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Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit
A 1855 map shows a structure labeled boiler factory at the south west corner of Summit and Imlay (then called Hudson street).
1860: March 17, a boiler explosion at the Atlantic Foundry between Van Burnt and Imlay resulted in the death of the engineer John Hazleton and the injury of four others. The accident was the result of carelessness on the part of the deceased in allowing the water in the boiler to become low and then suddenly introducing cold water. Hazleton had been in charge of the boiler for about 14 months. He had previously been employed as a laborer. His wages were $5 to $7 a week. The jury found "the said John Hazleton an incompetent engineer". He left a family. He was buried in Holy Cross. Other by the accident were all recovering. (BE)
1865: In a horrible accident occurred at the Atlantic Foundry. Catherine Benton, age 6, was visiting her father, George, in the Factory when her dress became caught in the a machine. Her head was dashed against a wall and she died instantly. The family lived a 3 Van Brunt.
There were a succession of companies at this "address" from at least 1861. In 1862 the William A Lighthall Co. was located here.
1861: April 2, for Auction Wednesday April 3 at 10:00 corner of Imlay and Summit streets, Mortgage sale of Machinery Steam Engine etc - comprising the entire contents of the factory. (Brooklyn Eagle)
There is a unlabeled structure at this location on the 1869 map.
The South Brooklyn Engine Works and Foundry were listed at this address on the 1880 map.
Daniel McLeod and associates took over the business at this address by 1866 if not earlier.
By 1873 the property (or at least part of it) was up for lease. In 1876 it was up for auction.
However, Daniel McLoed's grandson, Delphin McLeod, was still active here in 1890. He was a member of the South Brooklyn Engine Works when they incorporated in 1890. By 1895 the business appears to have been in financial difficulty. The company failed in 1897 but it appears that there was continued manufacturing at the site. By 1902 it was the home of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine works.
More than one establishment was operating here at the turn of the century. Francis (Frank) Mulheran, John A Moran, and John Shields were there under the corporation Atlantic Basin Iron Works from 1898 to 1951.
John J Riley Iron and Brass foundry was shown on the 1907 map.
South Brooklyn Engine works
S. Brooklyn Iron Foundry & Steam Eng. works
John J. Riley's establishment is on the corner of Summit and Van Brunt while the Atlantic Basin Iron Works is facing Imlay.
John J. Riley Iron and Brass Foundry.
There is nothing still standing of where the Atlantic Basin Iron works once stood.
South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works, AKA South Brooklyn Boiler Works
Between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit - Daniel McLeod, Delphin B. Cobb, Delphin McLeod Cobb, John J Riley & J. Joseph Reily.
The South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works, AKA South Brooklyn Boiler Works, was located between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit. The South Brooklyn Engine Works and Foundry were listed at this address on the 1880 map.
The South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works was shown on the 1886 map between Imlay, Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets. It was also known as the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works, and the South Brooklyn Boiler Works both also located at Van Brunt and Summit Sts, Brooklyn. In 1890 they had offices on Wall Street. They also had a dry dock in the Erie Basin. In 1901 the address was given as 149 Van Brunt. The company was a successor to William A Lighthall Co and was located on Van Brunt street from at least 1862 when it was listed as the South Brooklyn Boiler Works, manufacturer of the engines for the ships, Metacomet and Mendota. In 1868 it advertised in Scientific American as South Brooklyn Iron Foundry.
There are buildings still standing at this address, but they do not appear to be very old in comparison to other "works" in Red Hook.
William A LighthallDaniel McLeod, Delphin B Cobb and Delphin McLeod Cobb
Daniel McLeod and his son-in-law, Delphin B Cobb, took over William Lighthall's business. After their deaths the business was owned by Delphin B. Cobbs's son, Delphin McLeod Cobb.
During the Civil War they built engines for Navy vessels.
"On August 8 and 15, 1862, the Navy Department entered into contracts with the South Brooklyn Steam-Engine Works for the construction of the machinery, engines, and boilers of the two double-ended gunboats Metacomet and Mendota, the contract price being in each case $80,000."
