 1932, Zophar Mills of 36 Monroe street Brooklyn, husband of the late Hermine J. Mills.

NYPL map 1808966

Zopher Mills Tar Works circa 1900. The red buildings are of brick, the yellow are of wood frame.

In 1882 a famous fire boat, the Zophar Mills, was built in Wilmington, Deleware at a cost of $75,000. In February 1935 it was being sold for scrap. She was named after a "bookkeeper who performed many deeds of heroism as a volunteer fireman".

Oil Works on Wolcott between Conover and Ferris.

The 1869 map shows unlabeled buildings midblock on the south side of Wolcott between Ferris and Conover. Two brick structures at this location on the 1880 map. The 1886 map shows undesignated brick structures in this area.

In January 1877 and again in August 1877 oil works at Wolcott Street between Conover and Ferris was listed as being owned by "Messrs." Libby, Kimball, and Bartlott.

In 1880 it was listed as Libby's oil works.

Leonard & Ellis, Oil Works, Sullivan Street near the Buttermilk Channel

The 1869 maps shows a structure on Sullivan Street near the Buttermilk Channel. The 1880 AND 1886 maps shows "Oil Works" on Sullivan Street near the Buttermilk Channel. Not listed on the 1904 map. No longer standing.

In July 1875 the Leonard & Ellis oil works was nearly destroyed by fire.
"At one o'clock a workman discovered smoke issuing from the retort room near the agitator........" (some of the article is hart to read.)

The alarm was immediately sounded.

"Besides the five large tanks refereed to on Sullivan Street, there were fifteen other smaller ones stretching from them toward Wolcott street. these tanks contained, 1,800 barrels of crude oil."

About twenty-fife men were thrown out of work by the fire.

In September 1878 lightning struck the the oil works of Leonard and Ellis "at the foot of Sullivan Street". The night watch man discovered the upper story of the main building was in flames at about 8 o'clock in the morning. The oil ran down in fiery streams from the tanks on the upper floor to the floors below. By the time the fire engines arrived the entire building was a "roaring furnace".

On the grounds occupied by Leonard & Ellis manufactory, where other and smaller buildings, most of them of brick and nearly all connected with the main work, which was a large three story brick structure, and which contained a large number of vats and stills where the crude petroleum was refined .
Rain fell in "torrents" but did little to stem the flames. The fire men worked long and hard to try and contain the fire, there was not a question of extinguishing it. The building collapsed but the fire did not spread. Mr Theodore Leonard and Mr Joh Ellis were listed as the proprietors. The company's main office was give as West Street, New York City. Estimated losses were in the neighborhood of $18,000 - a large portion in the destruction of refined oil. In addition to the building and oil some valuable machinery was lost.

In 1885 an insurance policy was owned by John Ellis & Co, Refiners and Oil Works on Sullivan Street in south Brooklyn block bounded by Sullivan, Wolcott and Ferris streets and the Buttermilk Channel (Reports of cases heard and determined in the Supreme Court of the ..., Volume 41 By Marcus Tullius Hun, New York (State). Supreme Court, 1885 and others)

John Ellis & co was also known as Leonard & Ellis. They were listed as such in 1894. The company was also listed as an "oil reducing and filtering works" and Leonard & Ellis, New York and Brooklyn, N. Y. Lubricating oils" (in 1878) and "refiners of cylinder and lubricating oils (in 1876) Their ad in Important events of the century: containing historical and important events By United States Central Publishing Company, New York, 1876, gave addresses at 104 South Water Street, Philadelphia, Offices at 88 West Street, New York, and 4 India Square, Boston and Works at "south Brooklyn, N. Y."

Theses Oils are a Product manufactured by a New Process, which prevents the corroding and staining of the machinery. Warranted not to gum or become hard, as the are not mixed oils"

The company was still in business in March 1900.

In 1886 there was a lumber yard next to the oil works!!!

McCaldin Brothers Lumber Yard, near the Buttermilk channel between Sullivan and Wolcott

No lumber yard listed on Sullivan near the Buttermilk channel on the 1869 map. On the 1886 map as "Lumber Yard". On the 1898-99 as "Lumber Yard". On the 1904 map as "Lumber Yard".

Next to the Leonard and Ellis oil works was a lumber yard owned by the McCaldin brothers. The McCaldin brothers, William J., James, and Joseph, had offices at 79 Broad street in Manhattan and a yard at Sullivan, Ferris and Wolcott streets in Brooklyn. They were dealers in coal, wood and lumber as well as "outfitters" for cattle ships.

The McCaldin brothers were in business from at least 1882.

The McCaldin Brothers also were in the towing business and owned tug and other boats. In 1901 the were listed in Lloyd's Registry of Shipping as "1890 McCaldin Bros. Co Shipowners and Coal and Lumber Merchants"

In 1890 the steam yacht Lagonda collided with the McCaldin steam tug James A. Garfield in the Buttermilk Channel. Two men on the Lagonda were knocked overboard. The Garfield lost her smokestack. A suit followed with the Garfield held responsible.

The tug W. J. McCaldin owned by the McCaldin Brothers, Sullivan and Ferris sunk at the Atlantic basin on October 5, 1894. No one was on board. The tug was being prepared for the day. The tug's fireman was filling her boilers with water. He fell asleep with the hose running and the boat gradually sank. She was raised the next day. Built in 1886 the tug was 87 feet long and 18 feet wide. In September 1887 the "steamer tug" W. J. McCaldin again ran into trouble when she collided first with the small schooner Glenullen and soon after with the German ship Hudson both lying at anchor at 26 and 27th street. The W. J. McCaldin had the "government vessel" Jamestown in tow.

In 1892 the steam tug McCaldin Brothers going up the Hudson river without a tow collided with the Ice King almost head on. Neither gave a signal. The captain of the McCaldin Brothers was deemed to be "under the influence of liquor". The tug McCaldin Brothers sank in the Atlantic Basin on December 17, 1893. An open sea valve was though to be the cause. A man asleep in the pilot house escaped. No one else was on board. The tug was raised the next day.

Another tug in the fleet, the William J McCaldin, 100 long by 21 feet wide, was launched in July 1886.

The company also owned the steam lighter J. S. T. Stranahan. The Stranahan, the McCaldin Brothers and the William J McCaldin were involved in an attempt to aid Cuban revolutionaries by bringing men, arms and ammunition into Cuba aboard the British ship Bermuda in February 1896. Federal authorities seized the steamer Bermuda, the steam lighter J. S. T. Stranahan and the tugs William J. McCaldin and McCaldin Brothers in New York Harbor.

"The lighter was loaded with arms and ammunition, and the tugs carried men, to be put on the steamer Bermuda, which was then to sail for Cuba with the expedition. The tugs were released, and of the 200 prisoners, all but four officers (who were released on bail), were discharged." (The Friend, Volume 69, 1896)

Joseph McCaldin died in 1933 at age 84.

R. W. Adams Lumber Yard, between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit.

The 1869 map shows "R W Adams Lumber Yard" between Imlay and Van Brunt near Bowne. There is no notation on one 1880 map at this location. A second 1880 map lists "lumber yard". One 1886 map lists "Lumber Yard" at Bowne between Imlay and Van Brunt. A second 1886 map lists " W. R. Adams & Co. Lumber Yard" at this location. The 1907-08 map just lists "lumber yard". Still listed as R. W Adams Lumber Yard in 1916 this location is now the home of a coach bus repair shop and the entrance to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

W. R. Adams Lumber was also listed at India Wharf on the 1869 map. See India Wharf in this section.

R. W. Adams & co. was started by Russell W Adams (c1825-1888) and continued by his son, William R. Adams (c1851-1918).

In 1861 R. W. Adams lumber advertised hard woods - especially black walnut.

Between 1862 and 1869 R. W. Adams regularly received shipments of lumber from Bangor, Maine.

In 1863 they advertised pine and cedar shingles.

In 1864 and 1868 they advertised oak and mahogany veneers.

In 1867 they advertised oak and mahogany veneers and wagon spokes and felleys (a part of a wagon wheel).

In 1864 R. W. Adams Lumber gave $200 to the Brooklyn and Long Island Fair.

W. R. Adams was also listed on the 1869 map of Brooklyn under "R. W. Adams Lumber Yard" at India Wharf and Hamilton and between Imlay and Van Brunt and Summit and Bowne. See India Wharf above.

In June 1869 Wm. Lyman was charged with stealing some "timber" from Adams lumber yard in Van Brunt street.

In August 1874 Miles McParthing, "a youth of ten summers' was apprehended with a board he had stolen from "Richard Adams" Lumber Yard corner of Van Brunt and Bowne. The forman Mr. John Crawley refused to press charges.

In October 1877 R. W. Adams was one of several firms who let their employes off with pay at 4 o'clock so they could vote in the hotly contested primary of the 8th Ward.

In 1877 Russell W. Adams was a director of the South Brooklyn Central Railroad.

In August 1878 Russell W Adams and his junior partner Charles E . Rogers "lumber merchants" at 112 Wall Street petitioned for bankruptcy. Russell W Adams was called the "king of lumbermen". He owned lumber yards in multiple locations. In May 1877 Clinton Mills, New York "a promising village of about 400 inhabitants, mostly in the employ of R. W. Adams & Co." suffered a major fire which started in the forrest, burned for several days and consumed the village and the lumber mill and train depot.


The accompanying article says that R. W. Adams & Co was considered to be the third largest lumber company in the country. R. W. Adams started his firm in circa 1868 and took in as partner, Charles E. Rogers, about 20 years later. The had an "immense yard in south Brooklyn" at 25th and 26th streets. The yard had a water front of 4,400 feet. They had "another yard" at Van Brunt, "smaller than the first". Adams stated that the financial problem started with the fire at Clinton, N. Y. when the company lost $180,000. The property was insured but the insurance company refused to pay on the grounds of an alleged flaw in the policy. The case was in the courts. The "Brooklyn property" was mortgaged beyond its value. He owed Canadian creditors $70,000. He attributed "his embarrassment" to declines in real estate value, the price of lumber, and the marked failings in the export trade. Canadian sources maintained that Adams' credit in Canada had been bad for some time. (NYT, February 17, 1878)

The Brooklyn Eagle stated that the liabilities were "upward of one million and a half dollars and nominal assets are set down at forty-seven dollars." (Brooklyn Eagle Thursday, August 22, 1878) (NYT, February 17, 1878)

Miraculously Adams reversed his misfortunes. In February 1879 it was claimed that:

Mr. R. W. Adams of South Brooklyn, who suffered last year severe pecuniary reverses, has recovered from his business troubles to the great satisfaction of his many friends"
In 1880 R. W. Adams, dealer in lumber, age 55, his wife, Lydia, and their family were at 710 St Marks Place Brooklyn. There were 8 servants, which could indicate that the families fortunes were intact.

