National Carriage Builders Convention, Carll’s Opera House, New Haven, Connecticut. October 18th and 19th, 1883

MONDAY, Oct 15. — ‘The Gathering of the Waters.’ The New Haven House made the official headquarters and Carll’s Opera House the place of meeting. Preparatory meetings of the Executive Committee and Committee on Technical Education.

TUESDAY, Oct 16. — Annual Exhibition opened in tents adjoining the Opera House. Visits to local carriage factories. Further meetings of the Executive Committee and Committee on Technical Education. Complimentary dinner given by Secretary Hooker at his home to the Executive Committee followed by a general reception in his parlors, also theatre entertainment at Carll’s Opera House.

-Image courtesy of Archive.org, “New Haven Directory CT Connecticut,” by Price, Lee and Co., 1883

WEDNESDAY, Oct 17. — First business session of the Convention lasting from 10:45 AM to 1 PM. Chief subject of discussion the Apprenticeship question. Second business session lasting from 2:30 to 4 PM. General business reading of reports election of officers and selection of St Louis for the place of meeting next year. Exhibition of carriage materials open all day. Further meetings of the Executive Committee and Committee on Technical Education. Social entertainments at the Quinnipiac and Mercantile Clubs.

THURSDAY, Oct 18. — Third business session lasting from to 10 AM to 12:30 PM. Report of Committee on Technical Education and call for subscriptions to carry on the work of the Trade School. Upwards of $6,500 was immediately subscribed for the purpose. Exhibition continued open throughout the day. Annual Banquet at Carll’s Opera House lasting from 8 to 11:30 PM. After the banquet the band adjourned to the Quinnipiac Club House, and a social entertainment was kept up until (?)

FRlDAY, Oct 19. — Close of the session. Visits to carriage factories, museums and Yale College. Excursions to various points of interest. Good bye.”
-Excerpt courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883. (top) Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884

-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884

“GENTLEMEN: In calling this convention to order, I desire, before entering upon the business of the day, to express gratification that we are again permitted to meet in this beautiful city of New-Haven.

There are reasons why our Association should feel especially at home in this city. As most of you are no doubt aware, our association was first organized in New-York, in 1872; but its breath of life during the first few years was rather feeble; and when, after skipping one annual meeting, we gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1876, and only fifteen members showed sufficient interest in its welfare to cast votes for the election of officers for the ensuing year, it is no wonder that its friends and supporters felt disappointed and that lookers on prophesied a speedy end to its existence. But those fifteen friends of the movement stood shoulder to shoulder, strong in their faith that such an organization was destined to prove useful as a promoter of peace and good-will among the members of our great and growing trade. They elected officers as usual; they determined thereafter to follow up each annual reunion with a dinner; and they happily fixed upon New-Haven as the place of meeting in l877 — a city, then, as now, justly considered the carriage center of this country.

The year rolled around; and the next meeting day arrived. The words ‘Except ye be born again,’ proved as applicable to the welfare of this Association as in their spiritual significance. Here the Carriage Builders National Association had its new birth; here we first met socially as man and man engaged, one and all, in the same reputable calling; here we first dined together at the same board and here the feeble infant of ’76 received the needed nourishment and encouragement from which it has since developed into the full manhood of ’83 which it today exhibits.

It has been said that its annual banquets, happily proposed by our esteemed member from Portland, Maine, chiefly contributed to its new lease of life. True, but only partly true! It owed still more to the cordial greeting and support which it received that year from the members of the trade in this city, who welcomed us with open arms on our arrival, and made our three days’ visit an occasion never to be forgotten. We felt that we were among carriage-makers, friends among friends, and we have ample evidence that the same is true to-day, when we come here with a membership of over six hundred, and having won the respect and good will of not only the entire carriage trade and its accessories, but of many outside trades which watch our progress with lively interest.

It was the large-hearted hospitality of the New Haven carriage-builders, which gave new life to our Association in a period of doubt and peril, and it is therefore with special pride and thankfulness that I am privileged to take the chair here to-day, and as your representative, to thank our New-Haven friends most heartily for their past and present courtesies, and to express the hope that we are here to receive new inspiration for increased usefulness in our future work.

Gentlemen: I have now the pleasure to declare the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association open for the transaction of business.”
-Excerpt courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883

-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883

The Annual Banquet.

“ACCORDING to custom, the annual meeting closed with a grand banquet, which was served in Carll’s Opera House on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 18th.

A corps of workmen had been employed throughout the afternoon in decorating the hall, while Mr. Myer, chef of the Hotel Brunswick New-York, had been equally busy organizing his force of assistants, including one hundred trained waiters specially brought from New-York for the occasion. Six double-truck loads of table utensils had also been transported from the metropolis; and a range had been temporarily set up in the basement of the building.

At 7:45 PM the Wheeler & Wilson Band of twenty four pieces, composed of employés of the Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine Co., of Bridgeport (Mr. S. C. Rosenberg, conductor), appeared before the New-Haven Hotel, and led the way to the Opera House, followed by the President and executive officers of the Association, the invited guests, the delegates, and citizens possessing tickets of admission to the galleries.

