January 2016 Business History: The Railroad Writer

‘My greatest hobby is the railroad’

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Despite his lackluster pursuit of academics, Watertown native Edward Hungerford achieved remarkable success once he parlayed his love of the railroad and trains into a career. Watertown Daily Times File Photo.

Watertown man turned lifelong love of trains into a successful career

By Dave Shampine, NNY Business

The letter with its unique signature — a pencil-sketched railroad steam engine — is in as good condition today as it was nearly 76 years ago when Edward Hungerford rolled the stationery out of his typewriter. [Read more…]

December 2015 Business History

An underground business

In this 1988 photo, Denny Ellingsworth discusses his decision to live in one of the Black River caves in Watertown. In 2011, a group of spelunkers sought permission to explore and map the caves. The north country’s many caves have been a part of local lore for almost as long as some of its cities have existed. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

In this 1988 photo, Denny Ellingsworth discusses his decision to live in one of the Black River caves in Watertown. In 2011, a group of spelunkers sought permission to explore and map the caves. The north country’s many caves have been a part of local lore for almost as long as some of its cities have existed. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

North country’s vast network of caves once used commercially

By Lenka Walldroff, NNY Business [Read more…]

November 2015 Business History: Oneida

A storied past

A postcard dated June 26, 1907, shows the  Oneida Community  Home Building in  Kenwood, N.Y.,  near Oneida. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com.

A postcard dated June 26, 1907, shows the Oneida Community Home Building in Kenwood, N.Y., near Oneida. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com.

Oneida flatware was necessity for utopian society

By Lenka Walldroff, NNY Business

There are few people today who have not used or at least heard of Oneida cutlery. The flatware is ubiquitous in restaurants, hotels, and kitchen drawers worldwide. Since its founding in the 19th century, Oneida Limited flatware has become something of an American tradition, although its roots are anything but traditional. [Read more…]

October 2015 Business History: Car-Freshner

An international icon

The CarFreshner corporation building at the Jefferson County Corporate Park.

The CarFreshner corporation building at the Jefferson County Corporate Park.

Car-Freshner’s ‘Little Trees’ a global brand

By Lorna Oppedisano, NNY Business [Read more…]

September 2015 Business History: RBC Wealth Management

A century of service

Clockwise from above: Clients make their way to RBC Wealth Management’s new Watertown branch office during an open house last month. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Clockwise from above: Clients make their way to RBC Wealth Management’s new Watertown branch office during an open house last month. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Watertown investment firm traces roots to 1915

NNY Business

RBC Wealth Management’s Watertown branch traces its roots to October 1915 when the Wall Street brokerage firm Foster & Adams opened an office in the city. It is the oldest, continuously operating investment advisory firm in Watertown. [Read more…]

August 2015 Business History: Dr. Samuel Guthrie

A medical pioneer

Dr. Samuel Guthrie, a surgeon during the War of 1812, discovered chloroform, a popular 19th century anesthetic, in 1831. His house is pictured at left and below, a portrait of the doctor. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

Dr. Samuel Guthrie, a surgeon during the War of 1812, discovered chloroform, a popular 19th century anesthetic, in 1831. His house is pictured at left and below, a portrait of the doctor. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

Sackets’ Dr. Samuel Guthrie discovered chloroform

By Lenka Walldroff, NNY Business

Maybe it’s something in the water? That’s one possible explanation for the long list of entrepreneurs and inventors who have called Jefferson County home. Safety pins, bed springs, tile drains, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (better known as the S.P.C.A.), and the concept of the five and dime were all invented or created within Jefferson County’s borders. Tyler Coverlets are native to the county as are percussion caps and a mechanism for their ignition which made flintlock muskets obsolete. But perhaps one of the best known inventions is that of chloroform. [Read more…]

July 2015 Business History: Aviation

Region takes to skies

Capt. Frank Burnside, far right, was the first to successfully pilot an airplane in Northern New York. His flights occurred at the Jefferson County Fair in September 1913. A crowd of more than 3,000 witnessed  as Capt. Burnside and his Thomas airplane took off from the exhibition field, soared to a cruising altitude of 2,000 feet, and reached an astounding 50 mph, before safely landing on the makeshift airstrip. Photo Courtesy earlyaviators.com.

Capt. Frank Burnside, far right, was the first to successfully pilot an airplane in Northern New York. His flights occurred at the Jefferson County Fair in September 1913. A crowd of more than 3,000 witnessed as Capt. Burnside and his Thomas airplane took off from the exhibition field, soared to a cruising altitude of 2,000 feet, and reached an astounding 50 mph, before safely landing on the makeshift airstrip. Photo Courtesy earlyaviators.com.

Aviation opens doors for business, community

By Lenka Walldroff, NNY Business [Read more…]

June 2015 Business History: Cox Building

Rising from the ashes

The ‘false facade’ of the historic, fire-gutted Cox building in Potsdam was ripped off the week of July 7, 1981, exposiong the first floor to passersby. Work crews, headed by Lawrence J. Hazen, owner, and Michael Walsh, began restoring the building, built in 1888. It housed the J. McCarthy Department Store, then the Lewis Shops and the Hi-Fi Shop before it was gutted by Fire in August of 1980. Photo from Watertown Daily Times Archives.

The ‘false facade’ of the historic, fire-gutted Cox building in Potsdam was ripped off the week of July 7, 1981, exposiong the first floor to passersby. Work crews, headed by Lawrence J. Hazen, owner, and Michael Walsh, began restoring the building, built in 1888. It housed the J. McCarthy Department Store, then the Lewis Shops and the Hi-Fi Shop before it was gutted by Fire in August of 1980. Photo from Watertown Daily Times Archives.

Home to Maxfield’s, Potsdam Building was once nearly razed

By Lorna Oppedisano, NNY Business

Potsdam’s Cox Building is now a staple in the town’s business district, but its very existence was once on the brink of destruction. [Read more…]

May 2015 Business History: Graphic Controls

Recording a legacy

Graphic Controls Corp’s Recording Chart Division in Clayton. The firm was once a major employer in the St. Lawrence River village. Photo from Watertown Daily Times Archives.

Graphic Controls Corp’s Recording Chart Division in Clayton. The firm was once a major employer in the St. Lawrence River village. Photo from Watertown Daily Times Archives.

Graphic Controls provided ‘consistent’ jobs for Clayton

By Lorna Oppedisano, NNY Business

When one thinks of Clayton, “waterfront destination” typically comes to mind. But within the past century, the riverfront village was home to Graphic Controls, a Buffalo-headquartered manufacturing plant that produced recording charts for industrial and medical applications. In its day, the firm was one one of Clayton’s largest employers. [Read more…]

April 2015 Business History: F.X. Baumert and Co.

A family dairy dynasty

Above, the F.X. Baumert and Co. cheese factory and  office, Antwerp. At the turn of the 20th century the factory was the largest of its kind in the country. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

Above, the F.X. Baumert and Co. cheese factory and office, Antwerp. At the turn of the 20th century the factory was the largest of its kind in the country. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

F.X.Baumert and Co. introduced Muenster cheese to the U.S.

By Lenka Walldroff, NNY Business

From the mid-19th century until about 1930, Jefferson County reigned as the “Cheese Capital of the World.” In fact, at the time, more cheese was bought and sold on the Watertown Cheese Exchange than anywhere else in the world. Jefferson County’s cheese notoriety came from humble origins, however, with the first dairy farm opening in Rutland in 1834 with 20 cows. As road conditions were often poor, or roads were non-existent, travel took significantly longer in previous centuries than it does today. In pre-refrigeration times, this proved problematic for farmers trading in perishable goods like milk. [Read more…]