The Metacomet was a wooden side-wheeled steamer.
The U. S. S. Nyack was launched on October 6, 1863. Her machinery was built by South Brooklyn Iron Works and included two vertical tubular boilers and two horizontal, back action surface condenser engines. (Official records of the Union and Confederate navies in the War of the Rebellion By United States. Naval War Records Office, United States. Office of Naval Records and Library)
South Danvers Wizard, 6/1/1864, p. 2/7 NAVAL "Compass Station, Sandy Hook, May 19th, 1864. The U.S. Steamer Meadota left the Navy Yard, Brooklyn, at 11 A.M. today; passed Castle William at 11:30 A. M.; passed S. W. Spit buoy and came to anchor at Sandy Hook at 1 P.M. making 15 miles in one hour and thirty minutes. The engine and boilers performed their duty with great satisfaction, the engine making 14 revolutions with 21 pounds of steam and closely throttled. The Meadota was built by Capt. Thacker, at Red Hook, and compares favorably with any of the double-enders, built by private contract. The engine and boilers were built at the South Brooklyn Iron Works, by Daniel McLeod - the same establishment that built the Metacomet's boilers." January 6 - June 29, 1864 - Part VI Navy - United States
The Mosholu a second class screw sloop-of-war was launched in December 1866. Her engines were build by Daniel McLeod of the South Brooklyn Iron Works.
1867: Wanted pattern makers at the south Brooklyn Works corner Imlay and Summit sts. South Brooklyn
1869: For sale - ten lots with large brick buildings, desireable for manufacturing purposes, locate at Imlay and Summit, street, Brooklyn, two block form Hamilton ferry, 250 feet from Atlantic Basin.
In 1869 D. McLeod, esq. of the South Brooklyn Iron Works had a commission from the government to build one set of engines and boilers of the 60 by 36 inch cylinder class for the Department of the Navy. (BUREAU OF STEAM ENGINEERING. Navy Department, Bureau of Steam Engineering, November 3, 1869. Congressional edition By United States. Congress)
In 1869 South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works advertised in Scientific American "STEAM ENGINES AND OTHER MACHINERY FOR SALE AT A GREAT SACRIFICE"
In 1869 the South Brooklyn Engine and Boiler Works manufactured "a magnificent upright Steam Rolling-engine" 1,200 horse power - weighing 67 tons - for the Trenton Iron Company. (The Year-book of facts in science and art By John Timbs (and others))
1870: Steam Engines etc. for Sale: One new Stationary engine, horizontal 10x24 inches, one new station engine horizontal 15x20 inches, one second hand engine horizontal 24x72, one new portable engine 8x12 inches, one sugar mill --- 24 1/2 inches in diameter by 4 1/2 feet log with cane and ----- carriers extra wheel, Inquire at South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works corner of imlay and Summit streets, Brooklyn
1870: Wanted ten good burglar proof safe makers at corner of Imlay and Summit Sts Brooklyn, Valentine and Butler safe and lock co.
1871: The south Brooklyn Steam Engine Works was selling 2 large foundry cupolas, with fixtures, 1 large machine shop crane, 2 heavy boilers shop wall drills, 1 pair of Flange --- blocks, 1 "Lanback's patent' portable drill, 1 new ---- Lever Beam Boiler scale, 2 twenty five inche --- screw feed shaft, lathe, 16 ft bed, 2 --- shop cranes, together with a lot of smiths, machinists and boiler makers hand tools. co Imlay and Summit sts, Brooklyn. Advertisement in Scientific American
In 1873 four iron bridge anchors, each weighing nearly 24 tons, were manufactured at the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works for the Brooklyn Anchorage of the East River Bridge (know known as the Brooklyn Bridge). Each plate was oval in shape measuring 17 feet 6 inches by sixteen feet and three feet thick. The job of moving these plates was dangerous and difficult and took many hours. In September 1873 The Bridge company owed a balance due of $4,161.91 on four anchor plates to South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works.
