Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cancel for November 1: Erie Railroad


The Erie Railroad operated in New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, originally connecting New York City with Lake Erie.

In 1960 the Erie merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, becoming part of Conrail in 1976.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cancel for October 31: B & G

B.  &  G.
OCT 31 1898

Cancels for October 30 & 31: The Milwaukee Road

Circular Date Stamp:

C. M. & ST. P. RY. CO.

Printed Cancel:

C. M. & ST. P. RY.

Stamp above has hyphen-hole perforations, consistent with the separation technique used on the battleship revenue stamps as of the beginning of 1900.  Stamp below, though cancelled one day later than the stamp above is rouletted.  The Milwaukee Road must have had some leftover rouletted sheets that had printed cancels applied sometime in mid 1900.

Circular Date Stamp:

C. M. & ST. P. RY. CO.

Printed Cancel:

C. M. & ST. P. RY.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cancel for October 28: Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad

E.  & T.  H.  R.  R.
OCT 28

Route map for the Evansville and Terre Haute that includes routing for the L&N and the CE&I.

Cancel for October 28: Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad

While I can't make out the entire cancel, there is enough here to determine the company that placed the cancel on the stamp. Especially with the reference in the cancel to "The Belt" railway.  The Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad owned the Dearborn Station in Chicago including all the tracks leading into it. The C&WI was owned by five railroads that used the station, so that those railroad did not need their own lines leading into arguably the most important railroad city in the world at the time. The C&WI is now a part of the Union Pacific Corporation.

C&WI Timetable from 1963

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cancel for October 27: Indianapolis Abattoir Company

Indianapolis Abattoir Co.
Indnpls, Ind.


A mid-major meat packing firm from "The Jungle" days of the dressed meat industry.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cancel for October 26: R. S. & Co.

R. S. & CO.
*   OCT   *
*     26     *
*   1898   *
*   *    *   *

Need some help identifying this firm

Cancel for October 26: L. Van Cleef

L. Van Cleef,
OCT 26 1898
Mr. Van Cleef and his business are so far untraceable to me. This block of four likely payed all or a portion of the tax on insurance policy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cancel for October 25: The Turners of Philadelphia

OCT 25 1898

Cancelled 50 years after the founding of The Turners organization.

US commemorative postage stamp issued in 1948 for the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Turners. (Scott 979)


Many Germans immigrated to the United States following the failure of the 1848 revolution designed to introduce democratic reforms into the governments of the German states. Among these immigrants were members of the Turners, an athletic and political organization founded in Germany during the second decade of the 19th century. Turners quickly established societies (known as Turnverein or Turngemeinde) in the American cities in which they settled. These societies served as athletic, political, and social centers for German communities in the United States. The Turners most important contribution to American life in their communities had been the advocacy of physical education and fitness. Turners successfully lobbied local school boards in many cities for the inclusion of physical education classes in the curriculum and Turner instructors served as the directors of physical education programs in many school systems in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

---from the American Turners Local Societies Collection, 1866-2006. Abstract and full document on this organization can be found here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cancel for October 19: National Surety Company

OCT 19 1900


On June 9, 1897, the Superintendent of Insurance in New York, Louis Payn authorized the National Surety Company to commence business with capital of $500,000. Interestingly, one of the directors of the company in 1897 was a man named Henry Payn. "Hey, I know what we can do guys, let's get a family member of the Super of Insurance and put him on the board! Then we'll get our license."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cancel for October 18: Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway

W. N, Y,  &  P. Ry.

The Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway was first named in 1895 after a reorganization.  The railway was acquired and leased by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1900. 

The railway's line ran from Emporium, Pennsylvania to Rochester, New York. 

1900 route map

1898 Pass

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cancel for October 17: Ketcham National Bank

The Ketcham National Bank was originally organized in 1888 with John Ketcham as its President. The name of the bank was changed to the National Bank of Commerce in 1899 and was located at the corner of Madison Avenue and St. Clair Streets. The National Bank of Commerce was consolidated with the National Bank of Toledo in 1907.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cancel for October 16: The Hartford Fire Insurance Company

Hartford Fire Ins. Co.
Oct 16 1900

Oval Date Stamp from 1900 for the Hartford Fire Insurance office in Chicago, just a few years after the Chicago fire destroyed many US insurance companies and before the San Francisco earthquake caused similar tremors in the US insurance industry.

