JAMES GOOLD, ALBANY, NEW YORK
New York Coach-Maker’s Magazine July 1863 page 60-61
HALF-CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY IN A COACH FACTORY.
Our friend James Goold, Esq., of Albany, established a coach factory in that city, April 20, 1813. In commemoration of the circumstance that fifty years had expired since, still finding him in business, on the 20th of April last, the employees of his firm, sixty-six in number, went in a body to his residence, and presented him with a service of silver, consisting of an ice pitcher, salver and goblets, and an engrossed and framed copy of the following resolutions, passed four days previously at a meeting held in the factory building:
WHEREAS, The Albany Coach Factory, established in 1813, by Mr. James Goold, its present senior proprietor, has nearly completed its 50th year, it is, therefore,
Resolved, That the undersigned, at present employed in the Albany Coach Factory, deem it eminently proper that they should offer their congratulations to Mr. Goold on this occasion, and express to him those sentiments of respect and esteem in which they are so unanimously agreed.
Resolved, That in establishing this business, and conducting its growth to its present size and prosperity, through the manifold difficulties arising from political and financial fluctuations (which are the common experience of all business men), and also through the more trying, because sudden and overwhelming, calamity of fire, Mr. Goold has created a testimonial, more expressive than words, of the value of those principles of strict integrity and persevering industry, which have always marked his business career.
Resolved, That while we admire and desire to imitate so noble an example, we will not be, unmindful of our duty to our beloved country under whose liberal and beneficent Government we may feel assured that success and prosperity will attend Industry and Integrity.
Resolved, That with our congratulations on this occasion, we offer to Mr. Goold the accompanying gift, and ask his acceptance of it as a slight testimonial of the sincerity of the sentiments expressed in the foregoing resolutions.
Resolved, That in causing the name of Mrs. Goold to be inscribed on one of the pieces, we have desired to express our appreciation of the active and ready sympathy, so invaluable in her own family but not circumscribed by ties of kindred or limited by anything but the demands for its exercise.
Resolved, That Monday, 20th April, being the Anniversary of the commencement of Mr. Goold’s business course, we will assemble in this place it 8 o’clock P. M., and proceed in a body to call on him at his residence, and present these resolutions and the gift we have prepared.
As every preparation had been made, unknown to the venerable gentleman, he was taken by surprise, and, on the resolutions above given being read to him, his emotions fairly overcame all attempts at a suitable reply. Two days after this Mr. Goold sent to the committee the following written address:
To Messrs. B. S. Spencer, Geo. Benham, W. H. Perry, W. Deming, W. Dornet, H. O. Lemily, D. McCan, and O. B. Fuller, Committee, &c.
MY FRIENDS:–My surprise and gratification were both so great on receiving your kind expression of regard for myself and family, on Monday evening, that my emotions were at the moment too deep to find ready utterance.
As the few words spoken on that occasion were so imperfect an expression of my feelings, I take this method of assuring you of my grateful appreciation of such a demonstration.
For your beautiful and highly valued gift, with the inscription commemorative of the lapse of half a century spent by me in active business life in this city; for your resolutions, so beautifully expressed; and for your kind visit and hearty congratulations,–you will accept my warmest thanks. When I stood before you on Monday evening, I am free to confess that, mingled with other feelings, was something of pride in your appearance, and a consciousness that a compliment from such a body of men is one that any employer may be proud to receive.
I saw before me one who, having grown gray in my service, is still one of your number; others (present by your invitation) who, having been apprentices and inmates of my house many years since, now occupy honorable positions in society; many of your own number who have been for a long time in my service; and still another class, who are but now learning the business; and was deeply moved by the thought that all were united in this testimonial, thus furnishing, as it were, living witnesses to my fifty years of business life.
If in this half century I have fulfilled my mission as a member of society; if I have, by example or precept, helped to form the character of any of the large number of young men entrusted to my care; if I have made or perfected improvements in my special branch of manufactures; if I have aided to elevate the character of the mechanic,–the retrospect will bring no regret.
It falls to the lot of few to review so long a period of active service in one branch of business. In the hasty retrospect suggested by your presence and the, resolutions on Monday evening, among the varied events which passed in rapid succession before my mind the most prominent was the fearful calamity which marked the expiration of the first twenty-five years of my business life. You will, of course, understand that 1 allude to the destruction of my property by fire, in May, 1838. The actual importance of this event would give it prominence in my thoughts; but the sight of your communication, with such an array of signatures, called vividly to mind the circumstances which immediately followed that conflagration.
