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…]

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…]

Business boomed in Burrville

Now quaint village was once a center of commerce

By Lenka Walldroff
Jefferson County Historical Society

The village of Burrville is located just east of Watertown on Route 12 and is best known for the fresh cider and hot doughnuts made by the Burrville Cider Mill every fall. What many don’t know about the village is that during the first half of the nineteenth century, Burrville was a bustling commerce center, rivaling and even eclipsing Watertown in social and economic prominence.
[Read more…]