HISTORY OF ILION INDUSTRY
VILLAGE OF ILION
HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y.
The following is taken from "Ilion 1852-1952." We thank the Mayor and other officials of Ilion for
granting us permission to provide this information to our visitors.
The story of the typewriter has a quality of a fairy tale, complete
with a fairy godmother and ugly duckling who became a princess.
Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule of Milwaukee
invented the first typewriter which could be labeled practical, of these
three Sholes was the principal inventor. Soule dropped out of the
enterprise early but James Densmore, a business man became interested and had
such faith in the machine that when a manufacturer was desired, he,
himself brought the model to the great gunmakers at Ilion. This machine
was the resault of 25 or 30 which had been made previously. A letter
had been written on the machine describing it and asking that the
Remingtons manufacture it. Henry Harper Benedict, at that time treasurer of
the Sewing Machine Division, urged Mr. Remington to examine it.
Late in Februrary of 1873, Densmore, accompanied by G. W. N. Yost, a
born salesman, fluent and persuasive, arrived in Ilion. The story is
told that they walked into the drugstore of J. V. Down (now Baker's
Pharmacy) with the invention wrapped in newspaper. Mr. Densmore set it down
under the counter while the two went across the street to the Armory
The historic conference took place in a room of Small's Hotel (Osgood
House) at which were present Mr. Philo Remington, Mr. Jefferson M.
Clough, Superintendent of the Remington Works, Mr. William K. Jenne,
Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Benedict, Private Secretary to Mr. Remington,
Mr. Densmore and Mr. Yost. As a result a contract to manufacture the
machine was signed March 1st. complete ownership was acquired later.
But the editor of the Citizen, James S. Greene, must have seen it some
time that day for in the Februrary 27 issue he describes it as follows:
"We witnessed the operation of an instrument on Saturday last at
Small's Hotel called by its operator a "type writer". . .It moves with great
rapidity; and is so easily understood that a child of ten years old,
with a little practice can write with it more rapidly than the swiftest
penman. One of its peculiarities is its perfect legibility. It must
come into general use."
It was now the task of E. Remington & Sons to take this crude model
and make a machine that could be produced and sold in quantities.
William K. Jenne became the most notable of the mechanical geniuses who
nurtered it to this goal. A room "6 1/2 yards square" in the upper Armory
was turned over to a select group. We know the names of just a few:
Jefferson M. Clough, Byron A. Brooks, a professor of higher mathematics;
Matthias Schwalbach, an ingenious watchmaker and Lucien Crandall are
named. However in 1903 these men received 30 year badges from the
Remington Typewriter Company showing that they had belonged to this early
group: these were Messrs. Benedict, Jenne, Thomas Ringwood, J. C. Baker,
I. W. Daniels and M. D. Tallman. Mr. Ringwood made the first screw for
the Remington Typewriter and was foreman of that department. Mr.
Daniels was foreman of the filing department, Mr. Baker of the polishing
department. Mr. Tallman was a moulder and made the first casting. "W. K.
Jenne's task was hard and his labor long and difficult but he
persevered when the Remingtons lost faith and would have thrown it overboard."
In perfecting the invention about 50 machines were constructed, all
using the same general principle, but differing in minor details. In some
cases it was necessary to invent a machine to make some particular
The actual manufacture of the machine began in September of 1873,
which date John W. Vrooman in the "Story of the Typewriter" calls the birth
of the practical writing machine. The first catalogue was put out in
1874, in which Reporters, Lawyers, Editors, Authors, Clergymen are told
of its advantages. Merchants and Business Men are mentionerd it seems
as an afterthought.
By 1875 newspapers and magazines all over the nation were including
articles describing this "novel instrument". In this year E. Remington &
Sons tried their first advertising in the "Nation" which advertised the
type writer more "as a toy and a children's educator". Their first
advertisement which really paid off appeared in the "Century". Mark
Twain's letter was also used as publicity.:
Hartford, March 19, 1875
Please do not use my name in any way. Please do not divulge the fact
that I own a machine. I have entirely stopped using the Type Writer,
for the reason that I never could write a letter with it to anybody
without receiving a request by return mail that I would not only describe
the machine but state what progress I had made in the use of it etc.,
etc. I don't like to write letters, and so I don't want people to know
that I own this curiousity breeding little joker.
