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Boston bellfoundry data

This page presents selected raw data from various issues of the city directory for Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  These data items were selected for their actual or probable relevance to the bellfounding industry.  Some of the data items were expected, because they relate to the personnel of two major bellfoundries which are known to have operated in this city.  Some of the items were unexpected, and probably relate to firms which were dealers rather than bellfounders.  Certainly that is the case for a number of items which are evidence for the presence of an office of a well-known English manufacturer of steel bells.  Excluded from this selection are bell-hangers, whose business was the installation and maintenance of mechanical doorbells and servant call bells.

A description of the raw data is given on this page (below); the interpretation of that data is found on separate pages about the three major firms:  the Revere bellfoundry, the Hooper/Blake bellfoundry and the Naylor-Vickers office.  (See also the compiler's notes below.)  Also included are a few items about other bell-related business; these have not yet been utilized elsewhere.

Contents:

Source
Description
Data: 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1865, 1870, 1872, 1875, 1885, 1905
Compiler's notes

Source:

Boston city directories for several representative years have been digitized for online access via the Tufts Digital Library.  One is identified thus:
   Title: The Boston directory, embracing the city record, a general directory of the 
      citizens, and a business directory for the year commencing July 1, 1870.
   Author: Sampson, Davenport, & Co.
   Date: 1870
   URL: http://dl.tufts.edu/view_text.jsp?urn=tufts:central:dca:UA069:A069.005.DO.00018
From that identification, the other directories at the same location can readily be found by anyone who needs information that is not presented below.  (Exception: The 1850 business directory is from a different source.)

Description:

The Boston city directories are similar to those from other major American cities of the 19th century.  The bulk of the material is an alphabetic listing (by last name) of all citizens who conducted, or were employed in, commercial, political or charitable operations of all kinds, or who were heads of households.  This listing includes the names of commercial partnerships or enterprises.

Prefacing the alphabetic section is various descriptive material about the city.  In some directories, the alphabetic section is followed by a Business Directory, which is a classified listing of various enterprises; this may be a brief summary or an exhaustive list.  Typically there will be some amount of advertising material, usually done with a wide variety of fancy typefaces and sometimes including engraved images as well.

In the Tufts Digital Library (TDL), the alphabetic listing by name has been processed through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) so that it is fully searchable by word or phrase.  Furthermore, it is indexed and paginated so that all entries with the same last name can be seen on a single page.  Other material has only been scanned as graphical page images, so it is not searchable; small typefaces are often not entirely readable.  (The online directories for some years do not contain this material, or contain only parts of it.)  Unfortunately, this material has been partially or completely omitted for some years of the directories; where present, it is often poorly indexed.  Nevertheless, it is occasionally useful.

All relevant data from the alphabetic section of each available year is recorded here exactly as found in the source except for four minor editorial changes:
1)  Where words are obviously run together, a space has been inserted for readability.
2)  Long lines have been re-wrapped for readability.  (The OCR processing by TDL did not preserve original line wraps.)
3)  A few comments have been inserted in [square brackets].  Some emphasize the absence of data for a particular name that is present for other years; others reflect the separate capture of various graphical images.
4)  For most years, the alphabetic entries have been grouped according to the particular business to which they are relevant.  Within each such group, the original alphabetic order is retained.

Any relevant data found in the graphic page images has been captured for reference by the compiler of this page (and mention is made of that fact), but for the most part it is not presented here. In a few instances, information from those images has been transcribed here.

The mark [?] indicates that a transcription is questionable, either because the compiler of this page found a graphic image not entirely readable, or because there appears to be an error in the digitization of the directory, or because there is suspicion of a typographical error in the original directory.

Common abbreviations found in the data:
  bds. = boards   [rents a room, usually with morning and evening meals included]
  h. = house   [probably implying ownership of a single-family residence]
  & Co. = and Company   [implying that there are other investors in this commercial venture]
  st. = street   [also implied after all other street names]
  pl. = place   [rather than "street"]
  c. = corner   [of two streets]

Data:

 
From 1845 city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  Blake William (H. N. Hooper & Co.), h. 35 Allen
  Hooper Henry N. & Co. (Blake Wm. and Richardson Thomas), copper dealers, 24 Commercial,
    h. 14 Sheafe
  Richardson Thomas (H. N. Hooper & Co.), h. 4 Minot
  Richardson William L. physician, h. 61 Pinckney  [?]

