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…]

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…]