Sunday, February 23, 2014

Follow Up on the Mystery Picture Research



Not too long after my last post about the mystery picture, I received an e-mail from Mr. Simmons of the Crosby company. So far, his is the only reply from the recipients of any letter sent out to various companies associated with this picture. 

Mr. Simmons couldn't come up with any definite answers to my questions, but said he had "put out several inquiries to current and past Crosby employees to see if we have any corporate memory or documentation of a connection between your grandfather or his employer and Crosby." I can only hope someone will have something to share; I will be ready to receive it in any event.

Mr. Simmons went on to say, "Although we cannot see the Crosby logo on the picture you included in your letter, the display absolutely looks like the products Crosby would have displayed at that time. Crosby Steam Valve and Gauge Co. was established in 1874 in Boston, so the firm was in existence at the time of the 1887 exhibition and likely would have participated." I sent him a link to my blog which has the enlarged section showing their company name.

When I sent the Crosby Steam Valve and Gauge Co. the letter, I was hopeful of finding a connection of my great grandfather August F. Buschick. That connection may in turn give me the answer to why this particular picture -- one of two non-family member pictures -- was in the family album.

Mr. Simmons added, "If we do not establish any direct connection, I can speculate why your grandfather may have had interest in the Crosby display. Crosby was, and still is, in the business of providing various items used as accessories for steam boilers, notably safety valves (still produced today) as well as gauges and steam whistles. As a result, the various steam boiler manufacturers of the time were prospective customers for Crosby. In your grandfathers position, he would have been aware of the various suppliers of boiler accessories, and that may be the reason the picture was of interest. It is also likely he knew various Crosby personnel including sales persons and engineers. Of course this is all pure speculation on my part."

The Crosby company was located in Boston, Massachusetts. What connection would it have between Chicago and Boston? 

I remembered finding in the 1867 Boston City Directory the name "Walworth." In the same ad was my great grandfather's business, Walworth, Buschick, & Co. in Chicago. It was in a folder on my computer where I stash all my clippings and findings.

This ad says both companies were "manufacturers and dealers in..." many items associated with steam, gas, and water. So there was a market for all these gauges and fittings, etc. long before Crosby company was established in 1874. 

It is conceivable James J. Walworth & Co. was dealing with a manufacturer that by 1874 could have been sold to the Crosby company, or maybe Walworth was the manufacturer of gauges, fittings, etc. and sold off that phase of their company to Crosby! I can't find any proof of either assumption.

In the 1873 Chicago City Directory, I found a listing of Boiler Makers' Supplies. "Buschick, Furnis & Stavers" was first of the four listed. Third is J.J. Walworth & Co. By this time August Buschick's business changed names to Chicago Steam Boiler Works (boiler manufacturer) and he moved from Lake St. to Michigan Ave.

J.J. Walworth & Co. now has a Chicago address which coincides with the 1865 business address for Walworth, Buschick & Co. ad in the Chicago Tribune. I'm not sure if J.J. is the same Walworth with August as a partner. There could be Walworth brothers and the business was sold to my great grandfather. In 1882 there was another ad for Chicago Steam Boiler which claimed an 1854 establishment.

Here's somewhat of a time line of my great grandfather's boiler business in Chicago.
1855 - A.F. Buschick was just a machinist and by 1862 he was advertising for himself as a machinist and draftsman and was working for The Marine Boiler Works.1865 - A.F.B. was with Walworth, Buschick & Co. and became superintendent 1866 - they manufactured steam boilers, fittings, etc.1867 - Boston City Directory finds James J. Walworth & Co. Boston and Walworth, Buschick, & Co., of Chicago advertising Wrought Iron tubes for steam, gas, and water. Mfgrs & dealers of .... (misc. items)... and steam gauges.1870 - the first I saw of the name Chicago Steam Boiler Manufacturing Co. They had something to do with the Chicago Water Tower & Pumping Station (this was just before the Chicago Fire 1871)
1872 - the company was rebuilding this big machine that got damaged in the fire... still under this name.1873 - Chicago Steam Boiler Works was listed in the Chicago city directory as a Boiler Manufacturer, and Buschick, Furnis & Stavers, on Front near Halsted St. Bridge is listed under "Boiler Makers' Supplies" 1875 - A.F.B. goes bankrupt1882 there was an ad in the Chicago Tribune for the Chicago Steam Boiler Works (established 1854) ... the proprietor is a G.K. Shoenberger, and A.F.B. is superintendent.
Has Chicago Steam Boiler Works gone through several name changes (possibly ownerships, too?) starting with Marine Boiler Works when great grandfather worked there as a machinist in 1855? Chicago Steam Boiler Works claims it was established in 1854. Could it be the last in the evolution of names starting in 1854?

This timeline is by no means complete. There are aspects of great grandfather's life I have yet to uncover. I have written a few other posts about my great grandfather. 

I'm keeping the faith this timeline helps me track down that "shred of truth" in the family story that, August Ferdinand Buschick had "done all the fittings" for the Chicago Water Tower. The story was according to my mom, aunt Florence, and cousin Elmer Crippin, but that's for another post.

Great grandfather at age 58, passed away in 1883 -- two years before the mystery picture was taken and placed shortly after into the family album.

August F. Buschick had a younger brother Gustavus Emil who was in the same occupation and seemed to follow his big brother. In 1880, August applied for a patent with M. Van Allen, on their invention of a "smoke consuming furnace," and it was patented March 15, 1881. Then in 1880, Gustavus' name was on an application for "improvements in boiler-furnaces" and was granted a patent in 1881. Later years, he went on to patent other furnace inventions and improvements. 

August is buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Ill. - 1883 (Find A Grave <> Memorial # 66424180) and Gustavus is interred in Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, Ill. - 1902 (Find A Grave <> Memorial # 66429993). No headstones or grave markers for either.

Great grandfather's brother-in-law, Charles Kroeschell was also in the boiler business in Chicago. Charles married Sarah Fowler who is the sister of Susan, August's second wife.

[Are there are any Buschick descendants who can add anything to the life of August Buschick? Or can correct something I have written? If you can, please contact me. I would love to hear from you. My email address is in my "profile" to the right of this post.]


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  2. I have a book on the Chicago Worlds Fair, called The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, its a book I have downloaded onto my Ipad on Ibooks, but no luck with Buschick.