Monday, March 20, 2017

The Case for a Museum Dedicated to Francis Folsom




A couple weeks ago one of my friends from Washington D.C. came up to visit and tour Buffalo. On the last day of his visit we were on our way to Founding Fathers when we passed the house where First Lady Francis Folsom grew up. Like me, he's a history buff so we stopped to read the plaque outside the house at which point he remarked that cities like Buffalo needed more museums, little educational centers capable of highlighting the connections our towns and cities have to the broad tapestry of American history. I gave his words some thought as we walked around the rest of Allentown and my mind was continually drawn back to Francis Folsom who I see as one of our more interesting and significant First Ladies our country has ever had. In the annals of American presidential history she is wholly unique. She is the youngest woman to become First Lady doing so at 21(For comparison Jackie Kennedy was 31 and Michelle Obama 45 when they became First Lady). She is also the only woman to be married in the White House, as well as the only woman to give birth while First Lady. However, all these facts, while interesting, amount to little more than trivia. Francis Folsom's significance lies in her portrayal through the newspapers. She was a sensational figure whose actions were heavily scrutinized and whose image was monetized by fashion magazines and hundreds of other strange outlets such as playing cards and smoking pipes. In many ways Francis Folsom was the first celebrity First Lady, a woman whose actions carried intrigue and whose persona captivated much of America.

Francis Folsom was born on July 24th 1864 to Oscar and Emma Folsom. Oscar Folsom was a lawyer partnered with New Jersey born Grover Cleveland. Oscar Folsom was also a wild man who enjoyed racing his carriage, a hobby that cost him his life in 1873 when he crashed his carriage just before Francis's 11th birthday. Despite the loss of her father, Francis Folsom was well cared for by her mother's family and by Grover Cleveland who acted as a guardian for the young woman. In 1882 Cleveland helped Francis attend Wells College one of the first colleges for women in New York State. At Wells she took courses in an eclectic mix of the humanities and corresponded with Cleveland who was climbing the political ladder, moving from Mayor of Buffalo to Governor of New York with an eye on the presidency. In the 1884 election Grover Cleveland narrowly defeated James G. Blaine and by spring of 1885, the same year she graduated from Wells College, Cleveland asked Francis Folsom to marry him.

Cleveland was a private man who didn't want his young bride to be hounded by the newspapers and took precautions in order to keep the press away from Francis as she toured Europe and prepared for married life. The intrigue surrounding Cleveland and his bachelorhood was fodder for the tabloids and many suspected he intended to marry Francis's mother Emma. Thus, when it was revealed that Cleveland would marry Francis, a woman twenty years his junior the press went into a frenzy and she became an instant celebrity. This was only exacerbated by the private nature of the Cleveland-Folsom wedding which featured the couple's immediate family, a few friends, and members of Cleveland's cabinet to whom he hand wrote the invitations. The wedding was so anticipated that when it was announced that Francis and Grover Cleveland were officially wed the entire city of Washington D.C. erupted in a cacophony of church bells, ship horns, and cheers as people celebrated the marriage.

Because of her age, attractiveness, and improvements to camera technology, Francis Folsom became the most visibly recognizable First Lady ever. Women copied her style, and as a young woman she broke significantly from past styles of dress, exposing her shoulders and arms in photographs. With so many women paying attention to Francis Folsom her image became an incredible marketing tool and advertisers used her image to sell sewing machines, medicines, and eventually her husband attempt at reelection in 1888 a move that sparked the Republican party to use Caroline Harrison's image in their advertisements.

Taken from the National First Ladies Library



Poster Featuring President Cleveland and Francis Folsom prior to the Election of 1888 which Cleveland lost. Taken from the Washington Post.

Though Grover Cleveland lost the election of 1888 he and Francis Folsom were back in the White House following the 1892 presidential election. By this point Francis Folsom had given birth to two of the family's children and a third would be born in the White House making the children instant celebrities like their mother. Many speculate that the Baby Ruth candy bar was named after Folsom's first daughter Ruth. 

While Francis Folsom did not push the boundaries of a First Lady's role in society in the way we associate with modern First Ladies like Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, or Michelle Obama, her presence in the public eye and the obsessive coverage of her actions can be seen as a preview to the modern life of our First Ladies. Her use in the 1888 presidential election also marked a major shift in political gamesmanship as the wives of presidential candidates had never been scrutinized before. She was instrumental to transforming Grover Cleveland's image from that of a coarse Buffalo politician to that of a loving and gentle father.  