Sam L. Clemens
In his "Autobiography" he tells the story of this typewriter which he
bought in Boston in 1874. He was the first author to submit a
manuscript written on the typewriter which manuscript was for his "Life on the
It was uphill work to sell a writing machine for $100 when a pen was
so cheap. To incite interest a special machine was made to exhibit at
the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. It was trimmed with
mother of pearl and decorated lavishly. Very few machines were sold
and about the only financial return were the typewritten samples sold as
curios for 25 cents. The great objection was that it wrote capitals
only. This difficulty was overcome by applying to the machine a carriage
shifting device invented by Crandall together with the double type
invented by Byron A. Brooks.
Densmore and Brooks were the first selling agents but they had little
success. They were followed by one firm after another who tried to
find a market. In 1878 the selling was entrusted to Fairbanks & Co., the
well known scale makers. They had an advantage over the earlier agents
for the Model 2 had just appeared. This was able to write both
capitals and small letters. As manager of the typewriter sales they appointed
Mr. C. W. Seamans, a native of Ilion, then 24 years old. He remained in
this position until 1881 when E. Remington & Sons decided to take over
the selling; but Seamans had performed his work so efficiently that he
was retained as sales head. That year 1,200 machines were sold. By
the following year the Citizen could say; "The typewriter department of
the Armory is one of the busiest places in the whole establishment. The
number of men employed there and the amount of business done reminds
one of old times. We understand that the typewriter is meeting with
large sales, especially in the West."
Seamans was not satisfied with the number being sold and to better
results, negotiated with Henry H. Benedict, and W. O. Wyckoff of Ithica.
Mr. Wyckoff was a court reporter who, upon seeing one of the machines
could see its future. He immediately secured the sales agency for
Central New York and placed typewriters in his own office. The story is
told that every member of his staff refused to use them, but the edict was
"Use it or quit," so they used it. This new firm Wyckoff, Seamans and
Benedict, were to be sole selling agents and were to take all machines
the factory produced and the factory was producing all they could sell.
The report of the number made per day when they became selling agents
varies from 5 to 11, but by present day standards either number is
Under their promotion the business progressed rapidly. The New York
Tribune said, "Among all the mechanical inventions for which the age is
noted, none has more rapidly come into general use and popularity than
the typewriter." But a disturbing rumor reached the office in New York
that the Remingtons were going to sell that part of their business.
Mr. Benedict came at once to Ilion and asked Mt. Remington if this were
true. When told it was, Mr. Benedict advised him to keep it, but when
Mr. Remington said that they were determined to sell, Mr. Benedict
said, "I have given my advice. Now I want to buy the plant."
Wyckoff, Seamans and Benedict paid $200,000 for the franchise,
machinery and tools used exclusively for typewriter manufacture. Forgings,
castings, wood work, all operations which had been done with Armory
equipment were to continue to be done by E. Remington & Sons or new
machinery must be purchased. The sale was made in March 1886 about a month
before the assignment of the Remingtons. The same force was retained and
received their first week's pay and all subsequent pay in cash. (No
more orders for them). "It required poles as long as a church steeple to
touch the typewriter boys Wednesday night after they 'bagged' their
week's earnings in cash."
The new company needed greater facilities and the next spring there
was a danger of the business being moved from Ilion as various places
were offering attractive inducements to the young industry. But the
Armory turned over to them more space and another story was built on the
building for the "lining room."
But let us go back to the year 1886 to an event which was important to
a sister village. In January of that year William Horrocks, foreman of
the cabinet works of the Remington Armory patented a new Typewriter
cabinet. "The neatest and by far the most elegant conception in the way
of a desk or cabinet for the use of a typewriter." In spite of the
inducements offered by the receivers, Brill and Russell, it was moved to
Herkimer by Messrs. Horrocks and Foley, where it became known as The
Standard Desk Co. They continued to manufacture desks for the Standard
When the new owners took over the Armory, Wyckoff, Seamans and
Benedict again needed more room for expansion, but this was not granted.
Again the Typewriter Company looked for a different location. The
flattering offers were renewed, even to cost of moving, exemption from taxes,
etc. The village was recovering from the jitters caused by the
uncertainty of what would happen to the Armory and now the Typewriter was the
chief topic of conversation. A citizen's meeting was called, an
employees' (300 of them) meeting was held, negotiations were entered into and
August 17, the Citizen was able to announce "Our good luck"--the
Company had leased the Agricultural Works.
The Agricultural Works were refloored, thoroughly refitted and more
space made available so as to be able to turn out more machines.
Manufacture never stopped when the moving began. "The several departments
will be moved separately. The machinery is so arranged that there will be
no delay and work will be done in both buildings until all machinery is
moved." Four years later the plant was purchased.