In 1888 it was said that R. Adams owned the Sackett Street Railroad and owned a mansion on Joralemon street in Brooklyn Heights in the mid 1800s.

Russell W Adams was buried in Greenwood Cemetery April 11, 1888 Lot 14939 section 123.

ADAMS -On Monday, April 9, 1888, Russell W. Adams. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral services at his late residence, 1527 Pacific St., Brooklyn, on Wednesday, April 11 at 2:30 p.m.

In February 1885 W. R. Adams lumber yard at the corner of Van Brunt and Bowen streets was conned out of $53.62 of black walnut by a "man representing himself as a carpenter". The lumber was delivered to 475 Hicks Street. When the lumber arrived the driver was paid with a check. The unloaded lumber was immediately loaded on another wagon and taken away. The check turned out to be forged.

In January 1889 John Moloney worked at Adams lumber yard at Van Brunt and "Bower".

William R Adams, the eldest son of Russell W, continued in the lumber business. He bought out one of his father's branches in 1887:

This first business veture for his own account was started at Van Brunt and Bowne streets, the location which W. R. Adams & company had occupied for so many years. This location in the Hamilton Ferry district of South Brooklyn has for fully sixty years been identified with the lumber business in connection with the Adams family name. (The New York Lumber Trade Journal, Volume 65, 1918)

The 1910 Federal census and the 1915 New York State census indicate that William R and his son, Russell, were still in the lumber business. The 1916 Brooklyn Map indicates R. W. Adams Lumber at Bowne between Imlay and Ban Brunt. In the 1920 census Russel D Adams was listed but no occupation was entered.

Marx and Rawolle Glycerine works, 179 Williams street -

Not indicated by name on the 1869, 1880 or 1886 maps. No longer standing. It may have been located at the corner of William and Conover.

Marx and Rawolle became partners in 1870. Marks & Rowell's manufacturers of glycerine and shellac were located at 179 William Street in 1871 when they received an award for "best glycerine". They were listed in The Trow City Directory of 1874 at 179 William and 531 W. 59th.

They are not indicated on the 1886 map. Their address in 1899 was give as both 163 William Street and 9 Van Brunt street. They were listed under "Druggist Supplies" in a 1893 catalogue.

On March 16, 1884 Marx & Rawolle's glycerine and varnish works at 531 to 533 West 59th street burned. The company had insurance. (New York Times March 17, 1884)

Marx and Rawolle had and undisclosed amount of shellac and glycerine stored at the warehouse of R. C. Layron, Jr. at 63 - 64 South Street, Manhattan when fire destroyed the destroyed that structure in September 1891. The five story building was 50 by 120 and filled with highly flammable shellacs, gums and dyestuffs. At least 50 firms had merchandise stored in the warehouse.

In 1891 Frederick Rawolle appeared before a US Congressional Committee concerning the internal-revenue tax on alcohol. He wished to reduce or abolish the tax on alcohol in order to make the cost of varnish lower.

We are one of the small manufacturers who use alcohol for the manufacture of French varnishes, colored lacquers, and shellac varnish.
In 1885 the firm of Marx and Rawolle was granted permission to erect three dwellings on the east side of Van Brunt eighty feet north of Irving street. One of the buildings was to be 82x50 and four stories high. Another was to be 84x46 and six stories high. There were intended for use as dwellings and business offices.

Fredrick Marx was born in Worstadt, Germany in July 31, 1827. He came to the US in 1851. He was a senior partner of Marx and Rawolle "the largest glycerine manufacture in the United States" at the time of his death in 1901.

Frederick Rawolle was born April 19 1842 in Wolmirstedt near Magdeburg Prussia. He came to the US in 1849. He died in 1903.

FREDERICK RAWOLLE Of Marx & Rawolle, New York City. Born April 19, 1842. Died May 18, 1903. Frederick Rawolle was born in Wolmirstedt, near Magdeburg, in Prussia, on April 19, 1842. Mr. Rawolle came to New York in January, 1849. In 1855 he passed the entrance examinations to the Free Academy, now the College of the City of New York, from which he graduated in 1860. In September of that year he secured a position as civil engineer in the work of laying out Prospect Park in Brooklyn. In 1861 he continued his engineering work in Peru, South America. From 1863 to 1869 he was engaged in the work of constructing the Kansas Pacific Railroad. In 1870 he formed the partnership with Frederick Marx, who died in 1901, leaving Mr. Rawolle the surviving member of the firm. Pneumonia was the cause of Mr. Rawolle's death. He leaves a widow and one son, Frederick C. Rawolle.

Proceedings, Volume 29 By National Wholesale Druggists' Association

Hamilton Wadding Co

Not indicated on the 1869 map. On the 1880 map King between Conover and and Van Brunt - brick building listed as Hamilton Wadding Works. On the 1886 map but not named.

On May 14, 1858 fire broke out at the Cotton Batting Manufactory in William Street between Van Brunt and Imlay, in Red Hook. The building was 200 feet by 50 feet and three stories high. The fire originated on the third story. Damages of machinery and merchandise was estimated at $50,000. The books and papers were saved. "The establishment was known as the Hamilton Manufacturing Company and the business was carried on by Messrs. Bellows & Co. who purchased out the former proprietors in January last". At the time of the fire the company employed four men and thirty six "girls". Due to the efforts of the fire department the fire did not spread to neighboring buildings. Estimated loss $100,000.

June 25, 1859 The Hamilton Manufacturing Works was destroyed by fire. The fire at the facilities of Bloodgood & Bellows on Williams Street between Conover and Van Brunt started the steam pipes in the drying room. Given the amount of combustible material "lying about" it soon enveloped the whole establishment. The building was of brick about 150 feet bys 75 feet and three stories high. "It contained a large stock of raw and manufactured materials and employed twenty-five hands" Employees turned on "the Ridgewood water" which did not succeed in checking the fire. The building was destroyed except for the south wing. It contained the boilers and machinery as well as hundreds of bales of cotton. The machinery was slightly damaged and the cotton was saved. As the fire progressed the walls fell outward. The amount of the loss was estimated at $25,000 which was said to be covered by insurance. The fire could be seen from a great distance. Fortunately no damage occurred to surrounding buildings.

In July 1862 there was an accident at the firm of Thomas, Brown, and Johnson cotton factory in King Street between Conover and Van Brunt when and employee of the firm was caught by a blet and dreaged to his death in the machinery.


October 1863 about 3:14 in the afternoon fire occurred at the cotton factory on King Street Red Hook owned by Messrs "Ludgood and Osmore". Damage was done to stock in the amount of $1,000 - covered by insurance.

July 1866 "ON FIRE AGAIN" slight fire at the Hamilton cotton factory owned by "Bloodgood and Osterman" on King street, near Van Brunt caused by cotton on the roof catching flame from a neighboring factory.

Tutusville Herald, March 4, 1868 The Hamilton Cotton Wadding Factory, Brooklyn, was partly burned last night ..... manufacturers ....., cotton, silk and wool. Newspaper Archives (Unfortunately, the page does not come up - just the enticing lead in.)

On March 16 , 1868 fire again struck the cotton Factory of "Bloodgood and Osterman" on King Street near Van Brunt. The flames originated in the storage room and quickly spread. The fire departement responded quickly and the fire was soon extinguished. Damages estimated at $15,000.

Fire at the King Street Cotton factory in 1869.

Hamilton Wadding Annual Report listing in Brooklyn Eagle January 1870 - H. M. Lockwood, President.

In March 1870 a fire destroyed the Ostermoor and Bloodgood patent elastic felt factory in King Street near Van Brunt. The building contained a large quantity of of machinery and cotton.

In 1892 fire destroyed the the Sperry and Beale mattress factory at 456-458 Hicks street (near Tiffany Place). In 1899 the Sperry and Beale mattress factory was located at 141 King Street as noted in a November 1899 report on black smoke emitted by factory chimneys. They were listed at 147 King street in 1918 - Mr. Theodore S Sperry, mattresses, cushions and batting. 141 and 147 are mid block on King between Conover and Van Brunt.

The old established business of Sperry & Beale, manufacturers of stair pads, mattresses, cushions and similar articles, has been assumed by the Sperry & Beale Company, incorporated under the laws of New York State, with a paid-in capital of $50,000. The ofiicers of the new company are J. Henry Sperry, president; ]ohn R. Wilmer, vice-president ; Charles D. Sperry, secretary and treasurer. Joseph H. Beale, of the late firm, practically retired from active interest in the business with the incorporation of the new company. He will, however, be associated with the corporation for the time being.

The firm of Sperry & Beale were perhaps the earliest manufacturers of elastic felt mattresses and stair pads in America. Under the style of the Harrington Carpet Lining Company the business was established in 1873, continuing under that name until 1881, at which time its interests were merged with the American Carpet Lining Company. Timothy S. Sperry then took over the stair pad and upholstery branch of the business, and continued it under the name of Sperry & Co. Joseph H. Beale was admitted to the firm in 1886, when the name became Sperry & Beale. A year later, J. Henry Sperry and Charles D. Sperry, sons of Timothy S. Sperry, entered the firm. Timothy S. Sperry died in 1895, and the business was continued by the other members until the incorporation of the firm mentioned above.

American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, Volume 22, 1903

Mica Roofing, Childs & Childs and the Barrett Company, foot of Smith street

Not indicated on the 1869 map or 1880 maps. Listed on the 1886 map between Smith and Court below Halleck Street as the Brooklyn Roofing co. - mostly frame construction.

New York Mica Roofing Works, foot of Smith Street, were makers of patented mica and tar paper for roofing. They had offices in Manhattan and were also listed in Williamsburg.