Outside of her role as First Lady, Francis Folsom was a strong proponent of women's education, though she was an anti-suffragette. She became a trustee of her alma mater Wells College and worked to give female artists, particularly female musicians opportunities that had historically been denied to them. Later in her life Francis Folsom became the president of the Needleworking Guild and became active in university life at Princeton. She died in October 1947, 51 years after first entering the White House as a young woman. 

Whenever I walk by the Francis Folsom House I'm struck by how interesting yet overlooked the life of Francis Folsom is today. Folsom broke down so many barrier and changed so much about the role of First Lady that I feel like she deserves a museum. Her life in the White House offers a great deal of insight into the culture of journalism and celebrity that existed in the 1880s, as well as the evolution of the role of First Lady. As one of our most unique First Ladies Francis Folsom is a great treasure to Buffalo and deserves greater recognition from the city. Hopefully one day we can walk by her childhood home and take a tour of her life, legacy, and the artifacts and objects produced using her image. 





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Great Blizzards of Years Past

Remember how it was 65 degrees in February? That was nice wasn't it? I wore shorts and ate dinner on the porch while the cats across the street rolled around in the grass. Now.... not so much. 

Yes another storm has trapped us in Buffalo, a blast of northern ice to remind us winter is over when it decides it is over. How does this storm stack up to past storms? Clearly its not even close to Snowvember or the Blizzard of 77, events I thankfully missed. What about the other big storms the city has faced? How does Winter Storm Stella compare to storms of the more distant past?

The first major storm I found was the White Hurricane of 1913. Occurring between November 7th and November 11th 1913, this horrific storm took 250 lives and sank 12 ships on the Great Lakes. The storm was not a traditional snow storm and as the name implies it was a horrible mix of a blizzard and hurricane that spawned snow squalls, winds that gusted at over 80mph, and icy cold spray that made many ships founder. Waves 35 feet high broke across the Buffalo Harbor as Lake Erie attempted to swallow downtown. Though the White Hurricane caused significant damage to Buffalo, the brunt of the storm's violence was suffered by other Great Lakes cities like Chicago and Cleveland. Many of the foundered lake vessels washed up on the shores near these cities and the removal of bodies and wrecked ships was a difficult process.

The White Hurricane was a freakish and violent weather event and led to a tragic loss of life. Without a doubt it was one of the worst disasters to befall the Great Lakes region in the last 200 years. While no subsequent storms matched its destruction, there have been a number of major snowstorms in Buffalo that occurred after the White Hurricane.
Aftermath of the White Hurricane in Cleveland. Image from Weather.com
The next major storm I discovered was the St. Patrick's Day storm of 1936 which dumped 19 inches of snow on Buffalo in a day and ruined whatever drinking plans people had made. A year later, just before Christmas, another big storm buried North Buffalo and Kenmore. The Christmas storm caused a minor fracas as lame duck city officials dragged their feet during the clean up. North Buffalo was still buried under several feet of snow by the time Kenmore had been totally dug out. Other storms followed in the 1940s and 1950s and memorable blizzards such as the Storm of 58 and the White January of 41 dumped foot after foot on Buffalo.
Kenmore after the streets had been dug out. Taken from Fultonhistory.com

Image of the Street during the Blizzard of 1958, another giant storm. Taken from Fultonhistory.com

So after looking at just a couple storms from Buffalo's past its pretty clear Winter Storm Stella doesn't stack up. This is a good thing though! Given the choice between a comfortable afternoon watching the snow float down and spending the day shoveling a tunnel out to Main Street I'll take the first option. So for the rest of you, enjoy the storm, and watch the sun set on this blustery and snowy day. Also enjoy this link! Its smooth jazz, a dog, and people wandering around Buffalo after a snowstorm circa 1945.

https://youtu.be/P8HAeLz4zHU


Friday, March 10, 2017

The original plan for the Central Terminal


Last time we took a short and somewhat somber look at the history of Buffalo's lost downtown terminals. Today we're continuing to look at railroads. However, instead of focusing on loss we'll be focusing on things that never came to be. Specifically we'll be looking at the original plan for the Central Terminal and how that building differed from the beautiful building that was built between 1926 and 1929.

