Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Billheads and Royal Warrants of Appointment

An interesting advertisement or notification on billheads for the UK is that the royal warrant of appointment. Royal Warrants have been issued for centuries to those who supply goods or services to a royal court or certain royal personages. The warrant enables the supplier to advertise the fact that they supply to the royal family, so lending prestige to the supplier. Competition for Royal favor was intense. So the monarch had the pick of the country’s most skilled and talented trades people. The first rewards for this loyal service were Royal Charters granted to the trade guilds, later known as livery companies. By the 15th century Royal tradesmen were recognized with a Royal Warrant of Appointment. In the late 18th century Royal tradesmen began displaying the Royal Arms on their premises and stationery.

One of the most common endorsements during that time was for “Her Majesty.” Which while not specific, I can only infer that the firm is referring to Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Queen Victoria’s reign lasted 63 years and 7 months, the longest of any other British monarch. Her reign was marked by the great expansion of the British Empire. She ascended to the throne at the age of 18 in 1837, being the only legitimate heir of the fourth son of George III, after the death of her uncle William IV. Queen Victoria ensured that Royal Warrants gained the prestige they enjoy today. During her 64 year reign the Queen and her family granted more than 2000 Royal Warrants, eight times as many as the Queens uncle, George IV.

Here are some examples:

The above billhead not only indicates that it the boot maker to Queen Victoria by Appointment, but it goes on to indicate it also is the boot maker to His Royal Highness Prince Albert, his late majesty William IV, his late majesty Louis Phillipe King of the French, His Grace the Duke of Beaufort, the Marquis of Worcester etc. Lots of important people. Oddly enough, I have had little success finding out more information about Wm Naish.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fire Engines and Equipment Billheads

From wikipedia: The United States did not have professional firefighters in the sense of government-run fire departments until around the time of the American Civil War. Prior to this time, amateur fire brigades would compete with one another to be the first to respond to a fire because insurance companies paid brigades to save buildings. Underwriters also employed their own Salvage Corps in some cities. The first known female firefighter Molly Williams took her place with the men on the dragropes during the blizzard of 1818 and pulled the pumper to the fire through the deep snow. Interestingly, during the 1800s and early 1900s volunteer fire companies served not only as fire protection but as political machines.

However, the first organized municipal fire brigade in the world was established in Edinburgh, Scotland, when the Edinburgh Fire Engine Establishment was formed in 1824, led by James Braidwood. London followed in 1832 with the London Fire Engine Establishment.
On April 1, 1853, the Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) Fire Department became the first full-time paid professional fire department in the United States, and the first in the world to use steam fire engines.

The first horse-drawn steam engine for fighting fires was invented in 1829, but not accepted in structural firefighting until 1860, and ignored for another two years afterwards. Internal combustion engine fire engines arrived in 1907, built in the United States, leading to the decline and disappearance of steam engines by 1925.

For more info on firefighting in Colonial America.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Photo Billheads

Photo billheads tend toward the early 1900s and show an actual photo of the company. The few that I have seen on ebay show off the firm's business building. Takes away the ability for a shop to exaggerate their establishment. Not sure if these billheads were more expensive to produce or if the black and white photo was not appealing to firms who at that time wanted big bold colors.

Part III: The Youle Family

Youle was a well-known family name in New York among founders and cutlers. I have been able to piece together a short family genealogy of the family. Unfortunately, I cannot 100% verify that the links I have made to family members are correct. If anyone has more info on the Youles I would be very interested in reading about it. While a lot of research states that John and James Jr were sons of James – there is some conflict about this. While James Jr certainly could be a son, I believe that John, George, James, and Joseph were all brothers with perhaps another John as a nephew. The Colonial Newsletter article is what is perplexing about the ties between the brothers/nephews/sons. The article states that James was killed in his shop and left behind a wife June (I believe her name was Jane) and that Jane died young and left three underage children: Timothy, Thomas and June (again possibly Jane). In sum, I believe James, Joseph, George and John were brothers – and there was a John, James Jr, Joseph, George Jr. in the subsequent generations.

