City of Amesbury
Amesbury Carriage Makers
This history is not complete and is on-going. It is what I have found. Because this information was copied verbatim from several sources, mainly from carriage journals of the time, there is some redundancy.
Amesbury was recognized to be one of the most important carriage making cities in the world. The workers were far and away the most skilled workers and the highest paid. Between April 17-20, 1884, sixty-five carloads of carriages were shipped.
Because Merrimac was formerly West Amesbury until 1876 and almost all the carriage industry was congested into a small area of the city, it was necessary to incorporate the West Amesbury and Amesbury makers into one group.
The following article was copied From the History of Essex County, compiled under the Supervision of William Hurd, 1888
The manufacture of carriages, upon which the prosperity of Merrimac chiefly depends, was begun early in the century by Michael Emery, of West Newbury, who learned his trade in Newburyport. At one time Newbury and West Newbury were considerably engaged in the business, but in some unaccountable way their industries gradually drifted across the river to Amesbury, and finally disappeared. Since the days of Michael Emery the business at Merrimac has been carried on by a large number of enterprising men. Among these may be mentioned the followiug, who have either died or retired: Joseph Sargent, Patten Sargent, Willis Patten, Joshua Sargent, Jr., John Sargent, Jr., Wm. Gunnison, Ephraim Goodwin, Moses Clement, Francis Smiley, Francis Pressey, Nicholas Sargent, S. S. Tuckwell, William P. Sargent, Edmund Whittier, Stephen R. Sargent, Stephen Bailey, Edmund Sargent, William Nichols, John Sargent, Jonathan B. Sargent, Frederick A. Sargent, Wm. H. Haskell, John Little, Joshua Colby, James Nichols, Wm. Johnson, Caleb Mitchell, Cyrus Sargent, Alfred E. Goodwin, Francis Sargent, O. H. Sargent, James H. Harlow, Stephen Patten, Eben S. Fullington, Joseph W. Sargent, John S. Poyen, Charles H. Palmer, Isaac Jones, Wm. Smiley, Thomas E. Poyen, George F. Clough, Isaac B. Little, George G. Larkin, Thomas B. Patten, Amos T. Small, A. M. Waterhouse and Thomas Nelson.
The number of carriages, with their value, manufactured annually by those at present in the business, is as follows:
George Adams & Sons began business in 1857; number of carriages, 200; sleighs, 100; value, $35.000; men employed, 18.
Moses G. Clement & Son began business in 1849; carriages, 200 ; sleighs, 60; value, $45,000; men employed, 19.
C. E. Gunnison & Co. began business in 1879; carriages, 250; men employed, 20; value, $35,000.
H. M. Howe (late Howe & Clouoh) began in 1879; carriages, 75; value, $20,000; men employed, 15.
J. A. Lancaster & Co. began in 1858; carriages, 438; sleighs, 112; value, $70,000; men employed, 30.
Loud Brothers began in 1866; carriages, 200; sleighs, 125; value, $82,000; men employed, 32.
C. H. Noyes & Son began in 1845; carriages, 90; value, $18,000; men employed, 10.
Daniel M. Means began in 18S1; carriages, 75; sleighs, 15; value, §15,000; men employed, 12.
Samuel Schofield & Son began in 1879; carriages, 75; value, $18,000; men employed, 11.
S. C. Pease & Sons began in 18(31; carriages, 300; value, $100,000; men employed, 42.
Palmer & Doucet began in 1873; carriages, 175; value, $75,000; men employed, 50.
Clement & Young began in 1884; carriages, 75; value, $18,000; men employed, 12.
Wm. 0. Smiley began in 1882; carriages, 75; value, $12,000; men employed, 8.
John B. Judkins & Son began in 1857; carriages, 200; value, $80,000; men employed, 50.
H. G. & H. W. Stevens began in 1869; carriages, 415; carriages repaired, 600; value, $185,000; men employed, 100.
Wm. Chase & Sons began in 1838; carriages, 50; sleighs, 10; value, $15,000; men employed, 11.
M. Colby began in 1868; carriages, 150 ; sleighs, 40; value, $30,000; men employed, 19.
George Gunnison began in 1882; carriages, 50; value, $9000; men employed, 7.
Willis P. Sargent began in 1854; carriages, 40; value, $6000; men employed, 3.
Merrimac may be said to be almost exclusively a carriage town, and as such has won an enviable reputation both for the style and quality of its work and for the enterprise and business integrity of its manufacturers. The styles of work done take a wide range, from the coach and landau and coupe to the less pretentious road-wagon and sleigh. Different manufacturers produce different classes of work, and almost every one has something in style or quality peculiarly his own. In the early history of the carriage business there were no shops in which a complete carriage was built. The business was carried on by an interchange of parts, one shop making bodies, another gears, another doing the iron-work, and another the trimming and painting. By this interchange of parts the carriages were constructed, and there are those still living who began the business in this way.
The manufacture of carriage-bodies and the woodwork of sleighs has always continued a business to be carried on to a considerable extent by itself, and now employs a large number of men. Among tne first shops where this special business has been carried on were those of John Clement, Job Hoyt and Ebenezer Fullington, all of whom began about 1820. It is now carried on by Gilman S. Hoyt, Melvin Clement, Joseph W. Nichols, Edward B. Sargent, Charles E. Pierce, Arthur Nichols, Wm. H. Colby and N. J. Spofford, the last two of whom are established at Merrimacport.
The first application of machinery to the manufacture of carriage gears was made by John S. Foster, who was for several years connected with the West Amesbury Manufacturing Company, subsequently building a factory for the prosecution of that business, in connection with sawing and planing and general job work. In 1867 he formed a partnership with Henry M. Howe, for the manufacture of wheels. Their factory was burned February 15,1870, and rebuilt and reoccupied in forty-nine days. In 1871 John Cleary became a member of the firm, and in 1879 George S. Prescott became connected with Mr. Foster, under the firm-name of Foster & Prescott. The product of their business was from four to five thousand sets of wheels annually, with other carriage parts. Their mill was burned February 17, 1882, and their business was not resumed.
In connection with the main business of carriage building, there are establishments engaged in the manufacture of special parts of carriages. The Merrimac Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1848, has already been referred to, and is extensively employed in the manufacture of wheels and gears. There are other establishments engaged in the manufacture of different parts of carriages, among which are those of George B. Patten for carriage bows, and John H. Murphy and Alden B. Morse for silverplating. The houses of J. S. Poyen & Co. and Little & Larkin are large importers and dealers in carriage materials. They have been established many years, and are doing an extensive business in addition to their home trade, selling largely to manufacturers in other places, their aggregate sales amounting to nearly a million of dollars.
In 1850 there were twenty six firms manufacturing carriages. In 1853, Jacob Huntington, a painter by trade, decided to make carriages that common people could purchase. His carriages were the first to be built on an assembly line basis. Every employee had a certain job to do and a part to make. This was a radical idea and many of his contemporaries said it could not work.An assembly line was one employee pulling a cart starting with the body and as he went by the department that was making a certain part this part would be aded to the body and by the time that the cart got to the end, the wheels were attached and the carriage would either be made ready for shipment in the whie, unpainted, or sent to the decorator. He started his business above another factory, but in a very short time, he purchased a building and his carriages were the top sellers. By 1865, all the carriage makers were using this novel idea and twelve thousand carriages had been built. Huntington may have been the father of the carriage trade, but James Hume, who bought the Huntington factory in 1857, carried the trade to its greatest height. His factory produced the most innovations to the standard carriage and soon Amesbury carriages became the preferred ones throughout the country and were being shipped to other countries. In 1894, 19,000 were shipped. They had a name for quality and affordability.
It is claimed that more patents were obtained by Amesbury carriage mechanics for different appliances in rendering ease and convenience to riding vehicles than in any other carriage section of the country. These patents not only include various changes by which a two seat vehicle can be transformed almost instantly into a stylish single seat, but to patent wheels and springs. In fact, much of the machinery by which the manufacturer had been able to enlarge and carry forward his business, and its improvement, were the inventions of the mechanics.In the fall of 1888 the great fire occurred on "Carriage hill," which destroyed the business plants of sixteen of these firms. Yet, undismayed by this disaster, new and elegant brick establishments replaced those burned. While a few were cast down, none were destroyed, and, today, there are as many carriage firms doing business as prior to that date. By mid-century,
The Fitchburg Sentinel covered the Great Fire of 1888 over a two day period:
"A cold rain prevailed at the time, which undoubtedly saved the entire place. Some hundred families are homeless. The day being a fast day was a legal holiday, so there was no work going on, and the sacred character of the day was sadly broken up.
"Amesbury, Mass., April 7 - Over a score of buildings were eaten away by the fire of Thursday night, as most of the carriage factories included several structures. The losses are roughly as follows: F.W. Babcock & Co., $200,000; A.N. Parry, $50,000; J.H. Clarke & Co., $50,000, Hume Carriage Co., $50,000; C.N. Dennett, $75,000; M.M. Dennett, $40,000; Lambert Hollander, $20,000; N.H. Folger, $75,000; J.F. Chesley and Fannie Brown $2,000; Frank Sands and Mrs. Sands $3,000; Wingate Morse, $1,500; James Hume, houses $1,000; John Hume & Son, $5,000. The insurance is about $850,000 and the fire is believed to have been of incendiary origin."
Not one single factory closed down and no employee lost his job. The factories that were not damaged, made room for all of the companies that had its factories burned and loaned them money to buy the material that they needed. It was a common practice in the cariage business for a company that was doing a good business to loan another company money to help it stay in business. If a customer visited a shop and it did not have the style available, he would be sent to the shop that had it.
Copied from the Carriage Builders Trade Magazine
The changes in the trade have been no more frequent than in any other largely prosecuted industry in its business progress. Individual firm names formerly well known to the trade have dropped out to give place to others who are striving to attain success, and are bravely steming the tide which has been setting so strongly against all the business developments of the country during the last few years. A conservative feeling has governed the trade so far with mutual safety to all, and with the promised dawn of better times in the near future, the carriage firms are hoping to obtain benefits from the trade winds of commercial business prosperity.
Having visited nearly all the firms we find the members hopeful. Many of them report a fair business season, and with an increasing trade over the previous year. The intervening years from 1883 to 1892 are considered to have been the most prosperous years for the carriage trade in Amesbury. In fact, no period of ten years since the beginning of carriage building in the town in 1853 has witnessed such continued activity. The tide of prosperity increased until hundreds of workmen were employed in all departments, several of the large firms employing as many as fifty blacksmiths, running from twenty to thirty forge fires. Wages were at the highest price, the best mechanics earning from three dollars to four dollars per day, while the force of skilled workmen employed in all departments led to the building of newer styles and better finished work, until Amesbury carriage firms began to employ skilled designers to create new and more beautiful forms of riding vehicles.
Ralph Clarkson made the first perspective drawings of carriages in Amesbury in 1878. This gentleman studied art in Paris, and is now a leading artist in Chicago., Illinois. Later F. A. Sands was employed in like work. In 1889 Mr. Svanberg came from Germany to the town, and since that date has done nearly all the carriage drafting.
Every variety of vehicle known to the trade is manufactured in Amesbury from the expensive brougham to the modest road wagon, from the less expensive "two wheelers," up to all the varied grades and styles, including every form and feature of a fancy carriage with its bicycle wheels, or common wheels with rubber tires. Each yearly "carriage opening" discloses some new design and pleasing style.
It is claimed that more patents have been obtained by Amesbury carriage mechanics for different appliances in rendering ease and convenience to riding vehicles than in any other carriage section of the country. These patents not only include various changes by which a two seat vehicle can be transformed almost instantly into a stylish single seat, but to patent wheels and springs. In fact, much of the machinery by which the manufacturer has been able to enlarge and carry forward his business, and its improvement, is the invention of the mechanics here employed.
