William H. Jackson did some architectural iron work, as evidenced by his name on this building in Brooklyn, but mostly he was a "grates and fenders" manufacturer.
The company began in 1827 as W. N. Jackson & Co., gratemakers, at 238 Front St. Longworth's New York City Directory, 1829, listed William and Nathan Jackson, gratemakers, at this address. Around 1850 this company opened a second location at 891 Broadway. In Trow's New York City Directory, 1852-53, the business name changed to W. & N. Jackson & Sons at these addresses. Then in 1856 Trow listed simply William H. Jackson, grates, at 891 Broadway. This ad from 1857 refers to the former "W. & N. Jackson & Sons." This one from Trow, 1861, is much the same, but the proprietors are now William H. Jackson and E. C. Jackson.
The early history of the Jackson "grates" business in New York is described as follows in The Heroes of the American Revolution and Their Descendants - Battle of Long Island, by Henry Whittemore, 1897, "Nathan H. Jackson, youngest child of Hugh ... and Rebecca (Morris) Jackson, was born at Lower Squankum, N. J., Aug. 15, 1805; died Feb. 3, 1854. He went to New York City at the age of sixteen and learned the trade of grate making with his brother Peter, and afterwards entered into partnership with him and his brother William, under the firm name of W. & N. Jackson Co. in 1827. The eldest brother, Peter, was the pioneer, being the first to establish the business in New York City. The grates at this time were made of wrought iron, by hand, and the brass fixtures imported from Germany. This means of heating gradually took the place of the wood stove, and was principally used for heating houses until the introduction of the coal stove, and the substitution of anthracite for bituminous coal. Peter carried on the business in the Bowery, while Nathan and his brother William were located at the corner of Front street and Peck slip, where they did a successful business for many years, and, in 1851, their sons, Peter and William H. Jackson, joined them under the firm name of W. & N. Jackson & Sons."
More specific information relating to William H. Jackson in the same work is as follows, "William H. Jackson, Member Sons of the Revolution, eldest son of Nathan H. and Sarah (Conover) Jackson, was born on Cherry Street, near Franklin Square, New York, Feb. 21, 1829. [Cherry Street was at that time a fashionable locality for residences.] He was educated at the Mechanics' and Traders' School, a well-known educational institution in its day. On arriving at the proper age he entered his father's employ, where he acquired a thorough knowledge of the manufacture of grates. A branch store had been opened in the meantime at 891 Broadway, and after his father's death the business was divided, he taking charge of the up-town store, while his cousins - sons of William Jackson - continued the downtown store. … Mr. Jackson organized the Jackson Iron Works, one of the largest manufactories of the kind in the country … Mr. Jackson married 1st Mary V. Applegate, daughter of O. Higby Applegate; 2d Sarah A. Job. By his first wife he had William F., Edward Augustus, Sarah L., Mary Anna, Laura, married Dr. Samuel K. Bremer; by his second wife he had a daughter, Ada."
This portrait of William H. Jackson appeared in the same work (available as a google book). A similar portrait appeared in Moses King's Notable New Yorkers of 1896-1899.
In summary, the origin of Wm. H. Jackson & Co. derives from the three brothers, Peter Jackson, William H. Jackson (b. ca.1794), and Nathan Hunt Jackson (1805-1854), who were in business as W. & N. Jackson Co. from 1827 to 1851. In 1851 these three were joined by their sons, Peter Jackson and William Henry Jackson (1829-1908), and the business name changed to W. & N. Jackson & Sons. Then in 1854, on Nathan Jackson's death, the business split. The sons of William H. Jackson (b. ca.1794) continued the business at 246 Front St., while Nathan Jackson's son, William H. Jackson (1829-1908), continued the business at 891 Broadway.
Trow, 1859, lists Peter Jackson and William Jackson at 246 Front St., where the business was called W. Jackson & Son. They had a second location at 930 Broadway. The Peter Jackson here was probably the Peter Jackson who appears in the U. S. Census of 1860 living at dwelling 126, family 140, in New York's Ward 20, District 5. This Peter Jackson was 30 years old and lived with his wife, Sarah, 28, born New Jersey, and two small children. He is probably the same Peter Jackson, age 22, who in 1850 lived with his father, William Jackson, age 56, and brother, William, age 15. His father, William Jackson, would be one of the original three brothers, and it would be his sons, Peter and William (the cousins of William H. Jackson (1829-1908)) who constituted W. Jackson & Son at 246 Front St.
