University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Albany,   pp. 240-248


Page 242

ALBANY STOVE FOUNDRIES.
In 1815, William T. James, of Lansingburgh, afterward of Troy,
made the stove known as the " James' Stove," which not only continued
a leading cooking stove for nearly a quarter of a century, but may yet
be seen on board of small Eastern coasting vessels, where, being cheap
and durable, it supplies the place of a caboose. James' stove is probably
better known as the " Saddle-bags Stove." James & O'Connell opened
a retail stove store in Troy as early as 1816.
Perhaps no name is better known, not only in Albany but throughout
the country, in connection with the stove business, than that of Joel
Rathbone. In partnership with Mr. Ileermans, who died in 1830, he
opened a stove store in Albany, obtaining for some years his castings
from New Jersey, and entered upon the business with such energy that
in a short time his was the leading establishment in the country. The
cost of transporting the castings from New Jersey, especially as a part
was returned to Philadelphia and New York as finished stoves, being so
heavy an item, he at first had some made from his own patterns in
foundries in Albany which were chiefly engaged in making castings for
machinery and agricultural tools ; and soon afterward erected a foundry
solely for stoves. His cupola furnace, which he built in 1838, is believed
to have been the very first in the country for making stove castings.
By this process castings were made smoother, and by dispensing with
superfluous material they were furnished cheaper, and thus became more
extensively used. This may really be said to be the commencement of
the Stove Business as a leading pursuit, which increased with such
rapidity that in a few years the name of Rathbone became a household
word throughout the United States, and also in the British Provinces.
At the present time the "Rathbone Stove Works" are among the largest
in Albany. They are situated in the upper part of the city, near the
canal, the buildings being respectively 314 by 151 feet, and 250 by 125
feet, and cover nearly two acres of ground-some of them are four and
five stories in height, and the whole floor surface about two and a half
acres. There are two moulding rooms, one being 170 by 136 feet, and
the other 125 by 80 feet-amounting in all to 33,120 square feet. Each
of these has a sheet-iron cupola furnace capable of melting twenty tons
per day ; and when worked to its full capacity this establishment can
turn out thirty tons of clean castings, making three hundred stoves per
day.  The average number of hands employed in all the departments
is three hundred, but for short periods they have employed nearly 500.
The average production of Stoves is 35,000, but in some years it has
amounted to 40,000. The consumption of iron is from 3500 to 4000
tons, and of coal from 1700 to 2000 tons. Constantly introducing new
patterns, requiring new " flasks," six men are employed in making new
242


Go up to Top of Page