  [Albert A. Cobb not found]
  [Edward B. Huntington not found]
  [Charles D. Kellogg not found]
  [no George P. King, though many others]
  [Roby?]
  [no Naylor, Schlesinger, or Vickers]

  Revere John, 97 State, h. 122 Tremont
  Revere Joseph W., Battery wharf, h. 122 Tremont
  Revere Joseph W. lieutenant, h. 3 Hamilton
 
From 1850 business directory:
  Hooper, Henry N. & Co. (Wm. Blake & Thomas Richardson), copper dealers, 
    24 Commercial and Causeway, c. Nashua, h. 14 Sheafe
  Richardson, Thomas (H.N.Hooper & Co.), h. 50 Allen
  [Blake not found? suspect directory incomplete!]
  
  Naylor & Co. (E.L.Benzon), steel, 89 Milk
  Vickers, G. N., hardware, boards 60 Pinckney
  [Huntington, King, Schlesinger not found]
  
  Revere Ed. H. R., boards 122 Tremont st.
  Revere Francis, 193 Washington, bds. 9 Kingston
  Revere John, 97 State, house 3 Exeter place
  Revere Joseph W., Battery wf. h. 122 Tremont
 
From 1855 city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  Blake William, (H. N. Hooper & Co.), h. 47 Allen
  Blake William S., sup't, 66 Causeway, bds. 47 Allen
  Hooper, Henry N. & Co., (Wm. Blake & Thomas Richardson), copper dealers, 58 Commercial, 
    and Causeway, cor. Nashua, h. 11 Sheafe
  Hooper H. Northey, 58 Commercial, h. 11 Sheafe
  Richardson Thomas, (H. N. Hooper & Co.), house 50 Allen
  Richardson Wm. L.Mrs., house 60 Allen

  Cobb Albert A., (Kellogg, Cobb & Co.), house at Brookline
  Kellogg (Charles D.), Cobb (A. A.), & Co., hardware, 51 and 53 Water, house 23 Rowe

  Benzon Edmund L. S., (Naylor & Co.), 80 State, h. 77 Boylston
  Huntington Edward B., (Naylor & Co.), 80 State, house Highland st.at Roxbury
  [no George P. King]
  King Wm. L., (Naylor & Co.), 80 State
  [no Naylor & Co. under Naylor - error?]
  Schlesinger B., (Naylor & Co.), house 77 Boylston
  Vickers Geo. N., (Naylor & Co.), 80 State

  Revere John, agent Revere Copper Co., 97 State, house 103 Boylston
  Revere Joseph W., house 173 Tremont
  Revere Paul jr, salesman, 321 Wash. bds. 6 Hayward pl.
  Revere Paul J., house 173 Tremont

  [no Wm.T.Foster]
  [Roby uncertain]

- Business Directory:
  Bell Founders:
    Hooper H. N. & Co. 58 Commercial
    Kellogg Cobb & Co. 51 Water (ag'ts)
  Iron and Steel:
    Naylor & Co. 80 State (sttel[?])
Preparation of the 1860 Boston city directory for online access via the Tufts Digital Library is in progress (or at least in planning).
 
From 1865 city directory:
- The Meridian Bells.  [on page prior to Harbor and Health sections]
  "Bells at their various locations on Churches, School-Houses, Engine Houses, and in
   Police Stations, are struck from the Fire-Alarm Office, precisely at noon every day.  
   Care is taken to secure the utmost accuracy in the time; for which purpose a first-rate 
   chronometer and a transit instrument of the best quality are used, and observations of 
   the sun are made as often as necessary."
- alphabetic entries:
  [no Benzon nor any variation thereof]
  Blake William (H. N. Hooper & Co.), 66 Causeway, house at Watertown
  Hooper Henry N. & Co. (William Blake and Thos. Richardson), copper dealers, 58 Commercial,
    and 66 Causeway, c. Nashua, house at Roxbury
  Richardson Thomas (H. N. Hooper & Co.), 58 Comm'l and 66 Causeway, house 50 Allen
  Richardson Thos. H. (C. S. Crain & Co.), 43 Pearl, bds. 50 Allen

  Foster (Wm. T.) & Roby (W. G.), brassfounders, 178 and 180 Commercial, bds. at Medford
  Roby W. Gould (Foster & R.), brassfounders, 178 Commercial, bds. 3 Cambridge