The earlier Peter Jackson, of the original three brothers, was listed in Longworth's New York City Directory of 1820: "Jackson Peter, grate & fenders, 219 Water." His business moved to 137 Bowery in 1827, the same year W. N. Jackson & Co. were listed at 238 Front St. Longworth continued to list Peter Jackson at 137 Bowery through 1829. His brothers, William and Nathan, continued at 238 Front St. until the business split in 1854.
The following account of W. Jackson & Son appeared in Leading Pursuits and Leading Men, edited by Edwin T. Freedley, Philadelphia, 1856, "William Jackson & Son, No. 246 Front Street, near Peck Slip, New York, are the successors of William and Nathan Jackson, who commenced business at the corner Front Street and Peck Slip in 1827, where they continued until the decease of the latter gentleman in 1854. Previous to the formation of that partnership, however, Mr. Jackson had made grates for burning anthracite coal, resembling in some respects the Liverpool grate, with Russia sheet iron fronts, having zinc and in some cases brass ornaments. About the year 1839, the Berlin grates, as they were called, were imported into New York. These were of a different construction, having cast iron frames covered with a black enamel or polish. After many experiments, the Messrs. Jackson succeeded in the manufacture of these grates, much to the surprise of the importers, who had asserted that they could not be made in this country, and whose importations were soon stopped, through the enterprise and ingenuity of this firm in producing a grate equal in elegance to those imported, and superior to them in adaptation to the kind of coal used in this country. In making the frame of the grate, much care is required to produce a smooth casting, which, when prepared, is covered with black varnish and baked in an oven made for the purpose, and finally polished. The greatest difficulty in the infancy of the business was in obtaining suitable varnish; but repeated experiments resulted in entire success, and now iron varnish of excellent quality is made in New England. In their highly-embellished parlor grates, Messrs. W. Jackson & Son ornament the central decorations with the choicest specimens of engravings, beautifully colored, under cover of plate glass, after designs copied from the ablest engravers and painters of antiquity. This firm have succeeded in the process of ornamentation to a degree higherto entirely unequalled, and their taste and workmanship have been rewarded not only by the compliments of medals from numerous fairs and the patronage of the wealthy in the great cities, but their manufactures have been made articles of export to the British Provinces, China, and other remote portions of the globe. Messrs. W. Jackson & Son have also a warehouse at No. 930 Broadway, between Twenty-first and Twenty-second Streets, New York City."
This ad for W. Jackson & Son dates from 1877 when they were located at both 246 Front St. and 1166 Broadway.
Successors to W. Jackson & Son at 246 Front St. were W. Jackson's Sons. This advertisement from the New York Tribune, Jan. 1897, lists James L. Jackson and J. William Jackson as proprietors at that time. These men seem to be grandsons of the original William H. Jackson (b. ca. 1794). James L. Jackson, Jr. (1853-1927) was the son of James Lander Jackson (1818-1888), and J. William Jackson was the son of Peter Jackson (b. ca. 1828). (More on James L. Jackson is found on the J. L. Jackson, Bro. page.)
William H. Jackson's sketch in the Biographical Directory of the State of New York, 1900, reads, "Jackson, William H. - Iron Manufacturer, 860 Broadway, 32 East 18th street, and 315 East 28th street, New York City; residence 825 Madison avenue. Born in New York City, February, 1829. Educated in Mechanics' School. (Married.) President and director Jackson Architectural Iron Works; president Board of Direction General Synod, Reformed Church of America; director United States Fire Insurance Co.; trustee New York Savings Bank. Member Republican and Union League Clubs, Aldine Association, Sons of the Revolution, Lafayette Post, G. A. R., General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen and Chamber of Commerce."
His obituary in the New York Times, 26 Nov. 1908, read, "William H. Jackson died suddenly on Tuesday at his residence, 825 Madison Avenue. He was born in this city on Feb. 21, 1829, and had long been prominent in the iron business, being the President of the Jackson Architectural Iron Works and the head of the old firm of William H. Jackson & Co. of Union Square, which business was founded in 1827 by his father, Nathan H. Jackson. He was a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce, Vice President and a Director of the New York Savings Bank, President of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America, a member of the Union League and Republican Clubs, Sons of the Revolution, New England Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Natural History Museum, the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of New York, a Trustee of the Presbyterian Hospital, an elder of the Madison Avenue Reformed Church and the senior member of that church. He was married twice. His second wife, who was Mrs. Sarah A. Perrine of Hightstown, N. J., survives him. He also leaves four daughters, Sarah L. Jackson, Mrs. Marianna J. Hunter, Mrs. Samuel H. Bremner, and Mrs. Henry Sillcocks, all of this city."
