Transforming Women's Work: New England Lives in the Industrial Revolution

Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings

Watson Ely & Son.

Shops of Watson Ely &  Son, Holyoke
Shops of Watson Ely & Son, Holyoke.
        The name of Watson Ely is synonymous with the erection of many of the best buildings in the city of Holyoke. He has grown up with the city, has assisted materially in its remarkable development, through his diligence and skill as a large contractor.
Although now sixty-seven years old, he is still in daily attendance upon business and can give points to many men younger in the trade, for, as we say, has he not seen the city rise and become great? He built the Windsor hotel and Opera house block and the noble City hall, while many of the finer residences of the city, such as those of R. Crafts, J.G. Mackintosh, Messrs. Whiting and Perkins and others, are his handiwork. Mr. Ely has "worked for himself" over thirty years, and about twenty years since, with his energetic son, Franklin W., "a chip of the old block," literally entered upon a new lease of business life, for the two are a strong business team.

Lumber Yard of Watson Ely &  Son, Holyoke
Lumber Yard of Watson Ely & Son, Holyoke
        The firm was formerly on Front street, but in April, 1891, owed to their present commodious and convenient quarters on the corner of Canal and Cabot streets, where they employ fifty men. The buildings and premises show in the engravings and are the best arranged of their kind in the city of Holyoke, fronting about two hundred feet on Cabot street and about on hundred and fifty feet on Canal street.
        Entering the large, well-lighted establishment, one is sure to notice two things id he is an observing person — the flood of light and the absence of interfering shafting. The value of light for the production of good workmanship is generally well understood, and the danger and often useless friction of unnecessary shafting is equally appreciated. In this plae the shafting is all stowed away in the basement and a 75-horse power engine and 100-horse power boiler supply the motive power for the many useful machines which in these days make wood working an easy task.
        In addition to their workshop and lumber yard the Messrs. Ely have a three-story dry kiln, indispensable for he class of work they do, and insuring that very important quality—thorough dryness—which is often lacking, to the permanent injury of woodwork.
        The firm do all kinds of mill work and sell all kinds of lumber. They build electric cars, water tanks, stuff chests, dye tubs, make mouldings, house finishings and window frames. In short, there is little in the way of the best quantity of woodwork, that they are not familiar with.

T.F. Kegan’s Sons, Steam and Gas Fitters

        T.F. Kegan’s Sons of Holyoke, as steam and gas fitters, are one of the best known firms in the business in New England.
        The business was established in 1878 by Thomas F. Kegan, who conducted it with remarkable success up to the time of his decease, about three years ago, since which time his tow sons, H.C. and W.E., have carried on the business. The former was with his father nearly all the time after the business started, and W.E. came here in 1890.
        The firm occupy for their business la large part of the brick building Nos. 12 and 14 Appleton street—the whole of the first floor and basement—and the place is thoroughly equipped and supplied with steam and water power.

Factory of T.F. Kegan’s Sons, Holyoke.
        Messrs. Kegan’s Sons carry on a large business as dealers in plain galvanized and enameled wrought iron pipe, steam and gas fittings of every description, and are considered experts in the steam heating line, being employed by nearly al the large corporations in Holyoke. The house carries the largest stock of pipe and steam fittings outside New York city, and commercial men often speak of it as the best equipped place of the kind in New England.
        A business which has grown largely within the past few years and which this firm makes a specialty of, is the furnishing of Grinnell automatic sprinklers for extinguishing fires. They are also sole agents in this vicinity for the New York Safety steam-power engines, of which there are over forty in use in this city.
        Employing a staff of thirty-five experiences men, and supervising personally all the operations of the business, it is not surprising the Messrs. Kegan have now in control such a large and successful business. It has the enviable reputation of doing the best work of its kind, and this accounts for the fact that its contracts extend all over the New England states and into New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
        Messrs. Kegan’s Sons desire to have it particularly understood that they make a specialty not alone of steam heating, but also hot water heating, and they would be pleased to furnish plans and estimates on application. They will also gladly supply catalogues and price lists when called for, and it is considered by them no trouble to make estimates on any class of work, upon short demand, by correspondence or otherwise.
        At the time of writing the company was carrying out a larger number of local contracts than any firm in Hampden county, and had orders for several months ahead.

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