AlbanyIceCream.jpgA 1918 edition of "The Ice Cream Journal" contained this treatise on "Women in Our Industry," by C.D. Monroe of The Albany Ice Cream Company. It's a little hard to read without applying modern sensibilities, but just remember, 96 years ago, those were different times.

It was in June, 1918, that we started to employ women in the manufacturing department of the Albany Ice Cream Company's plant, at Albany. We had decided to make a new brick of ice cream. Within a short time the sales of this product had grown so large that we found it would be necessary to change our methods of wrapping, get more help, or stop taking orders. We had never thought of employing women in the manufacturing end of the plant, but now something must be done.

 

We advertised in the newspapers for women, and selected four, whom we instructed in the work of cutting and wrapping brick ice cream, and they started at the work. They made good, and our trouble and worry about help in this department was at an end. At first we furnished a man to bring the brick slabs from the hardening room, and after the package was complete, to return them to the cold room, but in a few days after the women became acquainted with the work they did this without any assistance from the men.

We were convinced that women were a valuable asset to our business, and so did not confine them to the brick department alone, but put them in the freezing and mixing departments, and we instructed them as to the proper time to draw off a batch of cream. We found they would watch the temperatures more carefully, get better results than the average man employe.

One woman who had been with us only a few days, was christened the "Truck Horse" by her companions - she would do anything a man could do. If the shipping department was rushed, it was a common occurrence to find her filling tubs with ice, or even assisting to load them on the wagons, and one day when we were short of drivers, she offered to take out a wholesale wagon.

Our factory women employes all report for work at 8 a.m., and work until 5 p.m., with one hour out for lunch. Since cold weather they have clubbed together and cooked their own lunch in the factory, and the men and women eat together and pay the expense on a pro rata basis.

The employing of women has most certainly had a decided effect for the better on the morals of the male help - where we would frequently hear swearing and loud talking, now that is all eliminated. The men have more respect for the women, and that fact, alone has proven to us that women in our industry have come to stay.

Previous to the shortage of help, we always employed men in our factory as porters, but, for the last year, women have been employed with entire satisfaction. They are much neater with their work, and more ambitious than men, and seem to take a personal pride in keeping the factory clean.

The question of salaries paid, depended almost entirely upon the employe herself. We usually started at $8.00 per week for six days' work, and as they became more efficient we advanced their wages accordingly, the average wage being about $12.00 per week.

In closing, I must not overlook the fact that most of us are using women in our industry as clerical help, telephone operators, and stenographers, and our experience has been that if you secure the services of reliable and competent women for office work, they discount the male help. One of our most important positions, I believe, and one where a great amount of good or damage is done, is that of switchboard operator. To be efficient, she must be thoroughly acquainted, not only with your business, but with your city and your customers - able to at all times make quick decisions and answer inquiries intelligently. A woman employe, with such qualifications, I do not believe you can replace with a man.

As regards the employment of women in the capacity of cashiers, or to settle with your drivers, I cannot call women a success in this position. It requires a man, one who is stern and democratic, especially to cash up with the class of drivers that most of us have.

My verdict is, that we shall continue to employ women in our brick department. Men, I believe, should be used in other departments, as the nature of the work is too laborious for women.

 

What-nots AND bric-a-brac

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Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 8.11.17 PM.pngI don't know anything about Adams of 91 and 93 North Pearl St., but in 1891 they were having a big sale on every kind of furniture, not to mention what-nots and bric-a-brac. You can hardly even find a bric-a-brac store these days.

The A.M.E. Church

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The Albany Hand-book, 1881:

African Methodist Episcopal Church, The, is at 365 Hamilton st. Colored folks worship here, but white people are also welcome so long as they behave themselves.

Numbering must have changed, as this can't be any other than the First Israel African Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1854 at what is now 381 Hamilton St. Not sure what that finger-wag about white people behaving themselves meant.