Both Mr. Seamans and Mr. Benedict kept in touch with their home town
and Mr. Seamans especially, took an active interest in its progress.
The new company prospered, the village prospered with it. It became
known as the Typewriter Town. As the business grew, so must the physical
plant. Additions and new buildings were added, the seven-story or
"skyscraper" building being erected in 1895.
A sidelight on the place the company held in the community may be seen
in the story of Bryan's stop at the North Ilion station during the
campaign of 1900. There was a large crowd but a few scattering cheers was
the extent of the welcome Ilion gave to William Jennings Bryan. The
explanation was furnished by the Utica Press which said: "Mr. Bryan was
badly advised by whoever suggested to him that he speak disparagingly of
the typewriter trust when his train stopped at Ilion. Whatever there
may be about the combination or the general management of the typewriter
business, the one thing certain is that it has never worked to the
detriment or disadvantage of Utica's thriving and thrifty neighbor. The
Ilion people remember when Messrs. Seamans and Benedict were young men
working on salaries none too large in that village . . .They were
pioneers and pushed their way to success. Having succeeded Messr. Seamans and
Benedict never forgot their old home."
Another name should be mentioned in connection with the development of
the Remington Typewriter. In 1890 Louis Diss joined the factory and
Louis Diss and Bert Diss are credited with many inventions and
improvements, especially in connection with the aligning and type departments.
Mr. Benedict spent much of his time developing the European market,
going there in 1886 to open an office in London. Office after office was
opened circling the globe.
In 1903 the corporate name was changed from Remington Standard
Typewriter Company to Remington Typewriter Company.
Wyckoff had died in 1895, Seamans died in 1915 and Benedict in 1935.
Before the last of the three partners was gone, another great change
occured when in 1927 the factory became part of a great office equipment
chain and now became the typewriter division of Remington Rand, Inc.
In the 1880's amd 1890's, there was produced in Ilion a typesetting
machine, perfected to the point of setting, distributing the type and
justifying the printed line. For years attempts had been made but the
Remington typewriter was the inspiration for this first successful
machine, devised by John L. McMillan of Glens Falls. In 1879, at the age of
20, he saw a Remington typ[ewriter for the first time and learned that
it could be operated at high speed; three months later he observed a man
setting type and it occurred to him that the work ought to be done
mechanically. He knew nothing about typesetting machines, so began to
study to see why previous inventions had been failures. Two years later he
had a satisfactory model and in 1883 a company, with $600,000 capital,
was formed. This model was destroted in a fire.
He came to Ilion that year to avail himself of the unrivaled
facilities of the Remington Armory. A year later a model was finished and was
used in the office of the Ilion Citizen to set part of the type until in
September 1884 the whole issue was set by the McMillan machine to the
amazement of the newspaper world. This also added a "first" to the list
of Ilion's "firsts." Next followed a machine which automatically
distributed the type after use.
Machines were sold, a few going abroad. "Girls and lady compositors"
could operate them as well as men. They were used by the Albany
Eventing Journal, Century Magazine, Scribner's Magazine, Louisville, Ky.,
Syracuse Daily Herald, New York Sun, Utica Herald, etc.
In 1891 in Chicago, the American newspaper Publisher's Asociation ran
a test of current typsetting machines. The Citizen ran the heading
"McMillan Wins" but when the results were announced the judges had put the
McMillan at the bottom of the list, the others, all of them linotypes,
were placed ahead of it. The Citizen had judged by the fact that the
McMillan had set 60% more type than the others and had done a better
looking piece of work. According to the Ilion News practical printers
favored the McMillan machine. As late as 1900 a machine was sold to the
Little Falls Evening Times.
However, McMillan continued to manufacture and sell machines, and to
add improvements, In 1893 he brought out a mechanical justifier, again
a "first" for the Citizen and Ilion. But the linotype. capable of
being operated by one person instead of the three used by the McMillan,
supplanted it and in 1899 a new company was formed, the McMillan Book
Company which manufactured the McMilllan Patent Record Book for use with
typewriters. The leaves were detachable and bound as used. This
business progressed rapidly in Ilion until 1902 when it was moved to Syracuse.