The scene, upon entering the hall, was one of unusual brilliancy. At the back of the stage was the guests’ table, forming a half circle, and partly inclosing that set apart for the press; while the remaining tables ran lengthwise down the stage and the parquette, the latter being floored over, even with the stage. At short intervals, around the auditorium, and between the flies of the stage, were bowers formed by clusters of tropical plants, furnished by Dickerman, of New-Haven; while countless streamers in red, white and blue, extended from the galleries to a common center in the dome, furnishing a brilliant canopy. Numerous Chinese lanterns were introduced in the lower part of the hall, and above the center of the stage hung a chandelier of one hundred and forty burners, supplemented at the front of the stage by a line of glass globes forming the initials, C. B. N. A., of the Association’s title. In front of the boxes were displayed drawings by pupils of the Technical School, the presentation drawing of a Cabriolet, by Mr. Geo. R. Cady, draftsman with Henry Hooker & Co., and the illuminated greeting sent to the Association, some years ago, by the Worshipful Company of Coach and Coach Harness Makers of London, England. The latter was handsomely framed, and supported on an easel. All the tables were lavishly decorated with flowers, cut glass and set pieces of great variety; and by the side of each guest’s plate was a souvenir in the form of a dog-cart or sleigh, made of gilded rattan and filled with cut flowers. The private boxes were occupied by the families of Messrs. Jas. G. English and C. S. Mersick, on the right, and those of Hon. N. D. Sperry and Mr. Frank H. Hooker on the left; while the balcony was well filled with spectators, and the second gallery was occupied by the band.

Promptly at 8 o clock President McLear took his place at the head of the guest table, accompanied by Ex-Presidents Britton and Killam, Vice-Presidents Rogers and Studebaker, Secretary Hooker, members of the Executive Committee, Chaplain Worrall, Representative Weitzell, of Georgia, and other distinguished guests. Grace was then said by Rev. Dr. S. R. Dennen, the two hundred guests took their seats, the band struck up a Strauss waltz, waiters began to circulate, a buzz of conversation arose, and the two succeeding hours were devoted to the enjoyment of the following bill-of-fare:

-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883

At 10 o’clock, coffee having been served, President McLear called the assembly to order, and introduced the following regular toasts, which were appropriately responded to by the gentlemen named:

-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883

In the midst of Senator Platt’s witty speech, interruption was caused by the cry of ‘Fire!’ and a cloud of smoke, pierced by flame, was visible among the silk draperies in the rear of the ladies’ balcony. Every one rose to his feet, and for a moment, the festival seemed destined to come to a sudden and sorrowful termination. The drapery was, however, promptly torn down and the fire extinguished; the band struck up a lively tune; and when this was concluded, Senator Platt continued his address. It is thought that the fire was caused by a match thrown among the draperies by some incautious smoker. The band was greatly praised for their thoughtfulness and spirit in quieting the excitement of the moment by the introduction of so encouraging an air as ‘Yankee Doodle,’ which perhaps alone prevented a stampede for the doors; but we have since learned that the leader was ignorant of the impending danger in the gallery beneath him, and merely interpreted the outcry below as applause following the close of Senator Platt’s address, which he immediately proceeded to supplement in the accustomed manner.

The fourth toast was followed by a song by Mr. Geo. F. Sargent, a New-York gentleman having a powerful and well-trained baritone voice, who sang ‘The Warrior Bold’ very effectively; and, in response enthusiastic demands, followed with ‘Robin Ruff’ and ‘The White Squall.’

Ex-President Britton closed his address with a report as to the result of the morning’s subscriptions toward the Technical School Fund, and stated that Mr. Henry Timken, of St. Louis, had authorized him to substitute a special subscription of $300 in place of that of $25 a year three years, formerly reported. This announcement was received with applause.

At 11:30 the dinner party broke up, and the band escorted a number of the members to the Quinnipiac Club, where they were entertained until a late — that is, quite early — hour, the manner being withheld from publication partly, (let us say) by reason of absence of the official reporter. We think it proper, however, to state that a hearty vote of thanks was given to Mr. Jas. G. English, for energy with which he had assisted in the preparations for the banquet, which was pronounced by all present to be an entire success.”
-Excerpt courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883

Cap’n Si. Jones’s Impressions of the Convention.

“OUR veteran correspondent, Cap’n Si. Jones, attended the recent Convention. Nearly every visitor must have seen him there, and been struck by his rather impressive figure, suggestive of the merchant of the ‘old school,’ though probably very few recognized him as their old friend of Hub fame. It gave us great pleasure, a few days after our return from New-Haven, to receive the following letter from the old gentleman, narrating, in his familiar style, his impressions of the meeting. We reproduce his letter verbatim:

LETTER FROM CAP’N SI. JONES

‘MR. EDITOR:

I have been to the Carriage-makers’ meeting at New-Haven.

I wasn’t just fixed to go, but my son Jim had some important work on hand that he couldn’t leave, and he asked me to go as a substitute, and I am glad I went. For the first time in my life I realized the extent and importance of the carriage trade, and the character and ability of men engaged in it; and I tell you I was proud of ’em.

I saw a few of the veterans of the trade, and I was glad to see the interest they took in the proceedings; but the new men interested me most, the men who are coming up to take the places of the elders, and who are to carry our trade to the position in store for it. I looked ’em carefully, and I made up my mind that a good many of ’em were capable of working on a ‘broad gauge,’ and that our trade is not going backward in its race to win a good place among the industries of the country.

