Wilson & Baillie, Joralemon St. near Henry St., Brooklyn Heights, 2008
Worn and barely legible, the rim on this manhole cover is inscribed with the brand name Kosmocrete (click for detail) and the company name Wilson & Baillie (only partially readable).
Wilson & Baillie were primarily involved in concrete paving construction, but also dealt in sewer pipe and steel sidewalk curbs. This advertisement for Wilson & Baillie appeared in the Official Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Convention of the American Society of Municipal Improvements, held in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 5-8, 1897. The company officers of the time included C. B. Johnson, President; J. J. Wilson, Vice President; E. H. Baillie, Secretary; and F. B. Johnson, Treasurer.
John J. Wilson (1837-1901) and his brother?, Henry L. Wilson, were in the cement business in New York in the early 1870s, and the firm, Johnson & Wilson, was formed around 1877 with offices originally at 91-93 Liberty St. and later on lower Broadway. This company with offices at 45 Broadway was replaced around 1890 by Wilson & Baillie. The Wilson & Baillie plant was located in Brooklyn at 93 9th St., and they were in business at that location through 1905 (and maybe even a little later). By 1912 Wilson & Baillie had moved to Jackson Ave. in Long Island City.
Charles B. Johnson (ca.1841-1899) was born in Massachusetts, but by 1870 lived in Brooklyn with his father, Philo Wilson. In the 1870 U. S. Census Charles Johnson was 27 years old and his occupation was "Importer of Human Hair." In the 1880 U. S. Census Johnson was 38 years old and still lived with his father at 186 Madison St., Brooklyn. Now his occupation was "Agent for Cement." When Johnson died in 1899 the following appeared in the New York Times, 6 Nov. 1899, p. 7, "Charles B. Johnson, a charter member of the Brooklyn Union League Club, died yesterday, at his residence, 141 St. Mark's Avenue, after a short illness from pneumonia. Mr. Johnson was fifty-eight years old. He was born in Westfield, Mass., and was educated in this city. For the past fifteen years he had been President of the Wilson & Baillie Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn. He was formerly a member of the Brooklyn Club, and was an active Republican, although he had never held a public office. Mr. Johnson was unmarried. He is survived by a brother, Frank B. Johnson, who is Secretary and Treasurer of the Wilson & Baillie Manufacturing Company, and by two sisters."
Ellis H. Baillie (1857-1949) was the son of a Sandy Hook pilot, Peter R. Baillie. Ellis Baillie appears in the 1870 U. S. Census as a 12-year old boy living with his father in Brooklyn. In the 1880 U. S. Census he still lived in Brooklyn with his father, but now he was 23 years old, and gave his occupation as "Tea Dealer." His later career can be traced through the four successive census reports from 1900 to 1930, where he goes from (1900) Brooklyn, age 42, manufacturer of sewer pipe, (1910) Babylon, Suffolk County, NY, age 53, manufacturing concrete, (1920) Dallas, Texas, age 60, contractor, cement, and (1930), Anaheim, Calif., age 72, caretaker, auto camp. Ellis Baillie died 13 Sept. 1949 in Orange County, Calif.
Wilson & Baillie left this plaque in the concrete in the sidewalk on Willow St., Brooklyn. A Kosmocrete coal chute cover is found on West 10th St., Manhattan.
An ad in the Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide from 1897 showed the Brooklyn address at 85-93 9th St., but also a Manhattan office address at 45 Broadway. The Manhattan offices appeared in directory listings from 1888 to 1900.
Click here for Wilson & Baillie ad from 1905, when the factory was located on 9th St., Brooklyn, and offices were on Court St., Brooklyn.
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