Although they’re totally forgotten today,
the better part
of a century Albany, New York’s James Goold Co. was
one of the nation’s most celebrated rail car, sleigh and highway coach
manufacturers. The firm constructed the coachwork for the DeWitt
Clinton, the first
passenger train operated this side of the Atlantic. James Goold's (b.
July 28, 1790-d. Oct.
1, 1879) firm produced
first horse cars, the horse-drawn ancestors of the streetcar, to be
used in Albany. Two
he constructed the celerity stage coaches in which Butterfield’s
Company delivered mail, cargo and settlers to the outposts of the west.
the originator of the Albany Cutter, the country’s most popular sleigh,
provided Albany residents with carriages that rivaled those of James
When the horseless carriage arrived in upstate New York, the carriage
to Goold for their custom coachwork.
Its founder, James Goold, was born in
Granby, Hartford County,
Connecticut, on July 28, 1790 to David (b.1875 in Lime, Conn.-d.1832)
Rebecca Granger (b. 1761 in Granby, Conn.-d.1837) Goold. His father,
was a farmer, in comfortable circumstances, who had also learned the
blacksmithing, at which he worked occasionally.
To put the year 1790 into perspective,
George Washington had
just been elected President of the United States, the US Capitol was
New York City, Mozart's ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ premiered in Vienna
21-year-old Napoléon Bonaparte was an obscure lieutenant in the French
In 1794 the Goold family (he had five
brothers and two sisters) relocated to Stephentown, Rensselaer County,
where the children attended the local schoolhouse. At the age of 14
to Troy, New York becoming an apprentice bookbinder with Obadiah
Co.; but this proved distasteful to him, and after a month's trial he
to Stephentown, remaining there until December, 1805, when he took a
as an apprentice with William Clark, a carriage-maker at Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. At the close of eighteen months' service, Clark failed,
closed, with Goold taking a similar position with Jason Clapp, who
Pittsfield’s L. Pomeroy, with whom he remained during the summer of
which time he completed his apprenticeship.
The premiere issue (June, 1858) issue of the
Coachmaker’s Magazine infers that Goold was also apprenticed with Col.
Chapman, of Northampton, Mass., the very same shop that turned out such
building notables as James Brewster and Jason Clapp, his future
employer. As Goold
later worked for Clapp, who succeeded Pittsfield’s L. Pomeroy, and
was located nearby (60 miles from Stephentown), the story is certainly
plausible, although it’s not mentioned elsewhere. The short reference
“In the year 1804, being then in the
sixteenth year of his
age, Mr. Brewster was apprenticed to Col. Charles Chapman, of
Mass., to learn the "art, mystery, and trade"
of carriage-making. In this same shop, we believe, Messrs. James
Goold, now of Albany, and Jason Clapp, of Pittsfield, Mass., both
their apprenticeships, whose portraits we hope to be able to present in
Gallery at a future day.”
In August 1809, he went to Coxsackie, New
York as a
journeyman carriage maker for John R. Vandenburgh. The following
1810 and found among Mr. Goold's papers, provides fatherly advice on
deal with employers and co-workers:
“As to your being among strangers, I have
always thought it
safe not to be too intimate with any, not to interest myself with
disputes; and when any man told me all he knew, I took care not to tell
anything.Be faithful to your employer,
honest to all you deal with, pleasant in the house, civil to all about
quick to resent an affront, not soon angry. Keep
a bright lookout for such as are bad company or bad
Remember the Sabbath, and attend meeting reverently. Take conscience
for your guide, and do
nothing that will cause repentance.
“Your father and friend, David Goold.”
Vandenburgh laid him off during the winter
of 1809-1910, and
Goold took the opportunity to further his education at an academy kept
Lusk in New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York.
Four months later he went looking for work,
New Jersey, New York City, and finally New Haven, Connecticut, where he
until December 26th, 1810, at which time he returned to
to spend some time with his parents and formulate plans for his future.
Goold hoped to open his own shop in Albany,
but failing to
secure the needed capital, took a position across the Hudson at the
York carriage works of Luke Thrall for whom he worked for a period of
months, returning to the family home in Stephentown in November of
determined than ever to establish his own workshop.
As the winter snow breathed its last,
Goold’s plans came to
fruition and on April 15, 1813 he rented a building from Peter
the corner of Maiden Lane and Dean Street located on the ground later
by Stanwix Hall, and more recently the Albany Federal Building and Post
Now a successful 24-year-old businessman,
Goold wed his
sweetheart, Elizabeth Vail (b.1769 to Samuel Vail and Siche Doughty -
on January 30, 1814, and to the blessed union was born thirteen
children who included Henry, John S., Jane B., Mary E., and Fanny B.
Two years afterward (1816) Goold leased
Division-street, below Broadway, then known as South Market-street (now
Broadway); and in 1823, having erected new buildings on Union-street,
part of the business there, which by that time was popularly known as
In early 1831 Goold & Co. received a
commission for what
would prove to be his legacy, the construction of six coach tops for
and Hudson Rail Road Company. Those coaches were the first passenger
constructed for an American railroad, and their motive power was
the DeWitt Clinton, America’s most famous steam rail road engine which
was named for the recently deceased governor of
The 'DeWitt Clinton' locomotive was
constructed by Cold Spring, New York's West Point Foundry (1817-1911),
the same firm that constructed the 'Best Friend of Charleston' -
America's first locomotive - for the South Carolina Canal &
Railroad Co. in 1830. It is believed that the foundry constructed the
wheeled frames upon which Goold's coach tops were affixed, but I could
find no period documentation to support the claim.