The above statements are introduced, not in any sense as "puffs" to an industry which has long sustained its reputation and standing, but as true and worthy of mention. In the carriage trade, as in all other departments of industry, there come periods when the business boom pushes business to its highest point of development. This has been seen in the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods in the United States; in the iron trade, and many other departments of labor. Then follow years of depression; of losses and failures. Similar results mark the course of the carriage industry. Many firms in this country whose standing was considered beyond the possibility of financial disaster, have been compelled to suffer great loss. The Amesbury manufacturer has suffered in common with the trade, but to such an extent as to involve only a few individual firms. Today the condition of the trade will compare most favorably with any carriage in the country, as to present and prospective business ventures. The following brief sketch of the industry may prove interesting: The founder of the carriage industry in Amesbury was Jacob R. Huntington, who begun business in 1853. In 1875 he retired from active business with a competency, and now makes his home in the town which he did so much to build up.
In 1893, thirteen carriage makers exhibited their carriages at the Columbian World's Fair in Chicago. They are listed below with the vehicles on display.
Amesbury Carriage Co. pleasure carriage; S.R. Bailey & Co., light carriages; Biddle and Smart, light carriages; J. T. Clarkson, light carriages; Currier, Cameron and Co., phaeton, Eben Currier, buggy; Miller Brothers, break; Morrill Osgood, traps; Rowell Carriage Co., traps; and Carr, Prescott, & Co., light carriages. S. R. Bailey won a gold medal.
1903 Advertisement from the Cariage Makers Magazine
Among the early established firms continuing to push its business is the "Hume Carriage Co." The foundation of this firm dates from the purchase in 1857 by James Hume, of the business of J. R. Huntington, the pioneer manufacturer of the town. Under Mr. Hume's management the firm became known all over the country for the style and variety of its work. In 1884 Mr. Hume retired from active labor, and during the last ten years the business has been continued by William H. Hume, a brother of John, and George Walker.
In justice to Mr. Hume it may be said there is no one in the trade today who is more interested in the success of the carriage industry he labored to establish. His capital to the extent of thousands of dollars has been loaned at common rates of interest to aid and help others in the line of trade which made fortunes for him. From Mr. Charles F. Robinson, the financial agent, we learn that the business of the present year has been much more encouraging than the preceding year, and the outlook for the immediate future is good
The Biddle, Smart Carriage Co. dates its organized
capital in 1878. Up to within two years it was the largest firm in number of carriages
manufactured. During its busiest years it kept in operation thirty forge fires,
manufacturing its own wheels and wood work. At the present writing this extensive business
plant is comparatively idle. The firm has ample capital and ready means at command to
recommence business at any moment when changing prospects warrant, or the conservative
members of the firm consider it wise so to do. The firm was composed of
William E. Biddle, William W. Smart, M. D. F. Steeve. William W. Smart's connection with
the firm was dissolved by his death in November, 1895. Mr. Smart had been educated in all
the mechanical details of the trade, and his death was a great loss to the company and the
community. In 1876 7, Mr. Smart was established in business for himself and sold out to
become a member of the larger firm.
The firm of Hassett & Hodge is composed of James and John Hassett, brothers, and George C. Hodge. Mr. James Hassett, senior member, embraked in the carriage business in 1887. In 1890 associated George E. Hodge as a partner. In 1893 John Hassett was admitted to the firm. They manufacture a varied line of pleasure carriages, and notwithstanding the great depression in the business world, during the last four years, report a continual yearly increase of sales. From the present business outlook this firm anticipates a large increase in their business for 1898.
Among the early manufacturers who aided in building up the industry, and whose sign continues to swing in the breeze, is E. S. Feltch. He entered business in 1859 and pushed his way to financial success until 1883, when F. W. Nelson, a son in law, who served as Treasurer of the Board of Trade, was admitted as a member in the firm. Charles F. Stone and B. F. Sargent, sons in law, were associated in the trade at one time. The firm is doing but a small business at present as compared to more prosperous years. The business plant, which covers nearly an acre, of ground on Market st., commenced to curtail operations several years ago, and is waiting for a better business outlook for a renewal of its former activity.
The firm known as the Connor Carriage Co. was organized in 1887. The firm reports its business as quite prosperous during the last year. Its special work is depot wagons, traps, carts, victoria standard.
Herbert F. Chase commenced business in 1888. He makes a general line of carriage work of light and medium weights. Mr. Chase reports trade better the present year than the preceding one. Sales in July 40 per cent. better than in the corresponding month of 1896.
The firm of Folger & Drummond dates from 1887. It was organized by David J. Folger several years prior to this date. The new firm erected a spacious brick factory, 175 by 55, five stories, with an annex 45 by 67 feet, and, three stories. Mr. Folger was financially successful before the new firm was instituted. Mr. Drummond had been connected with the firm of Goss, Drummond & Co., and therefore brought a good mechanical experience to the partnership. About one year ago Mr. Folger sold his interest to Mr. James Drummond, who continues the business, only waiting trade developments to again push business with old time vigor.
Eben M. Currier is the senior member of the firm of the Currier Carriage Co., organized in 1888, as Eben M. & J. Woodbury Currier. They erected a convenient brick block on Carriage Hill and commenced business. In 1890 J. W. Currier retired from the firm, since which time it has been successfully conducted by E. M. Currier.
T. W. Lane entered business for himself as a carriage manufacturer in 1874. In 1890 his business had proved so far successful that from a tenant occupant of a small factory on Elm st., he became the owner of a fine business plant on Chestnut st., containing twenty five thousand feet of floor space, with a large carriage repository in the rear of his dwelling on Elm st. His two sons, Fred W. and F.. Lewis Lane, attend to all the details of the trade.
1908 Concord Buggy, Lane Carriage Co.
1910 Hub Magazine
T. W. Lane, carriage manufacturer, recently shipped a carriage on a journey to Siberia. Mr. Lane is one of the few of Amesbury's manufacturers who holds exclusively to the making of carriages. Never in the history of the town have the prospects of the carriage or auto body makers looked so bright as they do now. Most of the makers have enough work ahead to last them until Christmas and some have enough orders to run them a year. This is particularly so of the builders that have already got their contracts for the 1911 bodies. While at the present time it is a little quiet in some shops, owing to some slight changes in specifications, most of the factories are booming. That prospects are pretty good here is shown by one Boston firm sending a representative offering thirty dollars a week for trimmers and he couldn't hire any at that.
1914 Lane Concord, Suspended on a Concord Gear
John H. Clark & Co. was organized as a carriage firm in 1884 and has so continued. In the great fire of 1888 their business plant was entirely destroyed, but replaced by one of the finest carriage factories in the town. The firm, though cast down for a time, was not destroyed, and by a conservative business management has continued to prosper in the manufacture of a fine grade of general light work as a specialty.
1908 Clark Panel Boot Victoria
N. J. Folger, who learned his trade as a carriage maker in Merrimac, came to Amesbury at the time that industry was starting into more active life, and engaged in business in 1880. His plant was among those destroyed by the great fire in 1888, but a new business plant was erected for his accommodation by James Hume, on the line of the B. &. M. R. R. His business was quite successfully prosecuted until the depression of three years ago, and only awaits the promised return of better times to again push onward.
Charles N. Dennett engaged in business in 1873, and has been a successful manufacturer, having invented several patent specialties, among them "Dennett's Jump Seat." His was among the unfortunate factories destroyed by fire in 1888. Mr. D. did not rebuild, but entered into business with Seth Clark, Jr., with whom he continued until the firm dissolved by mutual consent. Mr. D. then leased a business plant and took his sons into partnership.
J. T. Clarkson & Co. started in the carriage business for themselves in 1891, although both had been connected with it for ten years prior to this date. They put upon the market several new and improved designs in one and two seated (interchangeable seats) carriages, which were novel in construction and taking in style, and with the improvements yearly made continue to be quite popular. They have also made essential changes in two wheels. Several of their patented novelties are built in other localities. In 1899
S. R. Bailey, of S. R. Bailey & Co., was well known to the carriage trade as early as 1866, being connected with firms in Bath, Maine, and in Boston in 1878. In 1882 he came to Amesbury and established his business, and in 1887 admitted his son, E. W. M. Bailey, to partnership. For several years they made a specialty of carriage poles and high grade sleighs. A few years ago they added carriages of special make and design, and were the first to introduce the bicycle wheels. Their factory contains 30,000 feet of floor room, and is filled with machinery largely invented by Mr. Bailey for the prosecution of his varied work.
The business of S. Rowell & Son was established on Pond St., in 1873. In 1890 the senior member died and the junior partner became sole proprietor. In 1880 a large storehouse and factory was built near the depot of the B. & M. R. R. Three years ago Edward Rowell, was admitted to the firm. The establishment is one of the largest in the town.
Charles Rowell & Son have manufactured carriages on Friend
st., Amesbury, for many years. Charles Rowell, the senior member, retired from the
business twelve years ago, and built for himself a fine mansion on the banks of the
Merrimac River at Pleasant Valley, and is the owner of a large farm adjoining. His son
Jacob continues the business under the firm name and has been very successful.
C. W. Long entered the business in 1872, and erected a plant on Clark St., where he continued for thirteen years. The remainder of the time he has conducted his trade near the railroad station.
Carriage Factory Destroyed at Amesbury.
The Charles W. Long carriage factory at Amesbury, Mass , was totally destroyed by fire last Wednesday, resulting in a property loss of $10,000. The building was of frame construction and was rated at $8.38. Following is a list of the insurance involved: Aetna, Royal, Norwich Union, Fire Association, 11,000 each; total, (4,000.which Union, Fire Association, 11,000 each; total, (4,000.)
1908 Concord Buggy, Amesbury Carriage Co.
Among the older and successful carriage firms is that of Osgood Morrill. In 1870 he commenced the trimming of carriages as a distinct branch of employment on Elm st. In 1878 entered into partnership with Dudley E. Gale and did business in Front st. This firm was dissolved in 1893, and the business continued by Osgood Morrill, who erected extensive wooden buildings on Morrill st. In 1891 H. P. Wills, an inventor of several carriage specialities, became associated with him.
Neal & Bolser entered the trade in 1890, and have pushed their business quite successfully in the manufacture of fine pleasure carts of new and novel designs.
Of the thirty firms doing business in the town twenty five years ago, fourteen have either gone out of business entirely or sold out their plants to others, as follows: Seth Clark, Jr., William S. Eaton, F. C. Boardman, J. F. Easton, Dudley E. Gale, G. W. Marden, John Francis, F. D. Parry & Son, B. F. Lewis, Locke & Jewell, Amesbury Carriage Co., R. Drummond & Son., D. J. Folger, A. M. Huntington, Huntington & Ellis, Edwin Morrill.
The firm of Miller Bros. is composed of John Miller, Jr., Thomas C. Miller, Robert Miller, William Miller. They commenced the business of making carriages in the wood and iron, in 1889, on Market st. In 1895 removed to more extensive and convenient quarters on Carriage Hill, furnished them by Poyen & Co., where they gave employment to fifty mechanics. The business depression reduced the force to twenty hands, and during the last few months but little work has been turned out. They are making ready to forward their work and expect, with the turning tide of fortune, to ring out the anvil chorus with renewed vigor.
The death of William G. Ellis, of the firm of Ellis & Son, was a great loss to the trade. For eight years prior to 1875 he was a member of the firm of Huntington & Ellis, when it dissolved. In 1875 be commenced business on his own account, and erected an extensive plant near his residence on Friend st. In 1888, his two sons, David and William, were made members of the firm. William died in 1890, and James took his place and the business was mainly under their management. Mr. Ellis, senior, in January 1889, introduced into the town a new branch of industry the manufacture of electric cars. For several years he was quite successful, employing eighty first class mechanics. In 1895 the plant was destroyed by fire and such loss ensued that the car business was abandoned.
An engraving of the original factory at the Carriage Hill district
The carriage making business was moved to a newly built factory at 99 Friend St. near his home until 1913
The images shown are just a small sample of the fine workmanship of this company. To see a a terrific slide show of rare images of Ellis carriages, street cars, and related memoriabilia, please click on View. Over a hundred are shown.
Joseph E. Klein Carriage Co.
On Display at the Bartlett Museum
Bird and Schofield Park Surrey
In 1903. The employees of the Amebury carriage builders went on strike that lasted for three months and dealt a devasting blow to the carriage trade business an cause several companies to close down.