By 1907 Buffalo was one of the largest metropolises in America and a major element of the city's success was its dense network of railroads. Freight and passengers rushed throughout the city and many of the major eastern railroads had tracks and stations in Buffalo. Much of the traffic in Buffalo centered around the East Side. Massive train yards, repair shops, depots, and passenger stations dotted the landscape and thousands of people found work in the Buffalo Stockyards. This long demolished complex of pens, slaughterhouses, and meatpacking plants was one of the largest slaughtering points in America and millions of farm animals were shipped by rail to Buffalo each year. With so much activity on the East Side people began to clamor for a grand union station, similar to what was being built in New York City around the same time. Union stations combined the freight and passenger traffic of multiple railroads in one central location cutting down on rail congestion, and smog. In 1907 the New York Central Railroad unveiled their planned station, a $12,000,000 giant that was designed by the firm of Reed & Stern, the architects who'd designed New York City's Grand Central Station. The station was to be built at the junction of Fillmore Avenue and Curtis Street and connected to the city with park approaches and street cars. The proposed station would have alleviated the congestion and freight delays that were plaguing the East Side and the New York Central Railroad proposed consolidating all of its tracks, shops, and car yards within the proposed station.

The union station was intensely debated by the city's aldermen with many of the East Side aldermen heavily in favor of the station, while the aldermen in other parts of the city were concerned the proposed station would undermine the business interests of their neighborhood. Some aldermen attempted to nudge the railroad into building the union station closer to downtown, either at Exchange Street or Terrace Street, however both the East Side aldermen and railroad representatives countered, arguing that downtown was already too congested and lacked the available land necessary to build a massive station.

Ultimately, despite the support of East Side aldermen, the proposed union station was never built and it would be another twenty years before work on the Central Terminal began. As of now I am unaware why the original station was never built. Perhaps resistance came from the aldermen or maybe the railroad realized its proposed site wouldn't work. Regardless, I love this drawing of the proposed terminal and thought I should share it.

If you know why the original union station was never built feel free to message us on Facebook!



Image taken from the Buffalo Courier June 16, 1907.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Trains in Buffalo

Trains and the freight they carried once crisscrossed Buffalo like blood vessels circulating from the heart. In the early 1900s Buffalo had more railroad tracks than anywhere else in America with the exception of Chicago and the city was an important stopping point for major railroads like the New York Central. Most people living in Buffalo are aware of this history as it is embodied in the Buffalo Central Terminal however Buffalo had dozens of other major terminals and freight stations throughout the city. In fact, many of the city's passenger and freight terminals were located near the downtown waterfront, well away from the Central Terminal. Since it has been far too long since the last Preservation Studios blog post lets take a trip through some of Buffalo's lost train architecture.

Taken from ribbonrail.com
The majority of Buffalo's train stations and railroad tracks were located downtown in a rough wedge between Front Park and KeyBank Arena with Exchange Street serving as the major axis of downtown railroad traffic. The stations built along Exchange Street and around downtown Buffalo started out as simple and utilitarian structures, however as railroad companies grew more powerful they began to invest in more expensive and ornate train stations. These stations have unfortunately been lost as have most of Buffalo's railroads. Currently the downtown streetscape that was once filled with railroads and stations is now full of big entertainment venues like KeyBank Arena and the HARBORCENTER. These venues, along with the innumerable pay to park lots that surround them, have completely transformed both the look and utility of downtown Buffalo. Formerly a buzzing center of railroad activity, the area is now a major entertainment venue with more focus on music and Stanley Cups (Next year we've got it) than timetables and train schedules.

It is lamentable what happened to the beautiful stations that once graced downtown Buffalo, but unfortunately their demise was largely inevitable. Once the highway system was developed and Americans were connected to each other by asphalt and automobiles rather than railroads the major rail companies were sunk. Freight, formerly hauled in boxcars was handled by long haul truckers and the railroad companies began to desperately consolidate, trying to stay afloat. The giant terminals of the early 19th century were no longer sustainable as the railroads lacked the customer base to pay for the upkeep of such large buildings. Sadly, the size and grandeur of these buildings, features that would make them highly sought by real estate developers today, made them liabilities in the 1960s and 1970s. With preservation still largely in its infancy there was nobody to stand up for these old terminals. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century Buffalo's terminals were demolished leaving buildings like the Central Terminal as sad reminders of the gorgeous terminals once dominated the city.