company wisely kept the contract between James Goold and the Mohawk
Railway Co. which follows in its entirety:
“To the Commissioner of the Mohawk and
Hudson Rail Road
“Sir: I propose and agree to furnish for
Company Six Coach tops. That is, to furnish jacks and jack bolts and
with thorough braces, and put them on the frames of the company's rail
carriages to support the coach tops—The coach tops to be finished and
the style of workmanship generally adopted in Albany and Troy for post
coaches—The materials and workmanship to be first quality—A baggage
Boot to be hung at each end —The length of coach body to be seven feet
inches between the jacks—The general plan of the coach to conform to
and explanation given by the engineer of the company—To have three
seats—the backs of the end seats to be stuffed with moss—and all the
be stuffed with hair—To have a door on each side—To have an outside
each end across the top of the coach with suitable foot board—Also a
each end for driver or brakeman, to drop below to a suitable height to
rack his foot board—An oil cloth to be rigged to the center rod on
coach top to
cover baggage, and one at each end rolled to the back of the seat to
from rain—The whole completed, and to be hung on the carriage frames at
point on the lines of said Rail road as follows—Two coaches to be hung
first day of July next, and the remaining four by the first day of
next—The work to be subjected to the inspection of the engineer of the
Railroad company—The whole to be complete as aforesaid for the sum of
hundred and ten Dollars each—
“It is understood that the above coaches
not to be
provided with lamps or mud leathers.
On the back is inscribed the following:
“The written proposition is accepted on
part of the
Mohawk and Hudson Rail road comp'y by order of the Commissioner—
“JOHN B. JERVIS, Engineer M. & H. Rail
“Albany, 23 April, 1831.
During the next decade Goold constucted
small numbers of throughbrace-hung bodies for northeastern rail
double-deck type to increase passenger-carrying capacity.
In 1836 he made large additions to his new
removed his entire business there, delegating the old Division street
to that of a lumber curing and storage facility, a purpose that was to
short-lived as the structure and its stock were subsequently destroyed
On May 25th, 1838, the new Union street
manufactory and its machinery,
stock, both finished and unfinished, were almost totally destroyed by
with a reported loss of $50,000, only $20,000 of which was covered by
Three days later (May 28, 1838) a committee
businessmen headed by Erastus Corning called on Goold and tendered him
a loan of a considerable
without interest, the subscription list numbering about fifty persons.
accepted their proposition and a new manufactory rose, Phoenix-like,
ruins of the former.
In those days new travelled at a much slower
pace, and the
following account of the fire appeared two weeks later in the June 16,
of the Milwaukee Sentinel:
“Great Fire in Albany
“A most destructive fire took place in
Albany, we learn the
Argus, on the morning of the 15th. It broke out in James Goold’s
manufacturing establishment – demolishing his valuable buildings on
Divisions streets - several buildings on the opposite side of Union,
on the west side of Union and Hamilton, and up Hamilton to within one
Green street. Mr. Goold’s loss is at least $45,000, and the insurance
property only about $20,000. A young man named McKinney lost his life
buried beneath the ruins.”
A display advertisement in the September 17,
Globe states that the factory was already rebuilt, although most other
state it was not fully operational until October of that year:
“Albany (N.Y.) Coach Manufactory
“The subscribers, whose manufactory was
destroyed by fire in
May last, would advertise their friends and customers, and particularly
mail contractors, that their establishment is rebuilt and enlarged, and
to no other in the United States, and that they are again prepared, as
heretofore, to execute all orders for mail coaches, and all kinds of
carriages, in as workmanlike a manner, on as good terms, and as
“JAMES GOOLD & CO.
“Albany, N. Y. Sept. 13-Sept 17—6t
“Editors of papers in the South and West
subscribers' loss by the fire, would do them a particular favor, and
promote the interests of the subscribers, by noticing in some brief
fact that they have again rebuilt.
“J. G. & CO.”
The new Union street factory was described
in some detail in
the April 11, 1839 issue of the Albany Journal:
“Albany Coach Manufactory.
“Some time in May last, the large Coach
Establishment of James Goold Co., was reduced to ashes from a
The loss to Mr. Goold was over $50,000. Mr. Goold had, but three years
been a heavy sufferer by a similar calamity. He determined,
the solicitation and with the aid of friends, to rebuild his
a spacious and beautiful structure has risen, Phoenix-like, on the
ruins of his
former building. This Establishment is three stories high, contains
large rooms, and covers 11,500 square feet of ground. The whole
exterior of the
building is proof against fire. Four large cisterns, communicating with
other, are provided in case fire should break out inside. Each branch
Coach-making business has its large and commodious apartment. The
worked with steam by one of the most finished and beautiful engines
MANY'S Foundry, in this City,) that we have ever met with. From 60 to
are now employed in the manufacture of Stage Coaches, Barouches,
c.c. Our only object is to let his numerous friends abroad know that he
splendid Establishment which he hopes, by means of their continued
to soon see in the ‘full tide of successful experiment.’ The
well worth a visit by both citizens and strangers.”
His manufactory, situated on Division,
streets, is a brick building three stories and basement in height, and
memorable month of August, 1848, was the first building by means of
progress of the flames of the big fire of that month were stayed.
etc., saturated with water, were used to hang out at the windows, and
it to use
as the barrier to prevent the flames from spreading towards south Pearl
of which there was great danger at one portion of that afternoon. The
of water had been used in the manufactory that was available, when
interposition of Divine Providence a shower of rain came up and the
the fire was stayed, and it was eventually extinguished.
During the 1850s Goold constructed a small
of steam-powered rail cars. The self-contained vehicle featured a
front-mounted boiler/engine with the passenger and baggage compartments
located at the rear. The design attracted much attention at the time
and in 1859
Goold constructed a novel steam-driven sleigh for the Russian
The motive power unit, designed by Stephen
A. Seymour, consisted of a boiler/engine mounted on runners that
transferred power to the ground via a complex system of gears powered a
pair of early crawler tracks - essentially endless chains equipped with
spikes to provide traction over ice and snow. Goold supplied the six
throughbrace-hung runner-equipped passenger cars which were towed
behind the engine.