From approximately 1860 to 1900, another of Nathan H. Jackson's sons (a brother of William H. Jackson (1829-1908)), Ebenezer Conover Jackson (1834-1904), worked with his brother at Wm. H. Jackson & Co. He can be found in the U. S. Census reports of 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900. In 1860 he lived with his widowed mother in New York's 20th Ward. He was identified as E. C. Jackson, age 24, born New York, "Grates Fenders Manager." In 1870 (2nd enumeration) he lived at 433 W. 22nd St., Manhattan. He was 34 years old, and he was recorded as A. C. Jackson. He lived with his wife and two small children, Willy, age 9, and Charles, age 6. His occupation is difficult to read. It might be an abbreviation for manufacturer. In 1880 he was identified as Conover Jackson, and he lived with his wife, Mary, and four children at 433 W. 22nd St., Manhattan. He was 43 years old, and his occupation was "Grates-Fenders." The 1900 census gave his birth date as Nov. 1834. He was registered as E. Conover Jackson, and he lived at 308 West 88th St., Manhattan. The name E. C. Jackson appeared on the Wm. H. Jackson & Co. ad from Trow, 1861 (see above).
This advertisement from a city directory in 1877 refers to Wm. H. Jackson & Co. when they were located on Union Square at 17th St. This one (also from 1877) specifies the address 31 E. 17th St. and refers to their factory at 36 E. 18th Street (front and rear entrances to the same building).
Christopher Gray's "Streetscapes" article in the New York Times, 12 June 2011,
has this on the Jackson Building at 31 E. 17th St.,
"The building ... was built from 1890 to 1892 by William H. Jackson, the president
of the Jackson Architectural Iron Works. It was 11 stories at a time when that was
tall, but no longer skyscraping. The Jackson company began in 1840, at first making
fireplace grates and fenders. But building technology advanced remarkably in the
1880s, and the Jackson Works produced the iron structure for the Tower Building
(1888 to 1889) at 50 Broadway. That was arguably the first curtain-wall construction
on a metal frame. The company was prominently mentioned in trade articles, although
credit for the idea was always given to Bradford Lee Gilbert, the architect.
"The year after the Tower Building went up, Mr. Jackson began 31 East 17th Street, on the north side of a square that had once been an elite residential district, but by 1890 had become the tail end of the center of New York retail.
"The designer of the 17th Street structure was the staff architect of the Jackson firm, William H. Birkmire. He had been working for Mr. Jackson at the time of the design of the Tower Building. Drawings and photographs show a pleasant Romanesque design, a big half-round arch over the first three floors, a gable-ended tower flanked by two pinnacles. ... The Jackson Building survived on Union Square until a fire in 1930, after which it was cut down to its present height [two stories]."
William Harvey Birkmire (1860-1924) is described as follows in Rise of the New York Skyscraper (1865-1913), by Sarah Bradford Landau and Carl W. Condit, 1996, "Birkmire, born in Philadelphia and a graduate of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, was trained as an architect in the office of Samuel Sloan, and he first worked with the Penncoyd Steel Works and Rolling Mills in Philadelphia. In New York he worked for the Jackson Architectural Iron Works from 1888 to 1892, and after 1892 for the J. B. & J. M. Cornell Iron Works, where he was also head of construction. Starting in 1895 he practiced independently but was associated on several projects with John T. Williams from 1895 to 1898." Two of his collaborations with John T. Williams were Lord's Court (1895-96) on the corner of William St. and Exchange Place, and the Central National Bank Building (1896-97) on the corner of Broadway and Pearl St. Birkmire's work on the Tower Building is also discussed in Rise of the New York Skyscraper (1865-1913).
