American Seal Manufacturing Company

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

Records, ca. 1914-1978.

Extent: Less than 1 cu. ft.

Historical Note: American Seal was the primary brand of ready-mixed paints and varnishes produced by the William Connors Paint Manufacturing Company. Connors established a business on Hill Street in Troy in 1878 and moved to River Street in 1889. The company changed ownership several times over more than a century and has operated under several different names. The Connors Company built a building at 669 River Street in Troy in 1898. In 1971 the company was acquired by Monsey Products, and it moved from its long-time home on River Street to facilities in Waterford in 1979.

Scope and Content: Records maintained by Monsey Products in Waterford, as successor to American Seal relate almost entirely to the years since the company moved from Troy in 1978 . There are, however, some blueprints of the company’s River Street building, ca. 1914, an insurance appraisal of the firm’s property from 1949, and a few pieces of promotional material.

Location: Monsey Products Company, 430 Hudson River Rd., Waterford, NY 12188. For access, contact the company.

American Seal Manufacturing Company.gif

Materials Outside the Capital District: The Special Collections Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara Library has some trade catalogs of the William Connors Paint Manufacturing Company in its trade catalog collection.

The Archives Center of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., has a few folders of promotional materials of William Connors Company and American Seal Manufacturing, ca. 1910-1930 in the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana.

Cluett, Peabody, and Company

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

Records, 1879-1982 (inclusive), 1900-1960 (bulk)

Extent: ca. 415 cu. ft.

Location: Rensselaer County Historical Society, 57 Second St., Troy, NY 12180.

Scope and Content: The Cluett, Peabody archives consist chiefly of financial records and advertising materials documenting the collar and shirt manufacturing business based in Troy. The collection is strongest for the first half of the twentieth century. Financial records include cash journals and receipts, expense ledgers, stock ledgers, sales records, and bank records. SomeBoard minutes and payroll records are also present. There are also files for Cluett, Peabody, Canada and other records documenting the company’s extensive international activities. Advertising records include scrapbooks, salesmen’s catalogs, trade catalogs, photographs, and product samples. Copies of patent records from the U.S. Patent Office document many clothing patents including those of numerous Troy patentees. The collection also includes the personal papers of Sanford Cluett, documenting the development of the Sanforizing process, and including diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, and photographs.

 ADVERTISEMENT FROM TROY CITY DIRECTORY, 1950

ADVERTISEMENT FROM TROY CITY DIRECTORY, 1950

Historical Note: Cluett, Peabody traces its origins in Troy back to 1850, and it grew to be the largest of Troy's collar and cuff manufacturers. It manufactured Arrow shirts in Troy for many years and continued to maintain a research facility in the city until about 1990.

Collins Lumber Corporation

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

Records, 1989-

Historical Note: Collins Lumber Corporation was founded in 1888. For many years it operated as Charles Collins & Sons. In addition to selling lumber and hardware, the firm has a long history of manufacturing custom mill work pieces for construction and in recent years has played an important role in the renovation of Troy’s historic architectural heritage. Collins Truss Systems, Inc. is a subsidiary firm.

Scope and Content: A disastrous fire in 1989 destroyed the first century of Collins’ lumber’s business records. Current records maintained are chiefly accounting records, sales records, and payroll records.

Location: Collins Lumber, 2742 Sixth Ave., Troy, NY 12180. For access, contact the company.

F.C. Huyck and Sons

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

Records, ca. 1815-1970.

Extent: ca. 1 cu. ft.

Huyck Mills were manufacturers of paper maker’s felts, wool jackets, and bed blankets. Originally based in Rensselaerville, New York, the firm relocated to the city of Rensselaer in 1894 after a fire destroyed their mill in Rensselaer. The business was sold and subsequently closed in the early 1980s.