During the late 1850s two items manufactured
by the Albany
Coach Works of James Goold were in much demand; the Albany Cutter, an
attractive horse-drawn sleigh that became all the rage in New York
the Celerity Coach (celerity being a synonym for ‘quickness’), a sturdy
stage coach that found favor with John Butterfield’s Overland Express.
The Albany Cutter remains Goold’s most
contribution to vehicle design. The firm’s manufacture of sleighs
with its organization, although the introduction of the sleek Albany
didn’t commence for at least another decade. The firm’s first sleighs
based upon the then-common piano box sleigh, so-named as some
created the body from discarded wood from an upright piano to which was
a curved or angled dash with two simple bench seats. The body was then
mounted on top of a light
hardwood frame that rode upon a pair of candy-cane shaped wooden
While a horse-drawn sleigh is generally
transport a family of four (or more), a cutter is specifically designed
passengers, sitting side-by-side - their automotive equivalents being,
touring car and the speedster. Ideally suited to courting couples, the
was drawn by a single steed, and it debuted sometime before 1800.
occasional cutter featured a small jump seat for a third occupant,
child, most stuck to the two-passenger ideal.
Two firms became well-known for their
cutters, both of which
were named for their respective cities of origin. The conservatively
Portland cutter was originally produced near Portland, Maine by Peter
Sons (the Sons included C.P. Kimball and Boston’s Kimball Bros.) while
more stylish Albany Cutter, was manufactured by our subject, Albany,
James Goold Co.
Albany Cutter was easily the more
stylish of the two
types, its runners carefully steam-bent to match the contours of the
coachwork (aka swell-bodied) which was also created using steam-bent
components. Goold produced a four-place version which was popularly
Albany Sleigh and the firm’s creations were routinely exported to
they were considered the best in the world.
significantly cheaper Portland Cutter was the most polpular of the two,
the Albany version reserved for a more exclusive clientele who
purchased their sleighs from the world's most celebrated coachbuilder,
Brewster, whose advertisement in the December 11, 1869 edition of the
“SLEIGHS OF THE CELEBRATED MANUFACTURE
OF James Goold
Co., of Albany. A full assortment for sale by the sole agents, BREWSTER
Fifth avenue, corner Fourteenth.”
During the 1850s the firm constructed large
numbers of stage coaches for US Mail operators located in the Northeast
part of the country. A representative of the firm made regular trips to
Washington, D.C. for the purpose of obtaining the names of US Mail
contractees so that Goold could
submit bids for their coaches. One large contract landed by the firm
involved the construction of 100 Celerity Coaches for the Butterfield
Overland Mail Co.
John Warren Butterfield (b.1801–d.1869)
career as a professional stage coach driver working out of Albany,
York, conveying passengers and freight to Utica and back on
constructed by the Albany Coach Manufactory. During the first half of
century Butterfield’s various enterprises established stage routes
New York State, built the Black River Railroad, created a Lake Ontario
company and a constructed the Utica, New York street railway.
In 1850 Butterfield, Wasson & Co. (John
merged with Livingston, Fargo & Co. (William G. Fargo) and Wells
& Co. (Henry
Wells) as the American Express Co. under the direction of
In 1852 some of the same persons founded a west coast operation,
Fargo & Co., when Butterfield and other directors objected to the
that American Express extend its operations to California.
In 1857 Butterfield and a number of
formed the Butterfield Overland Mail Company in order to bid on a
contract to carry the US Mail between St. Louis, Missouri and San
California. They were awarded the $600,000 contract on September 15,
one year later the first west-bound stage left St. Louis. Missouri with
Butterfield and Waterman L. Ormsby, a reporter for the New York Herald,
The route required the use of various types
light mud wagons, Concord stages and medium duty Celerity stages.
1857 contracts were let out for the 250 vehicles required over the
the 6-year contract, with Goold winning a 100-vehicle contract for the
of Celerity coaches. The contract for the Concord coaches was split
Abbot-Downing and the Eaton Gilbert Co. of Troy, New York.
The heavy Concord coaches were for use on
portion of the stage line where their increased passenger-carrying
best utilized. Once they line entered the foothills of the Rockies,
transferred its cargo and passengers to the lightweight, yet durable
which proved superior over rough terrain, and created less of a load
for the often
overtaxed teams of horses used to traverse the desert.
Instead of having a heavy wooden top,
typical of most Concord-style
coaches, the Celerity had a light frame structure with a thick duck or
covering, which reduced its unsprung weight substantially. The
wheels were also set further apart to help stabilize it and it wheels
with wide steel rims to keep it from sinking into the soft roadside
While not as comfortable for daytime
travelers as the
larger, well-appointed overland coaches, they were designed for
travel at night.
Although Butterfield had never ventured west
of Buffalo he rode
with the first 2 bags of mail on the first leg of the journey to Los
his only companion being a correspondent for the New York Herald.
Although Butterfield got off in Fort Smith,
L. Ormsby, the line’s first through-passenger, remained aboard for the
$200 trip to San Francisco. A portion of the inaugural run was
completed using a
Goold-built Celerity coach and Ormsby described its sleeping
“As for sleeping, most of the wagons are
arranged so that
the backs of the seats let down and form a bed the length of the
the stage is full, passengers must take turns at sleeping. Perhaps the
will be found disagreeable at first, but a few nights without sleeping
obviate that difficulty, and soon the jolting will be as little of a
disturbance as the rocking of a cradle to a sucking babe. For my part,
no difficulty in sleeping over the roughest roads, and I have no doubt
anyone else will learn quite as quickly. A bounce of the wagon, which
one’s head strike the top, bottom, or sides, will be equally
“nature’s sweet restorer” found as welcome on the hard bottom of the
in the downy beds of the St. Nicholas. White pants and kid gloves had
discarded by most passengers.”