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Terminal at South Park and Michigan (Demolished) from Forgotten Buffalo.com

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Terminal on Main Street (Demolished) from Buffaloah.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Buffalo Germans

Buffalo sports teams have a maligned past. The Bills reached four straight Super Bowls and lost each time, while the Sabres have been victimized by events like Brett Hull's "Game winning Goal." The city's only bright spot seems to be the Bandits who are four time champions in the NLL. For eight years the city had its own basketball team, the Buffalo Braves who are now the Los Angeles Clippers, another franchise without a title.

Despite the city's bleak track record, it has been the home of great champions besides the Bandits. In 1895 a YMCA on the East Side formed a basketball team of the neighborhood's most talented players. This team would have a run in the Amateur Athletics Association, a precursor to the NBA, where they would win 111 games in a row, a streak that lasted from 1908-1910 and the teams final record before disbanding in 1925 was 792-86. In 1961 the entire team was inducted in the the Basketball Hall of Fame and is one of ten teams to have been inducted as a unit. Some of the other teams inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame include the Harlem Globetrotters, 1960 Mens Olympic Basketball Team and the 1992 Mens Olympic Basketball Team. In addition to their accolades in league play, the Buffalo Germans won two major tournaments, the second of which brought a world championship to Buffalo.

Image from joxpreps.com
The first tournament won by the Buffalo Germans was held as part of the Pan-American Exposition, six years after the team's inception. At least seven teams from across the Northeast competed at the event and the Buffalo Germans emerged victorious after going undefeated in the tournament. In 1904 the Buffalo Germans again took part in a major tournament, this time in St. Louis Missouri as part of the 1904 Olympics. The basketball tournament in these Olympic games was held from July 11-12 and featured six teams. They were The Buffalo Germans, The Westside and Central YMCA of Chicago, Turner's Tigers from San Francisco, The Missouri Athletic Club, The Central YMCA of St. Louis, and The Xavier Athletic Club of New York. Though only six teams competed, the tournament was doubtlessly a grueling affair. Using a round robin format each team played five games over two days. Again the Buffalo Germans went undefeated and following their victory in the tournament they proclaimed themselves World Champions, a title they doubtlessly deserved.
The Buffalo Germans with their trophies Image taken from Wikipedia.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Linde Air Products: Extracting Oxygen and Building the Bomb

By Matthew Shoen

I think we are all well aware of Buffalo’s historic industries and the important companies that shaped this city. Companies like the Lackawanna Steel Plant are nationally known, and on this blog we’ve covered smaller industrial compounds like the Mentholatum Factory and Kreiner Malthouse. One factory complex in North Buffalo has however slipped under the radar. This factory is a nationally significant complex located at 155 Chandler Street. The complex was once the Linde Air Products Factory, the first producer of purified liquid oxygen in the United States.

Liquid oxygen isn’t flashy like steel mills, or quirky like Mentholatum ointment, but the liquid oxygen produced at the Linde Air Products Factory was crucial for the development of this country in ways that might require a bid of chemistry to understand.

Historically, pure oxygen was extracted from the decay of either potassium chlorate or barium oxide. The most common use of this extracted oxygen was the creation of limelights an early stage lighting tool used in theaters. Limelight production sustained many early oxygen-producing companies but the market was incredibly constrained by the limited uses people had for purified oxygen. In the 1890s this changed when a French scientist named Henri le Chatelier discovered that when he mixed acetylene with pure oxygen he could create a flame that burned at 3200C the highest temperature mankind had obtained to that point. Le Chatelier’s discovery sparked a growing demand in pure oxygen as new uses for oxyacetylene were experimented with. Early on there were attempts to use it in lighting but these plans quickly faded as incandescent lightbulbs and electricity became the standard bearers of illumination. Though it was an inefficient lighting source, oxyacetylene found a major market in the welding and metal cutting industries. Oxyacetylene torches became crucial to steel cutting, bridge building, ship construction, and many other industrial processes. The benefits of these new torches were felt initially in Europe as European scientists had been the ones to experiment with oxygen separation and acetylene production. One European, a German man named Carl Von Linde, whose air rectification process made him one of the premiere suppliers of liquid oxygen in the world, wanted to grow his company, and saw America as a market primed for expansion. In 1906 he began soliciting for investors and in 1907, on Thanksgiving Day, the first Linde Air Products oxygen factory was opened in Buffalo.