I was present when the Technical School people called for to their fund; and when the Chairman began his appeal for subscriptions, a fellow next to me said, ‘Now, you’ll see ’em scoot,’ — meaning the audience. But he was mistaken. They didn’t scoot worth a cent, but just took the medicine like men, and in half an hour they subscribed several thousands of dollars, to put the school on a good and safe footing.

Now, I d like some one to show me any other trade that will beat the carriage-makers and their associates, in responding to similar calls. When I went home, I told Jim that he needn’t be ashamed of his colleagues, and that he might decide now that his six-year-old boy — young Si. — should learn the trade as soon as he reaches the proper age, which I reckon is about fifteen. If I’m alive when that event comes about, you can just bet that young Si. shall have his chest chock full of good tools!

I liked the side-show also. Why the main tent was almost big enough for Forepaugh’s circus, and it was all free! — and not only free to visitors, but free to the exhibitors; — no wonder some of the associates put up so liberally for the school! I saw a superb piece of forging exhibited, and the exhibitor said ‘That’s for the museum of the Technical School.’ Good for old Massachusetts! I hope this sleigh-maker’s example has been followed by many other exhibitors. I also saw a cute thing in the way of a turn-over split seat for T-carts. The inventor came from Canada, and we Yanks must look out hereafter for those inventors on the other side of the bridge!

I hope everybody saw the several exhibits of bent timber, and the wheels. That big chap had some pretty good specimens of bent work, and I have been wondering, ever since I saw it, where he caught that ash!

What shall I say about the banquet, Mr. Editor? One chap near me called it ‘a daisy.’ Well, it was too big for a daisy, and I guess it came near to a sunflower. Then how about the ‘fire-works’ during the speech of Senator Platt? I ain’t used to being out o’ nights, and thought it was a part of the show; and when the danger was over, a chap near by said that the real fire-works, called for in the programme, would be set off after the banquet, on the common opposite the New Haven House, by Secretary Hooker, assisted by the Executive Committee. Well, I did want to see that part of the show, and so took a seat in a front window of the hotel and waited! Well, after a long wait, a fellow from Oshkosh came along and said I needn’t wait any longer, as the Committee was afraid of taking cold on the green, and had gone down to the ‘Shoe Peg Club,’ and would set ’em off there. That was the only part of the show I didn’t see. I was too tired to visit the Club at that late hour, and went to bed on the top floor — to get good air.

I heard some marvelous stories while at New-Haven. I saw a very likely drummer boy who gave me some account of the Western business — the many thousands of buggies that were produced every hour; and the number was increasing every day. ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘this is a fact, and before long the only way a great Western buggy maker will be able to count his productions will be to give his shipping-clerk a split-second watch.’ I intend to go to St Louis next year, and see with my own eyes, and do some counting myself.

Yours truly,
SI. JONES'”
-Excerpt courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884, The Hub, “Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Carriage Builders’ National Association, Held In New Haven, Conn., October 17th and 18th, 1883,” November 1, 1883

-Image courtesy of Archive.org, “New Haven Directory CT Connecticut,” by Price, Lee and Co., 1883
-Image courtesy of Archive.org, “New Haven Directory CT Connecticut,” by Price, Lee and Co., 1883

ALMOST A PANIC. — A Curtain Takes Fire in Carll’s Opera House, New Haven, but no Serious Damage is Done.

“While the National Carriage Builders’ association were dining in Carll’s opera house to-night, shortly after 11 o’clock, and one of the curtains in the parquette caught fire, creating a panic. Senator Platt was addressing the audience when the fire blazed up. Some cool-headed persons shouted, ‘Sit down, there’s no danger!’ The band struck up ‘Yankee Doodle’ and the fire was soon extinguished. It was caused by a man striking a light for his cigar. There were about seven hundred persons in the theater at the time.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Friday, October 19, 1883

“Mr. Frank Kenny extinguished the curtain on fire at Carll’s Opera House last evening. He was very prompt and efficient. His hands were considerably burned and scorched. After the excitement various of the delegates gallantly employed their time in soothing the excited ladies, wherever it was found agreeable.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Friday, October 19, 1883

-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884

Carriage Builders’ Convention – St. Louis Decided Upon as the Place for the Next Convention — The Draughtsmen’s School — Discussion of the Tariff Question — The Grand Banquet.

“The Carriage Builders’ convention was called to order at 10 o’clock yesterday morning by President McLear. The first question considered was the place for holding the next convention. The executive committee recommended St. Louis and Mr. Britton, of New York named Boston as an amendment.

Mr. Elliott, of Providence, opposed the motion of the gentleman from St Louis and said he believed that the association should go to Providence because Providence has the largest hotel in New England and is accessible from all points. The people also have large hearts in Providence. Mr. Elliott further protested against receiving hospitality from anybody. He made this protest because he understood that a contribution was being raised among the citizens of New Haven for the purpose of entertaining the ‘ convention. He considered the acceptance of such hospitality contrary to the spirit and letter of the constitution of the association.