Scope and Content: Consists of a scrapbook of documents and photos (1815-1947) showing the history of the firm that was presented as a commemorative to one of the firm’s executives. There is also an album of photographs of the mill, 1912, including photos of machinery and employees, some annual reports from 1964 to 1975, a centennial history done in 1970, and copies of the company newsletter The Huyck Feltmaker (1964-1972).

Note: The New York State Library contains 30 volumes of Huyck family business records from 1839 to 1890 that document their business activities before moving to the city of Rensselaer.

Garden Way Manufacturing Company

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

Records, ca. 1960-

Extent: ca. 168 cu. ft.

Historical Note: Garden Way’s roots are in the Rototiller Company founded in 1930 by Cadwallader Washburn Kelsey. Kelsey moved his operation to the Lansingburgh section of Troy in 1937. After his retirement in 1957, his chief engineer George Done purchased the supply business of the company. In 1961 Done invented a new rototiller which came to be christened the Troy-Bilt Rototiller. The name of the company became Garden Way Manufacturing. The company maintains manufacturing and office facilities in Troy and in East Greenbush as well as in other locations in the United States.

Scope and Content: These records consist primarily of advertising and marketing materials. They include detailed information on Garden Way’s marketing plans through magazine advertisements and through direct sales at temporary locations around the country. Includes log books recording serial numbers and names and addressees of purchasers of Troy-Bilt tillers. Also includes auxiliary enterprises including copies of gardening books published by Garden Way Publishing and video tapes of gardening tips broadcast on television.

Location: Rensselaer County Historical Society, 57 Second St., Troy, NY 12180

Geier & Bluhm, Inc.

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

Records, 1915-

Extent: ca. 175 cu. ft.

Historical Note: In 1907 two young immigrants, James Geier (from Switzerland) and Joseph Bluhm (from Hungary) joined together to establish a business to manufacture surveying instruments. Geier & Bluhm was incorporated in 1922. In the 1930s the rights to manufacturing its surveying instruments were sold to the Bostrom Brady Manufacturing Company, and Geier and Bluhm gained the rights to distribute Bostrom Brady instruments in the Troy area. Geier & Bluhm concentrated on the manufacture of spirit levels, which continues to be the firm’s principal product.

Scope and Content: A fairly complete run of accounting records extending back to the early years of the company includes ledgers and ledger sheets (1915-1929), cash books (1915-1926), inventories and accounts (1917-1925), bank books, trial balances, and a stock purchase book (1925-1927). Later records include employee records, and long runs of purchase orders, customer orders, paid bills, and cash journals. Product related records include blueprints and drawings for instruments, patent information, product literature, catalogs, and other promotional material. There are some photographs and clippings relating to Geier & Bluhm products and people associated with the business.

Location: Geier & Bluhm Inc., 594 River Street, Troy, NY 12180. For access contact the company.

Gurley Precision Instruments, Inc.

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

Historical Note: Gurley Precision Instruments traces its origin to the partnership founded in 1845 by William Gurley and Jonas Phelps. William Gurley’s brother Lewis joined the firm in 1851. The Gurley brothers bought out Phelps in 1852, and the firm became W. & L.E. Gurley. The business remained under family control until 1968, when it became part of the high-tech corporation Teledyne and the name was changed to Teledyne Gurley. In the early 1990s Teledyne sold the company, and it became Gurley Precision Instruments. The firm originally manufactured surveying, hydrological, meteorological, and other technical instruments. More recently it has manufactured electro-optical encoders used in space vehicles, aircraft mapping cameras, navigation systems, and other applications.

Note: Records of Gurley Precision Instruments, Inc. are held by the New York State Museum and by the company itself. These collections are described separately.

A. – Records at NYSM

Records, 1854-1970 (inclusive), 1860-1920 (bulk)

Extent: ca. 300 cu. ft.

Scope and Content: Approximately 270 cubic feet of Gurley records were donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1970. In 1995 these records were given to the New York State Museum, along with a collection of instruments manufactured by the company. An addendum of records was transferred from the company to the New York State Museum, and the result is that the bulk of the company’s records before 1970 are at the Museum. A small group of records remains at Gurley Precision Instruments, Inc.

