In my perennial quest to document and showcase Essex artifacts, I end up badgering Essex friends whenever I come across an intriguing find. This photograph popped up in my Facebook feed about a week ago, posted by my neighbor Dianne Lansing with the following description.
A special gift from a very dear friend. It’s an original box of horseshoe nails made at the Essex Horseshoe Nail Factory which was located at what is now Beggs Park. (Source: Diane Lansing, Facebook, March 14 at 9:16pm)
Situated on a commanding promontory overlooking Lake Champlain, the Essex Horse Nail Company occupied the site of several earlier industries.
The Essex Horseshoe Nail Factory burned long ago, so it’s veiled in a bit of mystery. It’s exciting to come across an artifact or a vintage photograph of the Essex Horse Nail Factory (here’s another vintage Horse Nail Factory photo). I immediately asked Dianne for permission to publish her snapshot of the Essex Horse Nails box, and she agreed. Wish granted, I pushed her for any interesting tidbits of information to include.
Dianne Lansing: It was found in an old barn in Peru, NY.
Kirsten Pope: Dad says the barn belonged to a blacksmith / likely farrier too.
Thanks, Dianne, for sharing this photograph. I look forward to your next discover. And to everyone else enjoying Dianne’s artifact, if you know of an Essex artifact that we haven’t published, please let us know. We would love to share it!
And for anyone else interested in Essex Horse Nails, here are a few past mentions of the Essex Horse Nail Company on the Essex blog.
Doodling the Disappeared Factory
The Essex Horse Nail Company was not the first factory in Essex, NY, but it may very well have been the last (John Burnham’s Adirondack Mountain Creams factory excepted.) Situated on a commanding promontory overlooking Lake Champlain, the Essex Horse Nail Company (aka the Essex Horse Nail Factory) occupied the site of several earlier industries. The first was probably the Hoskins, Ross and Company Shipyard; followed by the Essex Manufacturing Company (window sash and blind factory) which operated until 1877. I’ve heard that other industries may also have occupied this choice piece of real estate, but I’ll throw myself on the learning of others for assistance here. (Source: Essex Blog)
Sleuthing Essex Horse Nails
The photograph above was published last summer as part of the Essex blog’s ongoing Vintage Essex Trivia challenge, and some of our Essex friends with long memories helped collaboratively demystify the photo.
Christine Herrmann: The Essex Horse Nail Co on Begg’s Point was gone long before I started coming to Essex in 1947. Interesting to note the piles of what looks like used tires. I wonder how or were they were used in the manufacture of horse nails. Looks like it must be lunch time and someone is fishing!
Lorraine Townsend Faherty: Rolls of steel to cut lengths for nails.
Richard Gorzela: Looks like it burnt down. The “tires” are probably rolls of steel wire.
Christine Herrmann: That makes more sense.
Peter Pierce: What happened to it?
Sarah Bayne: It was on Beggs Point and my uncle remembered watching it burn down when he was a child so that would be 20’s latest. (Source: Essex on Lake Champlain)
Thanks for helping us piecemeal Essex history together one artifact at a time.