  Huntington Edward B. (Naylor & Co.), 80 State, house at Rockland street, Roxbury
  King George P. 80 State, house at Roxbury
  Naylor & Co. (B. Schlesinger, E. B. Huntington & S. B. Schlesinger), iron, steel, and bells,
    80 State
  Schlesinger Barthold (Naylor & Co.), 80 State, h. at New York
  Schlesinger Sebastian B. (Naylor & Co.), 80 State, boards Hotel Pelham
  [no Vickers connected]

  Revere John, agent Revere Copper Co. 97 State, h. 103 Boylston
  Revere Joseph W. house 173 Tremont
- Business Directory (classified):
  Bells:
    Foster & Roby, 178 & 180 Commercial (see adv. dep p.62)  [advt.image saved]
 
From 1870 city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  Blake William & Co. (Wm. S. Blake), bell founders, copper dealers and manuf. 66 Causeway,
    house 47 Allen
  Blake William S., (Wm. Blake & Co.), 66 Causeway, house 88 Chambers

  Foster & Roby (Wm. T. Foster and W. G. Roby), brassfounders, 178 and 180 Commercial
  Foster Wm. T., (Foster & Roby), brassfounder, 178 and 180 Commercial, boards at Medford
  Roby W. Gould, (Foster & R.), brassfounder, 178 Commercial, house at East Cambridge
  Roby William H., salesman, 45 Batterymarch, h. at East Cambridge  [poss.connection?]

  Huntington Edward B., (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, h. 3 Rockland
  King George P., (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, house 49 Cedar, Boston Highlands
  Naylor & Co. (B. Schlesinger, E. B. Huntington, S. B. Schlesinger, and George P. King),
    iron, steel, and bells, 6 Oliver and Constitution whf.
  Schlesinger Barthold, (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, h. at New York
  Schlesinger Sebastian B., (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, h. 218 Tremont
  [no Vickers connected]

  Revere Copper Company, 47 Kilby
  Revere John, agent Revere Copper Co. 47 Kilby, house 40 Commonwealth avenue
  Revere Joseph, boards 40 Commonwealth avenue
- advertisements:
  [full page, missing - Howard Watch and Clock]
  1/8pg: Geo.M.Stevens & Co., No.90 Sudbury Street, Boston, Mass.,
         manufacturers of tower clocks, For Churches, Depots and other Public Buildings
         Clocks for striking or chiming the hour, or the quarters, furnished at short notice.
         Tower Clocks repaired or reset, and Hands, Figures, and Minute-dots furnished 
           on favorable terms.
         Also Models, Show-case movements, and every thing appertaining to Clock-work
           or Gearing, made in the best manner.
         Cog-Wheels, of all sizes, constantly on hand or made to order.
 
From 1872 Boston city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  Blake William & Co, . (Wm. S. Blake), bell founders, copper dealers and manuf. 
    Brighton, cor. Allen, house 47 Allen
  Blake William S., (Wm. Blake & Co.), Brighton, cor. Allen, house 152 Chambers

  Foster & Roby, (Wm. T. Foster and W. G. Roby), brassfounders, 178 and 180 Commercial
  Foster Wm. T., (Foster & Roby), brassfounder, 178 and 180 Commercial, h. at Arlington
  Roby W. Gould, (Foster & R.), brassfounder, 178 Commercial, house at East Cambridge

  [Huntington E.B. not listed; no Rockland addr for any Huntington]
  King George P., (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, house 49 Cedar, Boston Highlands
  Naylor & Co, . (B. Schlesinger, S. B. Schlesinger, and George P. King), 
    iron, steel, and bells, 6 Oliver and Constitution wharf
  Schlesinger Barthold, (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, h. at New York
  Schlesinger Sebastian B., (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, h. 218 Tremont
  [no Vickers connected]

  Revere Copper Company, 47 Kilby
  Revere John, agent, Revere Copper Co. 47 Kilby, house 40 Commonwealth avenue
  Revere Joseph, boards 40 Commonwealth avenue

- (neither Blake nor Naylor nor Revere are listed in Index to Advertisements)
- Business Directory (i.e., classified),
  Bells:
    Foster & Roby, 178 and 180 Commercial (new page [?])  [also class. as Brass Founders]
    Naylor & Co, 6 Oliver
  [also several names under Bell hangers]
 
From 1875 city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  Blake William & Co, . (Wm. S. Blake), bellfounders, copper dealers and manufs.
    Brighton cor. Allen
  Blake William S., (Wm. Blake & Co.), Brighton, corner Allen, house 21 Allen
  Blake William Mrs., widow, house 47 Allen