Mr. Britton answered that if Mr. Elliott had been so informed he must have been talking to a bunco steerer. The claims of Washington, Boston and Syracuse as places for holding the next convention were advocated by the different representative delegates, and finally the discussion settled down to an issue between Washington and St. Louis. On a division of the house the majority of the members were found to be in favor of the selection of St. Louis. St. Louis was then named by the chair as the place for next year’s meeting.

George W. Houghton then read the report of the committee on technical education. It included the following:

It is with pleasure that your committee report the successful continuance, during the past year, of the Trade school established and maintained by you, having for its purpose the instruction of carriage draftsmen and mechanics. This school is still carried on in connection with the Trade schools of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city. The third term of the school closed with 44 pupils, against 49 the previous year. New York furnished 35, Canada 2, Maine 1, Massachusetts 1, Ohio 1, Delaware 1, Pennsylvania 1, California 1, and New Haven, Conn 1. Three sessions per week, namely, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, were held during the period beginning October 9, 1882, and closing May 25, 1883, or a total of ninety-four class nights. The attendance was good. The term for ’84 was opened October 8 with evidences of still increasing interest. Three competent teachers have been employed, namely, John D. Gribbon, instructor-in-chief; John C. Konrad, assistant instructor, and J. Polya, special instructor in the principles of the ‘French rule’ of carriage drafting and their application to the needs of body-makers; and thirty-two pupils have already been enrolled, against twenty-eight at the beginning of last term. The course of — instruction this term, as previously — will depend somewhat on the proficiency and requirements of the pupils who are divided into three distinct classes, namely: ‘Introductory class,’ the ‘Class for Body-makers’ and the ‘Class for Full-sized Working Drawings;’ but the following gives a general outline or the proposed studies: I. Linear designing, including scale and full-size drawing; II. Geometry applied to carriage construction, including the principles of the ‘French rule;’ III. Carriage body-making; IV. Construction of carnage gearings; V. Wheel-making; and VI. Principles involved in the suspension of carriages. The competition for the ‘grand prize,’ which will probably be awarded at the close of the present term, promises to make this season unusually interesting. This consists of a three-months’ residence in Paris and tuition during that period in the celebrated Dupont School of Carriage Drafting; all expenses of such residence, tuition and traveling to be defrayed from a fund specially raised for that purpose at the Cincinnati convention in 1881. During the winter of 1882-’83, as previously, the school was addressed by six specialists on various practical subjects connected with carriage mechanics. It is proposed to continue the custom this year and members of the association it is hoped will be heard from.

Your school fund, as will be shown by the report of the treasurer of this committee, though ample for present needs, requires to be increased during the present year.

Your committee desire also to invite contributions to the ‘Technical Library,’ ‘Museum of Models,’ and ‘Collection of Carriage Drawings.’ With this end in view we beg to suggest that any of the models or parts of carriages exhibited by members at this convention, which the owners may feel disposed to contribute, will be gratefully received and cared for.

After the reading of the report Mr. Britton, chairman of the committee, said: ‘By the arrangements we have made it will be possible for any apprentice boy in the course of a year to learn to become a good draughts-man. The Chatauqua system has been adopted. Probably you all know what the Chatauqua system is, and it may be superfluous for me to say that the system is one by which scholars are taught in localities widely distant from the school itself. There are, I understand, thirty thousand people now receiving lessons from the original Chatauqua school. The adoption of this system allows of the teaching of boys in all parts of the country. We have had boys come to us from Salt Lake City. One of them proved one of our best scholars. Now that we have obviated the necessity of the attendance at the school in New York, and are ready to teach any apprentice or artisan in the land all the mysteries of mechanical drawing, we expect that the manufacturers of the country will support us generously. The instructor at the school, a man of the best capabilities and a man who could easily make better pay elsewhere, performed the duties of instructor for the munificent sum of $400 per year. Nobody is making a fortune out of the funds of the school. But the general interests of the trade are greatly benefitted.’ Mr. Britton continued to discuss the necessity of the school at length and to show that it was not only possible, but eminently practicable, to give drawing lessons by mail. When he sat down he was loudly applauded, and nearly every carriage builder in the hail subscribed to the fund, the largest subscription being in the name of Larsen Valentine and to the amount of $1,000. The subscriptions averaged, probably $40 annually for three years, and came from manufacturers in Denver, Colorado, Cheyenne, Wyoming and every city east of those points where carriages are built.

The next number on the programme of the unfinished business left over from Wednesday was the resolution proposed by William H. Sparks, of Camden, N. J., requiring such a change in the tariff as would benefit the entire trade and enable American manufacturers to compete with those of other nations. Mr. Sparks took the floor at the instance of the chair and made strong speech in favor of his resolution presented on Wednesday.

Other members spoke pro and con on the resolution, which was finally defeated by a large majority. The convention then thanked the local committee, press and city officials for the entertainment offered them. Mayor Lewis, in the name of President Porter, extended the freedom of the college to the delegates. Thanks were returned. Mr. DeGolyer suggested offering a reward of $500 for the most improved substitute for the common driving buggy to be exhibited at the next convention.

It was suggested by Mr. Studebaker that lecturers be hired to go around the principal carriage depots to lecture to the scholars.

An adjournment was then taken till October 15, 1884, in St. Louis.

THE GRAND BANQUET AT CARLL’S OPERA HOUSE.