Copied from Annual Report of State Board of
Conciliation and Arbritation
In the autumn of 1902 the members of the Carriage and Wagon Workers' Local Union 27 demanded of the carriage manufacturers a reduction of hours from 10 to 9 on 5 days of the week and to 8 hours on Saturday; an increase of 10 per cent. in pay, for piece work; all overtime, holiday and Sunday work to be paid 50 per cent. extra over regular rates; and that these changes go into effect on January 1.
December 1 having been set as the limit of the time in which the manufacturers were to make reply, considerable apprehension was felt towards the middle of the month, and rumors reached the Board of impending difficulties in that industry. Inquiries were made of both parties, and the mediation of the Board was offered with the view to composing any difficulty that might exist or to prevent hostility. The workmen replied, through the secretary of their union, that a demand had been made on the manufacturers for a 9-hour day without reduction of wages; but that up to December 22 the employers had not recognized the union in any way, and had resisted every effort on the workmen's part to make a settlement. The letter further announced that on December 12 a special meeting of the workmen had been held, at which it was decided to go out on a strike on the first of the new year.
The following letter, from the Manufacturers' Association, states the attitude of the employers :
Amesbury, Mass., Dec. 17, 1902.
State Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, Mr. Bernard F. Supple, Secretary, Boston, Mass.
Dear Sir : We are in receipt of your letter of December 16. The present status of the difficulty in our industry locally is this: the Union of Carriage Workers, associated with the Federation of Labor, comprising something more than one-half of the carriage workers in Amesbury, made a request some time since for a reduction of working hours and for an increase in wages. We answered them to the effect that we could discuss and settle this matter only with our own employees. In reply to this, we were informed that the matter could be settled with no other body. Since then we have heard nothing more from this union, but hear of meetings and of influence brought to bear upon other workmen to join them.
We have taken steps to have our employees understand our position in the matter, and the business situation; this by conversation with individuals, both belonging to the union, and free men. The union men with whom we have talked we found to have had an utter misconception of the situation of the carriage business in Amesbury, and that of this firm particularly; in fact, they have been misinformed in almost every detail affecting the case. With one exception they have expressed regret at having joined such a movement, and have wished that it might be stopped. They naturally, however, do not wish to incur the displeasure of their associates.
We can say, without fear of being disputed, that there has been no dissatisfaction with the hours of labor, wages paid, character of the work, or other treatment by the firm at our factory, except in a few individual instances. We have never at any time neglected to correct any matters of this kind, or to listen to any complaints which may have arisen. In fact, at the present time we seem to be the object of some special enmity by the union, because they have found it so difficult to enlist our employees.
Referring to the request of the union for a 9-hour day and 10 hours' pay, we would say that there seem to us to be good and sufficient reasons why this cannot be granted by Amesbury manufacturers at present. Relating to the shorter hours, we would say that carriage manufacturing is what might be called a seasonable business; that is, during certain parts of the year we require extra help, and would usually be glad of twice as much product as we can produce. In the summer and fall, however, business is very quiet, and we can with difficulty keep 60 per cent. of our hands employed five days a week. This does not arise from lack of willingness to invest the capital necessary to keep the men at work, but from the fact that we cannot finish carriages during the summer to ship the next spring, as they would deteriorate, and be unsalable. Neither is it wise, in our" own particular business, to
make carriage bodies during the moist months of July and August; and in our upholstering or trimming department we are unable to decide upon our spring styles of materials until fall.
All these things, as we said above, render it necessary for us to have as long hours and as large a product as possible during the spring months, generally from February until the middle of June. The shortening of the hours of labor to 9 hours would not induce the employment of any more men, in fact, there is a shortage of men at present for our spring work.
As a matter of fact, the paint shop can only be operated during the daylight hours, as it does not pay to light it. For this reason, painters in Amesbury are at present working only 8 hours, or 8J. They are paid on several different bases, by the hour, by the week, by the piece, and a yearly salary, so that it may be really said the average hours of work are taken into account.
In relation to the increase of wages, we would state that the carriage industry in Amesbury is essentially a wholesale line, that is, we sell to carriage dealers, to be sold again at retail. We compete principally with the wholesale manufacturers of the central States, that is, we ship our product to the same territory they do. We are handicapped by our geographical location, and none of these wholesale factories in the country works on any other than a 10-hour basis. So far as we can ascertain, the average rate of wages in Amesbury is much higher than in the other said wholesale factories of the country. We are aware that in several large cities the custom carriage builders and job shops are run at the union dictation and 9 hours a day to some considerable extent; but this does not affect us, as we compete with the wholesale manufacturers.
A further reason why we cannot advance the pay is the very close margin upon which carriage manufacturing is done. The best advice on this subject leads us to believe that it is at the present time conducted upon a closer margin of profit than other industries of the same size. This applies particularly to the Amesbury industry. Certainly no large fortunes have been accumulated in Amesbury in the carriage business, as a perusal of the commercial reports will show you. In addition to the above, we may say that almost without exception the carriage manufacturers of Amesbury have come from the forge or the bench, having been workmen themselves, and are at the present time very close to their workmen, the partners of each firm conducting their own manufacturing without the intervention of agents or superintendents, except to a very limited extent. We believe, therefore, that the relinquishing of the management of our business to unions would be not only unnecessary, but that it would prove ruinous, as would the reduction of product and increase of wages.
We neglected to mention that one clause of their request was to the effect that they have time and a half pay for over-time work. This we consider is really absurd in connection with wholesale carriage manufacturing. It has no place or connection with our business, and shows on its face the hand of some one who is not familiar with the carriage manufacturing business.
Permit us to say we appreciate your kind interest, as expressed in your letter of the 16th; and, if approached by the agitators or promoters of this movement, you will be doing us and them a favor by advising them to withdraw. We are in a position where we cannot. We believe it is the honest opinion, if given, of 90 per cent. of the carriage workers of Amesbury, that they wish the movement had never been started; in fact, we believe this so strongly that we have full confidence that, even if the union here should order its members to strike, such a strike would not be effective, and we really doubt if they could be brought to vote for a strike.
We remain, yours very respectfully,
S. R. Bailey & Co. Under the circumstances there was very little to encourage mediation. Each party had taken a firm stand, and neither seemed inclined to accept any overtures, lest it might be deemed a sign of weakness
On January 1 the strike occurred; 700 members or thereabouts quit work, enforcing the idleness of 100 other carriage workers not members of the union, and affecting indirectly carriage painters, trimmers and others, and even teamsters of that town.
On January 3 the following statement was issued by the Carriage Manufacturers' Association :
In view of the misleading and inaccurate rumors that have been circulated in regard to the attitude taken by the carriage manufacturers on the present labor troubles, and for the purpose of clearing the situation, we, the undersigned manufacturers, make the following statement:
Our decision that we cannot submit to the demands of the strikers is firmer than it has been at any time. We realize the unpleasant position in which those who are working at the present time are placed, and fully appreciate their loyalty. Under no circumstances will there be any issue from the present difficulty which will result in any disadvantage to them or others who may enter our employ in the mean time. Our stand is and shall be unalterable. We shall never submit to dictation in the management of our business, and will stand loyally by all those of our workmen who choose to remain at work.
Shields Carriage Company, F. S. Merrill, H. P. Wells, Folger & Drummond, T. W. Lane, Osgood Morrill, S. R. Bailey & Co., James N. Leitch,
Hume Carriage Company, Hassett & Hodge, N. H. Folger, Miller Bros., Burbank Carriage
Company, The Currier-cameron Company, Bird &
Schofield, Walker Carriage
Company, Neal & Bolser, Biddle &
Smart Company, C.
N. Dennett & Co.,
John H. Clark & Co., Lambert Hollander, George W. Osgood, Briggs Carriage Company, C.
F. Worthen, Connor Carriage
Company, J. T. Clarkson & Co.,
On January 5, the Board went to Amesbury and put itself into communication with the body of strikers, numbering from 700 to 800, and the association of 27 manufacturers. On the following day separate interviews were had, and efforts made to bring about a conference of
parties in the presence of the Board. By this time the men's demands, briefly stated by them, were: recognition of the union; 9-hour day, with 10 hours' pay ; and in case of piece work 10 per cent. increase in wages. The strikers by this time were willing to confer; but the employers would not meet the committee under any auspices, lest they might thereby seem to be giving to the union an importance which they did not wish it to have.
The Board returned on the 9th, but was not able to bring the parties together in conference. On this day a notice was received from the selectmen, announcing the difficulty, and expressing a desire that the Board might take such action as would be thought best to effect an early settlement. At this time it was observed that, while there was not the least indication that the strike would develop any violence, the struggle promised to be a protracted one, since both parties to the controversy were determined not to yield. The number of employees idle appears in an official statement of the Carriage Workers' Union to be 753, including men, women and boys engaged in the various operations of carriage manufacture.
On January 9, the union issued the following statement :
The striking employees of the manufacturers of Amesbury feel that their position in this fight up to the present time in their community has been on right lines of honor and integrity. So long as the situation remains in this condition, we have nothing to fear and everything to gain, which in the end will most certainly redound to the credit of the men and their officials; and we are fully confident thai full and complete confidence is established more firmly than ever.
We are free to say that, if Judases have appeared among us, their influence has not been injurious to the community in which they remain. The history of the human race has proven that they are never handed down as heroes, and as to the other class of heroes portrayed before the public, that is a matter we are not going to discuss at this time, only to say that we have nothing to fear from that class.
We now say to you that, so long as we continue to show to the public that we are honest and earnest in our endeavor to better our conditions, and to also put up an honorable course of action, we will have your full and complete confidence; and, thanking the public for the confidence it has manifested toward us, we hope to still grow in your confidence, and to win the fight on correct lines of action.
Towards the middle of the month strangers arrived in town and received employment in the various factories. Strikers marched in a body to the factory where they had been employed, and removed their tools peacefully. Manufacturers reported that in some cases contracts had been cancelled, and in other cases the time of performance had been extended. The following statement was issued by the union on January 12:
We wish to say a few words to the public in relation to the excitement which occurred at the Boston & Maine station yesterday morning. The union was aware of the coming of the '' strike breakers," and, wishing to derive as much pleasure as possible from the present condition we had planned a peaceable, goodnatured reception for them. It was our intention to escort them in an orderly way to whatever place they wished to go. Unhappily, our very presence caused such a feeling of consternation on the part of the visitors and the manufacturers who were present that our plan was upset.
If the newcomers were acquainted with the English language, they would have had no cause for alarm; and if the manufacturers who were present had not been haunted by the mental hobgoblin which in their minds personifies the Carriage Makers' Union, if they but stopped to reflect on the character of their striking employees, they would have seen the humorous side of the situation. But then a guilty conscience needs no accuser.
In regard to violence and the need of extra police, we defy them to point to a single act on the part of union men since the strike began. There were two slight acts of violence at the depot, and both were committed by manufacturers, and were not resented.
We are at a loss to understand the estimate placed upon us by our former employers. Do they consider us such poor mechanics that our places can be filled by the class of help they have been bringing here? Or do they think us so lacking in intelligence that we can be stampeded from our principles by the presence of a few gangs of Armenians? Or do they still think they can get skilled help from other places?
It seems to us that their efforts in each of these directions have been signal failures, and we are patient and determined in awaiting the time when they will see the wisdom of dealing with us as reasonable men.
A meeting of non-union men who had not taken part in the strike was set on foot by the striking members of the union, which proved to be an informal meeting of citizens, at which many interests were represented, the object of it being to bring about a meeting between the strikers and the manufacturers. A committee of one from each shop was appointed to wait upon his employer, and endeavor to bring about the desired meeting between the manufacturers and the strikers. The Carriage Manufacturers' Club, on learning of the new movement, held a meeting, to which they invited the 28 representatives of the non-union workers. There was a large attendance, and the whole difficulty was discussed. At the close of the meeting the following vote was passed:
That the executive committee of the Carriage Manufacturers' Club fully appreciate the efforts of the committee of non-union workers in attempting to suggest some method of settling the present labor trouble. They are of the opinion, however, that the only way it can be settled is for the striking workmen to apply for their former positions, which they have been at liberty to do since the strike commenced.