Mica Roofing company was founded in Brooklyn in 1851 by William Henry Harrison Childs, AKA, W. H. H. Childs. The mica Roofing company made a pitch and tar saturated paper that was used in conjunction with gravel as roofing material. Later they made a roofing "cement" from distilled tar. Tar was a by product of the manufacture of coal gas and was considered a "nuisance". W. H. H. Childs' nephew (or cousin depending on the source), William Hamlin Childs, went to work for the company. They formed the company Childs and Childs which held the trade mark "Bon Ami", a popular cleansing powder. Mica Roofing and Bon Ami later became part of the Barrett Company. Barrlett Mfg Co was designated on a 1907 map of Brooklyn between Smith and Court and Halleck and Sigourney.

In 1874 notice was give that the copartnership of Childs and Byrne, the Union Chemical Works and the Brooklyn Roofing Company was disolved.

February 1877 ROOFING ROOFING "Wm H. H. Childs sucessor to the Brooklyn Roofing Company cor smith and Sixth sts Brooklyn".

November 1878 William Woosdale was blown twenty-five feet by an explosion of a vat of roofing material at the Brooklyn Roofing works "at the corner of Smith and sixths streets." Note: On the 1880 map the citizen's Gas Works were at Smith and Sixth.

He broke his thigh and would "never again be able to enter active life". He was treated at Long Island Hospital.

In February 1891 a fire brook out in the sheds of the Mica Roofing company (foot of Smith street) at 8:15 in the evening. "The fire spread rapidly and the gang of workmen barley escaped with their lives." The cause was attributed to an overheated still.

In 1896 dozens of windows in the Mica Roofing works and the Bradley Salt works were blown out when the tug boat William Horre's boiler exploded at two o'clock in the morning. The boat was totally demolished and debris was sent flying hundreds of yards.

William Henry Harrison Childs died April 1898.

William Hamlin Childs build a mansion in Brooklyn that is not the home of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. See Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Building History

Foundry corner of Wolcott and Ferris - later Ice Company at same location

On the 1869 map there is an unlabeled building on Ferris near Wolcott. It maintains its size and shape on the 1880 and 1886 maps. On the 1880 and 1886 maps on Ferris and Wolcott, is a brick building labeled "foundry". No longer standing.

The 1880 and 1886 maps shows a foundry at the corner of Wolcott and Ferris.

The 1898-99 map shows Hygiena Ice Mfg. An ice manufacturing plant is at this address on the 1904 map.

The Brooklyn Consumers Hygiene Ice company had a 150 by 200 feet factory on the corner of Wolcott, Dykeman and Ferris Streets in January 1891. They made PURE CRYSTAL HYGIENIC ICE, EVERY BLOCK WEIGHING 300 POUNDS. President in 1891 H Thimig.

NYPL map 1808966

The building extends from Wolcott to Dikeman along Ferris. On the 1886 map a part of this building was labeled "Foundry".

By the time of this map the building was constructed of brick with a frame condenser room and a frame monitor roof down the main part of the structure. There was a frame office and shed on the northwest end of the complex. Various sections of the building are labeled: Engine Model Ice Plant, Ice Storage, Freezing Tanks, Dynamo Ice Machine Engine 150 tons, Condenser Room Iron Chimneys. The building itself had 12 inch walls with 8 inch pilasters.

1898: Articles of incorporation have been filed with the secretary of state by the American Ice Manufacturing Co., of Brooklyn, N. Y. It is proposed to make and sell ice. Its capital stock is placed at $100,000. The directors for the first year are: Samuel B. Rinehart, James B Ruby of Waynesboro, Pa., Cyrus V Washburn, James F Wright, and John E Eustis of Brooklyn (Ice and Refrigeration, Volumes 14-15)

1899: April, Incorporated at Albany, American Ice-Manufacturing company of Brooklyn capital $100,000 directors: S. B. Rinehart and James B Ruby of Waynesboro, Pa, J. E. Eustis of New York City, and C. V. Washburn and J. F. Wright of Brooklyn.

1900: American Ice Manufacturing co. vs Lidgerwood Manufacturing co. were listed on the Supreme Court Trial list on February 26 1900.

1901: Listed Congressional Serial Set

1902: Ad - American Ice Manufacturing Co offices 189 Montague Factory Ferris, Walcott (sic) and Dikeman

1903: Listed Elihu Root collection of United States documents:

Henry Esler & Co, Ship Engine and boiler makers

On the 1861 insurance map at the corner of the Southern pier of the Atlantic Basin bordering on King street - showing a brick building with tin roof, "coped" and including a boiler shop 100x50 feet, smith shop and finishing shop, coal storage, foundry and an office - listed as Esler & Co Engine & Boiler Works.

On the 1886 map this building is labeled "oil works".

Esler and Company Boiler Factory was located near the south-western end of the Atlantic Basin. Henry Esler & Co. built steam engines and boilers. In 1862 they built the machinery for the steamer Shantung which was built for the "China coast trade"
She is about 1,000 tons burden, of a beautiful model, and fitted with an overhead beam engine, like that of our river boats. This engine was an object of great interest to a select party of engineers, editors and others who were invited, during the outward trip down the bay, to witness the operations of two different valve motions, with which it had been fitted, and which were arranged to be changed from one to the other, to show the effects of each. The engine has a cylinder fifty inches in diameter, with a stroke of ten feet. It was built by H. Esler & Co., Atlantic Dock Works, Brooklyn, and is a substantial and excellent piece of mechanism.

Scientific American, vol 6 1862

The cylinders of the engines on the Shantung had a diameter of 50 inches and the length of the stoke was 11 feet. (A stroke is the action of a piston travelling the full length of its locomotive cylinder or engine cylinder in one direction. Wikipedia). There were two boilers in the hold which did "not use blowers". Henry Esler & Company also build the machinery for a companion ships the Steamer Kiang-Tze, the Shan See and the Sze Chuen.

THE SIDE-WHEEL STEAMER KIANG-TSE. Hull built by Messrs. LAWRENCE & FOULES, Greenpoint, L.I.; machinery constructed by Messrs. HENRY ESLER & Co., Brooklyn; owners, Messrs P.S. FORBES & Co., China; intended service, Coast of China.

Hull -- Length on deck, 200 feet; breadth of beam, 33 feet; depth of hold, 11 feet, 6 inches; draft of water, at load line, 7 feet, 6 inches; tonnage, 1,100 tons; frame is of white oak, chestnut, hacmetac and locust; and has iron straps diagonally and doubly laid, 4 by 1/2 inches, running around it.

Machinery -- Vertical beam engine; one cylinder, 50 inches in diameter, and a stroke of piston of 10 feet. The waterwheels are 28 feet in diameter, and have 26 blades in each; two return flue boilers in vessel.

New York Times April 9 1862

Henry Esler and Co were listed at the Atlantic Docks in 1869 (Congressional serial set: Issue 1388 - Page 21).

Railway age: Volume 18 1886 - Snippet view

This machinist was Henry Esler, who was subsequently proprietor of shops at the Atlantic Docks, Brooklyn.

Henry Esler died in 1876 and was buried in Green-Wood Cemebery along with is wife Catherine L. (died 1878) and Mathilda (died 1883) and Gertrude A Eseler (died 1915).

According to the obituary of Henry Hull Tibbals in December 1886, Henry Elser & Co were the proprietors of the Atlantic Dock Iron Works. It was also called the Atlantic Iron Works in a New York Times article of June 9, 1863

Eastman & Mandeville Co. Tuna Oil Refinery, Oil Works, between King street and Clinton Wharf at the Buttermilk Channel

On 1861 map as Esler and Co. Boiler makers. See above. The 1880 and 1886 maps show a brick structure labeled "oil works" between King street and Clinton Wharf at the Buttermilk Channel .

Atlases of New York city. Insurance maps of New York. Brooklyn Atlas 63. Vol. 1, 1886 shows a brick building labeled Eastman & Manville Co. Tuna Oil Refinery

Rogers Match Factory

Not labeled on the 1869, 1880 or 1886 maps. News articles indicate that it was at the corner of Columbia and Delavan. One article lists it at Richards and Ewen streets. The NYPL has Brooklyn maps online for 1874 and 1875 but they do not contain details of businesses in the area.

FIRE: April 28, 1869 caused by matches in the drying room - $100 damage. Factory owned by Wm H Rogers corner of Columbia and Delavan.

FIRE: June 10, 1870 caused by matches in the drying room - little damage. Factory owned by William H Rogers corner of Columbia and Delavan.

FIRE: June 16, 1871 caused by boys throwing stones at the building and igniting matches - $1,000 damage. Factory owned by Wm H Rogers corner of Richards and Ewens .

FIRE: May 6, 1872 caused by boys throwing stones at the "patent match factory" and igniting matches - $1,000 damage - no insurance - building owned by Martin Shea. Factory owned by "Willison" Rogers & Co., corner of Columbia and Delavan. In February 1872 Martin Shea owned a liquor store on the corner of "Delevan" and Van brunt.

William Rogers, match manufacturer, was listed in the 1870 Census in Ward 6. Rogers William H 30 abt 1840 Male White New York, Rogers Nancy 32 abt 1838 Female White New York, Rogers Jessie H 6 abt 1864 Female White New York. William H Rogers died in 1876. His widow was listed in the 1880 census: Kimball, Thomas, clerck in store, 80 abt 1800 Self Widower, New Hampshire, Rogers, Nancie, 37, abt 1843, Daughter, Widowed, New York, New Hampshire, Rogers, Jesse H., 16, abt 1864, Daughter, Single, New York, on Atlantic Ave.

Directory listings

William H Rogers Residence Year: 1870 Street Address: 29 Rapelyea Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York Occupation: Matches Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1870

William H Rogers Residence Year: 1871 Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York Occupation: Match Manf Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1871

William H Rogers Delavan Columbia Residence Year: 1871 Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1871

William H Rogers Residence Year: 1872 Street Address: 110 Rapelye Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York Occupation: Matches Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1872

William H Rogers Residence Year: 1873 Street Address: 190 President Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York Occupation: Matches Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1873

PATENT, 1868

83.412. - William H. Rogers, New York. N. Y. - Match Composition. - October 27, 1868. - A composition of saltpeter, orris root, minium, phosphorous, and dissolved caoutchouc is used to make the match flexible, self-igniting, and combustible throughout its length.

Claim. - The use of caoutchouc, (or India rubber,) or of gutta percha, in a composition for the manufacture of matches, substantially as and for the purposes described.

(Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents, Volume 2, 1870

PATENT, June 7, 1870
103,931 - FUSE COMPOSITION - William H Rogers, Brooklyn, NY. (no further information).
ROGERS, WILLIAM H. was buied in Greenwood Cemetery 1876-10-10 Lot 6991 Section 48 - Nancy Kimball Rogers was buried in Greenwood Cemetery 1920-12-04 Lot 6991 Section 48

Phosphorus match production was a simple process. A splinter of wood was dipped in melted phosphorus (sometimes combined with other chemicals), then covered with gum or glue and set to dry. The process is hazardous both from the danger of fire and the danger of phosphorus poisoning.

Willis and Son Match Factory

The Willis & Son match factory was not shown on the 1869, 1880 or 1886 maps on Seabring street.

FIRE: August 29, 1871 A fire in a two story frame building at 57 Seabring street in the William and Son match factory was caused by matches drying in the sun. The business was not insured - damage $1,000. The fire spread to #59 and unoccupied building owned by Francis B Cutting.

"Mr. Cutting" was advertising 2 new buildings on Seabring street 50x50 with 4 lots for $600 in June 1860.

J. A. H. Bell Paint Mill - on Columbia between Luquer and Nelson Streets

The 1869 map lists J. A. H. Bell Paint Mill on Columbia between Luquer and Nelson Streets. There is nothing listed and no building indicated at this location on the 1880 and 1886 maps.

James A H. Bell was raised by his "uncle" Augustus Bell. Both had some connection to white lead paint manufacturing in Brooklyn although it was not the main occupation of either of them. Both were also major philanthropists - giving generously of their money and personal collections to a variety of Brooklyn Institutions.

Augustus Graham was born Richard John King in Modbury, Devon, England in 1776. At some point Richard King changed his name to Augustus Graham. Around 1808 he formed a partnership with John Bell, who changed his name to John Graham. They founded the Brooklyn White Lead company in 1822. Their business was located at Front Street between Washington and Adams. They suffered a disastrous fire in the fall of 1864. However, they quickly bounced back and introduced measures to extinguish future fires. Augustus Graham married Martha Cocke. They had at least one daughter, Eliza Rebecca, born in Frederick Maryland in 1808. She married Chester Coleman. The 1850 census in Brooklyn listed Augustus Graham 75, Chester Coleman 49, Elizabeth R Coleman 42, Augustus G Coleman 14, Louisa A Coleman 16, and two servants. Augustus Graham died November 27, 1851. John Bell Graham died March 11, 1853 at 37 Sands Street.

Pure white lead has the reputation of being the best paint in respect of color and body. It is also used in the preparation of vulcanized caoutchouc. The preparation of the pure white lead requires the use of the purest metallic lead; and that preferred is either European lead that has been refined, or the metal from the upper mines of the Mississippi. The old method was to use the metal in thin sheets, cut in small pieces, each of which was rolled into a loose spiral, in which form it could be conveniently subjected to the action of the vapors by which its conversion into carbonate is effected. Instead of these spirals the metal, after the invention of Mr. Augustus Graham of Brooklyn, N. Y., is now almost universally cast in the form of gratings or "buckles," so called from their resemblance to the large shoe buckles of former times.

(The new American encyclopedia: a popular dictionary of general ..., Volume 16 edited by George Ripley, Charles Anderson Dana, 1869 and several others)

James A. H. Bell was born circa 1815 in New Orleans. Ophaned at an early age he was raised by Augustus Graham and John Bell Graham. James A. H. Bell was a book and art collector who lived on Sands street and gave most of his collection to various Brooklyn institutions, notable the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Museum.

Graham and Bell


J. A. H. Bell supplier of Paints &c. to 10th June 1846 (Proceedings of the Board of Assistant Aldermen, Volume 28 By New York (N.Y.). Board of Assistant Aldermen)
Augustus Graham Residence Date: 1850 Residence Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States Comments: White lead manufacturer

1850 Census Augustus Graham age 75 white lead manufacture born Scotland 2nd ward, Brooklyn.

Ward # Brooklyn, James A. H. Bell, merchant 31, Lucretia N Bell 25, John G Bell 4, Charles A Bell 2, Richard H Frost 21, Royal Payne 42, Elizabeth Payne 36, Grace Maloy 18, Mary Donagan 17. John and Charles were in boarding school in Queens in 1860.


"J. A. H. Bell, New York, exhibited a case of Paris greens in powder and mixed, and some American vermilion (sub-chromate of lead) ; colours all good."

(Professor Wilson's special report,The New York Industrial Exhibition 1854 Parliamentary papers, Volume 36 By Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons)

J. A. H. Bell was an officer of the Nassau Fire Insurance Company of Brooklyn in 1856 and 1861.

J. A. H. Bell of Brooklyn had 30 shares valued at 3,000 in the Croton Fire Insurance Co.


J. A. H. Bell Paint Mill was listed on the 1869 map of Brooklyn at Delevan and Commerce on the east side of Columbia.

1870 Census
J. A. Bell, retired merchant 5th ave between 29th and 30th street.
A gift of 10,425V., rich in travel, history, biography, and theology, have been given the Brooklyn public library by J. A. H. Bell. The books represent the collection of a lifetime by Mr Bell, who is eighty-two years old. The books represent a value of $100,000. Public libraries, Volume 3)
"In the latter part of 1898, the bequest of Mr. J. A. H. Bell, gave the gallery four pictures of distinct value, by Boucher, Fyt, Clays and Jan Wyck, and some others of minor importance"

The annual report of the Brooklyn Museums By Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. Children's Museum. 1904

" Nearly 11,000 Volumes Presented to Brooklyn Institutions by James A. H. Bell.

James A. H. Bell sat In the dining room of his home at 45 Sands Street, Brooklyn, one day last week, and watched the men fill the furniture van with the last of his....... of especial interest, because he is a relative of the founder of the institute, Augustus Graham, who, it will be remembered, (New York times book review and magazine - Page 455, 1898)

Donations of Paintings to the Department have been made during the year as follows : From Mr. J. A. H. BELL: "Visit to Grandpa," by CHARLES NAHL. " Niagara Falls," by J. F. CROPSEY. "The Merrymakers." "Preparing for a Feast," by GEORGE ARMFIELD. "The Mourners," by GEORGE ARMFIELD. "A Flower Seller of Seville," by GEORGE H. HALL. "Portrait of John Graham", by CHARLES NAHL. "Portrait of Mrs. John Graham", by CHARLES NAHL. "Marine View," by P. J. CLAYS. "Unconscious Innocence," by F. BOUCHER. "Still Life," by JAN FY'l. "Pastoral Scene," by FRAIES. "Hawking Party." "Street Market at Night," (a) by CULYERHOUSE. "Street Market at Night," (b) by CULYERHOUSE. "Street Market at Night," (c) by CULVERHOUSE. "Woodcock," by HOLBURTON. "The Lovers," by CONSTANTIN BOON. "Pastoral Scene," by DESON. "The Bathers," by THALLMAN. "Portia and Narissa," by BROCKMAN. "Miniature on Ivory, Girl." "Miniature on Ivory, Grandmother." "Crucifixion."

Yearbook of the Brooklyn Institute, Volume 11 By Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1899

DEATH: February 2, 1901
"JAMES A.H. BELL DEAD.; The "Monte Cristo of Brooklyn" Passes Away at 84 -- Gave 10,400 Volumes to Brooklyn Library.

James A.H. Bell, best known to residents of Brooklyn through the gift of his library containing 10,400 volumes to the Brooklyn Library in June, 1898, died yesterday from the grip, at his home, 45 Sands Street, Brooklyn, in his eighty-fourth year. Mr. Bell had been ill for about fourteen weeks."

NYT James A. H. Bell was born in New Orleans. He was orphaned when his parents died of yellow fever. He came north at the age of four to live with an uncle, Augustus Graham, who lived on Clinton Street in Brooklyn. Bell lived at 45 Sands Street in Brooklyn for most of his life. He was a very wealthy man having made a fortune in his own right and also having inherited from his uncle. He had two sons from his marriage. One was still living at the time of his death. He was also survived by four grandchildren and a great grandchild. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery which also contained the garve of his wife.

"Mr Bell established the first white lead factory that was built in Brooklyn. It is well known that after the establishment was going well Mr. Bell went to Europe, leaving his two sons in charge. During his absence the business came to an end." John G and Charles A Bell were listed in Brooklyn Directories in 1868 and 1871 as "paints".

(BE February 04, 1901)

His sons, John G and Charles A Bell died "since the execution of the will" so his property went to his housekeeper and his grand children and to the Brooklyn Public Library. (BE February 8, 1901). Charles Bell age 52 died in Kings County Dec. 2, 1900.

White Lead

White lead is a toxic chemical compound formerly used in "lead" paint. It has been outlawed in most countries.

Augustus Graham

Paint Factory

There was a fire in 1869 at the Jessup and Childs Paint factory on Summit Street. They were located on the north side of Hamilton Avenue.

DeMars Overalls

R. H. DeMars manufactured overalls at 399 Van Brunt street. See DeMars

Iron Works between Van Dyke and Elizabeth streets at Dwight

The 1886 map shows an Iron Works between Van Dyke and Elizabeth streets at Dwight

Car Depot between Van Dyke and Partition streets at Richards

The 1886 map shows a Car Depot between Van Dyke and Partition streets at Richards

Iron Works

Perhaps the most common industries in Red Hook in the mid to late 1800s were "iron works" - manufactures of large machinery such as boiler makers, hydraulic pumps, steam rollers, ship parts, stoves, etc. These were companies that incorporated foundries as part of the manufacturing process.

These businesses had several things in common including the types of employees which included: boiler makers, riveters, draftsmen, pattern makers, blacksmiths, machinists, molders, foundry workers, superintendents, foremen, salesmen, sales manager, general managers, purchasing agents, and traffic managers. As well as common laborers who fetched and carried. Puddlers, rollers, molders, and heaters where categories of skilled iron workers.

The "works" included: offices, drafting rooms, blacksmith shops, forges, foundries, production sheds, machine shops, erecting shops, powerhouses, chimneys, and pattern storage areas.

In 1899 there was an ironworkers strike in Red Hook. The strike was confined to union members who were demanding shorter hours. The asked for a scale of an eight hour day on "old" work and a nine hour day on "new" work. Non striking members were working "on a scale of nine hours a day". Riveters were getting $2.80 a day. Heaters [?] were getting $1.50 a day. The competition was working a ten hour day for less pay.

