Remembering Brooklyn SquareMade with Pride in Brooklyn Square

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Jerry Lundberg at Jamestown Iron Works.
Jerry Lundberg at Jamestown Iron Works.
Joan V. Cusimano Lindquist
Joan V. Cusimano Lindquist

We are all familiar with the label “Made in the U.S.A.” But did you ever think how many products found their beginnings in the businesses and companies that were all part of Jamestown’s rich manufacturing history? From items that filled our pantries to home furnishings to industrial products for commercial and private use and heavy duty equipment that served as necessary fixtures in municipal projects, Jamestonians had only to look no further than Brooklyn Square to realize the number of products that were “Made in Brooklyn Square, Jamestown, New York.”

Super Market ad, 1934.
Super Market ad, 1934.

One food item that homemakers could find at Loblaw’s, a popular super market in Brooklyn Square, was Swell Blend Coffee. It was roasted and packed in one pound tins by Wilcox-Crissey Company, Wholesale Grocers, Flour Merchants & Coffee Roasters located at 17-19 Shearman Place in the Square. The colorful tin with a pry-open top was beautifully designed with an old-fashioned steam boat, the company’s trade mark ship, sailing the waters of scenic Lake Chautauqua in western New York. A 1934 ad for Super Market at the corner of Second and Washington advertised Swell Blend for 29 cents lb.

And what could go better with coffee than delicious baked goods from Jones Bakery that was right around the corner at 19 Market Street. In addition to Swedish limpa rye bread, a staple in many of the homes in Jamestown, Jones offered Swedish butter cookies, skorpor, Danish pastry, and a host of other types of breads and sweet rolls.

Two natural resources—wood and water—made Jamestown one of the best centers for furniture manufacturing in the country. Add to that skilled workers and an entrepreneurial interest in producing fine wooden furniture and you have the Maddox Table Company located at 101-125 Harrison Street. William Maddox, founder of the company, was one of the first furniture manufacturers to trade mark his products with a branding of an ox. In addition to overseeing a company that produced fine wooden tables, Maddox was also the inventor of a table-top polishing machine called the “stroke-polisher” that took much of the labor out of hand polishing. Undoubtedly many of the Maddox Table Company’s products found their way into local and regional homes as part of a home owner’s necessary furnishings, but Maddox sought out new advertising techniques to promote his business and succeeded in finding buyers all over the country.

Maddox Table Company trade mark.
Maddox Table Company trade mark.

At the corner of Harrison Street and Foote Avenue stood the Crescent Tool Company one of Jamestown’s premier industries founded by Karl Peterson, a Swedish immigrant, who perfected the manufacturing of the popular crescent wrench, a tool of very high quality. It hit the market when the United States was producing automobiles and later airplanes that required maintenance by mechanics who had this practical hand tool at their disposal. It is said that every Model-T sold by Ford came supplied with a Crescent adjustable wrench, and Charles Lindbergh declared that he brought with him on his 1927 solo trans-Atlantic flight only gasoline, sandwiches, water, and a Crescent wrench and pliers!

Jamestown Iron Works, a business purchased in 1926 by Thomas Maher, the son of an Irish immigrant, and his sons John and Edwin, was located on Shearman Alley in Brooklyn Square. Operations continued at that plant until 1931 when a modern foundry was built on Taylor Street. The shop produced thousands of cast iron elevator sills shipped throughout the world, and during WW II, the shop manufactured parts for machine guns, other weapons, and parts for radar equipment. The company relocated to 909 Allen Street Extension in 1972-73 because urban renewal closed down the Taylor Street shop. Jamestown Iron Works manufactured manhole covers, drainage and outdoor fireplace grates, trench gratings, and tree grates that undoubtedly found their way to locations in the city. Jamestown native, Jerry Lundberg, Sr., worked at Jamestown Iron Works for over a quarter of a century, a man who liked his job. The company has enjoyed 130 plus years as a family enterprise.

From the pantry to the dining and living room, to the garage and basement filled with tools, and literally to the streets of Jamestown, local manufacturing in its diversity has always been spotlighted in Brooklyn Square.