James Youle – Was a cutler from Sheffield that started Bailey and Youle cutlers in 1777 in NY. The firm split during the Revolution. James Youle persisted in the business of instrument maker. He also fashioned other metal work such as swords, firearms, skates, but gave importance to surgical instruments. Youle was killed when in 1786 at the age of 46 when his grindstone shattered and a piece hit him in the chest. Had two sons, James, Jr. and John.

Family - Wife was Jane Youle and sons James Jr., Timothy, Thomas and John.

John Youle – Son or brother? In the NY City directory of 1791 a John Youle, ironmonger, is listed at the corner of Beekman Slip and Water Street. An advertisement in the local newspapers after the Revolution stated the following: "the New Invented Friction Cogg for Blocks cast and sold by John Youle at Beekman-Slip; being a new and easy method for hoisting a heavy weight." Another advertisement listed that John offered “a fresh and general assortment of Hardware, Ironmongery, cutlery, which he will dispose of very reasonable by wholesale or retail.” John is also listed in 1795 as having a patent for cabooses.

Family - Daughter Mathilda who married Hon. Asher Tyler

James Youle – Son of James. In the 1791 NY City Directory a James Youle, cutler and gun smith, is listed on Little Dock Street. James’ business was known by its sign of the cross-knives and gun. James fashioned edged weapons, firearms and all kinds of surgeon’s instruments.

Family - Married Catharine Clemens in 1787

George Youle – another brother? In a January 1800 advertisement in the New York-Daily Advertiser, George announced that he “manufactures lead pipes to convey the water from the logs in the street into the house.” George also held several patents for cabooses. There is also a George Youle listed as requesting a letter of marque from James Monroe in 1812. George is also referred to as a pewterer and plumber. He was a director of the Mechanics’ Insurance Co. in 1822. He died in 1828.

Family – Married Satty Neill.
Daughters Mary, Augusta, Euretta, Eleanor, and Josephine.
Son Joseph committed suicide in 1820 at the age of 24.
Eleanor married Augustus Van Amninge
Euretta married Samuel Halsey
Grandson George Youle, Jr.

Dr. Joseph Youle – another brother? Was a Dr. member of the Medical Society of NY. Married Jane Byvanck in 1778. Died 1795, one daughter Maria Josephine married John Oothout. Youle graduated with a degree in medicine from Columbia College in NY in 1793.

Thomas Youle – son of James. Died in 1819 at the age of 41 years. There was a Thomas Youle listed as pewterer in New York in 1815. And a Youle & Co. under Thomas Youle for 1811.

Timothy Youle – son of James – married Nancy Twybell in 1797.

All of the above was pieced together using google books and the New York Times index.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Part II – The Sloop Sea Gull

The Youle billhead is particularly interesting in that what it itemizes. The purchaser was the Sloop Sea Gull dated December 18, 1822. Youle put one set of sleigh shoes on the sloop and also charged for cartage. The billhead is signed by Mr. George Youle, Jun.

The Sea Gull was built as the river steamer built Enterprise by the Connecticut Steam Boat Company of Hartford CT. It was launched in November, 1818. In December, 1822 it was purchased by the US Navy for $16,000 for use as a shallow water operating against pirates along the coast of Cuba. It was renamed the Sea Gull, only the second steamship in the US Navy and the first to serve actively as a warship. The Sea Gull served as a dispatch boat in Commodore Porter’s “Mosquito Fleet,” employed in the West Indies for the suppression of piracy in 1823-1824.

The Sea Gull served in the West Indies looking for pirates until 1825, when she was declared unfit for service and fitted out as a receiving ship in Philadelphia until she was sold in 1840 for $4750.

I believe that the Sea Gull mentioned on the Youle billhead is one and the same. First, the sloop throws me off a little, but the fact that it was purchased and outfitted in New York, and Youle was a well-known and top notch founder makes it likely that his firm might have done some work on the steamer to make it fit for service in the Navy. The December, 1822 date of the billhead is right on the money for when the Sea Gull was in the city being retrofitted.