On the 29th of May, 1838, I received a communication equally surprising and gratifying with your own, and with about an equal number of signatures, but of an entirely different character,–it being an expression of the kindest sympathy, and a most liberal offer of assistance, signed by a large, number of our best citizens. So prompt was the action that, while the smoke was yet rising from the ruins of my factory, I was the recipient of a loan, without interest for five years, sufficient to enable me to erect the commodious building we now occupy, and maintain my position among the business men of the city. The feelings of gratitude which I have always cherished toward the gentlemen who thus honored me were reawakened at this time by the thought that, but for their generous aid so promptly bestowed in my time of trouble, I might not have been able to enjoy the pleasant celebration of this anniversary.
Many of them have passed away; some of them leaving sons who are filling their places honorably. Of the survivors, one of our most venerable citizens (Hon. Gideon Hawley) is the author of the paper to which I have alluded; another is one of our pre-eminently prominent citizens (Hon. Erastus Corning), distinguished alike for his public spirit and liberality.
Some of them stand high in the different professions, while others represent different branches of trade or mechanics. May they be long spared to continue their course of usefulness and honor in our community!
I have ever striven to conduct my affairs in such a manner that they should feel satisfied that their generous and substantial assistance had not been misplaced.
If I have succeeded in this, and in winning the respect of those with whom I am daily associated in the way of business, I have achieved an object dearer to me than the accumulation of wealth.
With my best wishes for your health and prosperity, I remain truly your friend, James GOOLD. ALBANY, 22d. April, 1863.
One gentleman of the company had been in Mr. Goold’s employ forty-nine years and six months. To the honor of the craft be it noticed, every one of the sixty-six signatures to the resolutions were individually written in full, in a fair hand. We doubt if so many in one shop could be found in Europe to write their own names. Having been suitably entertained by the “Old Boss,” the men departed, led by a band of music, to the sound of which they marched to the residence of the junior partner, Mr. Bush, whom they serenaded, and after returning to the shop, quietly dispersed to their several homes. This firm have always shown themselves friends by regularly taking our Magazine. Among those still employed in the factory we notice, as old subscribers, the chairman of the meeting, Messrs. B. S. Spencer, Wm. H. Perry, Jas. H. Thrall, F. C. Moll, A. G. Ragg, and F. D. Kennedy.
Coach-Maker’s International Journal January 1868 page 81-82
Mr. EDITOR.–Being very much interested in the article describing “Carriage Manufactories,” And having worked for Mr. James Goold & Co., for ten years, I take the liberty of sending you a description of these establishments, and hope you will give it a place in the JOURNAL.
Jas. Goold & Co.’s Carriage Manufactory, Albany.
The building forms a parallelogram, extending on Union street 185 feet, from Division to Hamilton streets, and running back 90 feet, three stories high. This divided into four equal and distinct buildings by large carriage-ways opening into the three streets on which it abuts. On entering from Union street, we find on the left hand, in the centre of the whole, the office. Leaving this and crossing the paved way to the southwestern building and descending a few steps, we enter an apartment, 87 by 30 feet, in which are contained a very powerful engine, boiler and its furnace, a large and small grindstone, drilling machines, engine lathes for turning axle-arms, &c., and one for rimming our cast-iron boxes. To the rear and north of the boiler is a vault, 20 feet square, for coal; and in front of the vault is another into which all the shavings made in the apartments above are conducted through a tube.
Ascending to the apartments above, of the same size, we find sawing machines, planing machines, lathes, mortice and boring machines for hubs, &c., &c., all driven by the engine below. Here the finer operations are commenced upon the rude masses of wood, which renders them suitable for the most splendid carriages ; the amount of labor saved by the machines in this room alone is immense.
Crossing the carriage-way to the north we enter the blacksmith’s shop of equal size with the former apartments. In it are eight forges, the troughs to which are of cast-iron. The tweers consist of an iron box, from which tow jets of air are thrown upon the coal, so as to cross each other; the box cannot burn out, and the points from which the air flows are easily and cheaply replaced. The floor of this shop is brick, and the benches, being the only things of a combustible nature, are so low that fire would bot be likely to reach the ceiling; which is very high, under it is a cistern capable of containing one hundred hogsheads of water, and three others of similar size under the carriage-way near the centre of the building; all are supplied by water from the roofs, which incline towards the centre of the building, thus affording a plentiful supply of water for the blacksmith’s shop, the boilers of the steam engine, &c.; they have water also from the street, thus being always supplied with water in case of fire.
