Ross Valve Manufacturing Company

Documenting Change: Industry and Business in Troy and Rensselaer County, NY

Historical Note: Ross Valve Manufacturing Company was formed in 1879 by George Ross who had invented a fluid pressure regulator, a spring-loaded valve. In 1880 a patent was obtained for a fluid balanced cutoff valve, the predecessor for valves used to reduce pressure in water mains or to regulate water flow between reservoirs. Ross valves were sold and installed around the world, from the New York City water system to the Panama Canal. Another major product around the turn of the century was reciprocating water engines for driving the pumps of church organs. In 1893 Ross Valve moved to a new building on Oakwood Avenue in Troy, where it continues to operate. The business was incorporated in 1917, and it continues to be under the control of the Ross family.

Scope and Content: The Ross Valve files comprise an almost complete set of the firm’s business records since 1890. The largest series consists of general correspondence with customers, including orders for valves, general inquiries, and requests for repairs. The series is arranged alphabetically but broken into numerous chronological segments. More recent records are maintained alphabetically within each year. The records also include correspondence from salesmen on the road in the 1890s, payrolls (1890-1921), time books (1922-1942), bank records, order books, letter books, trustees’ minutes, accounts payable, and patents. There are also long runs of the firm’s catalogues and other promotional material. Also included with the Ross Valve records are approximately 2 cu. ft. of correspondence files (1914-1923) of the Gem Spoon Company, manufacturer of spring action ice cream scoops, another business enterprise of the Ross family.

Location: Ross Valve Manufacturing Company, 6 Oakwood Ave., Troy, NY 12180.