The grand banquet was served in the Carll Opera House. A brilliant scene was presented. The stage had been enlarged to twice its size by a temporary flooring laid over the parquet the same as at the Yale junior promenade, Grays’ annual promenade, etc. Extending nearly the whole length of the wide expanse were five long tables, the three central ones being over 100 feet in length, the side ones shorter, and these were flanked at the extreme rear end of the hall by the table for the president, executive officers and distinguished guests. Each, table with its snowy spread, its array of cut glass ware, neatly folded napkins, plates, etc, was set off with lovely flowers, while the surroundings were rendered specially attractive by flags, flowers, foliage plants, pictures and other decorative aid. The hall was brilliant with light. Three hundred extra burners from over the stage were in use. Out in the main vestibule just inside the outer door was a temporary pine wood partition inside which the mysteries of the cuisine department were concealed from view, and down below in the darker regions was the heating apparatus brought front lbs Hotel Brunswick, New York, the catering being supervised by M. Myers, chief of staff, and a small brigade of white waiters being in attendance.

The menu was as follows:

-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Friday, October 19, 1883  

The music was by Wheeler & Wilson’s brass band, and did credit to the band’s well-earned reputation. The programme was as follows:

-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Friday, October 19, 1883  

The disposing of the banquet occupied from 8 to 10 and was much enjoyed. President McLear was the toast master and opened the exercises with a few happy introductory remarks. About 10 o’clock Mayor Lewis responded to the toast, ‘The City of New Haven.’ He said he was proud to welcome this great body of carriage makers of the country. In the name of the fair assemblage he bade the carriage makers welcome to the city of New Haven. (Applause.) ‘I bid you welcome in the name of the city and God bless the carriage fraternity.’ After music by the band Hon. Isaac H. Bailey, of New York, responded to the toast, ‘Our Country.’ He said he was willing to give away a few thousand square miles of his topic if anybody wanted it. The first thought in the mind of every American when he thought of his country was that it was a far greater country than any other. He believed that the country was remarkably well governed. The right to rule comes from the people. No American should disparage his country. He had great pride in his country. Our institutions govern themselves. He would like to encourage a love of country in many people. If he desired to present a class of people who pay their debts — when times are good — he would present the carnage makers. They are practical, respectable citizens. If Yale graduates do as well when they go out the speaker would have a better opinion of our educational institutions than he had. His speech was interrupted by applause at frequent intervals. The next speaker was Professor Cyrus Northrop, who responded to the toast ‘Education.’ He said: ‘I am very grateful to the committee of this association for an invitation, which enables me to be present on this occasion. We have met to celebrate this glorious convention and the union of education and labor. ‘What God hath joined together let no man put asunder.’ I stand here as a representative of an education which not only makes thinking men, but patriotic men. The grand aim of all education is to so develop all the material interests of the world that the world shall be the best world possible for human existence. When I look at this country we have old William Shakespeare as has every other country, but we have also our grand fields and growing cities. Our country has thinking men who are doing for the world what centuries before have failed to accomplish. Plenty and comfort abound. Education makes men better, more wide-awake to find something new to advance their interests. We have education, warm, loving, and tending to make our homes sweeter and our lives less hard. Educated labor is doing wonders for this country. I want to see every man a politician, an educated man, a laborer, and then they will be models.’

Hon. O. H. Platt responded to the toast, ‘The Mission of Manufacturers.’ He said he was not a carriage manufacturer. Once he bought a second-hand buggy and horse. The horse ate up the carriage and he ate up the horse. That was all he knew about the carriage business. He spoke of the duty of manufacturers to make good, honest, serviceable goods, with no sham about them. Then they should be sold at a fair cost. Absolute selfishness on the part of manufacturers is absolute demoralization. It is also the manufacturer’s duty to impart to his goods as much of artistic beauty as was practicable. Every beautiful form which the manufacturer makes helps to ennoble mankind. During his speech one of the curtains at the rear of the first gallery caught fire and for a moment a panic seemed imminent, but the flame was soon extinguished. A few rushed from their seats. The band played and all excitement subsided. The next exercise was a song by George F. Sargent, Esq., of New York. He sang ‘The Warrior Bold.’ In response to an encore he gave ‘Robin Ruff.’ In response to a second encore he sang ‘That Bridge.’

Hon. Henry C. Robinson then spoke in response to the toast ‘Locomotion.’ He said he knew not whether to begin with the wheelbarrow or bicycle, the locomotive or the stars. He wished he could do as the actors and appear in varied parts. He never was abashed except in the presence of men who were creators. We used to wonder at the story of Cinderella and her fairy god mother, who made such startling transformations. But hers were insignificant when compared with those of the manufacturers. We believe in association. The idea is working out the brotherhood of men. He believed that carriage makers in general did not believe in shams. The drift of the age is towards sincerity. He believed that the locomotive was a better type of civilization than the ancient temples of Greece. It equalizes and brings together all men from all over the world.

Rev. Dr. J. M. Worrall, of New York, responded to the toast ‘Our Wants.’ He said he had great pleasure in regarding himself as one of the carriage makers, and had taken great pride in being chaplain of the occasion. He said he had been much impressed with the manufactories and the educational institutions of New England. The association’s wants must have underlying them this principle — foresight and personal consideration for the future. The motto should be ‘Look Aloft’ The boys should be trained and impressed with high conceptions or the work that lies before them.