Ten years earlier in January 1889 Pittsburgh Iron workers went out on strike agains reduction in wages:

Puddlers from $4.00 to $3.50 per ton
Boilers from 6.00 to $5.0 per ton
Refiners from 1.00 to .40 per ton
Scrappers for 3.75 to 2.50 per ton
Heaters from 1.37 to 1,00 per ton

(Congressional Serial Set, 1889)

Another take on 1889 wages indicated:
In the Tudor Iron-works are three hundred and thirty men. One bar mill roller makes $8.13 a day; three guide mill rollers make $6.50; four bar mill heaters make $7; six guide mill heaters make $5.25; six puddlers get $4.66, and ten puddlerhelpers $2.50. Thirty skilled iron-workers average $4.66 a day. The other three hundred employes, or ninety per cent. of the entire force, earn $1.75 a day.

"One thing to be remembered," said Mr. M , "is that though our wages are high they are not steady. For a long time four months a year was considered a good average. Even now the average does not exceed six months in the year. This is because with the least degree of prosperity so many rush into the business, and wages fall.


A good puddler can puddle three thousand pounds a day.


Molders (another class of iron-workers) are not paid as well as bar mill rollers.

(The Tramp at Home, Lee Meriwether, 1889)

By 1893 machinery was replacing many iron workers jobs.

The puddler (or boiler) was a skilled iron worker. With his helpers, the puddler used a furnace to remove impurities and convert pig iron into semifinished iron bars from which the machine shop manufactured finished goods.


The iron produced by the puddler was sent to the heater to be reheated before shaping. Due to the high temperatures to which they was exposed a heater and his helpers needed frequent rests.

Pattern makers

Pattern makers produced precise wooden or cast iron patterns of the parts to be produced.


Moulders used a special blend of molding sand and water which was tightly packed around the wooden mold. There was a delicate balance between packing the sand too hard, too soft, too much water, not enough water, etc. From this sand pack the moulder would cast a mold into which the molten iron would be pored forming the desired part. Moulding required a through knowledge of the properties of the metal as well as the technically ability to properly mix and pack the sand.

See You Tube for a 1924 version of mold making.


Machinists finished the parts produced in the foundry. This work also required a high level of skill and knowledge. They made cuts, and used files and scrappers to highly finish the part so it would fit properly in the machine under construction.

Pattern making and molding were the most highly skilled workers in the foundry. Puddlers, heaters, pattern makers, moulders and machinists were considered craftsmen.

Boiler Makers

On July 20, 1901 the Brotherhood of Boiler Makers and Iron Ship Builders of South Brooklyn Lodge No 171 gave their sixth annual picnic at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island.

Iron Workers - The Tramp at Home - Lee Meriwether

The Ironworker's Noontime - Thomas Anshutz - 1880

Wooden machine parts patterns

Warehouses and Stores in Lower Red Hood in the late 1800s

Warehouses and stores in the lower section of Red Hook in the late 1800s included: the New York Warehouses, the German America Warehouse, Merchants Stores, Beard Stores, Stranahan's Stores, and the Revere Sugar Warehouse.

Red Hook Stores - New York Warehouse

The New York Warehouse (AKA Red Hook Stores), 480- 500 Van Brunt Street, built in 1869, (now a Fairway Supermarket) was indicated on the 1886 map of Red Hook.

The 1861 insurance map shows two buildings at this location:

  1. Beef and Pork Inspection - a brick building with a composition rood and a partition wall dividing the space into to sections one larger than the other. Nest to it was a wooden structure marked "crude". New York Warehousing co. - brick building "storage of refined oil one story warren cement roof". Small wooden structure to one side.

Across the street on the west side of Conover was a wooden building labeled " Hedenberg's Store - nitrates of soda, gravel roof".

The New York Warehouse at the foot of Van Brunt was mainly used as a cotton warehouse. Cotton is a highly flammable commodity.

In October 1876 fire broke out on a lighter laden with cotton and docked at the New York Warehouse. The flames spread quickly to the dock and another lighter lying near by, also laden with cotton. The firemen responded quickly, towed the one boat away from the dock and tossed the burning bales of cotton into the water. 736 bales of cotton were destroyed. The warehouse was seriously threatened.

In 1879 two young neighborhood thieves were arrested for carrying off several bales of cotton from the New York Warehouse stores at the foot of Van Brunt. (Brooklyn Eagle Aug 11, 1879)

In the fall of 1885 "on the wharf bounded by Conover, Reid and Van Brunt streets the New York Warehousing Company' built an "immense addition to their already existing warehousing facilities." The new brick five story high structure had a frontage of 120 feet on the wharf and a depth of 200 feet. It was to be used for the storage of cotton. (BDE).

In 1890 the Brooklyn Eagle Almanac listed New York Warehousing Company at the Foot of Van Brunt Street with 4,590,000 cubic feet capacity.

In June 1893 the end section of the five story building was struck by lightening resulting in fire. The buildings contained over 8,000 bales of cotton at the time the fire broke out. Estimated damage: to the building $20,000, to the cotton $80,000. The company was insured. (Brooklyn Eagle)

In 1894 fire broke out in Compartment B of the New York Warehouse on Van Brut Street. The cause of the fire was though to be spontaneous combustion.

"There are four buildings owned by the some company. They cover an area of 60 by 200 feet and are on the block bounded by the river, Van Brunt, Richard and Conover streets. They are five stories high and are built of brick and iron."
There were 6,000 bales of cotton valued at $45 each in storeroom B when the fire started (that was $270,000 worth of cotton). Owing to the quick response of the fire department the blaze was under control in a few hours and much of the cotton was saved. Estimated losses: $75,000 on the cotton and $12,000 on the building.

On September 11, 1901 there was another major fire at the Red Hook Stores at the foot of Van Brunt Street. Part of the building was saved because the brick walls that divided the sections of the building were twenty inches thick. The fire raged in "Compartment B" and none of the cotton in that section could be saved. Fire trucks and fire boats worked all night to put out the fire. Cotton in the other two compartments was saved. (New York Times) The Brooklyn Eagle reported that there were 30,000 bales of cotton in the three sections of the building. Efforts were made to contain the fire to the one section.

Cotton fires apparently burn with thick dark clouds of smoke.

Dealing with the cotton salvage of the fires.

The frequency of fires in cotton warehouses and on vessels and lighters laden with the snowy fiber has created the business of picking and saving the undamaged or partially damaged portions of the warehouses, ships and lighters contents.

Brooklyn Eagle, October 13, 1893

Such sorting was carried out at the Erie basin breakwater. Hundreds of women were employed to sort the cotton. The sorted cotton was taken to the German American stores to be "pressed' for exportation.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck, August 2012

German American Warehouse (German American Stores)

Listed on the 1886 map the German American Warehouse was located at Ferris street between Partition (now Coffey) and Van Dyke streets. According to A Preservation Plan for Red Hook 2009 the German American Warehouse predates 1869 and was used to store cotton. The building still stands at 106 Ferris Street. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle could indicate that the building was constructed in 1876 (see below).

In September 1873 the Brooklyn Eagle announced that the German American Mutual Warehousing and Security Company was investing $2,500,000 in the Red Hook waterfront. The complex included three buildings. Store No. 1 located on Partition street became a bonded warehouse in accordance with government regulations. The building was one hundred by two hundred and twenty five feet. It was one story with a 10 feet cellar. The cellar was of stone. The wooden cupolas on the roof were removed and glass skylights were put in place. The building was intended for the storage of sugar and molasses.

In October 1873 and article in the Brooklyn Eagle reported that Bartlett & Green had leased the German American Stores and "entered upon their occupation of the building the first of the current month. The first cargo of sugar was put into the stores Friday October 10." The three stores hired by Bartlett and Green were about 300 feet back from the water and were "very commodious".

June 1876 "Mr. Hazard" was constructing "a large store 132x162 four stories in height for the German America Warehouse company" at Ferris and Van Dyke streets.

In September 1881 several employees at the German America Stores threatened to kill one another. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Thomas O'Neal of 130[9] Dikeman street, Robert McGrath of Van Brunt street, Moses Vogan of 132 Dikeman and Michael Ryan of 114 Partition street. The four fought with the Joyce brothers, John and Michael, and Anthony Rogers. The Joyce brothers and Rogers accused O'Neal, McGrath, Vogan and Ryan of assaulting them. However, when the lot of them appeared in court McGrath had two black eyes and a "severe scalp wound" and claimed that John Joyce had struck him in the head with a hogshead. It is unclear what the whole fracas was about. Messrs Berry and Brian were listed as proprietors of the German American Stores.

In 1886 there was a strike of the dock workers. Members of the "Shoremen's Protective Association, Union No. 2" (S.M. P. A.) were issued nickel badges about the size of "an ordinary coat button" and no shoreman was "permitted by the union to work without one". Shoremen at Merchant's and German American stores refused to unload vessels which came from a warehouse where the strike was in force.

In July 1887 two bales of cotton at the German America stores were ignited by sparks from an engine. "The damage was trifling".

In September 1888 P. C. Ralli & co. stored "upwards of a million dollars worth of cotton" at the German American stores in Brooklyn.

It was listed in the 1889 Brooklyn Eagle almanac as the "German America Stores" located at Erie Basin.

In 1890 the Brooklyn Eagle Almanac listed the German American Warehouse at the foot of Partition Street with 4,000,000 cubic feet capacity.

Large quantities of cotton arrived at the German America and Merchants stores in the fall of 1891.

In 1895 the German America stores were listed with 400 feet of water frontage.

Patrick Hennesy, age 24, of 124 Conover Street "dropped dead while at work outing cotton at the German America Stores" in June 1897.

"The biggest blaze that Brooklyn has seen for two years, and the biggest water-front fire it has seen since 1864" was reported by the New York Times on October 25, 1898. A four mast ship the Andorinha "lying at dock", "the pier belonging the Brooklyn Wharf and Warehouse Company known as the German America Stores", the naval storeyard of George L Hammond & Co. and the three masted schooner Wacamaw, two lighters (who were assisting the Andorinha) and a pile driver were destroyed. In addition thousands of dollars of merchandize when up in smoke and flame.