Academy Park

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Again from The Albany Hand-Book of 1881, of which we can never get enough:

Academy Park, consists of one and eighty-two one-hundredths acres, bounded by Elk and Eagle sts., Washington ave., and Park place, and just now is in a dilapidated condition. As soon as the old Capitol is removed, and Capitol Park laid out anew, Academy Park will also be improved. A little distance west of this spot used to be a ravine running north and south, where, tradition says, tories, in the time of the revolution, were stripped of their coats, hats and shoes, and a bandage put over their eyes, in which condition they were executed and buried on the spot. It was in Academy park that the building of the Army Relief Bazaar was erected in 1864.

The old Capitol was around until 1883, although the new Capitol was far from finished. Academy Park, of course, is today still one of Albany's most delightful little public spaces.

The Abattoir

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From The Albany Hand-Book of 1881:

Abattoir, The, or public slaughterhouse is situated on Brevator st., nearly three miles west of the City Hall. Slaughtering is prohibited (except by consent of the Common Council) within the limits of 160 rods west of Allen st., on the west; Warren st., Delaware ave., Second ave. and Gansevoort st. on the south; the city line on the east; and North Ferry, Van Woert sts., Lexington and Livingston aves. on the north. The ordinance, however, is not strictly observed, and many of the butchers have their own slaughter-houses. The question whether the power given the city government by the Legislature to regulate slaughter-houses, included the power to prohibit them has been raised, and decided in the affirmative by the Court of Appeals.

Shocked am I, to learn that Brevator Street goes back that far, because in 1881 it was a long way from anything in the city.

Hoxsie exists...

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He's just very, very busy. Consider this a week off.

1880: When Capitols Kill!

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In the very back pages of the endlessly fascinating "Albany Hand-Book" for 1881 ("A Strangers' Guide and Residents' Manual") is an appendix chronicling local events for 1880.

So let's see what was going on at the Capitol that year, when it was under the supervision of its second architect, Leopold Eidlitz, and had only been under construction for 13 years (with a brief 19 to go):

March 30: Charles Hagar, a laborer at the capitol, fell and was instantly killed.

July 27: Charles Dunn, bricklayer at the capitol, fell, and was killed.

July 28: A fire in the tressel-work of the Capitol caused some excitement, but little damage.

August 5: Thomas Strawbridge, water carrier at the Capitol, fell 90 feet, and was killed.

hiramferguson.pngIt would appear that I have never before taken in the florid advertising stylings of Hiram Ferguson, designer, photographer, and engraver in wood, who worked out of the "Bank Building" at 448 Broadway. This is from the 1881 "Albany Hand-book."

Beware the Street Canary Vendor

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whitesbirdstore.pngWhile we're on the subject of the 1881 "Albany Hand-book," let's note its peculiar entry regarding birds:

"The bird-stores of a city are always interesting places to visit, especially to those who are fond of the feathered songsters. There are usually some curious foreign birds on exhibition, and always good singers to be heard. The Hartz mountain canaries are sold from $2 to $3; parrots from $5 to $50; mocking birds from $5, for young ones, up to $20, and even $50. In buying, it is always best to go to some responsible dealer; the canaries hawked about the streets, and sold under price, are either females which never sing, or inferior stock of some kind. The only bird-store in Albany, is William R. White's, 44 Green st., an old established stand, where customers are honestly dealt with."

Lots of meat in this!

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henry_l_smith.pngI really have no idea what Henry L. Smith & Bro. meant when they said there's "Lots of Meat in this!" They were referring, in 1891, to their sale on boys' skating coats or reefers, knee pants, and short-pants suits. "This will be a week for the boys."

Smith's place had previously been known as The Boston and Albany Clothing Store. "Mr. Smith has spent large sums of money in advertising, but has always been careful fully to redeem every promise made the public," says the 1881 Albany Hand-book.

(A reefer is a short, heavy, close-fitting coat. Short-pants suits are no relation to short pants-suits.)

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