On his arrival in San Francisco, Ormsby
not just come out over the route, I would be perfectly willing to go
I now know what Hell is like. I've just had 24 days of it."
John W. Butterfield experienced financial
early 1860 and his share in the firm was surrendered to his partners to
owed the debt, placing control of the Overland Express in the hands of
directors that controlled American Express and Wells-Fargo. The same
subsequently acquired a controlling interest in their remaining
Holladay Overland and Express Company – the originators
‘Pony Express’ – and in 1866 consolidated all of their express holdings
the Well-Fargo name.
Butterfield was no longer involved and
retired to his
adopted home of Utica, N.Y., where he had established a number of
commercial buildings. He served as Utica’s mayor from 1865-1867 after
suffered a stroke, passing away in 1869.
James Goold’s nephew, Walter R. Bush, became
a partner in
the firm sometime prior to 1856, as his name was listed below that of
Goold in the firm’s national advertisements. Subsequently one of
son-in-laws, John N. Cutler, became a partner, as did Goold’s son, John
Goold, the firm’s listing in the 1865 Albany Directory follows:
“James Goold & Co., corner Union,
Division and Hamilton
Sts. James Goold, John S. Goold, John N. Cutler.”
the early 1860s a number of coach manufacturers had established plants
on the west coast and Goold's stage business went into decline. They
then turned their attention to the construction of railway cars, for
which they were already well-known due to their involvement with the
DeWitt Clinton in 1833.
Goold was already producing large numbers of
horse-drawn street cars for regional surface transport operators, and
the same vehicles were easily converted over to ride on rails. In
addition to their luxuriously-appointed passenger cars, the firm
manufactured more utilitarian cars that could haul livestock, coal,
etc., and is a known supplier of 'Kitchen' and 'Transport' rail cars to
the Union Army.
Several South American surface transportion
operators purchased Goold rail cars during the War, among them a Buenos
Aires railroad and a Chilean street car operator who purchased a number
of double-deck numbers for use in Valparaiso.
In 1865, James Goold
retired from the business after fifty-two years of active service, with
his son, John S. Goold, and son-in-law, John N. Cutler, taking charge
of the firm.
The roof of Goold’s Union street factory was
damaged by an
especially heavy snowfall, the January 02, 1869 newswires reporting:
“Building Crushed by Snow. Albany, N. Y.,
Jan. 2. - A large
building on Union street, belonging to James Goold, and used as a
factory, was crushed by snow this morning. The building was completely
The 1871 Albany Directory included the
following members of the Goold family:
James Goold (James Goold & Co.);
Augustus G. Goold, carriagemaker; John C.
Goold, gen. supt.
(James Goold & Co.); John S. Goold (James Goold & Co.); Henry
music teacher; Henry Goold (same home address as James Goold), law
(same home address as John S. Goold).
Several of the firm's most popular lines
were highlighted in the following
article from the January
19, 1872 issue of the New York Times:
“Our State Institutions XVII; The
Manufactures of Albany:
“The Albany Coach Manufactory, of which
James Goold &
Co. are the proprietors, is one of the largest carriage and
factories in the country. It makes a very fair bid for being the
business was established by Mr. James Goold, in 1813. He is still head
firm and though in his eighty-third year, is a hale, hearty and
old man, delighting to tell of the village of Albany as he first knew
manufactory has for half a century been celebrated for its fine
sleighs – especially for their strength and durability. A gentleman of
is still driving a sleigh built by Mr. Goold in 1818. It has a very
appearance, but is said to be as sound as ever. It seems almost
a sleigh should last for fifty-three years; but there is no doubt of
Mr. Goold originated the famous ‘Albany style’ of sleighs, which have
found their way all through the Northern States of the Union, but even
northern Europe, where they are as much prized as an Erard piano, a
fowling-piece or a Peters drag. The fashions of sleighs are as varied
changeable as the fashions in chignons or ladies’ dresses. Something
the way of design is always in demand, and it is by catering to this
change, and by employing none but the most skilled workmen, and using
best materials, that the firm have attained their great reputation.
their new sleighs are beautiful specimens of the coach-builder’s art,
make on long for eighteen inches of snow and a moonlit night. A
four-horse sleigh has just been completed, and will soon be rushing
before the fast trotter of a well-known New York banker. The many
contain every variety of carriage, from the elegant barouche to the
buggy – landaus, phaetons and broughams. Every carriage built at this
is finished with steel axles and steel tires - a combination of
durability. All the iron and machinery work is done in the factory;
bending of the wood for the runners and bodies of sleighs, of which
single part has a flat surface. Mr. Brewster, the great New York
builder, buys nearly all his sleighs of James Goold & Co.”
1873 death of James Goold's son, John S. Goold, resulted in a change in
management. Another son, A.S.B. Goold, took over management of the firm
and John S. Goold's son, John Chester Goold (James' grandson),
joined the firm, the 1874 Albany Directory listing reflecting the
“James Goold & Co., corner Union,
Division and Hamilton
Sts. John Chester Goold, A. S. B. Goold.”
John Chester Goold and Mrs. A. S. B. Goold
(both J. Goold
& Co.) were listed in 1875 directory as was Henry Goold, civil
& H.R.); Henry Goold, music teacher; Augustus G. Goold,
William D. Goold, clerk.
The October 2, 1879 issue of the New York
Times announced the death of the patriarch of the Goold family:
“James Goold, one of the oldest carriage
makers in the
country, died in Albany yesterday morning, in the ninetieth year of his
Mr. Goold made the first passenger cars used in the country, for the
Hudson Railroad Company. He also manufactured coaches, cars, carriages,
sleighs, &c., that have been used in all parts of the civilized
cars many years ago were used in nearly all parts of the United States,
many were manufactured for Europe and South America, while a large
his finer manufactured sleighs were for the Russian Trade.”