No further effort in this direction, however, was made. On January 17 the manufacturers had, according to an estimate made by the strikers, 160 hands at work in the shop, and on that evening the following appeal was issued to the non-union men :
AVe, the members of Local 27, Carriage and Wagon Workers' Union, would request you to give the state of affairs which now exist in Amesbury your careful consideration.
Do you think you are fulfilling your duty as a fellow worker and shop mate by remaining at work while we are working to better your condition and our own? Don't you think that by remaining at work you are assisting manufacturers who have refused to listen to all reason, that would bring about a state of affairs that would be un-American for your children to exist under, by the importation of such labor as has been brought here of late?
Don't you recognize that you are being used by the manufacturers to defeat your fellow workmen now out on strike for better conditions and shorter hours, which you would reap the benefits of if successful? And, if not successful, you would be the means of establishing the same state of affairs that now exists on River Street in the city of Haverhill, which no American citizen can compete with?
Don't you recognize that when the manufacturers have used you to defeat the objects of your fellow workmen they will then in turn use these importations to drive you to the same level?
You must realize the fact, notwithstanding all that has been said, that we are still masters of the situation, and intend to maintain it, and by the stand you have taken, you prolong the struggle.
We request of you to reflect upon the situation, and ask yourself what are your duties in this present struggle, whether on the side of the manufacturers, or the success of your fellow workmen.
Toward the end of the month bills of equity were filed by twelve manufacturers against members of the union for injunctions to restrain them from visiting the factories, stopping the employees or inducing them to leave, from picketing and other acts tending to obstruct business.
On January 23 there was a breach of peace between carriage workers and non-union men. This was the first indication of violence. The pickets were at once withdrawn, but there was no immediate rush of workmen to the factories. In the first week of February a canvass was made by the Amesbury manufacturers, and 420 were reported working for the members of the Amesbury Carriage Club, exclusive of office help. The union, however, claimed, from actual count of the persons approaching the different factories from all points, that no more than 228 could be reckoned as employed in the carriage factories.
At the end of two months there was no change in the attitude of the parties, but no agreement was reached. The men now insisted, in addition to the other demands, that all men out on the strike should be reinstated without discrimination because of any activity in the business of the union; that all new hands hired to take the strikers' places should be discharged; and that disputes or differences should be settled by negotiation through a joint committee. The manufacturers refused to entertain the new propositions. By this time the season had advanced so far that they had no desire to produce more than they could with the present working force. Any work begun now could not be finished in time for this spring's trade, and would have to be kept in stock too long to be profitable. They expressed their superiority.
In the contest, notwithstanding the fact that the strike had destroyed the year's business, and their determination not to discharge any man employed at a time when they greatly needed help.
On March 16 the Board went again to Amesbury, and directed its efforts to interviews with certain prominent manufacturers who were said to be favorable to a settlement. On the following day interviews were had with the workmen also. After some mediation the parties came together in the presence of the Board, and discussed the question how best to settle the present difficulty; but no agreement was reached, and the conference was adjourned without naming a day. Immediately after this the strike began to dissolve. On the 23d the difficulty came to an end, though not in the usual way, for the Carriage and Wagon Makers' Union, Local 27, voted to continue the strike indefinitely, but to sanction the return to work of any who had a wish to do so.
The following statement was issued by the union on April 1 :
We wish at this time to make a detailed explanation of our position in regard to the strike situation as it has existed in the town since the first of January. The workmen, after careful consideration and study for years, came to the conclusion that the time was ripe to ask for a 9-hour day; and consequently presented a request to that end, which the manufacturers refused to grant, and their reasons they withheld from the workmen generally. They did approach certain employees and discussed the subject; but, had they acted in a like manner with all of their employees concerned, the existing difficulty would have been avoided. Their intentions may have been in good faith, but the men with whom they conversed could not act for the others in or out of an organization, as all of the men felt as deeply interested that all should receive the same recognition, either individually or collectively.
At the present state of affairs it does not seem advisable to discuss the merits of the question at any great length; that could have and should have been done before the men quit work. But it does not seem wise to pass this portion of the question by without some brief remarks. It has been said by many of the manufacturers that the men acted hastily and under the guidance of imported agitators, who caused them to become of such a state of mind as to act without reason. But it does seem beyond reason to imagine any man, of whatever magnitude and hypnotic influence, to restrain for three months over 600 men from doing what they would choose to do by their own dictations. We wish to state now that the men are now and always have been supreme, and what has or may be done must be charged to them alone. In regard to the effect it will have on business, from a financial standpoint, we believe that the loss would not be so great as pictured, and that the prevailing conditions warranted the request, as we believe that the men could do nearly as much work in 9 hours as they were doing in 10; and that this would be accomplished by a concentrated effort on the part of the men, and the adoption of the system whereby each man would bear his proportionate share of the work, which we contend has not been the case in the past. All the minor matters which have arisen since the 1st of January could readily be adjusted to the satisfaction of all concerned. We fully realize the position the manufacturers are in and the obligations they are under in every way, and if they had made any exertion in the direction of a settlement, they would have received the same honest treatment which we expected for ourselves.
It has been said that a number of the manufacturers met a delegation from the union with the intention of settling the affair, but the men were so radical and unreasonable that they had to abandon the undertaking. The fact of the matter was, that the men of both sides who met had that object in view, but that the meetings were informal, and that they could not act in an official capacity, but they were there to see how each other was disposed in the matter. The meetings were harmonious in every respect. The first one was consumed mostly in renewing of the friendly feeling that also existed between them; in the second one the situation was discussed in a general way, without any advantage to either side; and by the time the conversation reached the point at issue (the reparation of the difference existing between both parties), it had got past 12 o'clock, and that brought it into Sunday morning, so everybody thought it best to adjourn. Subsequent events prevented them from meeting again, as the manufacturers took it for granted,- from what had transpired, that the men would return to work without any concession on their part.
Manufacturers openly acknowledged in those meetings that their business was suffering because of the men refusing to work, and that certain portions of the men were not getting what they deserved, and that the 9-hour day was not a dream, but the asking was a little premature. There has also been considerable talk in regard to the proposition which was presented to the manufacturers recently at their request. In that proposition we asked for things as we would like to have them, although we did not feel for a minute that we would get them. What you would like to have and what you get, what you would want and what you would take, are generally two different things.
We presented in that proposition what we would like to have, thinking they would be as courteous, and present us with one such as they would like to have. We would then know the desires of each other and the extent of the differences between us, which would serve as a.basis that might bring about a mutual agreement.
All this talk about recognition of the union and the dictation of the men in regard to the conducting of business, and the infringing on the personal liberties of those who may be of a different mind, is all imagination, as the men are just the same men as they were before the first of January. If there was no fear of these then, why should there be now? The fact of men joining an organization does not bring about any transformation, and if they were good men once, they are good men now.
Notwithstanding the action the men took yesterday, the differences still exist, and will continue to exist until the men receive the proper consideration due them.
The fact that circumstances force them to work does not change their minds in regard to the justification of their request, and we contend that it would be wisest to settle this affair even now than to let it run into the future, as there will have to be something done to remove the feeling of discontent before the men can put forth their best efforts. As no man can work with satisfaction against a rebellious nature, and as we have considered all of these things from the beginning, there is reason for our seeming overwillingness for a mutual adjustment.
We make these statements at this time for the benefit of the public generally, to have them fully understand our position from the commencement, as it has been our intention at the proper time to make a report to the community of which we are a part.
We felt it our duty for its welfare not to refrain from working any longer, as the effect of this affair has been and will be felt by others than members of our organization, and we want the responsibility to rest where it rightfully belongs.
There may be some doubting ones in regard to these statements; if so, we would refer them to the State Board of Arbitration for verification.
We feel that they will learn that our disposition from the beginning was the same as it is now, for an equitable adjustment of the existing differences. Executive Committee, Carriage And Wagon Makers' Union.
The strike still remains officially, while most of the strikers are at work at their customary occupations. It was explained that this permitted some who might not be able to secure work to obtain strike benefits from the national body of the carriage workers. It is said, also, that out of the 800 who engaged in the difficulty only 400 remained in town. The strike lasted thirteen weeks. Neither party had swerved from its first attitude.
The following information was copied from the 1904 Cariage Monthly
John B. Richards, foreman of construction and draftsman for Hassett & Hodge. Amesbury, Mass., was born in New Haven, Conn., in March, 1861, and learned his trade in that city. He was employed on heavy work from 1879 to 1886, when he became foreman and draftsman for the Moore & Watson Carriage Wood Works, which position he held until the plant consolidated with Seabrook & Smith as the Seabrook & Smith Carriage Co. Mr. Richards became a partner in this company and held the position of superintendent and draftsman until 1900, when he accepted the position of superintendent of the Automobile Co. of America. Jersey City, N. J. Later on he engaged with the Fisher Motor Vehicle Co., Hoboken, N. J., and lastly with Hassett & Hodge. Amesbury, Mass., with whom he is now engaged.
Frank E. Pease, of S. C. Pease & Sons, Merrimac, Mass., was born March 29, 1863, in West Amesbury, now Merrimac, Mass. He served as an apprentice w'ith F. H. Cram as body maker, and completed his apprenticeship in his father's factory. He then attended the Technical School in New York, and received the highest award given to any scholar after attending the school one year. Mr. Pease was also awarded several prizes for carriage drawings by the C. B. N. A. On his return to Merrimac he entered the service of S. C. Pease & Son as draftsman and foreman of the body shop, and was admitted to the firm in 1883. He is also a prominent member of the C. B. N. A. He attained a high position among carriage draftsmen, and his work is widely known and highly appreciated.
Other Prominent Men in the Trade
A Few Words from an Amesbury Pioneer
James Hume, Amesbury, Mass., the veteran carriage builder, whose name is known
throughout the United States, favors us with some views regarding carriage building of
to-day and its outlook. While regarding the influence of electric cars, bicycles and
automobiles as retarding the development of the carriage-building business proper in some
respects, Mr. Hume says that he and all other Amesbury builders are finding a demand for
finer work to take the place of
He thinks that there is as much in carriage building to-day as there ever has been for labor, and he sees no reason why this healthy and prosperous condition should not continue. The Western trade, which supplies its own territory, and which is a different line of trade from that pursued in Amesbury, does not seriously interfere with the class of work for which Amesbury has become so noted. In fact, Mr. Hume says that for the past four or five years the Amesbury builders have been very busy, more so than during six or seven years previous. The improvement is due in a measure to the fact that a number of manufacturers have gone into the making of automobile bodies, and find increased employment in painting and trimming. It has kept all the Amesbury builders busy, and has been driving them. The profits of their builders have been greater during the past five years than he has ever known in his entire life. The carriage business will not suffer, he writes, and, as far as present prospects indicate, the industry will thrive increasingly.
The accompanying review sets forth, in brief space, the rise of carriage building in Amesbury and the growth of that city as a carriage center; it recalls the names of many who established and developed the industry, and it will be found as a matter of future reference interesting and valuable. Amesbury work, from its very first appearance was recognized as of a very high order of excellence, and its original features attracted the attention of the trade and of the carriage-buying public. Quality rather than quantity was the keynote of the Amesbury builders, and they have never since departed from the high standard established. They have not only been builders of carriage work, but in an indirect way have been instructors, and their work has stimulated imitative and competitive effort in many localities
Modern carriage building on the factory principle dates from this start. Mr. Huntington is the man who collated the formula of these early beginnings, the results of which have made Amesbury known the world over. He shaped his thoughts in wood, iron, leather, and the various articles that entered into the vehicles that he built. Me knew that the carriages then in use were in price above the purchasing power of the masses. He built his work with the view of making it the equal of any in finish, and so it could be sold at about one-half the going prices of the time, and at the same time leave him a good margin of profit. He had struck the keynote, and his success was phenomenal. He thought be saw a larger and more profitable field in the West and in 1859 he removed to Cincinnati, and taking some of the best of Amesbury's mechanics along with him. laid the foundat ion. full of the promise and potency of the great carriage business now enjoyed by that city. When Mr. Huntington returned, the workmen who went West 'with him also returned, several of whom started business on their own account, and all of them prospered.
