Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Early Inventions of Cayugacounty


        The 1800s were a prosperous time for Auburn and the rest of Cayuga County. The small urban community of Auburn played a crucial role in the industrialization of America. Hardwork, crafted skills, and ingenuity created an industrial boom throughout the county.
       It was a time for entreprenuers in Cayuga County during the 1800s. John D. Rockefeller, who was raised on a farm overlooking Owasco Lake, brought to life Standard Oil. Another man, Issac Singer, kept a merchant's shop and sawmill in nearby Port Byron. After keeping the business close to home for many years, he expanded nationally and then globally, bringing the world the Singer Sewing Machine Company.
A variety of inventions found their roots in Cayuga County, as well. Cyrenus Wheeler invented and manufactured the famous Cayuga Chief drop reaper in the 1850s. D.M. Osborne had a direct impact on the 19th century agricultural revolution by developing dozens of new labor-saving agricultural devices.
        During this time the city of Auburn had been growing by as much as 10% per year. By 1900, Auburn contained 350 manufacturing plants employing more than 6,000 workers.
 The Owasco Outlet, looking east, c. 1900. This stretch of the outlet near Market Street clearly demonstrates the industrial character of development to Auburn's downtown.  
An Osborne reaper, 1880s. This early model of a reaper, possibly one of Cyrenus Wheeler's inventions, was hard at work in the fields in Cayuga County and around the world
Pianos ready for shipment from Wegman Piano Factory, c. 1910. These eleven bobsleds in line on Logan Street near the factory are each carrying three crated Wegman pianos. The company was active in Auburn until it went bankrupt in 1915. The Wegman building, which can be seen in the background, is used today by a variety of manufacturers.
 The interior of the McIntosh & Seymour Corporation, c. 1910. Organized in 1886 by John E. McIntosh and James A. Seymour, the company made high speed stationary steam and oil engines for powering factories and ships.
 The Washington Street industrial area, c.1900. This southwestern section of Auburn was one of the areas that had a high concentration of manufacturing establishments. The Lehigh Valley freight house is visible in the distance. The Owasco Outlet, which brought these businesses to these sites, is visible in the foreground.