FROM TUCKER FILE
For many years the Tucker systems of filing were in use in business
offices, and to manufacture these, a company known as the Tucker File and
Cabinet Company was organized in Ilion in 1901, taking over the
business of the Tucker File Company of Newark, N. J. This business was
brought to Ilion and the former Coleman Carriage building at the corner of
Morgan and Main Street was fitted up. The stockholders of the former
Coleman Company, as well as those of the Tucker File Company became
stockholders in the new concern. S. T. Russell became Treasurer and General
Manager. Clarke and Baker of new York was their Sales Agent. The
business grew rapidly and extended into other lines, large contracts being
taken for the equipment of libraries, banks and other buildings. When
the plant became too small in 1905 a merger was made with Clarke and
Baker. The business now took the name of the latter because of its
prominence in the New York trade.
Following the merger the company wished to secure the property north
of the West Shore tracks including the Chismore Racing Park but the
purchased price was too high. Meanwhile Niagra Falls was offering
inducements to move the plant there. To save the industry for Ilion, the Board
of Trade took a hand. Some of its energetic members circulated a
subscription paper to meet the amout demanded. More than one hundred Ilion
men responded and the tract was secured before the deadline named by
In 1905 the control of Clarke and Baker was acquired by the Library
Bureau of Cambridge, Mass. The plant continued to be operated under the
Clarke and Baker name until 1909 when the manufacturing company became
known as Library Bureau. In 1909 the steel working factory was built
and in the next spring the Cornell Art Metal Company of Cold Springs, N.
Y. was moved to Ilion.
Samuel T. Russell had been connected with the company from its
inception in Ilion and had had supervision of the work. In 1910 he became
President of Library Bureau and the plants in Ilion were placed under Mr.
A. B. Russell. The number of employees had risen from 20 in 1901 to
200 in nine years. The number continued to grow and further additions to
the plant were necesary.
A complete line of bank, office and library equipment was
manufactured, much of it built to meet specific requirements. It is impossible to
include even a partial list of the important furnishings and equipmet
which were built in the Ilion plant. Take a look at the cases in your
bank, in the museum you visit, they may be Ilion made.
In October of 1925 the Library Bureau became merged with the Kardex
Rand Company under the name of Rand Kardex Bureau. The steel work was
moved from Ilion to Tonawanda where it is still manufactured.
REMINGTON RAND INC.
In 1927 the Remington Typewriter Company was purchased by Rand Kardex
which now had a complete line of office equipment in one great
corporation. The name was again changed, the nameof Remington was retained,
the new corporation became known as Remington Rand Inc.
Following a strike in six of the company's plants in 1936, the Powers
Accounting Machine Company was brought from Norwood, Ohio to Ilion to
be manufactured in the former Library Bureau factory, now known as Plant
2. Some typewriter business had already been taken to Elmira. Since
then there has been a constant withdrawal of that business from Ilion
until now none of it remains here. It is the "Typewriter Town" no
longer. There have been other moves; the wood working department of the
Library Bureau is now in Herkimer, the Remington Shaver in Bridgeport,
In 1946 the "long building" on Main Street was purchased from the
Remington Arms Company and in 1950 Plant I, which is the original
Typewriter Plant was almost abandoned, personnel being divided between Plant 2,
Spruce Street and Plant 3, Main Street. Some of the machinery was
shipped to Lyons, France, and the remainder was sold at auction April,
1951. It was then used as a warehouse.
A School for Maintenance Men is conducted in connection with the
plant. For about ten years a Sales School was also conducted here with
headquarters in the office building on Clark Street.
At present in Plant I are a few processes of the Library Bureau, and
tabulating and punched card printing. In April of this year the Company
announced that a new electronic computor would be manufactured here,
which will necessitate the reopening of Plant I. This new conputor is an
office size machine and is known as the "baby brain".
Plants 2 and 3 manufacture and assemble the following equipment;
Punch, Sorter, Tabulator, Synchro-Matic, which is a combined punch and
typewriter, Interpreter, Reproducing Punch, Verifier, Summary Punch,
Multiplying Punch, Multi-Control Reproducing Punch, Posting Interpreter,
Interfiling Reproducing Punch.
The three plants employ about 4,000 men and women at the present. The
manufacture of the "baby brain" is expected to increase this number by
To increase employment in Ilion, seven Ilion businessmen incorporated
as the ilion Manufacturing Company with a capital of $50,000 to start a
"felt hat bodies" factory. This did not materialize but instead a
knitting mill was started. The old Stockwell Cabinet Shop on East Clark
Street in which the Sewing Machine cabinets had been made in 1870 was
purchased and refitted.
With ups and downs which reflected the financial condition of the
times, this continued in business under various owners until the mill was
sold to settle an estate. The new owner did not use it as a manufactory
but sold the machinery. Since May 1951, it has been the home of
Precision Metal Manufacturing Company.