Long runs of cash books, day books, cost books, order books, sales books, general ledgers, time books, and inventories, chiefly covering the years from 1860 to 1920. The collection also includes serial number books, 1908-1970, containing information on major instruments purchased by Gurley customers. Employees’ ledgers, 1853-1870 include payroll accounts. Also includes corporation minutes, 1900-1965; stockholders reports, 1920-1947, photographs of employees, factory views, and instruments. There is also a complete run (1855-1951) of the firm’s catalogue, “Manual of the Principal Instruments Used in American Engineering and Surveying, Manufactured by W. & L.E. Gurley, Troy, N.Y.”

The Gurley records also include records of other companies in which the firm had interest and of charitable organizations in which the Gurley family was involved. These include the Charles E. Wilder Thermometer Company of Peterboro, N.H., the Owens Grocery Co. (located in the Gurley building), the Troy & Bennington Railroad, the Rensselaer Agricultural Society, the Troy Orphan Asylum, and the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Troy.

Location: New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

B. – Records at Gurley Precision Instruments

Records, ca. 1862-1980.

Scope and Content: Serial number cards (1924-1968), serial number books for Gurley levels (1899-1910), patent papers, architectural drawings for the firm’s Fulton Street building, shop drawings for Gurley products, promotional publications.

Location: Gurley Precision Instruments, Inc., 514 Fulton St., Troy, NY 12180. For access, contact the company.

Integrated Book Technology, Inc. 2

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

Records, 1991-

Extent: ca. 75 cu. ft.

Historical Note: Integrated Book Technology utilizes modern electronic technologies to produce short runs of books for publishers and for individuals. The company was founded in 1991 by John Paeglow, who continues as its president and owner. The firm began its life in the Rensselaer Technology Park and in the summer of 1996 moved into larger quarters on Industrial Park Road in Troy. Most of the firm’s business consists of order from publishers for short runs (typically 250-2,000 copies) of books that have gone out of print. IBT scans the text of these books and then prints the sheets of the books from the digitized text. Sheets are shipped to the binder for binding and ultimate shipping to the customer.

Scope and Content: IBT maintains an internal database that contains information on all orders received and fulfilled by the company. Paper records for these orders are also currently maintained. Order records include the original quotation for the job and a series of forms requesting action and detailing specifications on various parts of the job, including scanning request, printing request, proofing request, cover request, bindery request, and invoice summary. The IBT database also includes the texts that have been produced in order to facilitate reprinting or remote access if necessary. The original printed copy that was used for scanning is also retained.

Location: Integrated Book Technology, Inc., 18 Industrial Park Rd., Troy, NY 12180. For access, contact the company.

John L. Thompson Sons & Company

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

Historical Note: John L. Thompson Sons & Company traces its origins in Troy back to 1797 when Dr. Samuel Gale Jr. opened an apothecary shop in the city. John L. Thompson joined the business in 1881, and his name was added to the firm in 1821. In 841 the business became John L. Thompson & Company. The business was primarily engaged in the wholesale drug trade, but also manufactured some patent medicines. The firm went out of business in 1990.

A. – Records at AIHA

Records, 1818-1889.

Extent: 132 items.

Scope and Content: A small collection of correspondence, bills, receipts, and order (1818-1889), including orders from the Watervliet Arsenal from 1827 to 1832.

Location: McKinney Library, Albany Institute of History and Art, 125 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210.

B. – Records at RCHS

Records, 1879-1986

Extent: 2 cu. ft.

Scope and Content: A small collection of stock ledgers (1880-1940), minutes ( 2 vols. 1903-1934, 1935-1940), personnel records (ca. 1895-1939), sales ledgers (1921-1925, 1973-1985), group of post card orders (1879), plus some miscellaneous correspondence.