Directory listings show that Wm. H. Jackson & Co. were located at 31 E. 17th St. (aka 36 E. 18th St.) from 1872 to 1890. This advertisement for Wm. H. Jackson & Co. appeared in the Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, vol. xliv, no. 1112, 6 July 1889. Offices and warerooms were located on Union Square (31 E. 17th St.), and foundries on East 28th and 29th Streets. Apparently 31 E. 17th St. was a building that preceded the Jackson Building erected at that address in 1890. From 1890 to 1912 Wm. H. Jackson & Co. were located in the building next door, which has the addresses 27-29 E. 17th St., 32-34 E. 18th St., and 860 Broadway. The same listings show that the offices of Jackson Architectural Iron Works were located at 315 E. 28th St. from 1886 to 1904, and then at 31 E. 17th St. from 1904 to 1908. Jackson Architectural Iron Works seem to have gone out of business in 1908 (the year Wm. H. Jackson died). According to this ad in American Architect and Building News, vol. 35, no. 848, Saturday, March 12, 1892, p. xvi, the Jackson Architectural Iron Works were founded in 1840. This advertisement from 1885 for Jackson's Architectural Iron Works shows a picture of the works on East 28th St. and 2nd Ave.
The 1885 ad mentions "P. J. Lauritzen in charge of Building Dept." P. J. Lauritzen was Peter J. Lauritzen (1847-1934), a Danish-born architect, who headed the Building Dept. at the Jackson Architectural Iron Works from 1883 to 1885. Lauritzen's architectural designs in New York include the Union League Club (1890) on Grant Square at the corner of Bedford Ave. and Dean St., Brooklyn. Click for detail of Union League Club with the portraits of Lincoln and Grant above the entrance. He also designed the Offerman Building / originally Wechsler Brothers Block (1890-93) at 503 Fulton St. near Duffield St., Brooklyn. Guide to New York City Landmarks, 4th ed., 2009, says, "Lauritzen, a Danish immigrant, specialized in designs inspired by medieval sources." The following is from the Offerman Building Landmark Designation Report (2005), "The architect of the Offerman Building was Peter J. Lauritzen. Born in Jutland, Denmark, in 1847, he trained at the Polytechnic School of Copenhagen and moved to Washington, D.C. in the late 1860s where he worked with the Treasury Department’s supervising architect, Alfred B. Mullett. In 1875 Lauritzen was appointed architect for the city of Washington, D. C. and from 1875 to 1883 served as consul for the Danish government. He moved to New York City in 1883 and for two years headed the Jackson Architectural Iron Works, one of the oldest and most successful producers of iron building components in the metropolitan region. Lauritzen formed his own architectural practice around 1885. His earliest commission was the Manhattan Athletic Club (1889-90, demolished). Though he was not invited to participate in the limited competition for the club’s design, his unsolicited proposal won and was built at the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and 45th Street. Six stories tall, the Romanesque Revival-style structure was distinguished by large arched entrances and mast-like corner towers. It was described by a contemporary writer as “bold and strong in form, subdued yet warm in color, rich and graceful in embellishment.” The unusual circumstance that led to [the] Manhattan Athletic Club commission certainly enhanced Lauritzen’s reputation and during the late 1880s and 1890s he was extremely active in Brooklyn. Among his finest works was the Union League Club (1889-90, later the Unity Club) on Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights. Faced in brick, granite and brownstone, the corner tower had a hipped roof and octagonal loggia. The interiors were well-equipped, featuring dining and reception rooms, as well as a bowling alley and shooting gallery. He also remodeled the former Hawley mansion at 563 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg for use as the Hanover Club in 1890, and designed the Crescent Athletic Club (1895, demolished) at 25-27 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights. These commissions led to residential projects, including houses for Nicholas(?) Toerge (1890) on St. Marks Avenue, Wilson G. Randolph (1891) at 239 Hancock Place, and Frederick Mollenhauer (1896), founder of the Mollenhauer sugar refinery, at 527 Bedford Avenue. Lauritzen also designed eight “engine and truck” houses (1894-97) for the Brooklyn Fire Department. Lauritzen lived close to Offerman in Williamsburg and was a member of the Union League and Hanover Club. He maintained offices in Manhattan at 120 Broadway and later at 23 East 23rd Street and in Brooklyn with Louis H. Voss (d. 1936) at 350 Fulton Street. Little is known about Voss and it is not clear when they formed their partnership. When Lauritzen left the firm in 1897 to join the Yukon gold rush, his son, William, became Voss’ partner. Though he later returned to Brooklyn and was described as a “prominent billiard player and clubman” in January 1901, little is known of his subsequent years." Also a New York City landmark designed by Lauritzen is the beaux-arts style mansion (1903) at 990 St. Mark's Ave., in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Lauritzen's paid death notice in the New York Times, 1 Dec. 1934, read, "Lauritzen - Peter J., at Copenhagen, Denmark, on Nov. 26, father of Ruth H. and Lauritz Lauritzen."
