Rensselaer County
Manufacturers and Industries
Besides Those in Troy

Lin Van Buren wrote, "Many of you have e-mailed me asking what industries existed in the towns where your ancestors lived in the 19th century that might have been their employers. I have compiled a list of as many as I could find. I'm sure there must have been others, and if you know of any, I hope you will share your findings with us!" You can e-mail them to Debby Masterson.

TownManufacturers and Other Industries
Berlin 1780: First gristmill, first sawmill
Brunswick 1792: First "mill", type unspecified, location unknown;
1855, First District: H. B. Lawton's cotton-batting factory; Travis & Myers cradle and fanning factory (using ash,
birch and maple timber); Salmon Daniels's turning factory; a cider mill, a sawmill, a grist mill, three blacksmith shops;
a cloth manufacturer; a tool foundry making augers and bits; a tannery; a harness-maker; a wagon shop;
1855, Second District: Glue factory (closed in that year?); Stephen Dinehart's quarrying business (type of stone not specified);
Alexander Whitney's boot-making factory; three blacksmiths; two wagon-makers;
1860: Cotton-batting mill at Eagle Mills; sash-and-blind factory at Eagle Mills;
1860: Woolen mill at Cropseyville; tannery at Cropseyville;
1865, First District: Henry S. Chichester's foundry; Hiram Phillips's furnace factory;
Salmon Daniels's factory manufacturing woodenwares, including brush handles; Egbert Groom's wrench manufactory;
Herrick Smith's wagon-making shop; Merrell O. Green's candle factory; George Derrick's cider manufactory
East Greenbush 1855: Clinton Defreest wheelwright, Peter G. Clark blacksmith and wheelwright, John Wisner's blacksmith shop,
Leonard G. L. Ferguson's blacksmith shop, Michael Warner's gristmill, John Hupperley's sawmill,
Frederick Contry's sawmill, Nicholas Chase's brickyard;
1865, 2nd District: Two sawmills, two blacksmith shops
Grafton 1800: Josiah Littlefield built the first sawmill, the beginning of the forestry industry that became so important to this town;
c1802: Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer (1764-1839) had the first gristmill built in the town, at Grafton Center;
1860: Red argillite (a type of clay) at Quackenkill was mined for use in the manufacture of mineral paints
(the paint-making may have taken place elsewhere - not sure);
1860: The forestry industry was in full swing, evacuating not only wood itself but also charcoal (fuel) and tanning bark;
1869: Illustrating that the cottage shirt-making industry had spread well beyond the city limits of Troy,
the town of Grafton produced 216,000 shirts in that year alone!
Greenbush 1855: Harts & Co iron foundry, Western RR Co railroad repair shop, Hudson River RR Co railroad repair shop;
1855: G. C. Aiken flour mill, J. A. Ring flour mill, William McDonaho flour mill, Warren Patten & Co sawmill;
1855: Deforest & Merrell sawmill, E. Aiken barrel-making factory, Richard C. Hamblin barrel-making factory;
1855: Van Valkenburgh & Ruyter tanning and currying factory, and G. H. Belden & Son marble works
(Greenbush became the City of Rensselaer in 1897.)
