Here is an inquiry that I recently made to the Newburgh New York, Historical Society.
It is regarding the ALLEN CUTLERY COMPANY, NEWBURGH, N.Y. and ANY information
that could be provided about the company.
"Hi. I am a former resident of New Windsor (1961-1978). I now live in Southern California.
I collect pocket knives and I am currently researching the ONLY pocket knife/cutlery company that Newburgh ever had. The business was called "Allen Cutlery Company." They were in business from 1917-1925. I don't have an exact address, but they were located on Wisner Avenue, north of Broadway. They had access to a railroad siding or spur. I am looking for ANY information that you may have regarding this business. Any pictures of Wisner Avenue during that period of time would be of GREAT help. I have managed to track down and purchase quite a few of their pocket knives. Now, I'd like to learn about the company itself. Any help you could give me would be appreciated.
Thank you for your time and stay safe."
I received this response to my inquiry, from the Newburgh New York, Historical Society.
Hello, Mr. *****,
It sounds like you have an interesting collection!
I don't find much information on Allen Cutlery Company beyond an annual city directory listing. (see attached from 1920)
The neighborhood and the era may explain some of the sketchy information.
West Newburgh was mostly farmland until the 20th century. The buildings were constructed before and after World War I, except for a couple that stood along Wisner Avenue's earlier name: Haines Cross Road. The Wisner name came from the parcelling out of the Wisner farm.
One resource I checked is old Sanborn insurance maps which show every building on each land parcel. Indeed, there is nothing on the east side of Wisner Avenue in reach of a railway siding in the detailed 1913 map. (see second attachment) The next map date, 1922, didn't map that neighborhood because there was no significant new development there. So, I cannot plot out the location of a small commercial business. The 1918, 19 and 20 directories do list Allen Cutlery at Wisner Avenue but Wisner had no street numbers at that point since it was still pretty open land. They also list Benjamin Allen as living on Oak Street - again no street number until later because Oak (part of the former Wisner farm) was also in development.
The interesting partnership with A. J. Fowler is also curious because Newburgh had just one resident listed with that name - a prominent attorney who lived and had his law practice far downtown. His full name was Anson J. Fowler, if that is, indeed, Allen's partner. Maybe he was his investor.
You also asked for old pictures of Wisner Avenue. Our archive doesn't have any from that first quarter of the 20th century.
The railroad connection is true. A west end spur of the Erie Railroad ran behind Wisner Avenue (a few hundred yards back from the roadway ) south to north to reach the Dupont Company which had been in business since 1901. Dupont Company was north of the intersection of Wisner and Dupont Avenue, streets still in the same configuration today. If I were to guess, I suspect Benjamin Allen set up shop in structure that he built or that was a former farm outbuilding. Today around that intersection of Wisner and Dupont are parking lots, warehouses and a car wash as you can see on Google Maps. I fear his interesting little knife shop is long gone unless it was a business set up in his house.
I hope this helped a bit,
Historical Soceity Secretary
Caption(s), if any, are on the BOTTOM of the corresponding picture(s).
Click on a picture to ENLARGE.
- Allen Cutlery Company-
1920 Directory Listing.
- Wisner Avenue And Immediate Area-
1913 Sanborn Insurance Map.
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