A second knitting mill, the Imperial, flourished for a short time from
1895 into the early 1900's. It started in the Weisbecker barn on West
Main Street, was moved to the Erskine barn on High Street which is now a
four apartment house.
In 1895 a new bicycle appeared in Ilion, the "Rix". William Rix had a
repair shop together with Peter Stubblebine for the repair of bicycles.
In 1895 in company with his father as George Rix & Son they began the
manufacture of bicycles in a barn on Second Street. They continued in
business until about 1898 and made about 500 bicycles. "It was better
than the average bicycle, I rode one," says one present day Ilionite.
THE NOVELTY WORKS
The Novelty Works was an interesting and varied part of Ilion's
industrial history. It was located at the junction of Otsego, Morgan and
Third Streets, which for a time, was the center for the smaller industries
of Ilion. So far as can be ascertained now, the real beginning is not
known. Was it here that the broom factory was located in 1855? Or was
it a carriage factory built in 1850? The first mention which we find
of the Novelty Works is in 1886.
At this time Henry W. Getman began to manufacture an "universal
carriage wrench" in his barn on Otsego Street. By the following year the
business had increased so such an extent that it was moved to the second
floor of the brick building, corner of Otsego and Morgan Streets. On
the first floor, which had once been "a laundry, and also used for
religous services of our colored brethren", Messrs. Rice and Van Alstyne
manufactured cabinet work of all kinds. They made cabinets, "some for new
equipment for the Standard Typewriter Company and some for the McMillan
Typesetting and Distributing Company, also boxes and crates for the
Standard Typewriter Company. . .If ahead of daily demand . . .(the
products) were stored in the room over the bus barn." They employed 8 to 10
When Mr. Getman moved to the brick building he took in as partner, S.
S. Phillips and additional articles were manufactured. As the business
continued to increase, in 1887, the property at the corner of Morgan
and Third Streets was purchased, and the "old building made over into a
large and commodious factory." By 1890 twenty different articles were
made by them and the Getman Manufacturing Company was incorporated.
This company was composed of H. W. Getman, B. B. VanDeusen, W. K. Jenne,
E. M. Turner, David Lewis, John Hoefler, John V. Schmidt, W. G. Skeel.
However two years later the affairs of the company were liquidated as
Mr. Getman's failing health made it impossible for him to continue.
The plant was advertised for sale and in 1894 the Citizen mentioned
Martin & Remington of the Novelty Works. Mr. Martin had been a jeweler
in Ilion in the 1880's, moving to Mohawk in 1887. During this time he
had been working on an automatic fishing reel which he patented in 1884.
Martin soon bought out the share of Philo Remington and conducted the
business alone. The reel was made of aluminum and some of them were
very elaborate with engraved scenes of fishing and hunting and some for
"the high-toned sports . . . inlaid with pearls." In 1902 the business
was sold to James M. Bellinger and Hnry M. Bellinger of Mohawk and Harry
VanAlstyne of Ilion who moved the Martin Automatic Reel to Mohawk.
The next company to occupy the Novelty Works was the Remington
Automobile and Motor Company, who leased the Works in 1900. The motor was the
work of Wilhelm Schmidt of Ilion. The company purchased the machinery
and equipment of the Quick Manufacturing Company of Newark, N.J., and
moved it temporarily to Ilion. The quality of the car may be shown by
a news item; "The Weston-Mott people of Utica bought a Remington
automobile a month ago, 4 horse power, it had no trouble climbing College
Hill, Clinton." The company moved to Utica. But it was impossible to
raise sufficient funds and the company failed. This car was 3 years
before Ford organized the Ford Motor Company.
The Works then became the machine shop of Frank Dyett and here he
perfected a visible typewriter which the Citizen claimed was superior to
other visible trypewriters. This was in 1904.
In 1907 the Works were sold to the Masonic Order and razed to make way
for the present Masonic Temple.
In 1896 a Chicago inventor brought to Ilion a machine for transmiting
telegraph messages. It consisted of a visible typewriter with an
attachment by which a message could be sent and a copy of it preserved. it
was demonstrated at both the Democratic and Republican conventions of
1900. "The work was done at a rate double that of an ordinary operator
and the men who received it in New york said that it came in better
shape than any work they had ever taken." It was used by the Associated
Press, Western Union and some local railroad offices. For a time it was
manufactured in the typewriter plant, then moved to Syracuse for a
short time as the Typewriter needed all its room for its own manufacturing.
