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Industries in Newark, NJ

No one can traverse the streets of Newark without being struck with the recurrence of factories and buildings devoted to manufacturing; you meet with such buildings everywhere. Sometimes it is a long, low structure, with a huge chimney, then an immense square pile, with some hundreds of windows; then it is a square or three sides of a square, the center full of debris; the buildings all around three, four and five stories in height, having long outside stairways, like inclined planes, leading upwards from story to story top, each landing a manufactory or more, and the machinery for the whole driven by one enormous power; anon it is a courtway or narrow entrance to the rear of stores or other buildings, within you have the same thing repeated ; it is lined, and filled with active industry and the whirr of the saw and the clang of the hammer is heard on all sides. Then again there are whole streets presenting all these features combined. Scores of the establishments employ each many hundreds of hands, and the comfort and wealth from all of them is of course enormous.


We are indebted to the Ninth Annual Report of the Board of Trade of the city of Newark for a part of the facts and figures in relation to the following manufactures.


The largest single interest carried on, in Newark is the manufacture of leather. There are at present thirty-nine establishments engaged in tanning and currying hides and skins, with a capital of #3,518,583, employing 2,661 hands, paying annually in wages $1,413,712, and yielding a yearly product of $10, 382, 392.




The manufacturing of jewelry was started in this city in the early part of the present century, by Epaphras Hinsdale. With a small capital and only half a dozen hands employed. This branch of industry has from the start improved steadily, and now, in 1880, three-quarters of a century since Mr. Hinsdale began business here, there have grown up among us seventy-two establishments, with a capital $2,501,899, employing 35 hands, paying in wages $1,094,016, giving an annual product of $4632,827, and if we add to this the product of gold and silver refining and smelting, we have the enormous amount of annual productions of $13,427,427.




The manufacturing of hats is one of the industries started at an early period in Newark, and one that has maintained its position in the foremost ranks of our profitable industries. In 1830 there were nine hat factories, with a capital of $106,000, employing four hundred and eighty-seven hands, and yielding an annual product of $551,700. There are now in Newark proper thirty-five hat factories, with a capital of $691,300, employing 2,955 hands, paying in wages $867,025, and giving a product in manufactured goods of $2,262,894.


Beer Brewing


The business of lager beer brewing has, during the past decade, sprung into a prominence certainly little anticipated by those who first engaged in it. This no doubt is in great part traceable to in increasing demand for a beverage that has become National ; but there must at the same time be still another reason for the extraordinary manner in which the trade has developed in Newark. It is a well-known fact that the character of the water used has a, most important bearing upon the quality of malt liquors; and this indeed has been so often demonstrated, both in Europe and America, as to stand without contradiction. We therefore, conclude, that as beer brewers elsewhere can, and doubtless do, obtain material for their products of the best kind, that it is mainly to the properties of the Newark water that beer made in this locality owes its vast superiority. There are now in operation in Newark 26 breweries, making over six hundred thousand barrels of beer and ale annually.


Boots and Shoes


The manufacturing of boots and shoes, that was the first and leading industry in Newark, at which two-thirds of the inhabitants of the town were employed at the beginning of the present century, has not kept pace with nor has it held its position with some of the branches started later in our history. In 1830 there were 18 shoe factories, with a capital of $300,000, employing 1,567 hands, and giving an annual product of $607,450. In 1881, fifty years later, there are only 16 wholesale manufacturers of boots and shoes, with a capital of $411,075, employing 1,535 hands, paying in wages $575,984, and yielding in manufactured goods $1,886,504.




The manufacturing of trunks was begun here early in the present century, but made slow progress until 1850. It is now among the leading industries of Newark, and was made so by the men who are now actively engaged in the business. There are now 13 trunk and bag factories, with a working capital of $811,800, employing 1,567 hands, paying $570,552 in wages, and giving a yearly product of $2,138,923.


Saddlery Hardware


Saddlery hardware is another important and large interest in this city. In the early statistical returns, which were taken of the industries of the city, saddlery hardware and harness were classed together, so that there is no means now of getting the exact figures for either. At present, 1880, there are 34 saddlery hardware establishments in Newark, with a total capital of $700,200, employing 1,207 hands, paying in wages $410,636, producing annually $1,496,008 of manufactured goods.


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