Hoosick 1827: Foundry at Hoosick Falls made reaping, mowing and shearing machines;
1854: The flax industry that was so important to this town was in full swing; the crop in this year alone yielded
more than 250,000 pounds of flax lint (for linen cloth) and 8,300 bushels of linseed;
1860: Foundry making machines for textile industry (both cotton and wool); two cotton mills;
1860: Paper mill and machine shop at Walloomsac; paper mill at Potter Hill;
1860: Dark slate quarried east of Hoosick River for use as roofing material; limestone quarried for lime;
1870: Planing and flax mill, rope and cordage factory, sawmill and gristmill, all at Eagle Bridge;
1870: Carriage factory, cider mill, two flax mills and sawmill, all at Buskirk's Bridge
1871: Walter A. Wood Mowing- and Reaping-Machine Company rebuilt at Hoosick Falls
Lansingburgh 1865, First District: John Ames's brush manufactory employed 80 men and 100 women and produced well
over half a million brushes per annum; Joseph Fox's cracker manufactory used flour, lard, salt and hops to make
60,000 pounds per annum of crackers; E. Filley & Son had a tin manufactory; Edwin Chamberlain's carriage
manufactory employed 35; Charles Clark merchant tailor produced 700 garments per annum;
Van Buskirk & Pickett, maltsters, made rye malt and barley malt; James Alexander's slaughterhouse
had an annual throughput of 5,000 head of cattle; two companies (D. Powers & Sons and J. S. Whipple & Co)
manufactured floor oil-cloths;
1865, Second District: Of the eight brush manufacturers, the largest employer was John G. McMurray & Co, with
a workforce of 80 men and 150 women; Edward Tracy, maltster, employed 35; Harrison & Snyder made lamp-black;
Daniel W. Chapman was a furniture manufacturer; Azariah Fisk was a harness and trunk maker; Bonesteel & Damon
were coppersmiths and tinsmiths; Thomas Mills had a cigar manufactory as well as a confectionery producing candy;
Duane Lockwood's bakery produced 162,000 loaves per annum; James Trotter also had a bakery; Alanson Wing
had a cracker factory; and Adams & Brothers rope manufacturers produced hand-made ropes from hemp
Nassau18th century: First gristmill founded "before the Revolution", on the outlet of Tsatsawassa Pond;
c1827: Gristmill founded by Peter Van Buren, Isaac Van Deusen and Ephraim Best;
1855, 1st District: Thomas H. Smith furnace castings; John B. Davis paper-making,
Abraham Van Alstyne paper-making and machinery also gristmill and sawmill;
Seth Hastings & Sons cotton mill (producing printed cloth) and satinet mill (satinet is a fabric with a finish
similar to that of satin, but made wholly or partly of cotton); George Adams gristmills, Matthew Burdick
"innkeeping and milling";
1855, 2nd District: Peter Tifft tannery (making shoe uppers), Charles Weller tannery (also making shoe uppers);
Jerome B. Lawrence wagon-maker (making horsecarts and sleighs); two lumberyards (converting sawlogs into boards);
1860, village of Nassau: Carriage factory; piano factory; candy factory; shingle and lath factory; foundry and
machine shop; wool-carding establishment; gristmills
1860, hamlet of Hoag's Corners: Chair factory; carding factory;
1860, hamlet of Brainard: Paper mill;
1860, hamlet of Dunham Hollow: Hoe factory;
1865, First District: P. Davis's rye flour and custom mill, producing rye flour, cornmeal, wheat flour,
rye bran and buckwheat bran; P. Davis also had a lumber mills, producing boards from pine, oak and chestnut logs;
Martin Krum's machine factory used lumber, iron and steel to make machines; Calvin Van Salisbury's cabinet shop
used cherry wood to make coffins; James H. & Samuel Reed's carriage factory used oak as a raw material;
John Calkins had a factory making tinware and sheet ironware; C. F. Davis's paper factory used straw, lime and wood
to make 60,000 reams of straw paper; Demmon Morris's lumber mill turned oak logs into planks;
1865, Second District: Campbell & Courier's business used iron and steel to make 2,400 potato hooks
valued at $1,500. Jim Owens explains that a potato hook "is a sort of hoe with tines instead of a blade, originally
designed to harvest potatoes, now generally used as a heavy-duty rake to clear debris from newly tilled areas."