To Let, factory property with or without steam power, on Imlay near summit at South brooklyn Steam Works
1876 : February, South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works at van Brunt and Summit advertised a "well lit second floor" 50x55 feet six horse steam power, two lines of shafting and pulleys, a good rope and drum hoister, for $1,200 per year - 1,000 feet from the Ferry at Hamilton Ave.
1876 : April Desirable manufacturing property Southeast Corner Imlay and Summit will sell at auction Friday April 28, at 12 o'clock valuable plot of ground 75x90 feet with two story brick factory 40x55  feet one story brick factory 50x65 feet and one story smith shop, 20x40 feet the first floor now being occupied by a boiler works, under rental of $2,000 per annum until November 1, 1876. Second story is a large and well lit room. These building contain staircases and hoistways. Steam power can be obtained from adjoining premises, and being within 100 foot of Hamilton Ferry are very desirable for investment. VAN BRUVT St. - two lots west side 200 feet from Summit st each 25x105
In March 1877 the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works advertised the sale of a "factory" - two story brick 50x55 with power and shafting also two lots 25x105 with steam power available from neighboring building, Van Brunt and Imlay.
In 1878 South Brooklyn Iron works at 160 Van Brunt street advertised in Scientific America "all kinds of machine work, Iron and brass Castings, at lowest rates"
In 1889 Donald McNeal sic of the South Brooklyn Boiler Works was listed as a stockhold in the newly formed Hamilton Bank of Brooklyn. This could be Donald McNeil who was later connected with the Columbia Iron Works at Imlay and Williams. See Columbia Iron Works in this section.
In early May 1890 Thomas Kelly had his left hand crushed in the machinery at the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works.
Daniel McLeod and Delphin B Cobb were connected to the south Brooklyn Steam Engine Works in the 1860s and 70s. Daniel McLoed died in 1875. Delphin B Cobb died in 1890. In March 1890 Delphin McLeod, the son of Delphin and the grandson of Daniel took over the business.
D. Mcleod Cobb, C..C. Cobb, S. A. Cobb, and L. De T. Cobb have incorporated the South Brooklyn Engine Works, with a capital of $50,000, for the purpose of building Lighthall surface condensers, etc.Also listed in the Brooklyn Eagle, the "incorporators" were: Delphine McLeod Cobb, Catherine C. Cobb, Susie A Cobb and Louise D. T. Cobb, all of Brooklyn.
In 1894 D. McLeod Cobb, proprietor of the South Brooklyn Steam Works introduced a new method of constructing surface condensers making the condensors smaller and lighter.
In 1895 the South Brooklyn steam engineering works at Van Brunt and Summit streets was assigned "for the benefit of their creditors" to James H Taylor of 252 President Street.
John J. Reilly is president and D "McCloud" Cobb is secretary of the company"In June 1896 Frederick P. Budden, president of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine works died at his home in Jersey City.
In 1896 an explosion at the foundry severely injured two men. Both of them lost both of their legs. At that time an article in the New York Times described the foundry:
"The South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works cover almost an entire block, being bounded on three sides by Summit, Van Brunt, and Imlay streets. It does a general Iron foundry business and has the largest brass foundry in the Atlantic coast states - capable of turning out tens tons of brass castings per day."The accident was described in The Foundry, vol 9-10 1896. The victims of the accident were trying to break up scrap with sledge hammers. The danger was that some of the scrap was from old machinery and some pieces contained a closed cavity. In this case the scrap piece was an old plunger. The workers had placed the plunger in the furnace and heated it enough "to make it break easily". They drew the piece out of the fire with tongs and lay it on the floor. The metal was "hissing" which apparently indicated a"hole" (or cavity). A fellow worker warned them of the danger and told them "Don't fool with that; bore a hole in it." But the man was ignored and with the next hit of the hammer the piece blew up.
"A piece of the plunger struck the castings and broke some of them. The place was all in darkness after the explosion, on account of the dust that was raised. I found my way out, and then we sent the ambulance calls."The New York Times listed the men ast thomas Higgins of 63 Summit street and Patrick Smith of 11 King Street, both laborers. Higgins right leg was blown off and there was a compound fracture of his left leg. Smith had compound fractures of both legs. Both were said to be long time employes. Both men were said to have had both legs amputated.