Hon. N. D. Sperry responded to the toast, ‘Honorary Members.’ His speech thoughtful and brilliant. In closing be said:

‘I have spoken too long, but I want to say there is something grand in an association like this. Here men can come together engaged in the same business and discuss with each other as to how best the carriage business can be promoted and prosecuted; and that, too, without jealousy on the part of any. Your association represents the best side of mankind. Your interest is the interest of every one who buys or uses carriages. The people profit by your combined thoughts, exertions and skill. Honor, then, all honor to your association. Go on, as you have begun, and mankind will appreciate your efforts; and may prosperity attend your steps and an abundant harvest be your reward.’

The last toast of the evening was ‘The Carriage Builders,’ responded to by John W. Britton, Esq. He spoke of. the work that the carriage builders had done and the improvements they had made. He complimented them as being one of the most enterprising classes of manufacturers in the country. American carriages had a world-wide reputation.

At the close of the banquet, about 12:30 o’clock, fireworks were set off and the convention went out in a blaze of glory. The night boat on the old line waited till 1 o’clock to take away those who wished to go.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Friday, October 19, 1883  

Carriage Builders’ Association — The Proceedings of the Convention — Discussion in Regard to Apprenticeship — Election of Officers — Forestry Preservation Discussed — Memorials to Consuls — The Tariff Question — Other Matters of Interest.

“The Carriage Builders’ convention was called to order yesterday morning at 10:45 o’clock in Carll’s Opera House by the president and the-regular business of the convention proceeded. President McLear took the chair and after rehearsing the history of the association and touching on the appropriateness of holding the convention a second time in New Haven, ‘which is acknowledged to be the center of American carriage industry,’ he called the meeting to order and said the convention was now ready for the transaction of business.

Reading of reports was next in order. The secretary and treasurer’s report by Frank H. Hooker, of this city, showed that there was in the treasury October 10, 1882, $1609.86. Honorary members paid in dues $600, and active members $275. The receipts from yearly dues were $2,380 and other sources $107.50, making a total of $4,972.36. There was paid out, according to the report of the executive committee, $3,889.52, leaving balance of $1,082.84 as cash in hand.

The executive committee, through R. M. Stiver, chairman, recorded that about 57 active and 60 honorary members have joined the association since the last report or this committee, making the total membership at this time upward of 600. The general quiet that has prevailed throughout the business world has had its influence upon the carriage trade, but it has been less disastrous than with many other manufacturing industries. The record of failures shows but one about every 200 houses engaged in the business — a percentage much below the general average, even in the most prosperous times.

The foreign trade in carriage and wagons shows a marked increase. At the close of the fiscal year July 1, 1883, the exports of carriages for the year from the port of New York were valued at $370,160 and carriage goods to the value of $534,606, a total of $904,766. The exports from other ports advanced the total to upward of $1,000,000. The importance of this trade is further shown by the fact that finished carriages and parts thereof had been shipped to upward of fifty ports of entry. Of the countries. Australia received the largest shipment, British Africa and West Indies next in the order named, and it is gratifying to know that the value of carriages and materials shipped to Great Britain alone was nearly two-thirds the value of the total imports from all countries in our line during the year.

The committee on apprenticeship, consisting of William D. Rodgers of Philadelphia, Chauncey Thomas of Boston and John W. Button of New York, made an elaborate report. In response to the numerous circulars they had sent out asking for information, only twelve replies were received, one of these being from this city. The committee in their report say:

‘The manufacturer of low grades, who largely employs machinery in doing work which his neighbor does by skilled hand labor, believes in many instances that his wants may be supplied without the aid of the apprentice system. This position naturally affects his neighbor, who cannot understand why he should train up workmen for the benefit of those who ignore apprentices, and he ceases to care for the future of the trade lest someone should reap advantages to which he is entitled. This may seem a short sighted view to take of the case, but it is one that is threatening more and more to seriously interfere with the trade at large. It can only be corrected by a public opinion which the constant agitation of the subject by your committee may help to create. The builder of medium and high grades of carriages must be aware that this indifference as to where the skilled labor of the future is to come from is lowering the status and importance of the trade. We learn that in many States the old statutes governing the relations between master and apprentice still remain, but that they have become, in the majority of States, obsolete.’

The report was discussed at considerable length and finally it was voted on motion of Mr. Fierstone, of Ohio, that the committee be continued and draft a plan for apprenticeship.

Secretary Hooker read the invitations of the Y. M. C. A; the Quinnipiac club, N. D. Sperry, president; the Mercantile club, Charles Kimberly, secretary; the Young Men’s Institute, T. Atwater Barnes, president, inviting the association to accept their hospitality. These invitations were accepted and a vote of thanks was passed.

A committee was appointed to select officers for the ensuing year and the convention then adjourned for dinner.

AFTERNOON SESSION.

At the afternoon session the committee reported the following list of officers and they were elected:

President — H. C. McLear, Delaware.

Vice Presidents — George A. Ainslee, Virginia; Hugh Johnson, Michigan; Joseph Enders, Kentucky; Lowe Emerson, Ohio, Robert H. Graham, D. C.; Lewis Thompson, Maine; William P. Sargent, Massachusetts; W. T. Haydock, Missouri; John O. Gould, New York: Joseph Chlyer, New Jersey; C. P. Kimball, Illinois; E. M. Hallowell, Minnesota: P. E. Studbacker. Indiana.