Location: Rensselaer County Historical Society, 59 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180.

Note: A few records of John L. Thompson Sons & Company are in private hands. These include a salesman’s price book (ca. 1909), stock certificate record books, voting trust agreement, and correspondence relating to a 1972 anniversary booklet about the business. The bulk of the recent business records of the company appear not to have survived the dissolution of the business.

Ludlow Valve Manufacturing Company

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

Records, 1872-1969 (inclusive) 1930-1960 (bulk)

Extent: 1.5 linear ft.

Historical Note: Ludlow Valve produced sluice valves, foot valves, check valves, and hydrants. It was founded by Henry G. Ludlow in 1866 in Waterford and moved to Lansingburgh in 1872. Not many years thereafter it relocated to the foot of Adams Street in Troy where it continued to operate until the business was closed in 1969.

Scope and Content: Includes stockholders, financial reports, balance sheets, correspondence, catalogs and promotional materials, annual reports, order and transaction books. Also includes material on the Rensselaer Valve Company.

Location: Institute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180

Materials outside the Capital District: The Special Collections Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Library has some trade catalogs of the Ludlow Valve Manufacturing Company in its trade catalog collection.

The Archives Center of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. has a folder of promotional materials of Ludlow Valve in the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana.

Manning Paper Company

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

Records, ca. 1856-1950

Extent: ca. 6 linear ft.

Historical Note: Manning Paper Company began in 1846 at the Mt. Ida Mill at the Poestenkill Gorge in Troy. Larger mills were established on River Street after the Civil War. The firm existed under various names, including Manning and Peckham and the John A. Manning Paper Company. Some facilities were moved to Green Island in 1912 and to Watervliet in 1918, but the Mt. Ida Mill was in operation until 1962. Manning is now a division of Lydall, Inc.

Scope and Content: Ledgers (1856-1900), journals, trial balances, payrolls (1912-1918), some accounts receivable, production records and run books.

Location: Hudson-Mohawk Industrial Gateway, Foot of Polk St., Troy, NY 12180.

Marvin Neitzel Corporation

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

Records, ca. 1928-

Extent: ca. 50 cu. ft.

Historical Note: Marvin Neitzel Corporation, manufacturer of nurses uniforms, traces its heritage back to a collar and cuff manufacturing company founded in Troy in 1845 by William Gunnison and Walter Stewart. Through the nineteenth century the firm evolved into Gunnison, Stewart and Company, Gunnison and Son, and then Gunnison and Marvin in 1886 when E. W. Marvin joined the firm. The firm was incorporated in 1908 as E. W. Marvin Company. Although nurses’ collars and cuffs had been part of the business for years, it was not until after Raymond P. Neitzel joined the firm in 1917 that a full line of hospital products was developed. The firm became Marvin Neitzel Corporation in 1931. Long located at Fifth and Fulton Street in Troy, the company moved to 444 River Street in 1974.

Scope and Content: Board minutes, by-laws annual statement of accounts (1928-1956), legal and patent papers, a few specs for clothing, and an appraisal of the Fifth Avenue property. The bulk of the records, however, date from after the firm’s relocation to River street in 1974. These include accounting records, orders, invoices, and payrolls.

Location: Marvin Neitzel Corporation, 444 River St., Troy, NY 12180. For access, contact the company.

Meneely Bell Company

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

Historical Note: The Meneely Bell Company of Troy was established in 1870 by Clinton H. Meneely and George H. Kimberly as Meneely and Kimberly. It was reorganized in 1880 as the Clinton H. Meneely Company and was later reorganized as the Meneely Bell Company. It should not be confused with the older Meneely and Company established in 1826 by Andrew Meneely in Watervliet, NY.

Note: Records of Meneely Bell Company can be found at the Hudson-Mohawk Gateway and at the New York State Library. These collections are described separately.

A. – Records at Hudson-Mohawk Gateway

Records, 1871-1952

Extent: ca. 3 cu. ft.