The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes at Columbia University contains a Wm. H. Jackson & Co. bill or receipt for a tile hearth costing $18. This appears to be dated 21 May 1890.
This advertisement from a city directory in 1895 refers to Wm. H. Jackson & Co. when their offices were located on the corner of Union Square and 18th St. (860 Broadway).
This advertisement for Wm H. Jackson appeared in the Architectural League of New York's Catalogue of the Eleventh Annual Exhibition, 1896. Their address, again, is given as 860 Broadway, Union Square at 18th St. Another ad in the same publication referred to the Jackson Architectural Iron Works at 315 E. 28th St.
This advertisement for Wm H. Jackson & Co. appeared in the New York Tribune, Jan. 1897. As in the prior years, the address is 860 Broadway.
This advertisement for Wm. H. Jackson Co. appeared in the Catalog of the Fifth Exhibition of the Brooklyn Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1905. The ad shows a bronze counter screen created for the Williamsburgh Trust Co.
Sweet's Indexed Catalogue of Building Construction for the Year 1906, published by the Architectural Record Co., contains a description of Wm. H. Jackson. This work is available on Google Books.
This advertisement from a city directory in 1916 appeared when Wm. H. Jackson salesrooms were located at 2 W. 47th St.
The Wm. H. Jackson entry in Sweet’s Architectural Catalogue, 1917, reading, Wm. H. Jackson Company / Ornamental Metal Work / 2 West 47th Street / New York, N. Y. / Foundry and Shops / 333 Carroll Street / Brooklyn, N. Y., included this illustration of the Morgan Building with windows supplied by Wm. H. Jackson Co.
This advertisement from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Bulletin, Oct. 1921, mentions foundries on Carroll St., Brooklyn.
Among several Wm. H. Jackson entries in Sweet’s Architectural Catalogues, 1933, was one reading "Wm. H. Jackson Company, established 1827. Artisans in All Metals, Bronze, Brass, Nickel Alloys, Aluminum, Iron. New York Warerooms, 2 West 47th St. Telephone BRyant 9-8430. Foundry and Shops, 335 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. Telephone CUmberland 6-4252. Products included Ornamental Metal Work, including Entrance Doors, Grilles, Window Guards, Store Fronts, Spandrels, Bank Screens, Railings, Elevator Fronts, Mausoleum Work, Memorial Tablets, Signs, Letters, Bulletin Boards, Lamps, Check Desks, Clocks, Marquises, Driveway Gates, Fences, Fireplace Fixtures and Mantels." Reference is made to the Manufacturers’ Index for Jackson Bronze and Aluminum Windows; also Tile Works and Swimming Pools. Recent installations in New York included
Illustrated in Sweet's were ornamental doors as well as a bronze rail installed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel
The WPA Guide to New York City, 1939, credits William H. Jackson & Co. with the doors to the Bowery Savings Bank on East 42nd St., "The Bowery Savings Savings Bank Building, 110 East Forty-second Street, is well known for its cast-bronze doors, made by William H. Jackson and Company, and for its great banking hall, lavishly finished in mosaic and marble. ... The structure was completed in 1923 and is considered the masterpiece of York and Sawyer, architects."
As of 2011 the William H. Jackson Co. was still in business and maintained offices in New York City at 18 East 17th St. Their web site proclaims, "Established 1827" (approaching 200 years!).
The building at 138-144 Broadway, Brooklyn, southeast corner of Bedford Ave., is referred to as the Smith, Gray & Co., building #2. (Click for image.) Smith, Gray & Co., building #1, at 103 Broadway, is a New York City landmark (attributed to William H. Gaylor, 1870). 138-144 Broadway is a later William H. Gaylor design (1884). "A large new 6-story, iron-fronted headquarters, retail store, and factory building for the firm was constructed in 1884 at 126 (later 138-144) Broadway (aka 389-395 Bedford Avenue) to the design of architect Gaylor, with Thomas and William Lamb, builders, and the William H. Jackson Ironworks" (New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Smith, Gray & Company Building, 7 June 2005).
This advertisement for Smith, Gray & Co. as "yacht outfitters" appeared in Fairchild's New York Men's Wear Directory, 1907.
Another foundry mark (its view obstructed by a pipe) is found on the building reading, Wm H. Jackson & Co. / Iron Works N. Y.
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