The history of the carriage industry in Amesbury is in a certain sense the
history of carriage building elsewhere in the United States. It was here that the genius
and art of carriage building along popular lines had its birth. It was here that the high
standards in carriage construction, which united cheapness and beauty, were worked out
during the early years in the last half of the nineteenth century. As long back as
sixty-eight years ago Charles B. Patton and John Coffin were building carriages in
Amesbury. This was in 1836. but the founder of the carriage-building industry as it is
to-day was Jacob R. Huntington, who in 1853 began the manufacture of carriages in a
systematic way. Neither he nor anyone in Amesbury at that time anticipated the wonderful
development which has since taken place. Yet when we look at the surroundings it is not
surprising that the building of carriages was undertaken then and there.
AMESBURY OF LONG AGO
Amesbury is one of the oldest towns in New England. It was originally a part of
Salisbury, and was first called Salisbury. "New-Town," and was situated on the
edge of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It w:as here that little
About 1836 there were thrte chaise trimmers and harness makers at work, and some shoemakers. These various little industries laid the foundation for those accessories which underlie the industry of carriage building. In short, they made carriage building possible in Amesbury by educating in various handicrafts a considerable number of mechanics along lines somewhat similar to that of carriage building.
Jacob R. Huntington was the pioneer in the organization of industry. He began work in Merrimac as a carriage painter in 1853. but lived in Amesbury, walking to and fro with his dinner pail a distance of five miles each way. After accumulating a little money he rented a room in Joseph Clark's old tan house and after eight weeks had made a carriage, which he sold for $32. This was his start. During his first year he made thirteen vehicles: next year he made still more; with each succeeding year he increased his output, employing help in the way of trimmers, blacksmiths and painters, who were already pretty well drilled in the elementary part of carriage work. This was the school from which went forth some after famous carriage builders.
HUNTINGTON IN CINCINNATI.
In 1858 Mr. Huntington cut loose from Amesbury and went to Cincinnati, where he became the pioneer in the wholesale carriage building industry in that city, as is elsewhere set forth. During his short absence from Amesbury he laid a foundation of carriage building in that Western city, on which was erected an immense business. On account of the poor health of his eldest daughter he felt obliged to return to Amesbury.
BACK IN AMESBURY
Returning to Amesbury he at once opened a carriage factory in the machine
shop of Enoch Osgood, and began accumulating the appliances for a large shop. Before he
was thoroughly well equipped, his plant, which was even then valued at $18,000, was
destroyed by fire: insurance only $2,800. On the day after the fire he fixed up a
work-room near by and continued operations, at the same time arranging for a permanent
building on Carriage Hill. Here he
AMESBURY "GHOST TRAINS."
Reproduction from an old newspaper giving an account of the origin and growth of the carriage industry in Amesbury, showing "ghost trains" as they were termed, which were made up of cars of carriages encased in cotton cloth for protection against the weather, thus giving them the weird appearance which led them to be termed "ghost trains." This w-as for many years the mode of distributing the finished carriages to the trade throughout the country, introduction of carriages to meet the demands of the old and new-settled communities within comfortable railroad reach of that center.
The first competitor that J. R. Huntington had was one Warren V. Tuxbury, an active Amesbury boy. who continued in the business but a short time, not giving it that attention which brings success. E. S. Feltch began in 1856. In these earlier days of the industry the work was all in the lighter lines. The most popular styles were in the jump seat kind, similar to the Brownell wagon, of which many were made. Mr. Feltch built these and other leading styles, gradually getting into heavier work. At one time he had quite a large trade with the West Indies. In the later years of his life he did not desire the cares of business, yet he did some export work close up to the time of his death, which occurred last year.
Wm. F. Sargent was one of the early builders of Amesbury. He began about 1860, and continued for some ten or fifteen years, building the standard styles for that time. He is 85 years of age. R. F. Briggs. of R. F. Briggs & Co.. was born in Holderness, N. H., in 1837, came to Amesbury when a small boy, was educated in public schools, learned the machinist trade in Worcester, Mass., won a Lieutenancy in the Civil War and embarked in the carriage business in 1866. He was of an inventive turn, and made several improvements of value and was successful. At the time of his death in 1894, he was manufacturing carriages, wheels, gears and trolley cars. His business was continued by a corporation known as the Briggs Carriage Co. His nephew, R. E. Briggs, is the efficient president and manager of the same. They have removed their car and wheel machinery to High Point. N. C, where they are having a prosperous business. The home factory is doing a large automobile body business.
Cheswell & Boardman were established in 1867. Mr. Cheswell died in 1874, and A. P. Boardman took the business. After doing a very profitable business he d.ed in 1892. His brother, F. C. Boardman, succeeded, and continued for several years. He is now out of it. Locke & Jewell came to Amesbury from New Hampshire in 1867,built a wheel factory, and later took on the building of complete carriages. J. R. Locke died in 1892; soon after their factory burned. Seth Clark, Jr., commenced about 1870. making the same general styles as others in the business and continued for about twenty years. He is now retired.
George W. Osgood started in 1870, and has been continuously in the harness until the present time. He has earned the reputation of making a high quality of work, and is well known to the trade. A. M. Huntington, of Huntington & Ellis, brother of J. R. Huntington, born in Amesbury, commenced in 1867, in company of W. G. Ellis, who was born in Scotland, and came to Amesbury after several years' residence in Australia among the gold fields. They had a very prosperous business, which after a few years they divided. The old stand was retained for several years by Mr. Huntington, who later retired. W. G. Ellis associated with his son William and erected a large factory on Friend street, where for twenty years they conducted a prosperous trade. They catered largely for the Southern business: they built the first car factory there. After the death of both the business was discontinued.
C. N. Dennett and Geo. A. Clark, under the style of Dennett & Clark, engaged in carriage building about 1867. doing business for five or six years, afterward becoming C. N. Dennett & Co. They are now doing business at the Ellis factory on Friend street, building fine work in light and heavy styles. Foster Gale started in about 1869, and built a line of vehicles for quite a number of years. He died last year. E. S. Lane began in 1869 manufacturing Concord and Democrat wagons, as well as some top work. E. S. Lane died last year. He was succeeded by his brother, J. Nelson Lane, who is still in business.
John Hume, brother to James Hume, came to Amesbury from Scotland about 1850. He first engaged in tailoring, saw more prospects in the carriage business, and continued in it for many years. He is now retired. Charles and Samuel Rowell took up carriage making in 1873 and dissolved in 1876. Charles Rowell & Son took a new shop, continuing at the old place until the death of Samuel. Sr. Samuel, Jr., built a newr shop and continued there until some five years ago. W. E. Biddle & Co. built a factory for manufacturing gears and general wood work in 1860. The shop was burned in 1876, and was replaced by a brick structure. The firm of Biddle & Smart (W. W. Smart, who had previous to this been in the business on Carriage Hill) began building finished vehicles. Later this business, which had grown quite large, was put into an incorporated company, consisting of Mr. Biddle, Mr. Smart and M. D. F. Steere. After the death of Mr. Smart the building of finished carriages was discontinued. The firm now confines its products to carriage and automobile bodies, body slock and gears. Mr. Biddle is also president of the Amesbury National Bank.
Buchanan & Burlingame began building in 1871; after a few years, Mr. Buchanan
withdrew. Mr. Burlingame continued until about the lime of his death. Both are now dead.
Edwin Morrill began business about 1870, and did a flourishing trade for many years. He is
now retired. Win. Hume and Chas. W. Morrill formed a co-partnership in 1861, and were
engaged in carriage building until 1870. They built up a good business. Wm. Hume is now in
the Hume Carriage Co., and Mr. Morrill is dead. Patten & Blaisdell were builders in
the 70's. Mr. Blaisdell is dead and R. O. Patten is now in the firm of 1. B. Little Co.,
Merrimac. Mass. Batchelder & Cowan was one of the early firms. They were in business a
number of years. T. W. Lane, who was in the employ of J. R. Huntington, as were many
others who afterwards were manufacturers, commenced for himself in 1874. One of his
specialties is the Lane cross spring,
Chas. E. Stone began manufacturing in 1875. He was afterwards with E. S. Feltch, and
later with the S. A. F. E. Co. D. J. Marston. formerly wheel manufacturer, collaborating
with Mr. Stone, invented several useful improvements in carriages, which they disposed of
lo the above-named company, with whom they were associated in managing a branch of the
company's factory in this place. Mr. Marston is now with the Wheel Co.. which the Briggs
Carriage Co. are interested in at High Point. N. C. Mr. Stone is now with the Buffalo, N.
Y., Spring & Gear Co. A. N. Parry commenced for himself in 1875, bu.lding a factory on
Carriage Hill. This was burned in the fire of 1888. He then erected
F. A. Babcock came to Amesbury about 1875, and was in the employ of Chas. Wing until
about 1880, when he engaged in the finding business on his own account. In 1882 he went
into manufacturing carriages. He was burned out in 1888, and afterwards built the largest
plant in town, now owned and occupied by S. R. Bailey & Co. Charles W. Long began
business in the 70's. but since retired Geo. W. Marden bought out the business of A. M.
S. R. Bailey commenced to elevate the carriage business into a fine art as early as
1856 at Pitlson, Me. He removed to Boston in 1873. having already acquired fame by reason
of bis production of the finest and most scientifically constructed sleighs in the world.
The Bailey sleigh became the synonym of all that was desirable in sleigh structure. In
1882 he moved to Amesbury, and for a few years confined his efforts to sleighs. He then
conceived of the idea
In 1889 the now well established firm of Hassett & Hodge was formed. It consists of
James H. Hassett, Geo. E. Hodge and John Hassett, all of them Amesbury boys, and graduates
from different local factories. They are all workers; with their knowledge of the
requirements of the trade they have become leaders. In 1898 they leased the large factory
of the Biddle & Smart Co., and are now doing a large and successful business. James
Hassett is manager of the sales department. John Hassett is the purchasing member of the
firm, while Mr. Hodge looks after the trimming and finishing department. In 1888 the firm
of Hagan & Connor started, and the following year Hagan retired, the firm becoming the
Connor Carriage Co. Recently they purchased the local branch of the S. A. F. E. Co. They
are doing a good business. Robert Drummond, Robert Jr.. and James W. Taylor, under the
In 1887 Lambert Hollander began building broughams and rockaways as the principal
output. His business has been prosperous. J. T. Clarkson & Co. commenced the
manufacture of novelties in carriages in 1888. They were among the first to bring out the
interchangeable seat traps which were so popular in the 90's. They have taken out many
patents for improvements in carriages, and are still making specialties in pony work and
carts. The Amesbury Carriage Co., a corporation organized with(mostly) local capital,
bought out the Babcock stock and engaged in manufacturing in 1889, under the management of
C. F. Worthen. They finally wound up in 1895. Mr. Worthen is in business now.
Rand & Bryant commenced business in about 1899 at the old Burlingame factory, building a variety of work. The firm dissolved in about 1894. Geo. W. Bryant continued a few years and then retired. W. H. Rand (Rand of Bryant & Rand) started in about 1894 under the name of W. H. Rand & Co. He is still in business. Curran, Burke & Co. started in 1898, building a general line of carriages. They are still in business. Herbert F. Chase commenced about 1894. He built traps, Democrats and other light vehicles, and continued in business a few years. VV. Redden, a long-time blacksmith, and a fine workman, began building completed work about 1896. After several years of hard work his health failed him and he was obliged to close out. The Walker Carriage Co. consists of George Walker, for a long time with James Hume, and James Walker, his son. They began manufacturing in 1895. Last year on account of the strike they removed to Merrimac, where they are now doing business.