  Foster & Roby, (Wm. T. Foster and W. G. Roby), brassfounders, 178 and 180 Commercial
  Foster William T., (Foster & Roby), brassfounder, 178 and 180 Commercial, h. at Arlington
  Roby W. Gould, (Foster & Roby), 178 Commercial, boards Coolidge House

  King George P., (Naylor & Co.), 6 Oliver, house 49 Cedar, Boston Highlands
  Naylor & Co, . (B. Schlesinger, S. B. Schlesinger, and George P. King), 
    iron, steel, and bells, 6 Oliver, and Constitution wharf
  Schlesinger Barthold, (Naylor & Co), 6 Oliver, house at New York
  Schlesinger Sebastian B, (Naylor & Co.), and consul, for Germany, 6 Oliver, house 79 Marlboro'

  Revere Copper Company, 47 Kilby
  Revere John, treas. Revere Copper Co. 47 Kilby, h. 40 Commonwealth avenue
  Revere Joseph W., bds. 40 Commonwealth avenue
  Revere Joseph W.Mrs., house 9 Newbury
 
From 1885 Boston city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  Blake William & Co. (William S. Blake), bell founders, brass finishers, and manufs. 
    Brighton, cor. Allen -See page 1621   [from which this 1/4 pg advt copied:
      William Blake & Co., Zinc and Copper Dealers.
      Manufacturers / Castings of every kind to order. 
        Every descriptions of Ships' Fastenings, Gas Chendeliers and Brackets.
      And Bell Founders. / Bells of any Weight, either Single or in Chimes.
        All kinds of Iron Work Galvanized in the best manner.
      Corner of Allen and Brighton Streets, Boston.]
  Blake William S. (Wm. Blake & Co.), Brighton, c. Allen, h. 21 Allen
  Blake William Mrs. h. 47 Allen

  Foster William T. & Co. metal dealers, 178 and 180 Commercial, h. at Arlington See page 1520

  King George P. pres. Norway Steel and Iron Co. 70 Kilby, rm. 23, h. 21 Fairfield
  Naylor Amos G. clerk, 75 Kilby, b. at E. Somerville  [coincidence?]
  Naylor & Co. iron and steel, 70 Kilby, rm. 23
  Norway Steel and Iron Co. iron, steel and boiler plates, 363 Dorchester av. office 70 Kilby, rm. 23
  Schlesinger Barthold, 70 Kilby, rm. 23, h. at Brookline
  Schlesinger Sebastian B. consul for Germany, 70 Kilby, rm. 23, h. at New York

  Revere Copper Co. 47 Kilby
  Revere John, president Revere Copper Co. 47 Kilby, h. 40 Commonwealth av.
  Revere Joseph W. 47 Kilby, h. 40 Commonwealth av.
  Revere William, bds. 40 Commonwealth av.
 
From 1905 Boston city directory:
- alphabetic entries:
  [Blake & Co not listed in any form; no Blake residing on Allen]
  Foster William T & Co metal dealers 9 Bowker h at Arlington
  King George P Mrs h 143 Beacon
  [Naylor & Co not listed; Norway not listed]
  [Revere Copper not listed, nor Joseph nor John]
  Schlesinger Barthold, h 92 Mt Vernon

Compiler's notes:  Reading old city directories, whether in paper or online, is rather like reading last year's telephone directory for fun.  To the onlooker, it seems to be unimaginably tedious drudgery.  But to the compiler of data, it's like a treasure hunt - following clues based on what is already known, one suddenly finds unexpected gems of new information.  This page, for example, sprang from a search for supporting data regarding the Hooper/Blake bellfoundry, the history of which is only partially known.  Finding evidence for a Boston office representing the English manufactory of Naylor-Vickers was an unexpected bonus, as it helps to explain the rather surprising number of Naylor-Vickers steel bells which are to be found in the New England area, and indeed elsewhere in the USA.

The inclusion of the data for Foster & Roby is based entirely on their appearance in the classification "Bells" in the 1872 directory.  No bells bearing that name are known to American bell historians.  Since this firm was variously listed as brassfounders and as metal dealers, it is conceivable that they made small bells for the use of bell hangers (i.e., servant call bells, etc.) and/or that they acted as agents for western bellfoundries.

One hopes that the TDL will complete the planned work to put the 1860 city directory online, along with others that would fill in some of the gaps in the data presented above.


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This page was created 2005/12/18 and last revised 2006/03/20.

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