Monday, March 19, 2012

History Reveals Itself at 97 Orchard Street

Major work – and major progress -- continues on our upcoming "Shop Life" exhibit at 97 Orchard Street.  After partially exposing the base of the building's air shaft, original installed in 1905, we found a maker’s stamp on one of the supporting beams:  “Cambria,” for the Cambria Steel Company, of Johnstown, PA.  Founded in 1852 as the Cambria Iron Works, it eventually became part of Bethlehem Steel. The company survived a disastrous flood in 1898, and the works were finally closed almost a century later in 1992. 

Surviving structures from the Cambria Steel plant form one of the best-preserved sites from the “early modern” iron and steel industry, and have been named a National Historic Landmark. Read more about this here.  

The stamp is hard to see, even with raking light, but a rubbing makes it legible:

If you look closely during your subway travels, you can see the same stamp on steel elements in stations along the IRT lines, which were under construction during the same period. You’ll also see  the names of other manufacturers, including "Carnegie".

-- Posted by Project Director Chris Neville

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