In a few months it came back to Ilion and for a time was built in an
Arms building on Otsego Street.
In spite of its success, tangled finances together with the
approaching panic of 1907, forced it into bankruptcy in 1906. However, more
money was raised and the fixtures and parts were moved to North Adams,
Mass., where finally the inventor gave up the struggle with adverse
financial conditions and intrigue within the company.
It is thought to have been the first visible typewriter and was in use
before the Underwood, Royal, or L. C. Smith introduced a visible
machine. Mr. Yetman and S. T. Russell went to Florida to see Mr. Seamans to
persuade him to bring out the Yetman machine as a visible typewriter
with the Remington name on it, but Mr. Seamans was sure the current
Remington machine would always be supreme and that nothing would supplant
it. This leaves room for speculation as to what a different ending there
might have been if Mr. Seamans had accepted it. "The Yetman had a
great many new ideas as regards typewriters and his ball-bearing type bar
was a basic patent."
COLEMAN CARRIAGE AND WAGON COMPANY
In 1874 the Coleman family arrived in Ilion coming from London,
England. One of the family, Fred Coleman who was father of former Mayor
Oliver Coleman, was destined to establish a business which thrived here for
many years. Opening in that same year the firm was known as Garlick,
Coleman & Company. An old building standing on the canal bank was torn
down and a three story building was erected in its place providing
employment for 36 men. Two years later the company rented the livery barn
on the corner of Morgan and Main Street for their carriage factory,
buying it in 1881. The first factory was refitted (1881) by Eliphalet
Remington & Sons to manufacture sewing machines and typewriter cabinets.
Their carriages, wagons and sleighs won many first prizes when
exhibited at fairs and at the National Carriage & Harness Dealers Association
in New York City. They manufactured "Victorias, Landaus, Dog carts,
Village carts, Ilion platform and spring wagons and other patent wagons."
The price range ran from $50.00 to $1,000.00 with every one guaranteed.
In 1889 the concern became known as the Coleman Carriage and Wagon
Company and listed capital stock of $30,000 with Charles Harter, Samuel
Russell, Frederick Coleman and Albert M. Ross as stockholders. This
concern expanded into the Nigabower Block (now Best Hardware), built the
four story building next east and raised the old bus barn to three
stories. One of the interesting orders was the one received from the then
Governor Theodore Roosevelt for two fine carriages to be finished in
natural wood and sent to Oyster Bay. By 1901 business did not warrant
such a large plant, so all manufacturing was done in the barn block and
the forge adjoining. Tucker File and Cabinet Company occupied the
remainder of the plant.
By 1904 beside their wagon business, the company was manufacturing
automobile bodies and giving employment to over 35 men. Their output
besides the automobile business consisted of a full line of light
carriagges, the latest in four and six passenger carriages and rubber tired
runabouts. Power at tht time was furnished by a Westinghouse motor fed
from the municipal lighting plant.
In 1915 the company found itself unable to compete with the growing
automobile field and found the truck business too expensive to continue
so the business was dissolved.
A.N. RUSSELL AND SONS
In 1861 Albert N. Russell came to Ilion from Virginia and went to work
for E. Reminigton & Sons in charge of millwrighting and later in charge
of all buildings, grounds, purchase, transportation and care of lumber,
etc. This connection was severed in 1876 to devote his time to the
lumber business which he and Addison Brill had started in 1871.
In 1883 additional property. just west, was purchased and a planing
mill built; in 1891 a sash, blind and door factory was erected, to which
products were added shingles and cedar chests, and in 1895 store
furniture. At this time the Citizens claimed this factory was the largest
wood working plant in the country. They manufactured cabinets for
gloves, thread, ribbon and umbrella holders. The ribbon cabinet, patented by
A. W. McGowan, was such a success, that the mill worked night and day.
The glove cabinet, patented by S. T. Russell, was also a most popular
item. Many local stores used Russell cases of various kinds and the
Russell agents were bringing in business from San Francisco to Boston.
In 1903 the lumber business was disposed of to C. C. Kellogg & Sons
Company of Utica and the store and museum case business was stepped up.
All the fixtures of Fraser's Department Store in Utica were Russell
made (1907). Space forbids enumerating the important buildings entirely
or in part furnished by the Russell Company.
In 1928 the company began to manufacture aluminum and bronze framed
museum cases, the invention of William Rix. When the business was closed
out (1932) the manufacture of these cases was taken over by Remington
Rand, who later bought the patent, and continues to make them.