On the Brooklyn Wharf and Warehouse Company's wharf were piled 200 pales of cotton and 2,500 bales of jute. When the fire started the wharf and its contents blazed like tinder."
The Wacamaw had a cargo of turpentine, benzine, and alcohol. Resin from this ship burned on the face of the water. Thirty six thousand barrels of turpentine and resin were on the pier and were destroyed. The two lighters each had 600 bales of jute on board. Sixteen fire engines and six fire boats were used to combat the fire. The Andorinha was towed to the Gawanus flat where she continued to burn in spite of the continuos streams of water played on her. Pier 40 was in serious danger. Immediately behind this pier were the German American stores which contained 10,000 bales of jute. The walls of the warehouse were "red hot ad the building was in great danger". The firemen succeeded in saving it. The fire extended from van Dyke to Wolcott. Lingerwood Manufacturing was in danger. The two lighters were saved. The pile driver had an estimated worth of $25,000. You would think that someone would have figured out that jute, cotton, turpentine and benzine were better kept at a distance from one another. This volatile combination of cotton and turpentine was responsible for the devastating Hoboken pier fire of June 30, 1900 when hundreds lost their, ships and piers were destroyed. See Hoboken Pier fire June 30, 1900, the story and Photos of the Hoboken Pier Fire June 30, 1900

In the summer of 1899 several men boarded the lighter Brandenberg, which was docked at The German American Stores, and were in the process of stowing cotton in sacks when the police arrived. Three men were arrested. Two others got away with some cotton.

"Cotton stealing has been successfully carried on for a long time by an organized band of thieves along the river front."

Ships apparently came and went from the German America stores carrying merchandise other than cotton. In February 1900 British ships were loading hay and oats bound for South Africa. In September 1900 a 16 feet long and 10 inches in diameter boa constrictor was discharged at the German American stores; destination the Zoo at 181st Street Manhattan. In December 1900 and Outerbridge steamer arrived with a shipment of bay leaves, essence of limes and some "oranges and limes from Dominica". The Outerbridge steamship Fontabelle arrived at the German American Stores from the Windward Islands in April 1901. It was carrying "the dead body of Mr. Mason of Syracuse, N. Y. who had gone to Barbados for his heath and died there." In August 1901 a British transport arrived to pick up a shipment of American hay destined for troops in South Africa. The Tysen line steamship Indrani sailed from the German America stores for Norfolk to take on 3,000 tons of coal in September 1901.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

The undated map which was made close to 1900 labeled the one story brick warehouses between Ferris and Conover, Partition and Van Dyke as belonging to the German America Warehouse. These building are shown on the 1886 map but were not labeled. They were also unlabeled on the 1880 and 1899 map. However, they were labeled as "German America Warehouse company" on another 1880 map by Daniel Richards. These buildings are still standing.

Merchant Stores

The Merchant stores at the end of Van Dykes and Ferris streets at pier 41 were build in 1873.

Listed in the Brooklyn Eagle Almanac of 1889.

The Merchant stores were mentioned frequently with the German American stores (see German American stores).

In January 1885 Mr. Edward Bennett was Government "storekeeper" of the Merchant and German American Warehouses. "Mr. Alfred Woodruff said that business had been a little better in 1884 due to early sugar importation. However it was not as good as the years 1880, 1881 and 1882 "when the iron boom was on". He added that the last four months of 1884 were "very dull and very little shipping has been done." Alfred Woodruff was a member of the firm of Franklin Woodruff & Co. who owned the Merchant Stores.

July 21 1885 was apparently a very hot day. The Brooklyn Eagle listed victims of "sunstroke". Several people suffered convulsion and some actually died. The police assisted laborers and others to hospitals or their homes.

"Daniel McFall -04 King Street while at work in the Merchant Stores at foot of Van Dyke street was overcome by heat 5:30 P. M. and removed to his home by ambulance.
The Brooklyn Eagle Almanac of 1890 did not listed the Merchant Stores under Brooklyn warehouses.

In 1895 the Merchant stores were listed with 480 feet of water frontage.

Johnson & Hammond later George Hammond & Co - Hammond & Co. Naval Storage

The storage shed and yard of Hammond and Co Naval Storage was located on the Buttermilk Channel south of Dikeman street. In an undated map it was noted than tar and terpentine were stored in the shed and resin in barrels was stored in the yard.

In 1872 Johnson & Hammond's resin yard was 487 x 200 feet. The 100x410 feet shed stored 10,000 barrels of resin.

In 1873 Johnson & Hammond was described as having "considerable ground".

"The air in the neighborhood is laden with various odors, and the passer by can almost imagine himself in the neighborhood of a pine forest." (BE)

The sheds were long and low - some "tight and sound" others "dilapidated" (BE).

Turpentine tar and rosin were imported from the Carolinas where pine trees were tapped to collected the resin. After a few years the tapped tree died.

The yards were filled with misshapen 280 pound resin barrels. The rosin was the byproduct of the distillation of turpentine. It was the residue left in the retorts after the spirits had evaporated. The tar was protected from the hot son but the rosin was left exposed to the elements.

"In hot weather rosin softens somewhat and ooze through the interstices of the barrels, and afterwards hardens in cakes and folds, on the outside, clear as amber, and of a beautiful straw color." (BE)

The rosin was used: in varnishes, in candles, in tin work, to set colors in cloth printing, in soap making to add body to the soap, and in lager beer manufacturer to give a bitter taste to the brew.

Tar was obtained by burning pine wood in a pit surrounded by a trench. The tar runs into the trench as the wood was consumed by the fire. Tar was used in shipbuilding, in certain types of roofs and in pavement.

Turpentine was made from distilling the sap of the pine tree. It was used with oil paints.

All of this material was (is) extremely flammable so it was handled very carefully. Turpentine distilling was particularly dangerous as the stills often exploded. Most of the turpentine distilling was done in the South by blacks.

The Civil War interrupted the turpentine, tar and rosin business. These products were imported from Norway during that period.

1875: Henry Miller a German living at -71 Van Brunt, employed at the resin factory of Johnson & Hammond broke his right leg when a tire of barrels fell.

1881: Johnson & Hammond (Robert Johnson, jr. George L Hammond) naval stores ft Richards

1881: Johnson and Hammond were also into the business of shipping the type of goods that they stored in the naval storage yards.

In September last one Theodore Michel agreed, through a broker, to purchase of the libellants 167 barrels of resin, the resin to be shipped on the bark Ferreri in the name of the libellants, they to take the ship's receipt and deliver the same to Michel upon his paying for the goods. Accordingly, the libellants directed Johnson & Hammond, the keepers of a yard where the libellants had resin stored, to deliver 167 barrels of resin to the bark Ferreri on their account. Johnson & Hammond sent the goods to the bark, where they were received by the mate, who gave in return a shipping receipt stating the receipt of the goods in question in good order from Johnson & Hammond on board the bark Ferreri for account of Tolar & Hart. After the goods had thus been placed on board the bark, Michel, who was agent for the bark in this port, procured the master to issue to him, as shipper, a bill of lading for the goods so delivered, and then absconded without paying the libellants for them, although payment had been demanded, accompanied by a tender of the shipping receipt. After the departure of Michel, Tolar & Hart demanded of the master that he issue to them a bill of lading for the goods in question, accompanying the same with a tender of the shipping receipt. The master refused, upon the ground that he had already issued a bill of lading for the goods to Michel, whereupon Tolar & Hart libelled the vessel.

District Court, E. D. New York - November 19, 1881 THE FERRERI.

1886: Listed in the Brooklyn Almanac Johnson and Hammond's Rosin Yard - See Red Hook Waterfront

1887: Wanted to mark packages apply JOHNSON, HAMMOND & CO foot of Dykeman st.

1887: Johnson and Hammond & Co were planning on erecting two one story frame buildings a shed (48x100) and a office (20x20) - total cost $500.

1891: Robert Johnson, born in England in 1813, died at his home at 943 Kent ave, Brooklyn. He had lived in Brooklyn for over 60 years and was one of the pioneers in the lighterage and naval stores business in Brooklyn. He had been a captain on a sloop. He retired from active business in 1870 and his sons took over. The family owned a large fleet of vessels and extensive property in Red Hook. The business was listed under the name Johnson, Hammond & co. He was buried in Greenwood cemetery. One of his sons was Robert Johnson Jr.

1894: Johnson & Hammond Resin yards was called George L Hammond & co. by 1894

George L. Hammond, being duly sworn by the Referee on behalf of the plaintiff, testified as follows: My business is the storage of naval stores. I have been in that business thirty years. My yards are situated at the foot of Wolcott, Dikeman and Coffey streets, Brooklyn. I have visited the yards in the South once only. I am familiar with the customs in regard to the storage of resin and turpentine in the yards. I believe the custom is the same in all parts of the country. In regard to the storage of resin, it is stored in the open and is also put into warehouses, into sheds.

Q. What is the custom in regard to putting it into sheds and in warehouses?

A. Well, it is a matter of convenience. When we have not room in the open, we put it under cover. For sampling it we put it under sheds as far as we can, then it is removed to the open.

Q. Is it a custom of the business to keep it in sheds and warehouses?

A. Not unless we have no room outside - unless we are crowded.

Court of Appeals By Court of Appeals

1898: William Hanley 29 of 227 Conover street, a watchman for the resin yards at the foot of Coffey street went for a swim off the docks and drown.

1898: A fire swept the Brooklyn Piers for three blocks between Vandyke and Wolcott streets fueled by a combination of rosin, cotton, jute, benzine and turpentine.

Several hundred bales of jute and 126 tons of saltpeter were on the Andorinha, a four masted iron ship from Calcutta, India. Part of her cargo of jute had been unloaded onto lighters - about 600 bales on each boat. There was about 2,550 bales of jute and 200 bales of cotton on the pier. The three masted schooner Wacomaw was loaded with benzine, alcohol and turpentine. It is unclear how and where the fire started.

The Andorinha and the two lighters were destroyed. The schooner was badly damaged. The pier burned until it fell in the water. Two hoisting cranes were ruined.

The fire started around 3:15 in the afternoon and burned for nearly six hours. Sixteen fire engines and six fireboats pumped water on the blaze.

Workers at the Hammond resin yards testified that they first saw flames in the hold of the Andorinha. It was believed that some careless sailer dropped a match in the salt peter on the Andorinha. The Andorinha's sailors testified that the fire started in the jute on the dock. In any event the fire spread rapidly endangering the German American warehouses and Lidgerwood's works, which did not catch fire.

Wind fanned the flames. The fire was extremely smokey and the smoke spread over a large area on both sides of the East River.