Bird & Schofield, established in 1895, are builders of light work. Both are practical mechanics, build good work and have a good trade. W. Colquhon & Co. were in business a few years in the early 90's. W. S. Eaton was in the body business for some time. J. F. Esten, formerly agent of the Hamilton Woolen Co., engaged for a few years in the carriage building in 1887. He is now dead. C. F. Worthen came to Amesbury as the local agent of the B. & M. R. R. in 1879. He entered the employ of the Hume Carriage Co. in 1887, took the management of the Amesbury Carriage Co. in 1889. He commenced business for himself in 1896, was burned out last January, has secured quarters on the Hill and is doing a good business. J. F. Klien, builder of carriages, began in 1898. He has suffered from several fires. He is now occupying the C. W. Long shop on Clark street. David D. Ellis, son of W. G. Ellis, is engaged in building work for export at the factory formerly occupied by his father, on Friend street. Burbank Bros, engaged in the business in 1900, buying the factory formerly owned by S. Rowell's Sons. He was burned out last January. H. P. Wells, for a number of years associated with Osgood Morrill, has taken a shop and is in business on his own account. Ts building the same general line of work as Mr. Morrill. Accessory Industries of Amesbury.
CARRIAGE HARDWARE AND TRIMMINGS.
Elmer F. Sargent was one of the earliest dealers in the early 6o's. He was succeeded by
D. L. Bartlett, who continued the business but a few years. Chas. Wing Co. is a
long-established house. Chas. Wing, the
John S. Poycn & Co., one of the early Merrimac dealers in carriage goods, opened a store in Amesbury in about 1884, and continued in business for some fourteen or fifteen years. He is now out of business. A. N. Parry, formerly in carriage manufacturing, established the firm of A. N. Parry & Co. in 1895, for carriage hardware and findings. Their store is on Carriage Hill. F. A. Babcock & Co., and afterward S. E. Babcock. were in this line of business for several years, from 1880 to 1890.
CARRIAGE WOODWORK AND BODIES.
W. E. Biddle & Co. were the pioneers in this line, commencing in 1869 and are still in business. They now get out body stock and gears, as well as build carriage bodies, and latterly they are doing considerable in automobile bodies. Cadieu & Clark commenced along the same lines in 1871, and after a few years sold out to R. F. Briggs & Co. R. F. Briggs & Co. added wheel making to their factory, and continued until succeeded by the Briggs Carriage Co. They are now among the large producers of automobile bodies.
C. D. Cameron and Goss, Drummond & Co. were engaged in the stock and body business in about 1880. They were succeeded by Currier & Cameron in about 1890. The firm is now the Currier & Cameron Co., manufacturing largely automobile body work as well as body stock and gears for the trade. Wells & Spofford started in the body and gear business in 1886 and were succeeded by Spofford & Smart in 1889; they in turn were succeeded by J. N. Leitch in 1894. His increasing business compelled him to seek larger quarters, and in 1902 he purchased the wood working factory of the Briggs Carriage Co., where he is now doing an extensive business in carriage and automobile bodies. Francis & Smith started in the wood working in 1880. Kendall & Lunt started about the same time. Howartb & Smith bought out Kendall in 1894, and formed the firm of Lunt. Smith & Co., and continued until 1903, when the firm, consisting of J. H. Howarth, J. Rogers and Wm. Smith, was organized under the name of Howarth, Rogers & Co.
1904 Miller Brothers Advertisement
Miller Brothers started in 1888 building carriages in the white. They are all first-class mechanics and have put great energy into the business. They now occupy quarters which enables them to carry quite a stock of completed work (in wood and iron). They build in variety a class of work especially adapted to city use. John Lane is also one of the long-time builders of carriage bodies.
Biddle & Smart were the first to engage in the wheel business, starting in 1869. They continued until 1900, when they turned it over to Carr, Prescott & Co.. who had previously been in their employ. The new firm .tre well equipped with modern machinery, and have done a successful business. Locke & Jewell followed closely in the same business. They are now out of it. I). J. Marstcn was also one of the early ones, and conducted a successful wheel factory for several years. His place was taken by F. S. Merrill, who came from Merrimac in 1888. In 1900 Mr. Merrill bought out the car factory of the Briggs Carriage Co., and now has a finely equipped wheel factory. Lockwood & Brown started in the wheel trade in 1895, and continued for some six years. They are exclusively engaged in manufacturing rubber tires.
Atwood Mfg. Co., established in 1871. by W. I. Atwood at West Amesbury. moved to
Amesbury in 1881 as Atwood Bros. Mfg. Co. Since 1890 the firm name has been the Atwood
Mfg. Co. They are now doing a large business in coach, carriage and automobile lamps,
glass bending and beveling. Gray & Davis, an enterprising and active firm, are also
manufacturers of carriage and automobile lamps. They have recently erected a large factory
for their business.
The Essex Leather Co. carried on the leather finishing business for several years, but
are now out of it. Fox. Feureherm & Mentz Leather Co., are doing a successful leather
finishing trade at the old stand of the Essex Co.
1908 Pettingell Avertisement
. The Amesbury File Co. are makers of files. W. V. Jones attends to such wheel boxing as is not done by the manufacturers. He has been many years at the business. T. D. Nelson & Co. and the Grieves Paint Co. have been in the paint and oil business for many years.
We herewith present the portrait of Jacoh R. Huntington, with a letter, especially written by him for this historical number, which our readers will inclde not only interesting, but entertaining. Colleges and universities confer degrees of honor on distinguished scholars as an appreciation of distinguished attainments in avenues of learning. It is a matter of regret possibly that the Carriage Builders' National Association is not empowered to confer a somewhat similar honor upon this distinguished pioneer in this great industry. Jacob R. Huntington was born in Amcsbury, Mass.. in 1830. Shortly afterward his parents moved to Maine, but in 1844 he returned to his native town, where he learned the trade of woolen spinner at the Salisbury mills.
Mr. Huntington still moves among the carriage factories of his native town in his ripe old age, a welcome and honored visitor at all times. He finds in such association the full fruition of a successful life. He started, as all men should, with a vigorous ambition, fie was successful in the prosecution of his business. He gathered about him men of brains and energy, who emulated him. His were no narrow views; the world was large enough for them all. He realized that their united counsel and individual enterprise would give Amcsbury such promise that he and they would prosper from the forces thus working.
JACOB R. HUNTINGTON
The pioneer of carriage building in Amesbury. Mass., and Cincinnati, Ohio. The first carriage builder to introduce the system of duplication and to develop carriage building; along this line. When he progressed sufficiently to feel that he had provided a competence sufficient for himself and family, he sold out his business, not a broken-down old man, but in the full vigor of his years. His greatest comfort seems to be his constant daily intercourse with the institution which he built, a gigantic monument to his glory, the prosperous, industrious community of Amcsbury carriage builders. Since his retirement, in 1875, he continues to live in his elegant residence on Main street, built on a prominence which overlooks almost the entire manufacturing industry of the town. To Mr. Huntington belongs the unusual distinction of being thepioneer wholesale carriage builder in two of the leading carriage-building centers of the United States, namely, Amesbury, Mass., and Cincinnati, Ohio. We can appreciate the extraordinarily rapid development of the great carriage-building industry when we recall the fact that the founder of the industry in these two cities is still living, a hale and hearty gentleman, who, even to-day, keeps track in every detail of the progress of the great industry of which he is a noted pioneer. The following letter is from the pioneer carriage builder in Amesbury, Mass.:
Amesbury, Mass., February 16, 1904.
In war times. Australia was a great market for me; sometimes my shipping invoice was
over 30 vehicles. Drafts were promptly received, often at a premium, of over 100 per cent,
in gold. At that time I didn't blab much about my business in the "Far East,"
and quietly kept on shipping. I am of the opinion that the carriage business in Amcsbury
is in good condition, with a fine prospect of a season equal to any of the past, and
probably a larger output of
1904 ST. LOUIS WORLD'S FAIR
This exhibit is a central point of attraction. The advantages of a united exhibit are evident at a glance, each individual exhibitor profiting by the exhibit in its entirety. It is in charge of R. 11. Hills; the number of vehicles shown count up 40, no two being identical. Mr. Hills does not believe in distracting attention by overhead decorations, and he has secured an artistic effect in his arrangement, which adds to the attractiveness of the exhibit.
The following firms are exhibiting: S. R. Bailey & Co., Bird & Schofield, Connor Carriage Co., Folger & Drummond, Hassett & Hodge, L. Hollander, C. F. Worthen, Neal & Bolser, D. P. Nichols & Co., of Boston; also Walker Carriage Co. and J. A. Lancaster & Co., from Merrimac..
S. R. Bailey & Co's exhibit consists of four pneumatic whalebone road
wagons; one 22-inch body, O. G. spindle seat; one 22-inch body with panel seat; 25-inch
body, with O. G. stick seat, and a 25-inch
The exhibit of Folger & Drummond consists of four vehicles. No. 258.
Lenox cut-under.Trimmings, superfine blue broadcloth, driver's cushion; body color,
black; cane-work on seat panels; gear, dark blue, striped light blue; silver lamps; solid
rubber tires; nimble to fold under main seat. No. 254. Carlton.Trimmings, tan
leather, with driver's cushion; body, natural sycamore; gear, painted sulphur yellow,
black points; solid rubber tires; both seats movable; tail gate to drop. No. 250. C. U.
Runabout.Trimmings, superfine blue broadcloth, with driver's cushion: body, all
black; gear, dark blue, fine black stripe; silver lamps: cushion tires.No. 244.
Bclmar.Trimmings, Bedford cord, with driver's cushion; body color, black; gear,
sulphur yellow, black points; silver lamps; tail gate to drop, rear seat movable; solid
rubber tires. The exhibit of Hassett & Hodge comprises six vehicles. Style 1430 is a
glass quarter station wagon, cord lining, rose lake panels; maroon gear with carmine
stripe; rubber tires. No. 1525. full curtain station wagon trimmed with green cloth; black
panels; green gear with carmine stripe; rubber tire. No. 0.43, half-top cabriolet
The exhibit of Lambert Hollander consists of a 10-inch extension front
brougham with folding seat, which drops back when the seat is not in use; axles. 1%
inches; driver's seat trimmed in leather or cloth; half Collinge axles, pole and shafts;
weight, 1.050 pounds. 18-inch extension Denis coach, front seat stationary. Ifi-inch half
Collinge axle, with pole, weight only 1,150 pounds. Half-platform rockaway, French beveled
plate glass; English wool-dyed cloth; broad lace; Collinge collar axles; removable front
partitions; genuine rubber head springs; ij^-jnch channels. The exhibit of C. F. Worthen
consists of a driving wagon, with piano box, stick seat body, 25 x 57 inches; elliptic
An exhibit by D. P. Nichols & Co., Boston, Mass., consisting of a hansom is part of the Amesbury and Merrimae exhibit. The hansom is of latest style, is intended for private use, though its attractiveness has induced some of the best liveries to secure one or more. It is known as the Edgewood hansom. The Walker Carriage Co., Merrimae. Mass., have an attractive exhibit of well-known specialties, which embrace all lines of work for which this company has become noted.
S. R. Bailey & Company, Hassett & Dodge won silver medals and
Walker won a bronze medal.
Two Local Carriage Makers
Mr. Lancaster was the First Vice-president of the Carriage Builders National Association and served as president at the annual meeting in Milawaukee, WI. Mr. Chase was one of the foremost carriage designers in the industry.
J. A. Lancaster & Co., Merrimac. Mass., have on exhibition six pony carts and traps; a small basket governess cart: Avon pony trap; Marion trap; miniature runabout wagon; Iona pony cart, and Ashby pony trap. With their exhibit they have two display ponies, harnessed and hitched to governess cart and Iona cart. This company's exhibit, representing as it does the latest ideas and novelties in this interesting branch of carriage building, is attracting the attention of Western carriage builders who are seeking trade in this class of work.
Arthur W. Chase, designer and draftsman, Merriinac, Mass., was born in South Amesbury, now Merrimac. He learned the trade of body making in his father's factory, and also began designing. In 1879 he became partner with his father and brother under the name of William Chase & Sons, where he occupied the position of designer and superintendent of construction. He also designed for other manufacturers, and received-many medals and diplomas as awards offered by the C. B. N. A.
