The Watch Factories of America

The inner workings of the watches are illustrated, from self-winding watches to spring wind-ups, as well as the quaintly named Trenton Movement and the Auburndale Rotary.

If You’re Planning A Party . . .

One of the fascinating things about the Libraries’ trade literature collection is that it not only showcases companies from the past in American industry, but it can also trace the development of companies that still exist today.

Potash: Not Just for Soap

James Boyd Davies. The practical naturalist's guide: containing instructions for collecting, preparing and preserving specimens in arsenic all departments of zoology, intended for the use of students, amateurs and travellers, 1858. Recipes for arsenic soaps. On today, July 31, in 1790, the first U.S. Patent was granted to Samuel Hopkins. From the United States Patent and Trademark Office: On July 31, 1790 Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent was signed by President George Washington. Hopkins was born in Vermont, but was living in Philadelphia, PA when the patent was granted. Potash, from Wikipedia: Potash is the common name for potassium carbonate and various mined and manufactured salts that contain the element potassium in water-soluble form. In some rare cases, potash can be formed with traces of organic materials such as plant remains. Potash is used to make everything from soap to fertilizer to glass. The recipe book above focuses mainly on arsenic soap, for a naturalist's more »

Have You Hugged Your Cow Today?

In honor of Cow Appreciation Day, treat your cow (or cows) with the very best in complete barn outfitting! From the Libraries' trade literature collection, "Star Barns and How to Build Them"—a Hunt, Helm, Ferris & Co. catalog—features floor plans, construction details, and roof designs to create a quality diary barn. With emphasis on practicality, convenience, sanitation, cost, and appearance, Star Barns offers the very best in diary barn design with options for cows facing either outward or inward from the barn's center alley. Worried about your horses being left out in the cold? Hunt, Helm, Ferris & Co. also has regular horse barn designs with a combination horse and dairy barn option. Wanting a hog heaven for your pigs? Hog house floor plans are also featured. Star Barns ensure that no animal is left out of such barn luxury. After finishing construction on your new barn, Hunt, Helm, Ferris & Co has a complete and exhaustive line of barn equipment such as stalls, ventilators, feed carriers, and other hardware more »

Wow, Did Central Park Really Look Like This?

June is Rose Month. This 1899 seed catalog from Peter Henderson & Co., Manual of Everything for the Garden, is also part of the Libraries' Seed Catalogs digital collection. —Elizabeth Periale

The Up and Down History of the Zipper

From its humble beginnings as an "Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure" invented in 1851 by Elias Howe to the "Clasp Locker" patent in 1893 and marketed by Mr. Whitcomb Judson, the zipper as we know it today, had little commerical success. It was not until Whitcomb partnered with businessman Colonel Lewis Walker—together they launched the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture the new device. The "Clasp Locker" made is debut in 1893 at the the Chicago World's Fair. Gideon Sundback, an electrical engineer who worked for the Universal Fastener Company, worked on the design by increasing the number of fastening elements. His design had two facing-rows of teeth pulled into a single piece by the slider and he increased the opening for the teeth. By December 1913 he had created the modern zipper and in 1917 the patent for "Separate Fastener" was issued. It wasn't until the B.F. Goodrich Company decided to use Gideon's fastener on a new type of rubber boot—they renamed the fastener to zipper and the name stuck. The major more »

Fortune Magazine – 80th Anniversary

Fortune Magazine was created as part of Henry Luce’s Time, Inc. publishing empire in February 1930, four months after the Stock market crash that started the Great Depression. It was created as an expanded and specialized publication drawn from the business section of Time magazine, written and designed with big executives and upper level managers in mind. The original prospectus stated that “business is the single common denominator of interest among the active leading citizens of the U.S . . . Fortune’s purpose is to reflect Industrial Life in ink and paper, and word and picture as the finest skyscraper reflects it in steel and architecture”.  Fortune’s annual listing of the 500 leading corporations, “the Fortune 500”, as it is known, became an American institution, against which all other businesses are measured.  Among its many innovative editorial approaches was to publish a standard feature article that examined different aspects of a single corporation, much like a biographical portrait. Henry Luce believed that all business was invested with a public interest, more »

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