Secretary and Treasurer, Frank H. Hooker, New Haven.

Executive Committee — R. M. Stiver, New York; William J. Rogers, Pennsylvania; W. H. Pray, New York; John W. Britton, New York: C. I. Fierstone, Ohio.

The next business was the report of the committee on memorial to Congress on the timber question, which was read by Mr. Dubois of Philadelphia, on behalf of the Carriage Builders’ association. The destruction of young timber lands, of hickory, oak, ash and walnut was particularly discussed. They ask in the memorial for the establishment of a government school of forestry. Suggest a reward for the planting of hard wood trees and suitable enactment to’ this end. The report was adopted and copies were ordered sent to every Senator and Congressman after being properly engrossed.

J. W. Winchell, secretary of the Georgia Carriage Builders’ association, was introduced and extended words of greeting from his association. He gave a statement of the extension of manufactures in the South, and in Georgia specially. Mr. Winchell was extended the thanks of the association and also requested to carry the good will of this association to the Georgia carriage builders.

Mr. Ogden stated that he desired to say, in addition to what had already been said about the destruction of forests, that there was an indiscriminate cutting of young hickory sprouts for hoop poles and also of oak, which went largely to make up the destruction of the forests. He suggested that State legislation be asked for, especially in New Jersey and Connecticut.

A change in the by-laws was proposed which in substance made it obligatory upon all members of firms to be members, of the association when they are represented by employees as associate honorary members who, up to 1881, were not required to pay dues. Since that time they have paid dues, and the point was to have those honorary members pay dues, or share the expense of the association. The resolution was adopted.

On the recommendation of the executive committee it was voted that hereafter the newly elected president should not be obliged to act until the opening of the convention following his election.

It was voted that all members desiring to exhibit goods shall be taxed to pay the expense.

The executive committee was given power to take such action as they saw fit in regard to members who did not -respond to communications sent by the secretary.

A resolution was passed directing the secretary to forward circular letters to the various United States consuls inquiring in regard to the markets in foreign countries for American carriages or carriage supplies and the duties thereon.

Remarks on the death of Peter Cooper were made by Mr. Britton, of New York, and others.

A resolution was offered by Mr. Sparks that a committee be appointed to memorialize Congress for such changes in the tariff laws as will enable American carriage builders to compete with all parts of the world. Tabled until to-day.

The place for holding the next convention was taken up and Washington, D. C., Boston, Saratoga, Niagara Falls, New Haven, Bridgeport, St. Louis and other cities were named. Action was deferred until this morning at 10 o’clock, to which hour the convention adjourned.

The programme for to day includes unfinished business, the discussion of reports and general business, the grand banquet in the evening bringing the meeting to close.

THE BANQUET THIS EVENING — A BRILLIANT OCCASION.

Carll’s Opera House will present a brilliant scene this evening at the banquet. Plates will be set for four hundred and the spread will be served by the Brunswick Hotel, New York, who will send one hundred colored waiters for the occasion. Dickerman, the florist, will furnish bouquets for the occasion. The stage will be enlarged to twice its size by laying a temporary flooring over the seats in parquet. Addresses will be made by United States Senator O. H. Platt, Professor Cyrus Northrop of Yale college, Hon. J. M. Bailey, Rev. Dr. Wardell of New York, Mr. John W. Britton and others. The banqueting will commence at about 7 o’clock. Among the spectators will be large number of ladies for whom seats and admission tickets have been provided.

A PRIVATE DINNER TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.

A fine dinner was given to the executive committee by Mr. Frank H. Hooker, secretary of the committee, at his residence on Tuesday evening. Those present were: Messrs. R. M. Stivers, of New York; Wm. D. Rogers, Philadelphia; John W. Britton, New York; Wilder H. Pray, New York; C. D. Fierstone, Columbus, O.; Henry McLear, Wilmington, Del.; also James G. English, New Haven. During the evening they were most agreeably surprised by a visit from Messrs. Wm. P. Sargent, of Boston; J. R. Huntingdon, of Amesbury, Mass., and Mr. French, of W. P. Sargent & Co., Boston, and a number of other prominent gentlemen. It was a highly pleasant social affair.

$2,700 RAISED.

In order to receive and entertain the National association, $2,500 was deemed requisite and this sum was raised by subscription and $200 in addition to make a sure thing.

THE DISPLAY BY MANUFACTURERS IN THE TENTS AND OUTSIDE.