On leaving the blacksmith’s shop, two narrow doors in the wall are opened, and here is a portion of the boiler-furnace chimney, appropriated to heating tires; a few grates are placed so as to afford a support to the tires, and then a few shavings put underneath soon completes the operation: thus all danger from this source is obviated, while there is a great saving in time and fuel.
Crossing again flat, carriage-way we enter a room the same size as the others, where they are busily putting up the framework of street cars; this is the car shop in the north-east corner of the building.
Returning toward the office, we ascend a staircase running along the wall, which affords the only ascent to the second story, so that all going in and out is seen at once from the office. The flooring over the carriage-way extends to the western extremity of the building. In it is a large trap-door, which slides back and forth, through which, by means of a fall, carriages and material can be raised and lowered. The rooms on the western side are used for, the construction of bodies and carriage parts, and are both of the same size as those below. In one of these, in a corner near the pipe which carries off the exhaust steam from the engine, is a large tank, for hot water, and a small apparatus in which some six or eight glue pots can be heated by steam.
Passing through these two rooms by the south, crossing the carriage-way by a platform, which is also pierced with a sliding trap-door for raising or lowering carriages, we enter the paint shop. Here we see going on all the processes of’ painting, from the grinding of paint to the higher ornamental painting of the gayest coach. One noticeable object in this room is a large paint mill run by machinery.
Crossing the platform to the north, we enter the trimming shop , where the lining and stuffing are done, and where silk, cloth, cassimere, carpeting, morocco, leather and coach lace, in all their varieties, are summoned to lend their aid, to afford comfort in various degrees up to the highest luxury.
In the third story, the sides of one room are shelved off, and here are placed hubs of different diameters and breadths, so that they may be selected at a single glance; while at the same time they are most advantageously placed for drying. The area of this room is used for giving the bodies their first coat of paint and preparing them for the smiths’s shop.
The southern third of the next room is the varnish room, and here, by filling nearly the whole eastern and southern sides with glass frames, placed at small angle of inclination, the whole benefit of the sun is obtained, and a dumb stove affords sufficient heat in winter. The other two-thirds of this floor is kept for varnished work, when it stands a few days before being put together.
The third room on this floor is used as a bending room, for bending sleigh runners and other parts required in the business. The steaming box is upon the roof of the blacksmith shop, which only rises two stories; and access is had to it by means of a small window int he room. The exhaust steam having performed all that is required of it, is suffered to escape. We ss here that, by means o steam, wood can be bent into almost any shape.
Every precaution has been taken to prevent the occurrence of fire, or its extending if once begun. Iron doors isolate each of the four compartments of the building, so that, together with the carriage-ways, it is believed that a fire could not spread beyond the part in which it might originate.
Having conducted the readers of the Journal through the different workshops, I will now ask them to go with me to the show room on the ground floor, south of the office. Here are displayed carriages and sleighs of vast variety of form and finish. A walk through this room alone would gratify any one, even the most fastidious.
Mr. James Goold, the senior partner, has been engaged in the business of coach building for more than half a century. He has seen the gradual introduction of machinery, by which many important processes formerly performed by hand slowly and imperfectly, are now accurately and rapidly performed by machines. Intelligent and enterprising, he has kept pace with the rapid march of improvement, and the building above described, erected under his immediate superintendence, is, perhaps, as convenient as any in the country.
The junior partners of the firm consist of Mr. John Goold and Joon N. Cutler; they are both men of enterprise. They are always ready to show strangers through the establishment. A half hour spent with either of these gentlemen will show that they are possessed of qualities of a superior kind, and know how to conduct a first-class establishment.
This establishment turns out during the year about one hundred carriages of all descriptions from an open buggy to a Clarence coach, and about one hundred sleighs, of all designs, from a cutter to a large barouche; also, about fifty street cars.
The number of workmen employed by the Messrs. Goold & Co., averages about eight, though there is room for a greater number. J. H. T.
BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES GOOLD
Hub December 1879 pages 388-389
The death of a carriage-builder so eminent as James Goold demands more than passing notice. He was the veteran of the carriage trade in this country, a successful manufacturer and business man, beloved by the community in which he lived, and trusted and honored by all who knew him. The young men of the trade may with profit study the following brief sketch of his long and active life. It will be seen that he was notably a self-made man, who earned his honorable position by personal endeavor, unaided by special advantages, devoting the years of his early manhood to the study and practice of a craft, self chosen; and his later years to the gradual building up of a large and well-organized business, profitable to himself, giving steady employment to a large number of mechanics, useful to the community, and honorable to, the trade he represented.
