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 Boston,   pp. 276-312 ff.


Page 305

J. R. BIGELOW'S PAPER HANGINGS MANUFACTORY.
In 1849, in consequence of the failure of a firm of sugar refiners
who were indebted to him for machinery and cash advances, it became
necessary for Mr. Adams to purchase the property in order to secure
himself from loss. This led to his embarking in the Refining of Sugar;
and though he had no previous acquaintance with the details of the
business, he by study and application soon acquired information that
enabled him to produce Sugars that for quality ranked in the market
scarcely second to any. In 1858 the old Relinery was destroyed by
fire, and in the same year he commenced building the great Works
which have been described, and which were ready for operations in 1859.
Mr. Adams has been a member of the city councils, and board of Direc-
tors of public works, of Boston, and is distinguished for his interest in
whatever concerns the welfare of his fellow-citizens. Some years ago
the Bowdoin College, in Maine, conferred upon him the honorary degree
of Master of Arts, and recently he has given a considerable sum to
enable them to enlarge their buildings. Though afflicted for many years
with impaired health, he has accumulated by industry and foresight a
fortune of more than a million of dollars.
J. R. Bigelow's Paper Hangings Manufactory,
Is the largest establishment of the kind in New England, and, with one
or two exceptions perhaps, the largest in the United States. The main
building is one hundred and sixty feet long, four stories in height, and
of various widths, from forty to eighty feet. The Hand Printing De-
partment occupies a separate building one hundred and fifty b~y fifty-
eight feet, and there are also extensive frame buildings, and a stone
storehouse fifty by thirty-five feet. The entire establishment has an
area of nearly two acres of floor room, and gives employment to over
two hundred operatives.
Mr. Bigelow's connection with the Wall Paper manufacture ante-
dates the modern application of machinery in the various processes,
which has so cheapened the product that it is now possible for the
humblest citizen to ornament his dwelling as handsomely, and~with the
moiety of the cost, as a nobl man was able to do two hundred years
ago. When Mr. Bigelow embarked in the business, in 1841, all the
wall paper produced was made by what is called the hand process,
which was the only one known. In 1843, be introduced and perfected
machines for printing two colors, and, in 1853, got up-what is be-
lieved to have been-the first successful machine in this country for
printing six or more colors at one operation. Since that time machines
305


Go up to Top of Page