In 1888 William Chase retired, and in 1891 his brother, F. M. Chase, retired, leaving the business in the hands of Arthur W. Chase. On January 2, 1900, the factory and contents were destroyed by fire, and in 1902 Mr. Chase accepted a position as designer, draftsman and inspector of construction for the Racine Wagon and Carriage Co., now the Racinc-Sattley Co., where he made radical improvements in methods. He recently resigned from this position, and is now giving attention to designing and drafting for manufacturers throughout the East.
To further these great movements of persons and things, the energies of man,
inventional and mechanical, are being directed. Agencies to serve these purposes are
already in training. It requires no prophetic eye and no strain of the imagination to see
the vast and rapid expansion of road building across and up and down the continent, broad
asphaltum highways from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Gulf to British America,
with a network of shorter roads. Railroads have answered, and will always continue to
answer, many purposes, but our civilization is attaining a degree of refinement which is
demanding, and will demand in greater degree, complex network of good roads, which will
render travel everywhere easy and speedy. It is no exaggeration to say that in 1944 there
will be 60,000 miles of asphaltum highways in the United States, or, what is more
probable, highways made of a material much superior to our
The facilities for individual transportation by independently-operated machines, such as automobiles, are destined to be placed within the reach of the masses, in which etheric force will play the greater and almost exclusive part. The future automobile will attaina lightness, a speed and an endurance as to runs which will make the automobiles of to-day interesting curiosities of the infancy of electrical mechanism. Coal and oil as fuel will doubtless be found for ages to come, but the recent inklings of scientists hold out the hope and warrant the belief that sources of energy will be obtained from above rather than below the surface of the earth within the next forty years.
There are evidences at hand to-day which warrant the anticipation of an attainable speed of 200 miles an hour on electrically-operated roads, but only future conditions can determine the practical uses of such enormous speeds.It is patent, however, that electric roads, during the coming decades, will cobweb all countries where civilization possesses the people, and that there will be an increasing speed in travel, especially on the separate lines devoted to "through"' travel. It is also evident that, as the years go on, underground transit will relieve surface congestion, not only in cities, but between cities widely separated, and that in this widely-established system of tunnel travel enormous speeds will be the rule.
It is also apparent that the world is entering upon an era when cumbrous and intricate machinery will give place to lighter and more simple machinery of equal power and economy for power-creating purposes, as is shown, in one instance, in the new turbine, which has already begun its revolutionizing process on land and sea transportation facilities. In railroad transportation we have our "four-track system." Some systems are introducing their fifth track, and here and there a sixth track. In time the greater systems will reach their 10 and 12 tracks, but contemporaneous with this development will come the construction of elevated roads and tunnels for freight and passengers throughout the more densely-populated sections of the United States, whereon enormous speeds will be maintained.
Cost of travel and of freight will gradually approach to uniformity, regardless of distances traveled, so that but little more will be charged for carrying a ton of freight 1,000 miles than 100 miles. The advantages now enjoyed by the possessors of real estate, made increasingly valuable by contiguous population, will redound to the common benefit. Methods of communication without the intervention of wire will become as common as the house telephone. The hidden and now undreamed of potentialities latent in the mind will develop practical results that will transform adult education especially, from book learning and purely intellectual processes to a broader, deeper and more inspirational habit of acquiring knowledge.
Methods of cultivation of the soil, now under process of revolution, will be transformed by the greater use of the subtler agencies now dimly observed, and the cost of marketing products will be minimized to the advantage of wealth producers. The numerous indirect industrial, chemical and electrical processes for the creation of power and the transmutation of crude products into finished products will he simplified and cheapened. Existing systems of exchange of products of labor will, under centralizing control by the people, through governmental action, result in more to the producer and less to the mere exchanger of products. The rate of interest, the "power" of capital, the force of monopoly, the autocracy of exclusive privilege, will all be subjected to the humanizing influences of broader education and increasing intellectuality.
With this development in knowledge, without and within, will come greater bodily health, gradually-increasing longevity, less waste of energy in the struggle of wealth-getting, greater harmony of understanding between the nations, though war w ill for ages be the final arbiter of differences. And, meantime, what of the mighty industry which is represented in and by this Historical Number of The Carriage Monthly? As we look forty years ahead into 1944, we see in April of that year another historical number and a meeting of the then owners, when will be taken from its resting place in its vault this issue of 1904. It will be scanned by those present. Probably this review will be read to the assembled ones. Probably a benevolent smile will overspread their features at the shortness of our forecast.
Be that as it may, the world is bounding forward. Carriages will multiply, and the horse will never become extinct. He will more and more become the animal companion of man than his slavish servant. Broad highways, driveways and smooth streets will be filled with the dainty products of the higher conceptions of beauty on wheels. The horse will be developed in form, gait, speed and intelligence. The carriage builder of 1944 will be a prince in the handicrafts, and his workmanship will be a source of joy to thousands then instead of the hundreds to-day.
Navigators of the air will, long before that day, have solved the problem of successful aerial navigation, and the long ago spoken prophecy will be realized in commercial success. That air-ships will be able to successfully navigate the channels of the upper air will then be an achieved success, as it is to-day only a confident anticipation of the Santos-Dumonts, the Langleys and the Bells, who see its attainable possibilities.
1906 Bailey Advertisement
Carriage Body Construction
1906 Edition of the Carriage Monthly Magazine
History of Wood BendingContinued.
BY S. R. BAILEY, AMESBURY, MASS. The following Is a continuation of H. G. Shepard's Interesting article
I urged him to write something concerning the subject, and we are pleased now to present Mr. Bailey's interesting contribution In the form of a letter addressed to Mr. Shepard. It was our intention to publish this second article In the May number of The Carriage Monthly, but we were disappointed, owing to Mr. Bailey's Illness, which prevented bis earlier attention to the matter.
S. R. Bailey &
H. G. Shepard, New Haven, Conn
I have never been very prompt in my correspondence, and quite often negligent, and I think, perhaps, I have lost good friends by not answering letters. It has punished me more than it has them, for no one values his friends more than I, and in this case, in negligence, morbidness and dreading the thought of picking up this wood-bending history, I have even exceeded myself. This, to you, I think, is the climax of all my previous doings in this respect, but I certainly hope you will forgive. I know it was more as a favor to me than what I could contribute. I felt flattered by it, and certainly meant to have reciprocated by being prompt. I will write you a rambling letter, just as it comes to me, and if you can pick out anything that is of any use for your history, I shall be surprised and pleased.
You ask me, in the beginning, to tell you something about the wood bending in the '50's. I was born in '38, consequently I was quite young, in the early 50's at least. As we lived six miles from railroad and telegraph, I was pretty well buried in the country until I was twenty-seven or eight years old and I didn't -have much chance to see what was being done. In our town, we had no factory of any kind or machinery, except a grist mill and an old up and down saw mill and one carriage maker, by the name of Boynton. I used to loaf around his shop when I was young, and I remember seeing him try to bend carriage rims and sleigh runners without straps, and other kinds of bending, and you know the result.
The consequence of my hanging around Mr. Boynton's shop and what I saw there shaped my career, and father provided me with a shop before I was seventeen, fitting it up out of an old church. My struggles trying to bend sleigh runners without straps very soon set me to studying on the double-bend problem, the difficulties of which no one knows better than you, although it seems very simple to us now. I moved from this small village. East Pittston, Me., to Bath, Me., where I fitted up another church into a carriage shop (and perhaps it might have been the influence which hung around those buildings which accounts, in a measure, for my churchly tendencies since), the city of Bath discounting one-half its value to encourage the enterprise, which is more than I have ever had done for me since by any town and almost, I think, more than by any individual. But, as is usual in the case of carriage business, I was soon short of money and was glad to take a partner in, who had plenty of cash and cussedness, but nothing else. While there, I conceived the idea of bending timber over steam-heated forms. I succeeded so well, after many trials, that I concluded to go into the shaft-bending business, and went West and found a man to get out strips for carriage shafts and send them to Bath. The most of our timber came green and i found hot moulds almost indispensable, as I could remove the stock twice a day, instead of twice a week, as was the case with the cold mould in winter with green stock.
Passing over the details of the trouble which I had to encounter in perfecting the arrangement, I finally succeeded in producing moulds for the heel and the side bend, all on steam-heated forms, by the use of which I could set the timber three times a day with the green, and every forty-five minutes with the dry. This innovation almost controlled the shaft business. On account of disagreement with my partner in the matter of demands made upon me, we dissolved partnership, and I found employment with E. A. & O. S. Gillett, in Boston, at a salary of $2,000 a year, which seemed to me then a princely sum for a countryman. I moved to Boston and remained with them two years and a half. On account of the hot moulds and other devices which I introduced, I became valuable to them, as these revolutionized their process so far as shaft and wood bending was concerned, they being manufacturers and dealers in bent carriage wood work, with a very large business. They increased my salary and afterward bought my patents, paying me well for them, as I thought at the time. They have continued in their use since, being very successful in their business and collecting large sums in royalties on the patent.
The first good timber bending that I ever saw was wagon rims, especially the heavy ones, which were an amazement to me, and I didn't have the mystery solved until I saw a Blanchard rim bender, which was made by James Blanchard, whom we all are glad to acknowledge as the father of wood bending in this and, I think, in all other countries. The second wood-work bending was at Dann Bros., New Haven, which was then far in advance of anything done before, so far as I knew. The next was the wonderful, unexcelled work done by yourselves, H. G. Shepard & Son, which, in my opinion, has never been excelled, if equaled.
Soon after coming to Boston, the Gilletts had a great demand for double-bent express wagon shafts and poles and, up to that time, they had never been bent commercially, except by splitting them up in the center, to prevent their breaking, not knowing how to use straps on the double bend, owing to the difficulties in the process. Mr. Gillett wanted me to see if I could study up some way to bend them solid, in one piece, and I didn't know any better way than to attempt it. Having once undertaken the job, I was determined to carry it through, and no one knows better than you the difficulties I had to encounter. James White, a wealthy gentleman and one of the partners of Gillett & Co., like all other moneyed men, was discouraged because I didn't "get there" quick enough, and came to me with the doleful consolation that smarter men than myself had failed in that, mentioning James Blanchard, and that it was no use for me to try and that it was a waste of money. I don't think that James Blanchard ever tried it persistently, or he certainly would have accomplished it, but, at any rate, it was a cooler for me, coming from one of my employers. However, I was successful, and the process was immediately adopted and is, to this time, almost universally used in most of its principles.
About this time, which was just before the Centennial Exhibition, Mr. Gillett brought John W. Griffiths into the shop, who claimed that I was infringing on his patents, and notified Mr. Gillett to stop using the invention. Griffiths was the man who sold to the United States Government, for a large amount, the process of bending ship timber, which, in my opinion, was one of the biggest of the grafts in those days. He used for rotary work a Blanchard rim bender, laid down, and without its best features, that of a track on which the timber was drawn forward toward the mould and without any devices for raising or moving this track toward the center of the revolving mould to accommodate it to different sizes of forms. It was entirely incomplete and useless and proved an entire failure, so far as rotating moulds are employed. This machine was set up and a building built for it by the Government in Charlestown NavyYard. Griffiths so terrified my employers that they allowed him to come in with an artist and make a drawing of my machine in every detail. (By the way, I was never able to find any patents that in any way conflicted with mine, in my subsequent patent application.) He afterward had cuts made from the drawing, produced a machineexactly like mine, and exhibited it at the Centennial Exhibition, in Philadelphia, as his own. This appears on the circular reproduced below, which shows it with double-bend forms in position, but is made for universal timber bending. Of course, I made some trouble for him in Philadelphia and said what I would be apt to say in such a case, and he never seemed inclined to take it up.
John Hassett, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Carriage. Builders National Association
Address of Mr. Hassett.
