Thursday, July 5, 2012

American Tea Tray Company

According to limited sources, (an anonymous, typed page in a file folder & a few second hand accounts in the local paper) the American Tea Tray Company was started in Albany in 1851 by George L. Jones & brought to Union Village by local investors in December 1859.

The American Tea Tray Co. made, yup, you guessed it, tea trays! They actually made two kinds. One was "japanned ware" made of sheet iron, painted black and guilded. The other was "planish ware" which was white & very durable.

The American Tea Tray Co. was pretty successful, being (some say) the only manufacturer of its kind in the US. However, its fate was linked to the fall of the Washington County Bank in 1878 (more about that in the next installment). So, the American Tea Tray Co. only lasted about 20 years on the banks of the Battenkill, but I have a lasting piece of its history in my office.

American Tea Tray Company "japanned ware" tray

detail of the tea tray in the Town Historian's office
Hearsay and History: A Column Devoted to Present-Day Interest in Days Long Past. The Greenwich Journal. July 13 & 20, Aug 3,10 & 17 1949.

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