North Greenbush 1855: Four blacksmiths, three wagon-makers (Joseph Wolf, Christopher Snyder, Edwin Green);
1870, village of Bath-on-the-Hudson: Coal yard, lumber yard, mechanic shops;
1870, hamlet of Wynantskill: Three blacksmith shops, two wagon-making shops
Petersburgh 1770: George Rosenburgh founded the first gristmill, on the creek below Peter's Church;
18th century: John Spencer founded the first sawmill "before the Revolution", at South Petersburgh;
c1800: Barber & Murray founded the first wool-carding mill;
1870: Flax mill, carriage shop, cabinet shop, harness shop, gristmill, sawmill, three blacksmith shops;
1870, North Petersburgh: Two blacksmith shops
Pittstown 1830s, hamlet of Tomhannock: Cotton mill (later coverted into a paper mill), flax mill, oil mill, foundry, grist mill;
1854: Flax was king here; the town of Pittstown produced 230,000 pounds of flax lint (for linen cloth) and 7,000 bushels
of linseed and had 13 flax mills in that year;
1860, Johnsonville: Johnsonville Ax and Tool Manufactory; cordage factory making linen twine;
1860, village of Valley Falls: Paper mill
1860, Sherman Mills: Two factories making cotton bags;
1862, Tomhannock: Factory producing mowing machines; cigar factory producing hand-made C. A. S. cigars;
1870, hamlet of Boyntonville: Harness shop, cooper shop (making barrels), wagon shop, three blacksmith shops;
1870, hamlet of Johnsonville: Carriage and sleigh factory, flax mill, grist mill, planing mill, two blacksmith shops;
1870, hamlet of Pittstown: Two cooper shops, wagon shop, two blacksmith shops, sawmill;
1870, hamlet of Raymertown: Two flax mills, two grist mills, two sawmills, wagonshop, three blacksmith shops;
1870, Tomhannock: Three flax mills, grist mill, two sawmills, wagon shop, three blacksmith shops, harness shop, cooper shop;
1870, Valley Falls: Eagle Mower Works, carriage factory, paper mill, plaster mill, grist mill, twine factory
Poestenkill 1855, First District: Reuben Carnrick's carriage shop, John J. Place's carriage shop; John Burk's flour mill;
Alexander Grant's tannery, Nicholas Taylor's tannery; Lawton Hoag's wagon shop; four sawmills; two blacksmiths;
1855, Second District: 18 sawmills, a grist mill and three blacksmith shops;
1865, First District: Two carriage factories, a stove-facing factory and a factory making mowing machines;
1870, hamlet of Poestenkill: Small cotton-batting factory, sawmill, grist mill, blacksmith shops;
1880, hamlet of Poestenkill: Shirt factory
Sand Lake 1768: Joshua Lockwood and William Carpenter built the first grist mill, on the Wynantskill at West Sand Lake;
1805: Glass factory organized at hamlet of then Rensselaer Village, later renamed Glass House after this glassworks;
this glass factory had 100 employees in 1813; it closed in 1853; its primary commercial product was window glass,
but a few other types of items were blown; according to American Glass by George S. and Helen McKearin,
"Quite a number of authenticated Sand Lake individual pieces have been recorded such as jars, bowls, pitchers,
canes and other whimseys. With few exceptions, they are of light aquamarine glass and skillfully formed."