There was a large display in the tents back of the Carll Opera House of articles which are necessary adjuncts in the make-up of carriages. About a dozen different States in the Union were represented in the show, each separate display being superintended by a representative of the firm making the exhibit. There was near the entrance a quite elaborate display of gay and bright colors and paint brushes, the latter in show cases, made by F. W. Devoe & Co., New York, and near by M. C. Schrack & Co., of Philadelphia, displayed varnishes. Inside were long board tables on which displays were made. The Chapman Manufacturing company, of Meriden, had a very attractive display, of fancy sleigh bells, gay in appearance and suggestive in their music when rattled of joyous sleigh rides on moonlight nights with the ladies. Mr. Chapman, the manufacturer, personally superintended the display. He has two strips of sleigh bells of the old fashioned kind, graduated in size from big to little, and finely finished. He also manufactures saddlery hardware. Directly opposite was a fine display of heraldic painting by Mr. G. S. Rice, the artist of this city. It attracted much attention. Each was handsomely framed. This is one of the branches of painting in which this artist specially excels. Near the center was a very fine display of the different styles of coach lamps manufactured by the New Haven Car Trimming company of New Haven. Messrs. Goodrich and Moore of the concern were in attendance personally, as also an agent. The goods were very attractive and reflected credit on the establishment. General E. S. Greeley is president of the company. Also other displays in and out of the tents were as follows:

Thompson’s security rein holder, made in Syracuse, N. Y.
Coach lace and fringe, T. J. Schmid, No. 5 West Fourth street, New York.
C. Cowles & Co., New Haven, saddlery hardware. Fine assortment.
Carriage goods, Hardt, Von Vernuth & Co., N. Y.
Carriage lamps and mountings, C. N. Lockwood & Co, Newark.
Horse collars, etc., Henry Smith, New Haven.
Leather cover, carriage bows, by Cleveland Carriage Bow company.
Fairfield rubber company, George H. Meeker agent, a fine variety of carriage goods.
Newark Rubber Clothing works, a display.
The Eberhard Manufacturing company, Cleveland, Ohio, refined malleable iron castings.
William Johnston, of New Haven, exhibited an octagon front landaulet body ironed.
Wallingford Wheel company, a display of wheels and wheel stock.
W. G. Sheppard, New Haven, exhibit of wood bending and carriage part making.
New Haven Wheel company, a fine exhibit.
Charles T. Townsend, of New Haven, exhibit of carriage bodies.
Schollhorn & Tiesing, New Haven, exhibit of coach hardware and specialties.
T. N. Devoe & Co., New York, samples of collars, brushes, &c.
Automatic spring, Columbus Buggy company.
Maud S. Gear company, Watertown, N. Y., exhibit of fancy springs.
Dexter Spring company, Hilton, Pa., an exhibit.
C. R. & J. C. Wilson, Detroit, Mich., carriage and buggy bodies.
Henry Timken, Timken spring, St. Louis, Mo.
Whitney Spring company, Poughkeepsie, N. Y.
Whitney wagon works, wagon gearing, Syracuse, N. Y.
Perfect road cart, L. B. Johns, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Buggy, ironed, by Folger & Lewis, Amesbury, Mass.
Two iron wheelers with Salades springs, Dudley & Co., exhibited by T. F. Lamb, of this city.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Thursday, October 18, 1883

The Carriage Makers’ Convention — Arrival of Delegates — Opening Day To-Day — The Large Tents Back of the Carll Opera House — Grand Banquet To-Morrow Evening.

“Quite a large number of prominent carriage manufacturers have already arrived in the city to attend the annual convention of the carriage manufacturers which opens today. Carll’s Opera House is engaged for two days for the affair. Back of the opera house on the open space to the right are two large canvas pavillions where samples of articles used in making carriages will be displayed. Yesterday afternoon quite a number of gentlemen were present arranging their respective displays, among which were a full line of gay looking sleigh bells of different designs and saddlery hardware by the Chapman Manufacturing Company, of Meriden, Conn.; a display of coach hardware specialties by the Schollhorn & Tiesing Manufacturing company of New Haven; a display of carriage hardware by C. Cowles & Co., New Haven; a display of varnishes by C. Schrack & Co., of Philadelphia, and other shows not yet labelled or ticketed and not yet ready for the public eye. Mayor Lewis visited the grounds and was shown the display by Mr. Carll and Mr. Frank H. Hooker, secretary of the association, arrived soon after with a body of noted carriage manufacturers, whom he escorted about the opera house and among the tents. Inside the opera house back of the stage were quite a large array of boxed goods for the display, pointing to one of which Marshal Carll said there was $1,600 worth of property inside. Near by were the trunks of some of the lady members of the Rice Surprise Party, and some of the young lady members of the company superintending the unpacking for the evening display. The session of the convention opens this morning at 10 o’clock and there will be various business meetings, when affairs of importance will be discussed. New Haven is well entitled to be the scene of the convention, from her importance as a carriage manufacturing city. The value of the carriage makers’ product for 1880 was $108,638,808. New Haven then had thirty nine carriage factories and her goods, which for years have been foremost in the market, were found, as now, in all parts of the world. The New Haven carriages are conceded to be among the best. The value of the Elm City’s output in carriage manufacture in 1880 was about $3,000,000 in round figures, and some 2,000 hands were employed. The growth of the business is shown by the following figures:

-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Wednesday, October 17, 1883

…By means of an extra flooring extending over the parquet seats, the same as at the senior and junior promenades, the stage will be made twice as large for the banquet. It is expected that four hundred will sit down to the feast, which will be provided from the Brunswick Hotel, New York… At the New Haven House last evening many of the prominent carriage manufacturers from abroad come to attend the convention were assembled, many of whom registered their names in a special book provided for the occasion.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Wednesday, October 17, 1883

-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884
-Image courtesy of Google Books, The Automotive Manufacturer, Volume 25, 1884

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