The Linde Air Products Factory was found quick success and quickly outstripped its German parent company. Feeling constrained by management from overseas, the American investors in Linde Air Products began pulling away from the German company. Tensions between the branches were only exacerbated by the growing tensions between America and German. The two branches separated when the United States entered World War I, and in 1917 the American Branch of Linde Air came under ownership of the Union Carbide Company a major seller of acetylene and oxyacetylene torches from Niagara Falls. The merger of these two companies, along with the addition of a  few small acetylene producing companies, made Union Carbide one of the most powerful dealers of welding equipment and industrial gases in the western hemisphere. 

Had Linde Air Products been nothing more than America’s first oxygen production company its importance would have been clear. However, Linde Air Products was an important part of one of the defining moments of twentieth century American history. Primarily in the company’s Tonawanda facility, but also with support from the lab on Chandler Street, Linde Air Products worked on the Manhattan Project, helping to enrich uranium for the atomic bomb.

By the outbreak of World War II, the Chandler Street facility had transitioned from an oxygen producing factory to a research laboratory. The Linde ceramics factory already had experience utilizing uranium for ceramic glazing and in 1943 it was chosen to enrich uranium for the atomic bombs. The Chandler Street facility likely provided support to the scientists working in Tonawanda. Though I wasn’t able to find any explanation of how the Chandler Street lab and Tonawanda facility worked together it is clear that employees at both facilities were involved in the Manhattan Project. In 1945, just after the war ended, General Leslie Groves the commander in chief of the country’s atomic division came to Buffalo and gave medals to the Linde employees who’d been involved in the Manhattan Project. Among them was Louis Ayres who worked in the Chandler Street Lab. Who is Louis Ayres and what was his involvement in the Manhattan Project? Unfortunately the intense level of secrecy surrounding the development of atomic weaponry has made researching Linde’s role in the creation of nuclear weapons difficult to pin down. The company constantly offered positions in its plants for experienced chemists and lab assistants, likely to assist in the uranium enrichment process, but these advertisements offer nothing more than hints to the scope of the company’s role in the Manhattan Project.  The Tonawanda plant’s involvement in uranium ore enrichment has been well documented, however the contributions of the Chandler Street lab have never been disclosed and remain classified.
Linde Air in Tonawanda, site of Uranium Enrichment for the Atomic Bomb.
Image from Fultonhistory.com


Unfortunately the effects of Linde’s uranium enrichment in Tonawanda have been well documented in recent decades. 37 million gallons of radioactive water and sludge were dumped into shallow wells in Tonawanda between 1944-46 providing a continued question of how to best deal with this waste and the effects it might have on future generations. Given the long half-life of so many of these radioactive materials they will certainly affect Western New York for hundreds of years.


Because of this radioactive dumping Linde Air Products holds a dubious place in the history of Western New York. While the company brought oxygen extraction to America and became part of one of the most powerful chemical companies in the country, it also was responsible for creating major environmental hazards through its work on the Manhattan Project. The company’s technological advances make it one of the most significant businesses in Buffalo, but the manner in which those technologies were put to use has created lasting issues.  Further, I’m still curious to know how the Chandler Street Plant was used. More than likely it supported operations in the Linde ceramics factory and had no real impact on the Manhattan Project. Still, the plant’s status as a classified site has me curious. If we know the army was enriching uranium in Tonawanda who knows what they were doing on Chandler Street?

Image from blog.nuclearsecrets.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Copper and Brass: Buffalo’s other Metallurgical Industries

By
Matthew Shoen

Buffalo is one of many Rust Belt cities that lived and died by the steel industry. Companies like Lackawanna Steel employed thousands of Buffalonians, driving the city’s success throughout the twentieth century. However, in the shadows of giants like Lackawanna Steel that employed tens of thousands, Buffalo also had a vibrant copper and brass industry, which, in 1910, employed over 1,800 people. The nature of copper and brass manufacturing is the focus of this latest post.

A chunk of copper ore. Image taken from Wikipedia.

Copper and brass are two metals that have been with human beings since our emergence from the Stone Age. In fact, the widespread understanding of how to smelt copper is one of the key points of delineation between the Stone Age and Bronze Age. 