Scope and Content: The bulk of the collection consists of 36 volumes of ledger covering the years 1871 to 1951. Also included are stock certificates, a scrapbook, catalogs, clippings, and some technical notes on belltones and correspondence with Professor Arthur T. Jones of the Physics Department at Smith College.

Location: Hudson-Mohawk Industrial Gateway, Foot of Polk St., Troy, NY 12180

B. – Records at NYSL

Account Books, 1870-1929.

Extent: 34 vols.

Scope and Content: Journals, cash books, and ledgers recording information on business transactions and items purchased and sold.

Location: Manuscripts & Special Collections, New York State Library, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

Rail Joint Company

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

Records, 1881-1970.

Extent: ca. 1 cu. ft.

Historical Note: The Rail Joint Company was a manufacturer of iron rails and other railroad products in South Troy. Its successor was the Portec Corporation, which closed the Troy plant in 1989.

Scope and Content: Includes technical specifications, drawings for rails, an order book (1898), payroll book (1881-1884), a detailed 1907 appraisal of plant and dwellings owned by the company, stock certificate book, and a book recording scrap materials received and paid for (1920-1924).

Location: Hudson-Mohawk Industrial Gateway, Foot of Polk St., Troy, NY 12180.

Note: The University at Albany Libraries Special Collections and Archives contains photocopies of records of the Local 8652 of the United Steelworkers of America for the year 1977 to 1989. This was the local which represented steelworkers at the Railway Products Division of Portec Corporation in Troy.

Ready Fund Raising Company

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

Records, ca. 1950-1988

Extent: ca. 30 cu. ft.

Historical Note: A leader in the business of supplying and selling fund raising programs to youth groups and church groups across the United States, Ready Fund Raising was founded in 1909 by Herbert S. Harp who had developed a gelatin dessert which he called Ready Jell. He began manufacturing the dessert on Green Island and making it available for churches and other organizations to sell in fund raising. The company moved to Lansingburgh in the 1950s and continues to be run by the Lewis family , descendants of the company’s founder. The firm stopped making Ready Jell in the early 1960s. A related business operated by the Lewis family, Lewis and Company, engages in a mail order business selling kits and parts for the making of rosaries.

Scope and Content: Correspondence files, ledgers and ledger cards, payrolls, and sales records.

Location: Ready Fund Raising Company, 391 Third Ave., Troy, NY 12181.

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.

Troy Downtown Council/Troy Livability Campaign

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

Records, ca. 1980-

Historical Note: These separate but related organizations were non-profit groups which sought to promote business in downtown Troy and to foster civic improvements.

Scope and Content: Records that exist include minutes of meetings, membership records, financial records, and materials relating to their sponsored programs, most notably the Victorian Stroll.

Location: Address inquiries concerning these records to the Rensselaer County Historical Society, 57 Second St., Troy, NY 12180.

Burden Iron Works

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

Historical Note: The Burden Iron Company was incorporated in 1881 as the successor to the firm of H. Burden & Sons, which had been founded by Henry Burden. Among the iron products that Burden manufactured were bolts, rivets, spikes, and wrought iron bars. Burden Iron was purchased by Republic Steel about 1940.

Records, 1874-1947.

Extent: 21 v.,.5 cu ft.

Scope and Content: This small collection of records include minutes of the executive committee (1910-1936) and trustees (1881-1947) together with account books (1912-1947), payroll records (1882-1936), auditors’ reports (1925-1937), stock listings and transfers (1924-1942), and a forge work book for Steam Mill No. 3 (1874-1875).

Records, 1818-1935

Extent: 155 packages, 25 boxes.

Scope and Content: This extensive collection includes long runs of day books (1824-1896), cash books, (1822-1933), ledgers (1827-1924), cost books (1881-1897), sales books (1869-1925), foreman’s reports (1891-1935), payrolls (1929-1933), scrapbooks, and letterbooks.