The south Brooklyn Steam Engine works was said to cover almost an entire block "being bounded on three sides by summit, Van Brunt and Imlay.
The facility had the largest
brass foundry in the Atlantic coast states "capable of turing out ten tons of brass casting per day."
"John J. Riley, for several years foreman of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works Foundry, and some years ago an active and prominent member of No. 96, has been operating the shop himself, since the failure of the company some months ago. He reports trade brisk, ten or twelve molders at work, and all union men."1898
AN IMPROVED SURFACE CONDENSERSouth Brooklyn Steam Engine works at Van Brunt and Summit was listed in several directories for 1902.
In 1902 the building was taken over by American Air Compresor works:
The plant of the new company is located at Van Brunt and Summit streets, Brooklyn, N. Y., and was formerly the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works, where John J. Riley, treasurer of the new company, has been employed and established for the last forty years.
The American Air Compressor Works has been formed to manufacture air compressors for all purposes, and furnish compressed air tools and appliances. The offices of the company are in the Havemeyer building, New York, and the works are at Van Brunt and Summit streets, Brooklyn. Mr. William S. Fairhurst is manager of the new company, and Mr. John J. Riley treasurer. Mr. Frederick B. Vail will have charge of the sales department in the New York office.John Riley Iron and Brass foundry was listed at Van Brunt and Summit in 1904.
American Air Compresor was listed at Van Brunt and Summit in 1913 and 1914. And Riley, Co., John J. was at Van Brunt and Summit in 1916.
Death of John J Riley : 1907: the business was take over by his son. J. Joseph Riley.
The Atlantic Basin Iron Works (Shields & Moran) have added to their already large holdings in the Erie Basin section, and squared out their holdings by the purchase of 200 x 100 corner Van Brunt and Summit Streets.1920
The John J. Riley Co., Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, manufacturer of iron and brass castings, has taken bids and will soon award contract for its new one-story foundry on Columbia Street, 100 x 250 ft. estimated to cost in excess of $150,000, including equipment.More on Daniel McLeod, Delphin B Cobb and Delphin McLeod Cobb
Daniel McLeod, was the proprietor of the South Brooklyn Steam-Engine Works, Brooklyn N Y in 1864. D. B. Cobb was also listed under South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works in 1864.
Daniel Mc Leod was born circa 1801 in Ireland. He came to the US at about age 14 with his parents. His father was in the rope and twine business in New York. Daniel McLeod moved to New Haven where he lived until he was 43. He then returned to the New York area. He married Hannah ----. Their daughter, Anna, married Delphin B. Cobb. In the 1850 census in New York Ward 7 he was listed age 49 as a bookbinder born Ireland with his wife "Mrs. H" age 45 and Susan age 25. Listed with them was D. B. Cobb age 28 bookkeeper born New Jersey, and Anna Cobb age 26 plus two servants. Daniel McLeod and family including the Cobbs were listed in the 1870 census in Jersey City. In the 1880 census Delphin, Anne, and Hannah were again listed in Jersey City. In 1870 Daniel McLoed was still listed as a bookbinder but Delphin Cobb was listed as a machinist. Daniel McLeod's obituary in the New York Times on August 10, 1875 states that he was "one of the most prominent and wealthy residents of Jersey City". Hannah McLeod widow died in Jersey City age 78 May 21, 1884.
Delphin B Cobb was born dec 7, 1821, Son of Thomas Cobb and Clara Rosina de Taberie, and died Jan 31, 1890. He is buried in Vail Memorial Cemetery in Parsippany, New Jersey. He married Anne McLeod September 29, 1846. They had: Delphin McLeod (1853), George F, Susan (1862) and Louise.
Delphin McLeod Cobb born 1853 graduated Columbia College 1874.
Delphin Mcl Cobb, Residence 1881, 334 5th Av, Brooklyn, New York Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1881
1881, Cobb, D. B. foundry, Van Brunt and Summit h. N. J.