Mr. President and Members of the Association: I hope no one will make the mistake of taking it for granted that the president will make a speech. The only reward he will expect is making a grand stand play every year. He has to respond to the address of welcome, and it is only on account of the inability of Mr. Parry to be here. There is no occasion for me to make any remarks. We appreciate the words of welcome. Everybody knows that when the question of New York was suggested, and it was decided that it would be the convention city, that was about all there was to it; but when we met or were to meet in other cities, aside from New York, there is a very great rivalry between the different places. We have"flags, and buttons, and badges, and all sorts of inducements; but when New York is mentioned, all of that sort of thing disappears. Everyone is glad to get to New York. New York presents to us a fascination, a mystery difficult to solve; at home :we have to work for a living; here nobody works but a few foreigners and horses. We find the people here chasing up and down, and no one know s why. One of the speakers spoke to you of our welcome here, and also suggested something about our paying for the privilege. Some one has to pay the price. We, in the country, have to work continually for the privilege of spending a few days in New York. The chief occupation of New Yorkers is eating lobsters, drinking wine and riding in automobiles. Nobody here thinks of riding in a carriage, if he thought any of his neighbors would see him doing it. If they should see enough of this body here, if a large attendance were present, it would be hard work to convince them that we were all making carriages and making enough to live on. "Where in the world do you sell them?" would be their question. If we said push-carts, or something of that sort, they might believe it.
New York stands in relation to the other places something like the flower does to the plant. We resemble the roots, down in the dark. The flowers up in the sunshine get all their riches through us. We have to work in the country, and whatever is made over expenses is a regular perquisite which the city of New York claims to expend. So, in that way, having that financiaftnterest in New York as spenders we hsve a sort of gratification to see where our money is going to. I do not know, gentlemen, there is anything else I could state in reply to the words you have heard.. When we are at home we follow the advice of our noted authors. We are always good, when the other fellow is looking; but when we get to New York we do not care. It does not matter whether they are looking or not. They have their own troubles to look after, and do not bother with what we are doing.
I can appreciate heartily the welcome. We will take advantage of all the city's comforts, and appreciate what you have said
Now What?The strike of 1903 was devastating to Amesburys carriage industry. Several of the smaller concerns did not survive and for those that did there was a lot of hard feelings between the strikers and non-strikers. The strikers got noting for their efforts. One of their desires was for a nine-hour work day, but the owners refused. The 100-year old industry was on the brink of extinction and it was soon to be realized. This was in the form of a carriage with motor power that did not need a horse. It was a "horseless carriage". Carriages and carriage parts would still be made until 1913 by several concerns. For the next thirty years, Amesbury would be known as the automobile body-making center of the world as the carriage industry slowly morphed into making automobile bodies.
There were carriage companies that made automobiles.
Copied in full from Beverly Rae Kimes Standard Catalog of American Cars published in 1979
At the turn of the century, Amesbury was among the leading carriage manufacturing centers in the United States. Organized in 1899, with a capital stock of $150,000, was the Amesbury Automobile Company. Involved in the venture were a number of local carriage builders, including J.T Clarkson, C.F. Worthen, and Edward R. Briggs. The chief engineer was C.J. Bagley, a well known electrician in town, who had designed an electric motor which was claimed to be the lightest and most efficient appliance yet built. Prospects bode well for this venture. "There are no better carriages in the world than those built in Amesbury" The Motor Review stated, "and its high reputation will give to the new company a prestige that a town of leser reputation cannot acquire for years." It appears that the Amesbury Automobile Company proceeded no further than building a prototype or two, before the carriage makers involved returned to their horse drawn efforts and Bagley returned to his electrical work.
1902 Boston and Amesbury, Made by the Miller Brothers
In August 1905, a company was formed in Amesbury, Mass., to manufacture a 15 horse power car from the designs of Chas. H. M. Monroe. No evidence could be found if this car was made beyond a prototype.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1906 Essex Steam car was also modeled after the 1905 French Serpollet Car, Made by the S. R. Bailey & Sons 1907 Bailey Electric, Made by S. R. Bailey & Sons
His prototype was made in 1898
1908 Amesbury High Wheel Motor Buggy
The name was changed to Crown High Wheel when it went into production
Copied from the 1912 Automobile Topics MagazineUltra Six Appears in Amesbury The first Ultra car has made its appearance, in Amesbury, Mass., from the shops of Howarth & Rogers Co. The machine is a six-cylinder one, and has been designed by R. H. Randall, a member of the Society of Automobile Engineers. It is to be made in a seven-passenger car for $3,200, fivepassenger for $3,000, and roadster for $?,800. The cylinders are cast in threes, and the motor develops 38 horsepower. The transmission is of the four-speed type. The first body which has been built is entirely an Amesbury production, and gives promise that the new cars will be handsome ones. The radiator is of the pointed type, aiding materially the sweeping lines in securing a low and speedy appearance. While the car is low hung, the clearance is ten inches. A point where the car resembles a foreign one is in the wheels, which are of wire, interchangeable, with a fifth wheel carried in the rear for use when it becomes necessary to change a tire. The wheelbase is 128 inches. The first machine to be turned out will be used as a demonstrator in and around Boston. It is probable that the Ultra Motor Co. will locate in Amesbury and build a plant, the Howarth concern having acted merely as assemblers for the first machine.
Two Examples of Extraordinary Body Work
1907 Cleveland Landaulet Automobile, Made by Miller Brothers
1914 Winton Seven Passenger Round Front Berline
Body making ended in 1932 when Walker Body Company made its final body for Franklin Motors.
1932 Franklin 163 Oxford Automobile
It was a good ride while it lasted, but Amesbury suddenly found out that it was just another town with thousands of unemployed workers.
In the Meantime, Two Other Industries were Created by the Carriage Industry Trolley Cars Ellis
Ellis Cariage Company began making trolley cars in 1888 at their factory at Carriage Hill . They were made for the Newburyport and Amesbury Horse Drawn Railway. A line had been made from Amesbury to Merrimac along Merrimac Street and River Road..
It was decided in 1889 to experiment with electrification of the horse drawn railways, The Amesbury-Merrimac line was chosen and the direct current generator furnished by Thomas-Huston Electric Co, Lynn, MA, was installed in the steam planrt of the Amesbury Electric Co. on Oak Street. Wires were strung from Market Square to Merrimac by way of River Road through Merrimacport on to Merrimac center. Two single-truck closed cars, No. 32 and 34, built by the newly formed Ellis Car Co., were purchased for this experiment. Car No. 32 left for Merrimac around midnight on October 14. A short circuit in one of the motors had to be repaired at Market Square. It made the round trip without any more troubles. Car No. 34 was delivered the next day and it ran withount any troubles. The first scheduled run was made on October 18 and the time round trip time was 90 minutes. Only one car was used regularly with the other being held in reserve. These cars were the first electrified cars to be used in the seacoast region. This was the first major extension to the line. The company changed it name to the Newburyport and Amesbury Street Railway. Amesbury was the fourth city in the United States to have electric trolley carsEllis Car No. 32
1890 Ellis Car Company Advertisement
Ellis cars were some of the finest cars ever built and the rail way company only used their cars until a fire destroyed the Ellis factory in 1894 and a decision was made not to rebuild. Ellis continued making carriages at their carriage factory at 99 Friend Street until 1913.
Briggs Trolley Car on the Mousan Railway in Sandford, ME Railway
In 1890, Briggs Carriage Company began also began to capitalize on this new industry by building cars. Of the three-area car builders, Briggs was the largest and made cars for more cities. They were located near Clarks Pond.. Ellis held an earlier advantage because they were close to the B & M rail yard and could ship cars much easier. There was no railway to Briggs factory and they had to be hauled to the rail line. A short time later, they decided to build a factory on Railroad Street across the tracks from the depot and beside Clarks Pond where the Nichols Salvage Yard is now.1890 Briggs Advertisement
Briggs built trolley cars until 1904 when he decided to quits. There were three reasons for his doing so: The 1903 strike was devasting to his business; by this time, other trolley car builders were making cheaper cars and Briggs could not compete with them, and also Briggs had a very lucrative automobile body building business. He was part of the four-company consortium headed by Currier, Cameron, and Company and he had a separate contract to build bodies for the Locomobile Automobile Company. When the Locomobile went bankrupt in 1923, Briggs decided that he had enough and he needed a vacation. His son had moved the trolley car business to High Point, North Carolina in 1905.
Lamps and Electric Parts Manufacturers
In the years that Atwood Mfg. Co. and Gray and Davis Mfg. Co.were in business, they made lamps for over half of the automobiles that were made in country. Both of these companies lamps were equally as good and popular. While doing shows, they Mr. Gray and Mr. Atwood would be seen talking to one another at one of their displays. Their displays were the most written about in automotive magazines of that era.
Letter written by a local Brass Workers' union president
FROM AMESBURY, MASS.Amesbury, Mass., March 6, 1906.
Editor of Metal Polisher's Union Journal
This town is a busy place at present with its car-loads of automobile lamps being shipped most every day to all parts of the country. There are two lamp shops here, also a brass foundry, all working to their full capacity. The Gray & Davis shop and the Atwood Manufacturing Company each employ about one hundred and fifty hands, consisting of thirty or forty buffers, twenty-five metal spinners, one hundred or so solderers and many press operators and helpers, the latter being mostly French Canadians and natives of the town. A few buffers and spinners are needed at the present time. The other industries of Amesbury are carriage shops and large cotton mills, also a thermometer factory and two shirt-making shops that employ a lot of girls who work ten long hours a day as do all the rest of us except "Father" who does ten and a half in the cotton mill. Thanks for the space More news next time.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Atwood Mfg. Co.
1899 Coach LampAtwood started making carriage lamps in 1871 and in was the first and largest maker of carriage and automobile lamps in the country.
Mr. Atwood at his 1903 Boston Show Display
Copied from the 1903 Automobile and Cycle Trade Magazine
The Atwood Mfg. Co. of Amesbury, Mass. made a very large exhibit of automobile lamps, including their famous Stay-Lit Lamp. Their new model for 1903 embodies all the up to date features and its popularity atested to the numbers seen on many new models at the show. They exhibited their very pretty tail lamp of solid brass. It was ball shape and made to lite the rear step of the automobile and at the same time, throw a red light at the sides of the rear. They also had a smaller size for roundabouts made of solid brass. Their lamps included both oil and electric.
1909 Atwood-Castle Advertisemen
Copied from the 1909 Edition of the Platers Magazine
Atwood, established in 1872 and the largest maker of carriage lamps in the world. According to this notice published in the 1909 Platers Magazine "The Atwood-Castlc Company has succeeded the Atwood Manufacturing Company, of Amesbury, Mass., manufacturers of automobile lamps. The change is one in name and the business remains the same. W. I. Atwood is president and treasurer, F. E. Castle, vice-president, and I. H. Atwood, secretary and general manager.
Castle Lamp Company moved to Selkirt, NY in 1910
Gray and Davis Mfg. Co Gray and Davis Mfg. Co. was formed in the latter part of 1896 By William Gray, a lamp salesman, and Albert Davis, a carriage trimmer. Their first factory was at Mill Street. Albert Davis sold his interest to Lambert Hollander in 1900.
Gray and Davis Factory on Mill Street
From the very beginning, the firm stressed quality in their work and it soon became evident because all of the top automobile manufacturers were using Gray and Davis lamps. Needing a larger factory, they relocated to Railroad Avenue in 1905 1909 Advertisement
Copied from the 1909 issue of Motor Age Magazine
Consisting of two lamps, style 967, Gray and Davis lens mirrors and type G generator, all of our best quality, thoroughly guaranteed, suitably for Maxwell, Ford, and Reo. Lamps are strongly made splendied light givers and generator is simple, strong, and serviceable. Users send in your orders direct or through your dealer. Dealers--Send for new lists and terms. Don't delay!
This new lighting system became so popular that the company decided to build a factory in Boston to make this equipment. The lamp department would still be in Amesbury and it never moved to Boston. In 1912, shortly after the Dayton Electric Company ( DELCO), Dayton, OH had invented the electric automobile starter, Gray and Davis put theirs on the market. Delco became part of General Motors and ssupplied starters to General Motors cars. Gray and Davis was able to sell their product to any company and thus became the largest in the industry.
During their years of manufacturing Gray and Davis as well as Atwood supplied their products to over fifty-percent to all of the automobile companies.
Researched and Compiled by
25 June 2012