George L Hammond owner of the Navel Stores between Coffey and Wolcott streets was said to have suffered heavy loses. He was insured. The damage was estimated at $650,000.

The story was covered by papers all over the country.

1910: The Turpentine "Trust" tried to gain control of Hammond's yard so they would be in absolute control of the turpentine and rosin industry in the US.

The Johnsons

Robert Johnson senior was born in England circa 1813. He immigrated to Brooklyn circa 1831. He married Mary _____ and had at least five children.
  1. Harriet circa 1841

  2. Robert junior circa 1842

    1880: Duffield st., Robert Johnson 38, storage, Mary Johnson 36, Minnie Johnson 13, Anna Johnson 10, Jennie Johnson 6, Mabel Johnson 4, Robert Johnson 2, Mary Harkness 16, cousin, Jane Devlin 40, servant

    Robert Johnson's wife Mary of 135 Duffield street, Brooklyn died on TB in January 1882 living 5 children

    1885: Annie M Johnson, age 24, divorced Robert Johnson Jr., age 40, of the firm of Johnson & Hammond after less than a year of marriage. He was a widower with four children. She claimed she lived with him for only 2 months.

    Before his death in April 1900 Robert Johnson had married again. His widow Mary Johnson brought suit agains George L Hammond in 1901.

    1900: Robert Johnson age 58 died Brooklyn April 20, 1900 - Greenwood JOHNSON ROBERT 1900-04-23 23986 142 - JOHNSON ROBERT HARKNESS 1908-11-28 23986 142 - JOHNSON MARY HARKNESS 1943-03-17 23985 142

  3. Sarah circa 1845

  4. Henry circa 1847

  5. William circa 1849.

1850: Robert Johnson 43, boatman, England, $2,500, Mary A Johnson 39, Harriet Johnson 9, Robert Johnson 7, Sarah A Johnson 5, Henry Johnson 3, William E Johnson 1

1860: Robert Johnson 54, produce merchant, $2,000 born England, Mary Johnson 48, Harriet Johnson 21, Robert Johnson 18, clerk, Sarah Johnson 15, Henry Johnson 11, Wm Johnson 10, Wm Mott 23, carman, Mary Mott 5/12

1891: Death of Robert Johnson senior:

1889: The Trow City Directory Co.'s, Formerly Wilson's, Copartnership 1889 - Johnson, Hammond & Co. (Robert Johnson jr. George L. Hammond Si Henry Johnson) 152 Front Street.

George Le Baron Hammond

1855 Census: Brick, $4,000 4th Ward Brooklyn, Lebaron Hammond M 55, merchant, Wife Maria Hammond F 44 Child Maria L Hammond F 20 Child Mary E Hammond F 20 Child Ann A Hammond F 17 Child Rachael F Hammond F 13 Child George L Hammond M 12 Child Harriet Hammond F 7 Child Rosana W Hammond F 5 Child Ellen Hammond F 3 Child Caroline A Hammond F 0 Sister E R West F 49, sister

1870: 4th Ward, Brooklyn, "Levaron" Hammond M 70 Massachusetts, naval store yard, Maria Hammond F 59 Connecticut, Francis Hammond M 29 New York, Roxana Hammond F 20 New York, Ella Hammond F 18 New York, Adelaide Hammond F 16 New York, George Hammond M 27 New York, naval store, Jane Hammond F 26 New York

1880: Brooklyn, Hammond, Geo 36, storage, Jeannie 35, wife, Roy Geo, son age 1, and two servants.

1898: Geo L Hammond, Street Address: Co naval stores ft Dikeman ft 138 Front N Y, Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1898

1910: Washington Park, Brooklyn, Geo L Hammond 57, merchant, Jennie E Hammond 49, 4 children 1 living, Jesse Le B Hammond 15, Erika Benson 31, servant, Euphrasgue Nelson 20, servant

1910: West 72nd street, Manhattan, George L Hammmond age 67, president transportation company, Jeannie age 65 four children 1 living. It appears to have been a hotel.

Obit: 1912 George Le Baron Hammond, head of George L Hammond & co. a lighterage concern of 129 Front Street, died suddenly of heart disease on Friday. He was born in this city sixty-nine years ago. Mrs. Hammond and a daughter survive him. (NY Times)

Beard Stores

Jeremiah P Robinson and William Beard built the Erie Basin in the 1850s and 60s. The Beard and Robinson stores were built in the 1860s and 70s.

The 1861 insurance map shows a large brick building and a large wooden structure bounded by Reid Street, Van Brunt, the Erie Basin and the Gowanus Bay. The brick buikding was listed as one story with iron doors and a gravel roof - Used to store refined oil only. The wooden structures were labeled "Red Hook Oil Store F. W. Green & Co. and Wales Wetmore & Co. Oil Yard". They were located closes to the Gowanus Bay.

In 1872 the warehouses of WOODRUFF, ROBINSON & BEARD end of Van Brunt street where "Billy Beard" was "found" were described thus:

The warehouse is 430 feet long, 155 feet deep and four stories in height. The foundation walls build on piles are of stone five feet thick, and the side walls are two feet thick of brick. The warehouse is divided into six sections, with walls two feet thick between each section, and the doors are of boiler iron. all kinds of merchandise of not extra hazardous rate are stored in this warehouse. There are cotton, coffee, sugar, molasses, dye woods, hides and in fact, everything almost, in immense quantities. There are sometimes as many as 25 vessels at the docks loading and unloading at any time."

In 1879 the real estate owned by Beard and Robinson extended

"from Van Brunt street along the shore to Hamilton avenue; thence to the Gowanus Creek and along the creek to the beginning of the pier that forms the Southern boundary of the Erie Basin. This basin contains an area of sixty acres, the boundaries of which are a wide pier running from the corner of Elizabeth and Van Brunt streets. This pier is 170 feet wide and about 1,500 long. At the end of this pier, at a distance of about 200 from it, which forms the entrance of the basin, another pier begins which will, when completed be 300 feet wide. This runs easterly 4,000 feet to the end of Court street and at that point the tide is admitted between a row of open spike (?) work..........

The first stores which were built have been extended into long lines, one row of warehouses now measuring 1,400 feet from end to end. "

The buildings were constructed in a "most solid and substantial character" of bricks and lumber. Everything that was needed for successful shipping was located in the area including dry docks, foundries, ship yards and stores.

In November 1888 fire broke out on a floating hoisting barge "lying" at the Beard's stores at the foot of Richards street. Damage was estimated at $1,000 for which there was no insurance. The cause of the fire was unknown.

In 1890 the Brooklyn Eagle Almanac listed the Beard Stores in the Erie Basin with 5,621,000 cubic feet capacity.

In 1893 warehouse business along the Brooklyn water was "Dull". Beard's stores was reported to do business with Mexican and West Indies products including: mahogany, fustic (a yellow dye made from the wood of a tree in the mulberry family), logwood, sisal grass, silver, lead, and silver ore.

In August 1896 fire totally destroyed one the immense grain elevators at the Beard's stores in the Erie Basin.

The fire was one of the most spectacular seen in this city for a number of years. The elevator was 80 feet high and the drought sent the flames, in the form of gigantic torches, straight up in the air for about 40 or 50 feet. the blaze could be scene for miles around. In the immediate vicinity the clouds of smoke obscured the sun as if it were eclipsed.
The fire started about 8:30 in the morning. In addition to the fire trucks three fire boats were called to the blaze. The origin of the fire was though to have been spontaneous combustion. Damages was estimated at $40,000.

In 1900 when William Beard withdrew from the Brooklyn Wharf and Warehouse Company the "Beard Estate" included the entire Erie Basin (except that part owned by John N. Robins Company), two grain elevators (one with a "ship leg" which allow for the discharge of grain into a steamer versus canal boats), "an immense amount of storage capacity in the warehouses at the foot of Van Brunt and Richards streets" (which included two 500 foot covered piers and three uncovered piers "from 1,000 to 2,00 feet in length"), the breakwater (known as Beard's farm with a large capacity to store lumber and other merchandise that could be stored in the open).

In 1901 the "old Beard stores which run along between the slip at the foot of Richards street and Van Brunt Street" caught fire. A workman in the stores was burned to death. There was much smoke and "the usual excitement in the neighborhood" because it was rumored that there were explosives in the building. The damage was estimated at $35,000 on the stock and $6,000 on the building.

The North German Lloyd Steamship Main

The German Lloyd steamship Main was severely damaged in the infamous Hoboken pier fire of June 1900. See Hoboken Pier Fire for images and the story. She was brought to Beard's Stores for evaluation.

In September 1900

All of the ship carpenters, plumbers, machinists, and riggers employed in making temporary repairs on the burned steamship Main of the North German Lloyd Company at Beard's Stories, Erie Basin went on strike.
It was not certain at that time if the ship would be repaired in Brooklyn or taken back to Germany for a completer overhaul. It was felt that she could not make it back across the Atlantic without being completely rebuilt. The men went out on strike because they believed they were making only temporary repairs and the ship would eventually go to be rebuilt at to another port where labor was cheaper.

Stranahan's Stores



These warehouses are among the most extensive and well appointed stores along the waterfront. They were build two years ago by the Atlantic Dock Company, who still own them: They were at first intended for the warehousing of cotton, and a company was formed for that purpose under the title "Cotton Warehousing Company." After a year's trial in the business it was found that the business of cotton warehousing was not sufficient to warrant the keeping of stores for that purpose. Nearly all the cotton that comes into New York harbor is brought by southern steamers and is landed on their docks in New York and transported to the warehouse by trucks as the expense of conveying it to this side of the river was too great to warrant business. Another thing was the difficulty always experienced in diverting trade from old channels, the cotton warehousing trade been done for years on the other side of the river, and the merchants still carried their goods to the old warehouses

The stores are now leased by LOCKWOOD AND COXSON who carry on the business of general storage. Their office is in the New York Cotton Exchange.

The stores are six in number, are 200 feed wide and extend back from the bulkhead a distance of 700 feet. The bulkhead is about forty feet wide and running back from the edge of the wharf thought the whole extent of the stores is a railway, with switches and turnouts in the different stores. The first store standing nearest the switch is one story in height and 200 feet square, with a loft extending over the centre. It is separated from the other stores by double iron doors and a space of several feet in the doorways between the doors.