Copper is a naturally occurring metal, distinctive in appearance for its red color and distinctive in use for its malleability. Copper can be pounded flat, shaped, and sharpened, allowing for the creation of edged tools with greater durability than flint and the early stone hand axes humans had been utilizing. Around 4,200 B.C.E. Middle Eastern peoples discovered that by placing copper ore in clay kilns they could heat the metal until it liquefied, removing impurities from the copper and leaving behind a stronger, more easily shaped product.

Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc was a discover of the smelting process as both copper and zinc are frequently discovered in a natural bond with each other. Starting with this discover, copper and brass would remain critical metals in the evolution of human existence. Both metals would become important in ancient decorative arts and early coinage. Starting in the sixteenth century, brass would become the premiere metal for cannon and rifle barrels, while copper would be used for plating on the bottom of ocean vessels to keep their hulls from rotting and to prevent barnacles from forming colonies. Both metals became important for practical household use, with much of the world's copper going to kettles, pots, and eating utensils.

The Industrial Revolution created a new demand for copper and brass. The malleability of both metals made them perfect for creating pipes, valves, joints, and other pieces of equipment necessary to new industrial processes.[1] In Buffalo, the copper and brass industry contributed to the city’s industrial growth in two separate facilities, the Buffalo Smelting Works, and the Aldrich and Ray Manufacturing Company Building.

Located on Austin Street in Black Rock, the Buffalo Smelting Works was a large copper ore foundry operated by the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company from 1891 to 1914. The smelting works was used by the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company to convert its raw ore, mined from copper mines in Michigan, into pure copper. The smelting works also extracted silver from the ore, returning even more mineral value to its parent company following each successful smelting. Copper extracted from the ore shipped to Buffalo was returned by steamer to Michigan where it was likely rolled and shipped out for sale across the country to copper manufacturers.  

One copper manufacturer that likely bought rolled copper from Calumet & Hecla was the Aldrich and Ray Manufacturing Company whose manufacturing space was located on Niagara Street. Founded in 1879 by Schuyler Aldrich, the company was the largest brass and copper manufacturer in New York State by 1898, consuming over 800 tons of copper each year to produce goods ranging from copper kettles and pots, to soda fountains, and fixtures for hotels and restaurants. The company's factory stands to this day and is a four story brick building with numerous windows along the front facade and sides that allowed light to enter the workspaces. 

The Aldrich and Ray Manufacturing Company Building.

It is interesting to contrast the size and scope of operations in the Aldrich and Ray Manufacturing Company to the city’s steel giants. Despite the high volume of copper consumed by Aldrich and Ray, the company had only forty employees.[2] Further, Aldrich and Ray operated entirely out of their one building on Niagara Street. Compare that to Buffalo’s steel companies whose plants covered hundreds of acres and featured multiple buildings working together to refine and shape steel. Thousands of men were employed at each facility, allowing steel to dominate Buffalo's marketplace.

The size discrepancy shows interesting differences in the business model of big steel vs. copper and brass manufacturers. Steel was utilized for construction projects and infrastructure building, meaning its was produced in massive quantities. Further, steel is much more difficult to create when compared to copper and brass. The refining process for steel wasn't made economical until the late nineteenth century. Compare that to copper, which people had been refining since 4,200 B.C.E.

While steel was used for large scale building projects, copper and brass have always been marked by their flexibility and adaptable uses. The metals are easily molded and altered and this ability partially explains why so many copper and brass manufacturers existed in Buffalo and the rest of the country, rather than large conglomerates that marked the steel industry. Each manufacturer was capable of shifting production to create a wide range of goods, molded to the specifications of the individual client. This flexibility allowed many small copper and brass manufacturers to flourish, but never to the level of the nineteenth century steel magnates who monopolized steel production in the late nineteenth century. 

Copper and brass have been with us since the Bronze Age, shaping our world as we shape these metals into the tools we needed. In Buffalo, copper and brass became major products for the city, though they were effectively overshadowed by steel production. Nonetheless, copper and brass played an important role in the development of Buffalo and the growth of its metallurgical industry.

Example of a julep strainer made by the Aldrich and Ray Manufacturing Company.
Image taken from Etsy.com.






[1] Brass gained additional significance for its inability to create sparks.
[2] “Good Times,” The Buffalo Courier, November 4, 1894, 5.