His obituary in the Carriage Monthly
provided a few more details of JAmes Goold's business life:
“Mr. Goold commonly employed about one
although this number was increased from time to time as occasion
required. His business was most successful
two years preceding the fire in 1838, when, considering the times, he
better circumstances than when, in after years, the amount of
handled had largely augmented. At that
time his skill as a builder, and the absence of any worthy competitor,
the monopoly of the business in his vicinity. He
was also very successful during the last war. At
no time, during the sixty-six years that
he was actively engaged as a manufacturer, did he ever fail, or
allow his note to go to protest. How
many members of the carriage trade, even the most eminent, can show
“Those admitted to partnership, during his
later years, were
all members of his family - his children and grand-children, and at
the firm represented three generations. The
business is now conducted by his two grandsons, Mr.
John C. Goold
and Mr. Wm. D. Goold, and it was one of
the last wishes expressed by him, that the business should go on as
after his death; and as far as it was possible he arranged matters with
end in view.
“For several weeks previous to his death,
was well aware
of his approaching end, but it did not affect his cheerfulness. He
several times visited the cemetery, and
considered the arrangement of the resting-place he was soon to occupy.
On one of these occasions, he stopped his
carriage while passing a field of ripe wheat, cut a few well filled
and directed that they be preserved with care, to be laid upon his
place of any ostentatious parade of flowers. In
ripe old age, filled with honor, he died at his home in
October 1st, in his ninetieth year.”
The death of the senior member of the Goold
with the introduction of the Cutler mail chute, a novel invention
James Goold’s grandson, James Goold Cutler. Born on April 24, 1848
New York to John N. and Mary E. (Goold) Cutler, he spent a number
summers during his educational years working in his grandfather’s
factory, and became quite adept at painting carriages. He embarked upon
course of study in architecture, establishing his own firm in
York, where in 1879 he installed a prototype mail chute system of his
design in a high-rise building he had designed in downtown Rochester.
Tenants of the upper floors of the Ellwood
simply drop their mail into the chute, which would carry it down to the
where it would be collected by a postal worker. The system proved so
that he soon founded a business to manufacture the collection system,
he was awarded a US patent on September 11, 1883. The Cutler
(later Cutler Mail Chute Co.) eventually installed over 1200 of the
multistory buildings across the country, making him quite wealthy. The
successful businessman, philanthropist and Mayor of Rochester (1904 to
once stated that he was as proud of his ability as a carriage painter
as he was
of anything else he had accomplished.
In 1883 the Goold Company was finally
incorporated with John
Chester Goold, President, and William D. Goold, Secretary. When John
Goold died on November 4, 1885, William D. Goold became president and
November 5, 1885 Amsterdam Daily Democrat
“John Chester Goold, president of the
Manufacturing Company, died yesterday morning at his residence on
Heights, of Typhoid Fever, after an illness of two weeks. He was born
the original Dewitt Clinton train was scrapped in 1833, the New York
Central Railroad, successors to the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, built
a full scale and operational reproduction
DeWitt Clinton, complete with three carriages, for their display at the
Exposition in Chicago.
The May 2, 1893 issue of the Syracuse Herald
westward journey through Central New York while en route to Chicago:
“Welcomed By Thousands – Arrival of the
Clinton Train – Drawn by Locomotive No 999, the Greatest Engine Ever
Built – D.
F. Hutchinson of Canastota, Who Was a Passenger in 1838, Aboard.
“The anxiously looked-for and widely
train of the New York Central railroad, drawn by No. 999, arrived in
at 9:30 o'clock this morning and was greeted all along Washington
thousands of people who had congregated to see the counterpart of the
train ever run in New York State and the third engine built in the
“Conductor W. M. Clark was in charge of
Engineer George S. Minka was at the throttle. These men have charge of
train along the entire New York Central line. Engineer Charles Hogan
got on the
engine here and acted as pilot in the trip over the western division.
“The passengers on the train were mostly
and newspaper men. The railroad officers present were Master Mechanic
Buchanan, the builder of engine No. 999; Assistant Superintendent J.R.
General Agent F.J. Wolfe, Travelling Passenger Agent A.K. Brainard,
Builder L. Packard and J.F. Callahan, advertising agent.
“The train left New York at 7 o'clock
yesterday morning and
all along the route was greeted by thousands of people, who cheered as
passed the stations. At Albany it seemed the whole city was gathered at
station. At West Albany the railroad employees, numbering, more than
thousand were arranged on one aide of the track, and directly opposite
army of men stood their wives, mothers, sisters and sweethearts waving
handkerchiefs and flags as the train, came in sight.
“The greatest demonstration however, was
Fonda, where an
excursion of a thousand persons from Johnstown and Gloversville arrived
after the train stopped. The passengers on the excursion train, were
their enthusiasm, and climbed all over the train.
“Big Reception in the Mohawk Valley.
“The train arrived at Little Falls about
time that the large
manufacturing interests in that town were closing their day's work, and
seemed to the railroad officers as if the whole village was at the
Herkimer, although it was dark and the rain was coming down in
crowd was so great that the engineer of the South Shore Limited, which
the station about the time that the special train arrived, was obliged
down in order not to run over any of the spectators.
“The Clinton arrived at Utica at 8:40,
a portion of
the fifteen mile run from Herkimer at the high rate of sixty miles an
Buchanan and Mr. Leonard were on the engine at the time, The train was
at Utica by hundreds of people, and as the schedule provided for it to
this station overnight, in order that all the people along the line
the train was to pass might see it, many more visited it. At 6 o'clock
morning the station yard was filled by men, women and children who
see the wonderful exhibit. The train left Utica at 7:30 this morning,
behind the schedule time. As it passed out of the station it was bid
by the explosion of torpedoes.