A Hartford post-SF earthquake advert touting their corporate strength in the face of earthquake-related claims.
The Hartford was founded in 1810 and is one of the oldest continually operated insurance companies in the United States.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cancel for October 10: Union National Bank

U.       N.       B.
OCT   10   1898

The Union National Bank of Oakland was organized in 1875 and closed in 1909.

Cancel for October 9: A.W. Brooke, Auditor for American Refrigerator Transit Company

Auditor's Office,
OCT  9  1899
X2 Century Building
St. Louis,  xxx

Auditor's cancel from American Refrigerator Transit Company (ART).  The American Refrigerator Transit Company was a St. Louis, Missouri-based private refrigerator car line.  The company was established in 1881 by the Missouri Pacific and Wabash railroads and it is now a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Corporation.

ART refrigerator car or "reefer".  Image from

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cancel for October 7: Chauncey Brothers

The firm of Chauncey Brothers & Co. were stock brokers and were located at 96 Broadway in New York City. There is not much material available on line about this firm, though through a New York Times obituary from 1899 it is possible to read about the death at 38 years of Samuel Sloan Chauncey from the firm who went out west to recover from an illness but never quite did.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pharmaceutical Cancels: H. K. Mulford



Undated circular handstamp for the pharmaceutical firm of H.K. Mulford Co., an antecedent company to the current Merck Corporation.  H. K. Mulford developed diptheria anti-toxin in the United States in the late 1890s soon after its initial discovery and use in Germany.  They also developed an early small pox vaccine and kept its own cattle to do so.  Unlike many of the snake-oil firms of the time, H.K. Mulford developed some effective vaccines and medications, and is considered by many authorities to be one of the first firms in the United States to use scientific methods to develop and create medicines. 

H.K. Mulford developed the drug to combat the toxin secreted by the diptheria bacillus.  Diptheria's damaging effects come from that toxin.  Prior to the development of an effective vaccine against diptheria which would have promoted human immune response to diptheria and prevented a case of the disease, scientists discovered anti-toxin in the blood of animals exposed to diptheria and developed methods to extract effective doses of the anti-toxin.  In the early 20th century a vaccine would be developed against diptheria.  Antibiotics are used against active diptheria infections.  Diptheria anti-toxin is still made today but is rare.

H.K. Mulford would eventually be acquired by the firm of Sharpe and Dohme, which would in turn merge with Merk.  Mulford's early history would presage Merck's later success as a developer and manufacturer of vaccines.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cancel for October 5: A. T. Van Heusen & Son


A.T. Van Heusen & Son were general insurance agents for Fire, Life, Accident and Tornado insurance in Amsterdam New York at the corner of East Main and Church Streets, according to the 1893 publication "Amsterdam, its representative business men and points of interest." The business was established in 1881 and expanded by buying another agency.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cancel for October 4: Scofield, Shurmer & Teagle

S. S. & T.
OCT      4   1899

Scofield, Shurmer and Teagle were featured on this blog back on August 6.  The company was a major competitor to Rockefeller's Standard Oil even though there were family connections between Rockefeller and one of SS&T's partners.  Rockefeller would take control of SS&T and make the son of one of SS&T's partners a key manager in his empire.

Many railroad cancels are featured in this blog including those of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad.  The LS&MS was caught up in a law suit smaller oil companies like SS&T brought against Standard Oil for negotiating and demanding cheaper freight charges for carrying oil while forcing the LS&MS to charge competitors more.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cancel for October 3: East End Savings Bank

Circular date stamp from East End Savings Bank in Cleveland, Ohio from 1899. The East End Savings Bank was merged with the Cleveland Trust Company in 1905.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Insurance Cancels: Phoenix Part 2



Another Phoenix Insurance cancel.  A peculiar factoid about this company is that when it was first started in 1851 it only insured those that abstained from alcohol.  At that time it was called the American Temperance Life Insurance Company.  By 1861 the company dumped the name and the business model, adopted Phoenix as its name, and decided to take on drinkers.  Not sure how their agents made sure their customers didn't drink.