James Goold was born in Granby, Hartford county, Connecticut, on July 28, 1790. Our readers may, perhaps, better appreciate the great age he attained, when reminded that at the time of his birth, George Washington had but fifteen months been President of the newly-formed Union, George the third was reigning in England, Goethe had not yet written his “Meister,” Sir Walter Scott was a youth of nineteen, and Napoleon, then twenty-one years old, was an obscure lieutenant of artillery.
When James was four years old, his parents removed to Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., New York, where his childhood and youth were spent. His father, David Goold, was a farmer, in comfortable circumstances, who had also learned the trade of blacksmithing, at which he worked occasionally. During his boyhood James attended the district school, and received instruction in the common branches. The home of which be formed a part was a happy one, and to its influences and teachings may be traced the formation of his character. The moral and religious influences of this Christian home may best be illustrated by the following extract from a letter from his father, found among Mr. Goold’s papers, received by him in 1810, just after he had completed his apprenticeship: “As to your being among strangers, I have always thought it safe not to be too intimate with any, not to interest myself with others’ disputes; and when any man told me all he knew, I took care not to tell him anything. Be faithful to your employer, honest to all you deal with, pleasant in the house, civil to all about you; not quick to resent an affront, not soon angry. Keep a bright look out for such as are bad company or bad advisers. Remember the Sabbath, and attend meeting reverently. Take conscience for your guide, and do nothing that will cause repentance.
Your father and friend, DAVID GOOLD.”
In the winter of 1804 he went to Troy to serve an apprenticeship at the bookbinding trade, with the firm of Obadiah Penniman & Co.; but this proved distasteful to him, and after a month’s trial he returned to his home in Stephentown, remaining there until December, 1805, when he made a new start. At this time he went to serve an apprenticeship with William Clark, carriage-maker at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he learned the first rudiments of the carriage business. At the close of eighteen months’ service, Clark failed, the business was broken up, and young Goold engaged himself to Jason Clapp, with whom he remained during the summer of 1809, at which time he completed his apprenticeship and became a journeyman body-maker, in which capacity he worked for John R. Vandenburgh through the fall of that year. Business becoming dull, he went to New Lebanon, New York, during the winter of 1809, and received four months’ schooling at the Academy kept by Simon Lusk, applying himself with great earnestness to the study of branches in which he felt himself most deficient. On the arrival of spring he again looked about for work, in the search for which he visited New-York City, Newark and New-Haven; and he worked at the bench in the last named town until New-Years, 1811, when he returned to Stephentown and made a brief visit to his parents. His twenty-first birthday was now approaching, and he began to feel a desire for permanent work and a home; but one disappointment followed another. He went to Albany, and made arrangements to open a carriage-shop in his own name, but he did not secure the needed capital. He then went to Troy, and worked six months with L. Thrall. Various changes followed, all more or less discouraging, and in November, 1812, he returned to Stephentown, and passed the winter quietly at home, doing what he could for his parents, and devoting the remainder of his time to reading and study. With the coming of spring, hope revived, and on the 15th of April, 1813, he again went to Albany, and succeeded in carrying out his project of starting in business on his own account, by opening a small shop at the corner of Maiden-lane and Dean-street, located on the ground now occupied by Stanwix Hall.
Soon after taking this important step in life, he took another, even more important, being married in 1814, when he was twenty-four years of age, to Elizabeth Vail, who survives him. By her he became the father of thirteen children, four of whom are still living.
Two years afterward, the business proving successful, Mr. Goold leased premises on Division-street, below Broadway, then known as South Market-street ; and in 1823, having erected new buildings on Union-street, the site still occupied by his manufactory, he removed part of the business thither. In 1836, large additions having been made to the Union-street building, and new machinery obtained, the entire work was removed thither; and soon after the change, the old building, then used for the storage of lumber, was destroyed by fire.
It is impossible to fix the date when Mr. Goold had so developed and improved the old-fashioned box sleigh, that it became the typical “Albany Pattern,” so identified with his name; but it was probably at this period, when his business was wonderfully successful, and when sleighs must have occupied much of his attention. A workman now in the employ of the house, being asked as to his recollections, replies : “I have now been here for forty-one years, and they were famous before I first came to work with Mr. Goold.”