1890, March, Kings County Real Estate,
Cobb, Delphin McL. to William W. Van Voorhis. Van Brunt st, west cor Summit st, runs west 250 x northwest 105 x northeast 150 r northwest 75 to Imlay st, x northeast 100 to Summit st, x southeast 180. All title. Mar. 10. 7,000
David B. Cobb ironfounder, Van Brunt c Summit 168 Carroll
1891- Josiah Willets shot Delphin M Cobb, the president and chief stockholder of the South Brooklyn boiler works, on February 2, 1891. The company was also listed in the papers as the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works with offices on Van Brunt Street. Willets was about to shoot Cobb a third time when an employee of the works, Patrick Quinn, wrestled the gun away and hit Willets in the head fracturing his skull. The bullet was extracted from Cobbs leg. There was a bit of to do in the papers suggesting that Mr. Cobb (who was married but not living with his wife) had boarded with Josiah Willetts and his daughter Lillie and had made some advances towards Lillie Willetts who was 18 years old at the time. The case was dismissed in April 1891 because none of the parties would make a complaint. In January 1892 Josiah Willetts collapsed "fatally paralyzed" apparently as a result of the year old fracture which was "pressing on the brain". Patrick Quinn was ordered arrested. Cobb reportedly sold the business and left Brooklyn.
In December 1895 Delphin McLeod Cobb "a wealthy manufacturer of Brooklyn" was granted a divorce from his wife, Phoebe M Cobb in Perry OK. Delphin McLeod Cobb married Phoebe Taylor in 1877 in Jersey City. They had one son, Harold McLeod Cobb, born 1877 died in Mexico in 1954. At the time of his divorce petition Delphin claimed that Phoebe abandoned him in 1882, had been unfaithful for years, had caused a rift between he and his brother and an estrangement between him and his "own parents", and had stolen money from him. A man in charge of the office of the South Brooklyn Engine company said he had not seen Mr. Cobb in four months.
Delphin Cobb moved to LA where he was listed in directories in 1917 and the 1920 census.
Other Connected with the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works
JARVIS B. EDSON
Jarvis B. Edson died at his home in New York City, January 26, 1911. He was born in Janesville, Wis., April 30, 1845, and obtained his technical education at Cooper Union and at New York University, New York City. He saw active service during the Civil War, and being discharged from the army, July 1863, he connected himself with the South Brooklyn Steam Engine and Boiler Works, where he participated in the construction of several engines for United States war vessels notably the Mendota, Metacomet, Nyack and Nipsic. He later conducted a series of steam engine expansion experiments under the direct supervision of B. F. Isherwood, U. S. N., Hon.Me1h. Am. Soc. M. E., chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.
John J. Riley (1846- 1907) and his son, J. Joseph Riley (1874-1943)
1897: John J. Riley a former foreman at South Brooklyn Steam Engine works and an active union man took over the shop at Summit and Van Brunt.
1903: John J. Riley of the John J. Riley Company was one of the founding members of the New york and New Jersey Foundrymen's Association. There were over 200 foundries in the city and vicinity.
1907: John J. Riley, owner of the iron and brass foundry at Van Brunt and Summit streets, Brooklyn, N. Y. died at Lakewood on April 1. Mr. Riley was born in New York City 61 years ago and when a boy worked in the foundry, advancing step to step in the management until he became the sole owner -- years ago. He left a widow, two sons and a daughter. (Metal industry, Volume 5, 1907 Brooklyn Standard Union of April 3 1907
RILEY - At Lakewood, N.J., Monday, April 1st, John J. RILEY. Funeral from the residence of his daughter, Mrs. W. M. O'KEEFE, 412 Sackett st., Brooklyn, on Friday, 1 P.M. Kindly omit flowers. (Roots Web)
John J. RILEY, 60 years old, a well-known iron founder, died this morning at Ridgewood(?), N.J., where he had gone...health. Mr. Riley lived at 112 (?) place. He was the owner of (?) foundry at Van Brunt and (?) streets. The funeral arrangement have not yet been completed. (Brooklyn Standard Union)
1920: John J. Riley co, Van Brunt street, Brooklyn manufacturer of iron and brass castings has take bids and will soon contract for a new one story foundry on Columbia Street, 100x250 estimated cost in excess of $150,000 including equipment. (Iron Age vol 106 and others)
1930: Eastern Parkway, rent $150, J Joseph Riley 54, manager iron, Catherine F Riley 40, John J Riley 28, Helen M Riley 23
1940: In 1940 the plant was moved to 220 Bay St to make way for the Hamilton Ave tunnel. (Brooklyn Eagle Janu 13, 1943)
1943: January - J. Joseph Riley died at his home 163 Eastern Parkway. Born circa 1874 he graduated St. Francis College. He was connected to the John J. Co. Iron foundry established by his father at Van Brunt and Summit. In 1940 the plant was moved to Bay street to make way for the Hamilton ave tunnel [Brooklyn Battery tunnel]. He was an enthusiastic wheelman [bicycler]. Survived by his widow, Catherine, a son John J. Jr. a daughter Mrs. Arthur Welch and a sister Mrs. Helen O'Keefe.