“Although a stop was net made at
people were at the station, and the same showing was made by the
people. The first stop was made at Rome, at 7:50, and a big crowd at
station cheered lustily as the train stopped. The school girls and shop
waved their handkerchiefs, while the men on the train returned the
“The crowds did not seem to diminish at
Green's Corners and
Verona. At Oneida a big crowd was at the station, and the scenes
the Rome station were re-enacted. Hugh Parker of The Oneida Post joined
“The run from Oneida to Canastota was made
the rate of
sixty miles an hour. Among-the people gathered at the station at
Canastota was D.
P. Hutchinson, who was born in Madison county in 1816. He was one of
passengers on the train on its second trip, and was induced by Mr.
accompany the party to Syracuse. He attracted attention all along the
he sat in the antique carriages, and after the train had passed through
tunnel in this city he rode on the outside. As the train went slowly
city he was cheered by people gathered at the various crossings.
“In Vanderbilt Square
“On arriving at Vanderbilt Square the
from the train and run up into the yard for coal. and run up into the
coal. Great numbers climbed over the cars.
“Among them was Richard Halt of No. 1,734
street, who rode on the road in 1883. A speech was demanded of Mr.
and be replied with a story of the way trains were run in the early
coaling, the engine backed down to Vanderbilt Square, where it was
the train and pulled into the station. Assistant Superintendent Beach,
accompanied by Mayor Amos and Arthur Yates, boarded the train and
at 9:50 over the Auburn road.
“Empire State Express, No. 999, is
the largest and
handsomest engine on the Central railroad. As she stood beside other
they appeared to be pygmies. The engine was built under the direction
Mechanic Buchanan, and weighs 102 tons. The drive wheels are seven feet
in diameter, and at every turn of the engine advances twenty-three
cab is of polished black walnut, and is trimmed in silver letters. The
State Express’ is inscribed in German silver letters on the tender. The
which are in the boiler were made in this city at the Syracuse Tube
engine consumes on an ordinary trip about five tons of coal and is
placed to its fullest speed, of running one hundred miles an hour.
“The DeWitt Clinton Train.
“The DeWitt Clinton was built at the West
Point foundry at
the foot of Beach street, New York city, in 1831. She is mounted on
four feet six inches In diameter. There are two cylinders, five and a
inches in diameter, with a ten inch stroke. The engine weighs about six
and the boiler has thirty copper tubes each two and a half inches in
She was run on trial trips on the Mohawk & Hudson railroad at
from July 2d, 1831, to August 9th of the same year, when the first
was made. The passengers on this occasion were Erastus Corning, Mr.
ex-Governor Yates, J.J. Boyd, Thurlow Weed, Mr. Van Zant, ‘Billy’
postman, John Townsend, Major Meigs, Old Hays, High Constable of New
Dudley, Joseph Alexander of the Commercial bank, Lewis Benedict and
“The engineer on this trip was David
and John T.
Clark was the conductor. Mr. Matthews was still living in California a
years ago and he sent to General Manager J.M. Toucey of the Central
series of pictures of the old train and of other ancient railroad stock
his personal comments and recollections. The pictures are inscribed
San Francisco, California, July, 1885, for the boys by their father,
Matthews, who ran the DeWitt Clinton, drawing the first passenger train
York State, August 9th, 1831, Mohawk & Hudson railroad.’
“The fuel used on the first trip was dry
pitch pine, coal
having: been previously tried, but not working satisfactory. As there
spark arrester on the stack the sparks and the smoke poured back so on
passengers that they were obliged to raise their umbrellas in order to
“The covers were soon burned and the
passengers were obliged
to knock the sparks off their neighbors shoulders. When the train,
take water - an attempt was made to remedy the disagreeable jerks by
rail off from a neighboring fence and tying it fast between each, car
of packing yarn. The party after partaking of refreshments at
to Albany, completing the first regular trip in New York State.”
After fourteen years of service the
(replica) 'DeWitt Clinton'
was then stored at Karner, near West Albany, from which place it was
June, 1920, and placed on exhibition in the Grand Central Terminal.
By 1934, Henry Ford was looking
examples of early American railroad equipment to add to the mid-19th
locomotives he had already acquired. Ford inquired whether he might
own De Witt Clinton replica made—but was instead offered the already
replica, with the condition that it periodically travel to fairs and
expositions on behalf of the New York Central. The locomotive replica
three-car train joined the museum collections, but continued to
out to events such as the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair and the
Railroad Fair of 1948.
The replica DeWitt Clinton has now
achieved considerable significance of its own. A wooden model kit of
replica was released in 1948 by the Strombecker Company and Danbury
released a version in Pewter. More recently Lionel and Bachmann made
replicas in O and HO gauge, respectively.
The obituary column of the June 1895 issue
of the Carriage
“WILLIAM D. GOOLD.
president of the James Goold Co., of Albany, New York, was born in
1854, and with the exception of seven or eight years, of his early
near Rochester, he has lived there all his life. He
received his education at the Boys'
Academy in his native city, and after leaving there took a special
one year at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy. After leaving
the Institute he went into a
large iron works in Albany, intending to spend a year in the machine
year in the pattern shop, and another in the foundry. When he had been
there a year and a half,
however, his father, John S. Goold, then managing partner in the
James Goold & Co., died, and John C. Gould, William's older brother
junior partner in the business, urged him to take a position with the
which he did in 1874. He worked his way
up through the various positions of clerk, salesman, traveling man and
superintendent, until in 1883, when the business of James Goold &
incorporated, he was elected secretary of the company. He held this
office until the death of John
C. Goold, in 1885, when he was elected president, which office he has
ever since, and has succeeded, by his energy and business tact, in
for the company ten very prosperous business years.”