The five other stores are 200 feet long and 100 feet wide, two stories in height, with a third story over the centre. There is no communication between the different stores above the first floor, and the stairways and hatchways are closed with heavy iron doors. Each store is distinct by itself and separated form the one adjoining by heavy iron doors. The walls are of brick, sixteen inches thick, and the gangway through which the tracks run is wide enough for a horse to be driven through with trucks. So convenient are the arrangements that 150 bales of cotton cab be conveyed from the docks to the farthest store in an hour.

Brooklyn Eagle October 17, 1873

At the time this was written there was no pier in front of the stores and only vessels of "light draft" could draw near the bulkhead.

In 1874 the Stranahan stores was doing a "fine business" as a tobacco inspection warehouse.

The Stranahan stores were full of tobacco in July and August 1875. The tobacco arrived in New Jersey by rail and was lightered across the harbor.

Tobacco was "particularly lively" during the summer months when other commodities were "dull". The tobacco season started in April and lasted until fall and the shippers and dealers were busy in these months receiving and depositing the tobacco crop of the previous year. Tobacco was shipped in a cask in a unit know as a hogshead. Hosgsheads shipped to Brooklyn in 1876 weighted about 1,600 pounds each. In 1876 the number of hogsheads of tobacco received in the port of New York was:

  • February...............5,912
  • March...................6,672
  • April.....................7,888
  • May......................9,508
  • June.......nothing entered
  • July.....................18,164
  • August................13,143
Note : Some of the numbers are a little hard to read.

About half of this tobacco cargo was received in the Brooklyn inspection stores. The Stranahan stores at the Atlantic Docks were mentioned as one of the three stores receiving tobacco in Brooklyn. One of the other two mentioned was "a smaller business in Red Hook". New York state tobacco inspectors sampled each hogshead of tobacco to determine the quality of the merchandise and make sure it was consistent throughout the cask. The sampling was done by opening the cask, breaking it in three places, taking a handful of leaves from each section and inspecting them. The inspector took the leaves which he thoughted best represent the leaves in a given cask. These were bound together, marked with the number of the cask, the number of the inspector, the number of the shipper. This packet was sealed with sealing wax and formed the sample from which the cask was sold at auction. It the packed did not represent the tobacco in the cask the inspector was held responsible.

In 1887 Stranahan stores foot of King street was warehousing leaf tobacco. Leaf tobacco was used in the manufacturing of cigars and the quality was closely controlled and inspected. Stranahn's stores at the Atlantic Basin were listed on the 1886 map as "Stranahn's Inspection Stores".

In January 1887 an article in the New york Times mentioned tobacco moved from the Stranahan stores by lighter to a French ship in the New York piers.

The 1890 Brooklyn Eagle Almanac listed the Stranahan stores in the Atlantic Basin with 3,900,000 cubic feet capacity.

Revere Sugar Warehouse originally part of the Beard Stores

The Revere Sugar Warehouse was part of a large sugar firm in Boston. Much was made of the razing of parts of the Revere Sugar Refinery complex between 2004 and 2009. Part of the complex included a warehouse build by Beard on the bulkhead at the end of Richards Street. I am unsure of the year this warehose was build but it was standing at the time of the 1886 map. There is nothing in the Brooklyn Eagle about Revere sugar in Brooklyn before 1904.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, July 2013

The Engineer - Interior of Boiler Room at Mssrs Havemeyer and Elder's Sugar House, Brooklyn, May 4, 1877

I assume they are shoveling coal into the boilers.

The Havermeyer Sugar house was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There were, however, two sugar houses in Red Hook: an unnamed sugar house is listed on the 1886 map at India Wharf, and the Revere Sugar Warehouse was in the lower section of Red Hook in the 1880s.

Processing steps in sugar refining included: melting, clarification, decolorization, evaporation, crystallization and finishing. Animal charcoal was used as a filter to discolor sugar. The smell of cane sugar refining was very sweet. Beet sugar refining gave off a very unpleasant odor. Sugar refining produced large clouds of smoke. A sugar mill generated odor and dust. Air pollutants from the process include bits of the fiber residue of the cane, fuel oil or coal emissions. Waste water contained pathogens from the production process.

Animal charcoal is largely used in sugar-refining, the dark-colored syrup made by dissolving the raw sugar in water passing through the charcoal perfectly clear and bright, and capable on crystallization of yielding a perfectly white crystalline lump-sugar. When a sufiicient thickness of the animal charcoal, in bulk or in layers, is used, it is capable of removing upwards of 85 per cent of the organic, and 25 per cent of the mineral matter from the water filtered through it.

Beverages 1888

As it absorbes the impurities animal charcoal or "black bone" deteriorates with each usage. Spent black bone was used as a fertilizer.

The Gowanus Canal

In 1890 Grain Elevators in the Gowanus Canal included: Bowne's Elevator (Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac 1890)

Aerial Views of Red Hook
Fortune 1940, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Red Hook 1940.

At the bottom of the image outlined in black are the Red Hook Houses. Originally built for the families of dockworkers, the Red Hook Houses opened in 1938 as the first high-rise public housing complex constructed in the city. (Red Hook Recreation Area, City of New York Parks & Recreation)

1. Norwegian Seamen's Church, 2. Visitation R. C. Church, 3. Worthington Hydraulic Pump, 4. American Can Company, formerly Chesebrough Manufacturing 5. Atlantic Basin, 6. India Wharf, 7. Hamilton Avenue.

Also visible: Jersey City and Hoboken at top, lower Manhattan on right top, Governor's Island - mid left.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Gowanus Improvement Triborough Bridge Authority, November 1, 1941, Robert Moses, Chairman

The Gowanus improvement included an elevated highway above 3rd Avenue from Owl's Head Park to Hicks Street and the widening of Hicks Street from Hamilton Avenue to Atlantic Avenue.

This image shows the construction of the part of the elevated highway across the Gowanus canal. Looking west there are the playing fields and pool of the Red Hook Recreational Area. Also seen are the Red Hook Houses, a high-rise public housing project build in 1938 for the local dockworkers and their families. See Red Hook Park

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Gowanus Improvement, Triborough Bridge Authority, November 1, 1941, Robert Moses, Chairman

1. Governor's Island. 2. Atlantic Basis. 3. The New York Dock Company warehouses on Imlay Street. 4. The Red Hook Houses. 5. Columbia Street, 6. Erie Basin. 7. Coffey Park


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

1907 map showing the Red Hook Section of Brooklyn


  1. The Atlantic Docks
  2. The area where the Kettlers and Petermanns lived
  3. The Brooklyn Bridge
  4. Where I live now

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Map showing the Red Hook Section of Brooklyn


  1. Ferris Street, Gertrude Kettler was born at 87 Ferris Street in 1889
  2. Conover Street, Christian Petermann was born at 189 Conover Street in 1883
  3. Richards Street, Maria Kettler was born at 206 Richards Street in 1886

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Map showing the Red Hook Section of Brooklyn with Hamilton Avenue, and the Erie and Atlantic basins.

What Brought the Peters (Petersens), Petermanns and Kettles to Red Hook Brooklyn, What Did They Do There and Why Did They Leave?

  1. The Peters (Petersens) were from Norway. The shipping industry was dying in Norway and booming in Brooklyn. I am assuming that the Peters came from some port city in Norway.

  2. Johann Berend Petermann had spent many years at sea. Both Johann and his wife, Sophie Steuer, came from maritime communities in Germany.

    Johann Berend Petermann must have been familiar with Hoboken before his immigration to the United States. He made a voyage to New York on a North German Lloyd ship as early as 1869. This is the same year that the North German Lloyd shipping company bought piers on the Hoboken waterfront. J. Berend Petermann remained on this run between German and "New York" (actually Hoboken) until April 1870. From September 1872 to May 1873 he was once again making runs between Bremerhaven and New York.

  3. Henry Kettler: I assume that Fritz also was familiar with maritime work and a port city. Ports in Ostfiesland (Germany) were Emden and Leer, both on the Ems River.

For many years Red Hook was a center for grain transportation. By the 1880s this had changed and many of the old grain warehouses were converted to general cargo warehouses. Red Hook remained a force as a shipping hub through the 1940s.

In 1886 the Atlantic Dock:

"several schooners with sugar from the South, as well as the Hamburg steamer, California, which after landing her 650 steerage passengers, is now loading grain for the return voyage . The weekly service for the Hamburg line to this point insures an air of business at this dock even in the dullest times. Here also are the canal boats which receive freight of the Erie canals."

Brooklyn Eagle Sunday, August 29, 1886 Page: 11

In 1892:

The little Norwegian steamship Albert arrived to discharge sugar in the Erie Basin.

Brooklyn Eagle Thursday, August 11, 1892 Page: 10

SECOND PLACE - CHURCHES IN RED HOOK - NORWEGIANS IN RED HOOK - Other Images of Brooklyn - LIFE IN RED HOOK MID TO LATE 1800S - RED HOOK TAVERNS SALOONS AND LIQUOR STORES IN THE MID TO LATE 1800S - Red Hook Butchers - Red Hook Celebrities - Red Hook Restaurants - Red Hook Waterfront - Red Hook Streets


Adams Lumber - Atlantic Flour - Chesebrough/Vaseline - Eagleton Sprint Co. - P. H. Gill & Sons Forge and Machine Works - Lidgerwood - New York Wire and Rope - Pioneer Iron Works - South Brooklyn Iron - Brooklyn Clay Retort - James H. Williams, Drop Forging - Worthington Hydraulic Pump Works - Richardson and Boynton Stoves and Furnaces - Carroll Towing - Moran Towing -

A Preservation Plan for Red Hook, Brooklyn Lots of good images and information on the history of Red Hook

History of the Isthmian Steamship Lines, Erie Basis, Red Hook Brooklyn includes an arial view of the Erie Basin Terminal and tons of other images and information

Port Side, Cultural Tourism

History of the Isthmian Steamship Lines, Erie Basis, Red Hook Brooklyn includes an arial view of the Erie Basin Terminal and tons of other images and information

Red Hook Waterfront, The O'Connell Organization is a family owned and operated real estate development business. Clearly they love the Red Hook waterfront and their website contains some fabulous photos of the old warehouses and other buildings in Red Hook.

Port Side, Cultural Tourism

Water Front Museum and Showboat Barge

Brooklyn Memories

A Preservation Plan For Red Hook 2009

Red Hook Flickr Group

Russell Granger has a magnificent collection of early Brooklyn images at Whitman's Brooklyn

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at

© Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2004 - Latest update, July 2019