In 1838 came a calamity not uncommon in the experience of carriage-builders. On May 25th of that year, his great factory on Union-street took fire, and was entirely destroyed, together with all the machinery, finished and unfinished work, and a large stock of material. Such was the general sympathy which prevailed in the community over this misfortune, that a meeting of citizens was called, the day after the fire, and a committee appointed, who tendered to Mr. Goold a sufficient loan, without interest, to enable him to rebuild and resume operations. The business was thus again established, and has continued uninterruptedly down to the present time.
Mr. Goold commonly employed about one hundred hands, although this number was increased from time to time as occasion required. His business was most successful during the two years preceding the fire in 1838, when, considering the times, he was in better circumstances than when, in after years, the amount of manufactured work handled had largely augmented. At that time his skill as a builder, and the absence of any worthy competitor, gave him the monopoly of the business in his vicinity. He was also very successful during the last war. At no time, during the sixty-six years that he was actively engaged as a manufacturer, did he ever fail, or compromise, or allow his note to go to protest. How many members of the carriage trade, even the most eminent, can show such a record ?
Those admitted to partnership, during his later years, were all members of his family–his children and grand-children, and at one period the firm represented three generations. The business is now conducted by his two grandsons, Mr. John C. Goold and Mr. Wm. D. Goold, and it was one of the last wishes expressed by him, that the business should go on as usual, after his death; and as far as it was possible he arranged matters with this end in view.
For several weeks previous to his death, he was well aware of his approaching end, but it did not affect his cheerfulness. He several times visited the cemetery, and considered the arrangement of the resting-place he was soon to occupy. On one of these occasions, he stopped his carriage while passing a field of ripe wheat, cut a few well filled stalks, and directed that they be preserved with care, to be laid upon his bier, in place of any ostentatious parade of flowers. In ripe old age, filled with honor, he died at his home in Albany, on October 1st, in his ninetieth year.
The following resolutions, unanimously adopted at the recent Convention in New-York, show the esteem in which he was held by the Carriage-Builders’ National Association, of which he was the First Vice-President ;
“Whereas, This Association has learned, with feelings of deep sorrow, of the recent death of our illustrious associate, James Goold, of Albany, New York, who was the first to inscribe his name upon our membership roll, was long our honored Vice-President, and at the time of his decease was the oldest active carriage builder in the United States; and who, after a life of remarkable activity and usefulness, protracted with almost undiminished strength of mind and body to his ninetieth year, has passed from among us, and we shall no more see his venerable form, dignified mien and thoughtful and kindly face; be it
Resolved, That we cherish in grateful remembrance the inestimable value of his services, and the record of his useful and honorable life; and that we feel deeply the loss of a co-laborer, whose place must long remain unfilled; forever faithful, honest, energetic and kindly, he has gone to his long rest respected and lamented by all who knew him, and by the entire trade to which he belonged.
Resolved, That this tribute to his worth and memory by entered upon the records of this Association; and that a copy, attested by the President, Secretary and members of the Executive Committee, be transmitted to his family.”
WILLIAM D. GOOLD.
Carriage Monthly June 1895
William D. Goold, president of the James Goold Co., of Albany, New York, was born in Albany in 1854, and with the exception of seven or eight years, of his early youth spent near Rochester, he has lived there all his life. He received his education at the Boys’ Academy in his native city, and after leaving there took a special course for one year at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy. After leaving the Institute he went into a large iron works in Albany, intending to spend a year in the machine shop, a year in the pattern shop, and another in the foundry. When he had been there a year and a half, however, his father, John S. Goold, then managing partner in the business of James Goold & Co., died, and John C. Gould, William’s older brother and junior partner in the business, urged him to take a position with the company, which he did in 1874. He worked his way up through the various positions of clerk, salesman, traveling man and superintendent, until in 1883, when the business of James Goold & Co. was incorporated, he was elected secretary of the company. He held this office until the death of John C. Goold, in 1885, when he was elected president, which office he has filled ever since, and has succeeded, by his energy and business tact, in recording for the company ten very prosperous business years.
New York Coach-Maker’s Magazine November 1858
Albany Cutter-Albany Two-seated Sleigh-Albany Pony Sleigh
New York Coach-Maker’s Magazine November 1858
New York Coach-Maker’s Magazine December 1858
Messrs. Goold & Co.’s Brett
New York Coach-Maker’s Magazine January 1859
No. 36. Goold’s Drawing-Room Coach
Hub July 1876
No. 68. Goold’s Side-Bar Wagon, with Chester Two-Bow Top
Hub September 1876 page 213