1899 Albany Directory:
“James Goold Co., Broadway foot of
$100,000. William D. Goold, Pres.; Charles B. Goold, sec., Carriages
1910 Albany Directory:
“James Goold Co., Broadway foot of
$100,000. William D. Goold, pres.; Henry Goold, vice-pres.; Charles B.
sec. Carriages & Sleighs.”
Whether in years to come the descendants of
members of the firm, William D. Goold and his two sons, Ernest M. Goold
Donald B. Goold, will find the same romance in their new line of
time can tell. Perhaps in generations to come the most modern
chassis of today will be placed in a great storage room and viewed by
persons living then, surrounded by something of the same halo of
enfolds the Lafayette coach today.
2-16-1911 The Automobile:
“ALBANY, N. Y., Monday, Feb. 20- A Showing
137 cars of 56
'different makes, together with a good line of accessories, the second
automobile show, under the auspices of the Albany Automobile
Association, was opened Saturday night to last for a week. There are 45
exhibitors and the show is being held in the State Armory.”
The Albany Garage Co. showed two
Simplex, one James Goold Co., a Hart-Kraft truck.
2-15-1912 The Automobile:
mahogany roof; has wind-shield, glass back
$90.00. James Goold Co., Albany. N. Y.
The dissolutions column of the business
of the September
13, 1913 issue of the New York Times:
“James Goold Company of Albany,
Feb. 17, 1883,
with $50,000 capital. William D. Goold, president; Ernest M. Goold,
10-30-1913 The Automobile:
It was stated that
the James Goold Co., Albany, N. Y., was agent for
Stegeman truck. This was an error.
December 1913 Carriage Monthly:
“Reorganization of a Famous Carriage
Announcement has been made that the
old-established firm of
James Goold & Co., Albany, N. Y., established in 1813 (just one
years ago), is about to pass out of existence as a carriage building
enterprise. The company will, however, immediately be reorganized in
manufacture automobile bodies.
“With the announcement that the firm is
about to take up the
making of the more modern vehicle, comes the further announcement that
make a present to the old Schuyler mansion in Albany of one of the most
and interesting of the older type of vehicle, the manufacture of which
company is about to give up.
“This is the old Lafayette coach, which
property of the Goold company for many years, formerly the
of General Vischer and used by him to convey Lafayette about the city
famous French general visited Albany in 1824. Members of the firm
now the old Schuyler mansion has come into other than private hands, it
a fitting place for the historical old coach.
“Everybody in the American carriage trade
will regret to see
James Goold & Co. go out of the carriage business after an even
years of business—a hundred years of history marked by interesting
such as rarely occur to business houses, and of activity in various
all in the line of their special work, that have helped in the
this country and of South America as well.
“The ancestors of all the railway and
trolley cars in
America were produced by James Goold & Co., when they made the
the first railway train that ever ran in the United States, the road on
they were used having been the pioneer line between Albany and
Schenectady, N. Y.
The illustration at the bottom of this page shows how these primitive
coaches were constructed.
“The first Goold factory was built in 1813
grandfather of the present head of the company on Division Street.
Goold laid the foundation of the business which has survived him so
All went well until 1838, when disaster came in the shape of a fire,
totally destroyed the large factory. Immediately some of the most
citizens of Albany set to work and made up a subscription list, and the
thus collected was offered to James Goold with the request that he
business, using the money as a loan, but with the understanding that
to be no stated time for re-payment. It is unnecessary to add that Mr.
paid back every cent of the money as soon as he was in a position to do
“After the fire a new factory was built at
Union Streets, where the warehouse of the Albany Hardware and Iron Co.
stands. There the company remained until they moved in 1891 to their
location in Broadway at the foot of Schuyler Street.
“To realize the romance which has attended
the history of
the company, it is only necessary to visit the office at Albany, and
various interesting memorabilia displayed on the walls there. There is
photograph there of one of the street cars made for Valparaiso, Chile,
double-deck car, quite modern in its aspect.
“The date upon this picture, which reveals
the date of
manufacture of the car, is 1867. At that time there were no street cars
railroad cars in South America that were not manufactured by the
“There is another photograph of a drawing
one of the
railroad coaches made by the company for the South American railroads.
was built for Buenos Aires for the Central Argentina Railroad. The date
manufacture was 1864. At that time the Goold company was
manufacturing freight cars as well as passenger coaches, and they kept
business until the latter sixties. At the time they left the field
car in use on the continent was made by the Goold company.
“Among the interesting relics treasured by
the concern is a
document containing the specifications for the railway coaches referred
above as being the first made in America.
“Such is a brief glimpse at the romance of
business. Whether in years to come the descendants of the present
the firm, William D. Goold and his two sons, Ernest M. Goold and Donald
Goold, will find the same romance in their new line of activity only
tell. Perhaps in generations to come the most modern automobile chassis
today will be placed in a great storage room and viewed by the persons
then, surrounded by something of the same halo of romance which enfolds
Lafayette coach today. The Carriage Monthly joins the
extending its congratulations to the old company on the completion of
centenary in the coach and carriage business, and wishes the newly
company the best of prosperity in the lines of manufacture that will be
Display ad from The Albany and Troy Society
Blue Book, pub.
1916 Distribution and Warehouse Directory
“THE GOOLD COMPANY, 75 Broadway
Wm. D. Goold, Prop. Estd. 1813. Investment
Transfer of hhg. Freight; heavy haulage;
Storage of HHG. Rooms; mdse; new autos;
Whses A & B, HHG.; 38,000 sq. ft.;
Siding on D&H.
Whse C, autos and vehicles, 9,500 sq. ft.
Siding on D&H.
Whse D & H mdse., 33,600 sq. ft.