John J. Riley Co. was still in business at Bay st in 1961.
Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Summit and Imlay
Francis MulheranMore on Atlantic Basin Iron Works
1900: June 1900 Electric lights were being installed on all Sloman steamships. The Atlantic Basin Iron works had already installed lights on the Catania and was to install them on the Venetia when she arrived in.
Valentine and Butler Safes
Valentine and Butler safe makers were in business from at least the early 1850s
They advertised fire proof and burglar proof safes with "patented alum" and patented rotary locks "that cannot be picked" in 1862.
1870: April - Wanted ten good burglar proof safe makers at the corner of Imlay and Summit streets, Brooklyn, Valentine & butler safe and lock company.
1870: August, Safe Makers Wanted by Valentine & butler, Safe and Lock Company corner Imlay and Summit, South Brooklyn
1874: 26, August "While Calvin Peper, a workman was experimenting with steel at Valentine & Butler's safe and lock factory, corner Imlay and Summit streets, he as stricken wit paralysis. He was removed to the Long Island College Hospital in an unconscious condition (BE)
1877: Valentine and Butler Safe who had their offices at broadway and Reade street failed and filed for bankruptcy. W. H. Butler was president at the time. "The company with a large factory in Brooklyn with a capacity of 400 men, with the expensive machinery was too heavy for the company to carry" (New York Times 8 May 1877)
"The great fire in New York of 1835 gave rise to several new inventions for increasing the fire-proof quality of safes. That patented by Mr. B. G. Wilder of New York obtained the precedence, and the safes made on this plan are still in extensive use in this country and in Europe. They consist of a double box of wrought iron plates strengthened at the edges with bar iron, and in the larger sizes witii a bar across the centre. The space between the outer and inner plates is filled in with the patented composition of plaster of Paris and mica. The use of asbestus with plaster of Paris has also been patented. The lattor answers a very good purpose used alone, and other good incombustible nonconductors also employed for filling are clay, hydraulic cement, and a mixture of alum, fire clay, and carbonate of lime or chalk. The latter is the preparation employed in tho safes of Valentine and Butler, made in Now York.1897: William Henry Butler, 324 Union Street, age 72, died in March 1897. He was born in New York May 20, 1825but grew up in Sterling conn. He returned to New York at age 19. He married Dorcas Catherine Brown, daughter of Ambrus Brown. He became a member of the safe and lock manufacturing company of Holmes, Valentine & Butler. The firm later became Valentim& Butler and finally Butler Safe and Lock company. He moved to Brooklyn in 1870. "He was in the Crystal palace on October 5 , 1858 when a fire occurred in the building, and succeeded in making his escape by dropping from on of the windows" 9Brooklyn Eagle) His death was precipitated by a simple accident. On March 3 his foot caught in a "car track frog" and he badly wrenched his ankle. The next day erysipelas* set in resulting in his death.
He was survived by one son and two daughters. Buried Greenwood.
*an acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterized by large, raised red patches on the skin, esp. that of the face and legs, with fever and severe general illness.
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