1855, First District: Hunt & Co satinet warp factory; Gersham Tabor tanner and currier; Cornelius Schermerhorn woolen mill;
Truman Waterbury furnace factory; six sawmills, four shoemakers, two wagon-makers (John Cotton and Jedediah Burns);
four blacksmiths;
1855, Second District: S. T. Tompkins & Co wrapping-paper factory; A. & L. Cipperley's clothing works;
John Donaldson's clothing works; Andrew Uline's flour mill; David Clum's flour mill;
1860: Forestry was important; sent large quantities of cordwood, charcoal and tan bark to market in Troy and Albany;
1860, hamlet of Sand Lake: Cotton warp factory, two knitting mills, two foundries, paper mill, flour mill;
1860, hamlet of West Sand Lake: Two woolen factories, two flour mills, a sawmill;
1865, First District: Harrison Lester's coffin-making factory; a pork-sausage factory;
1865, Second District: Two factories making carriages and sleighs from wood; a harness-maker; a tinsmith's shop;
1870, hamlet of Sand Lake: James Aken's woolen mill contained six sets of machinery and manufactured knit goods for
men's underwear, employed about 100 and consumed 300,000 pounds per annum of cotton and wool;
Knowlson & Kidder mill contained four sets of machinery for the manufacture of knit goods, employed 60 and consumed
200,000 pounds per annum of cotton and wool;
O. B. Arnold mill contained two sets of machinery for knit goods, employed 25 and consumed 75,000 pounds per annum
of cotton and wool;
Sand Lake Warp Mill Company contained 2,500 spindles in the manufacture of cotton warps, employed 80, consumed
240,000 pounds per annum of cotton, and produced 1,920,000 yards per annum of warp;
Merwin & Co paper mill consumed 600 tons per annum of straw in the manufacture of straw paper and employed 20;
four woolen mills, a cotton warp mill, a paper mill;
1870, hamlet of Sliter's Corners: Carriage shop, blacksmith shop;
1870, hamlet of South Sand Lake: Blacksmith shop;
1880, hamlet of Taborton: The first "steam" mill (run by a steam engine) was "in the Taborton area";
another water-powered mill near the junction of the Taborton and Teal roads was later converted to steam by John Teal
Schaghticoke 1805, Schaghticoke Point (later Harts Falls): C. Joy's wool-carding mills, which offered "picking, greasing and carding" to
the general public; the price was 6 cents per pound for persons furnishing their own grease or 8 cents per pound if the
mill provided the grease; one pint of oil or one pound of grease was sufficient for 11 pounds of wool;
1860: Town produced cotton and linen goods, flax, powder, plaster and agricultural implements;
1865, First District: Grant Fan Mill & Cradle Co employed 12 at the hamlet of Junction, making fan mills
and grain cradles; Schaghticoke Powder Co made gunpowder and blasting powder; William W. Bryan manufactured
agricultural implements such as fan mills, grain cradles, wagons and harnesses;
1870, hamlet of Harts Falls: Schaghticoke Powder Mill, marble factory, woolen factory, two paper mills,
twine and bagging factory;
1870, hamlet of Junction: Grant Fan Mill and Cradle Manufactory;
1870, hamlet of Schaghticoke Hill: Schaghticoke Powder Keg Mill; scutching mill (scutching is dressing a fibrous material,
especially retted flax, by beating it); twine and cordage mill, sawmill, grist mill
Schodack Early 18th century: First grist mill founded by Van Buren;
1855, 1st District (nearer the Hudson River): Van Benthuysen & Harman paper manufacturers;
Albert Barnes clock-making; S. R. & R. Douren Co (flour mill, sawmill, plaster mill, machine shop);
five blacksmiths (Henry Sleighter, Timothy Hayden, Amos Castle, Zachariah Rorabach, Jacob Smith);
Jeremiah Wilkinson sawmill, Rensselaer Schermerhorn sawmill, Watts Carpenter sawmill;
Isaac Carpenter wagon-making, James Rorabach wagon-making and repair,
Lucas Schermerhorn wagon-maker, Hare & Birge wagon-makers and machinists;
1855, 2nd District: Frederick Frickinger piano-making; Peter H. Rykert rifle-maker;
Wesley B. Smith wagon-maker, Michael Murphy wagon-maker; a gristmill; three sawmills, six blacksmiths;
1865, 2nd District: Frederick Frickinger's piano manufactory;
1870, village of Castleton-on-Hudson: Brick-making was important here; the village had five brickyards and furnished
bargeloads of bricks to New York City; a stove and tin shop; a lumber yard
Stephentown 1855: Nine sawmills; five turning mills; a grist mill; Alonzo Swan's tannery and currier business;
William Barrett's tool manufactory (making gauges out of rosewood); Platt & Smith's cotton-wadding factory;
1870, hamlet of Stephentown Flats: Cotton-batting factory, machine shop;
1870, hamlet of Mechanicsville: Brush factory, four turning shops, sawmill, grist mill;
Before 1880, hamlet of Stephentown: Carding mills, which eventually became satina mills; flannel factory; brush factory;
potash and charcoal were also made there.

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Debby Masterson

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