February 22, 1938 Special to THE NEW YORK
“WILLIAM D. GOOLD, CARRIAGE MAKER; Headed
Which Constructed Bodies for First Automobiles - Dies at 83 FIRM BUILT
CARS Coaches for De Witt Clinton, Train Operating Up-State in 1831,
“William D. in Goold, head of the carriage
making firm which
made many of the bodies for the first automobiles, died at his home
yesterday at the age of 83.
“Mr. Goold was a descendant of the owners
the firm which
constructed the first railroad cars for the De Witt Clinton, the train
operated between Albany and Schenectady in 1831. In 1850 the Goolds
first horse-car used in Albany.
“When William D. Goold made plans for an
automobile body in
1903, other members of the firm voted down the idea as a ‘fad.’ Later,
the firm made custom-built bodies for electric-powered automobiles, and
machines with Goold custom-built bodies are still in used in Albany
son, Donald, now operates the business, an automobile repair and
“Also surviving are his widow, another
Ernest M., and
two daughters, Mrs. Arthur H. Morrill of Kingston and Mrs. Ernest V.
of the president of the Albany Chamber of Commerce.”
the firm advertised it constructed bespoke automobile bodies, little is
known of the firm's activity in the field save for a few references
made by Ernest M. Goold in the following article which appeared in the
February 27, 1951 issue of the Knickerbocker News
“Carriage Plant Bows to Time and Mass
“The doors will close tomorrow on one of
Albany's oldest and
most romantic businesses - one that a 100 years ago built stagecoaches
cars for the great westward movement.
“Ernest M. Goold, 66, of 187 S. Main Ave.,
last of the Goold
carriagemakers, will end 138 years of the Goold Company's business when
closes his automobile body repair shop at 81 N. Lake Ave.
“The firm, which once employed 100 workers
carriages, straight-runner sleighs and horsecars in a riverfront plant,
its recent force of eight men go. They all have other jobs, said Mr.
said he has found the work 'too confining' and plans to go into another
business. William N. Nichols, 51 O'Connell St., shop superintendent who
been with the Goold Company 49 years, is going into the insurance
“He noted also that the competition of
who have their own body repair shops was a factor in the decision to
end - not
sell - the business. This recalled the way the mass production auto
once affected the Goold Company's special auto body manufacture, and
railroad industry's growth overwhelmed the Goold manufacture of
passenger cars, including the first to run in 1831.
“‘The last really creative job we did in
field,’ said Mr. Goold, ‘was making buses such as that for the old Ten
Hotel. They used it to meet guests at the steamship wharves and the
“But Mr. Goold said the business, which
supported the Goold
family since 1813, had not failed.
“James Goold, the founder, came from
Pittsfield, Mass., in
1810, with a certification of his ‘more than common Mechanical Genius
Sobriety and Strict Integrity,’ signed by Stephen Van Rensselaer, for
built a fine old carriage, and two other prominent men. In 1813 he set
chaise-making shop at Liberty and Union Sts. When fire destroyed the
1837, many prominent Albany men subscribed to a loan to put the
on its feet.
“In 1831 the company built the two
coach bodies on
the first steam passenger train in this country - the DeWitt Clinton,
made its historic journey from Albany to Schenectady on the old Mohawk
Hudson Railroad that year.
“In 1850 the company built the first
horsecar used in
Albany, and later shipped many of them to South America. Later it sent
“At about this time the company moved into
larger plant in
Broadway, which could be seen as one of Albany's most imposing
structures by passengers coming up the Hudson on paddlewheel
Goold recalled those were the days of manufacturing the Goold-patented
“About 1903 William D. Goold completed
automobile, but directors of the firm voted them down, calling
‘just a fad.’ But William Goold, father of Earnest, later made special
for the cars of some wealthy Albany families, including those of Parker
and James Fennimore Cooper, lawyer descendant of the novelist.
“‘They were very modern and up-to-date’
jobs, said Ernest
Goold. Many of the bodies were for old steamers and the old one-lung
“Ernest Goold said the array of company
documents on the
shop's walls will be taken into his home and that of his daughter. Mrs.
Hessberg. They soon may be exhibited at the Albany Institute of History
Art, he said. He said the shop building has been sold to Joseph Miller,
operates a grocery next door.”
Goold’s 75 Broadway factory was located on
the east side of
Broadway in the vacant lot that sits between the offices of Adirondack
Trailways to the south and U-Haul
Moving & Storage of Albany to the north. The
structures were located on the west bank of the Hudson River just east
Interstate 787. Ernest Goold’s body shop at 81 N. Lake Ave. remains
today, although it’s been converted into a small office/storefront.
Mark Theobald for Coachbuilt.com
Appendix One - US Patents
US Pat. No. 27427 - Wheel and dress guard
for carriages -
Issued Mar 13, 1860 to Walter R. Bush
US Pat. No. D6268 – Improvement in design
for sleigh bodies
- Issued Nov 19, 1872 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. D6410 - Design for Landau
sleighs - Issued Feb
11, 1873 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. 169634 – Improvement in Carriage
Tops - Filed
Sep 13, 1875 - Issued Nov 9, 1875 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. D8998 - Design for side windows
of coaches -
Filed Nov 19, 1875 - Issued Feb 15, 1876 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. 184367 - Improvement in vehicle
springs - Filed
Oct 16, 1876 - Issued Nov 14, 1876 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. 198376 – Improvement in thill
couplings - Grant
- Filed Aug 16, 1877 - Issued Dec 18, 1877 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. D13541 – Design for a Landau
sleigh - Filed Oct
20, 1882 - Issued Jan 23, 1883 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. 277565 – Sliding window for
coaches - Filed Feb
23, 1883 - Issued May 15, 1883 to John C. Goold
US Pat. No. 696233 – Emergency brake for
- Filed Oct 22, 1901 - Issued Mar 25, 1902 to William D. Goold