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Pratt, Read Corporation Records

Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Extent:
84 Cubic feet (104 boxes, 28 oversize folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs
Correspondence
Labels
Stock records
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
Date:
1839-1990
Summary:
Records documenting Pratt, Read and Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney and Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary and related companies. Other topics include the late 19th century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop-carrying gliders during World War II.
Scope and Contents:
Pratt, Read & Company, located in the Essex area of Connecticut, was once the world's largest producer of ivory products. Beginning with the manufacture of combs, collar buttons, and toothpicks, the company moved on to the production of piano and organ key veneers, and soon dominated the field. Eventually, it began to produce complete piano and organ keyboards and actions, becoming the major supplier to the American piano industry. The records in this collection document Pratt, Read & Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney & Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary, and related companies. Other topics of interest dealt with in this collection include the late nineteenth century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop carrying gliders during World War II.
Arrangement:
The Collection is divided into six series.

Series 1: Predecessor and Miscellaneous Companies, 1839-1870s

Series 2: Comstock, Cheney and Company, 1863-1936

Series 3: Pratt, Read and Company, 1863-1988

Series 4: Gould Aeronautical Division, 1941-1977

Series 5: Subsidiary and Related Companies, 1859-1980

Series 6: Information on Related Companies, 1977-1992
Historical:
Pratt, Read & Company is one of the oldest companies in the state of Connecticut. The firm traces its origins to 1798, when an Essex goldsmith and clockmaker named Phineas Pratt invented a circular saw to cut the teeth on ivory combs. In 1809, George Read and his brother in law, Phineas Pratt II, dammed the Deep River in the nearby town of Deep River and constructed a waterwheel to power ivory cutting machinery. Read left the partnership in 1816, and Phineas Pratt II joined with Alfred Worthington to manufacture ivory combs under the name of Pratt Worthington & Company. When Worthington died in 1830, two of Phineas Pratt II's sons, Ulysses and Alexis, took over the business, operating as U & A Pratt. The name was changed in 1844 to Pratt Spencer & Company, when a new partner was added, and changed again in 1850, to Pratt Brothers & Company. In 1856 the company erected a much larger factory in Deep River.

In the meantime, Julius Pratt, another of Phineas Pratt I's sons, had joined with Thomas Howard to set up an ivory comb factory in the town of Meriden. This firm was known as Howard, Pratt & Company. After Howard's death in 1822, it became Julius Pratt & Company. In 1854, the firm began to produce wooden piano keyboards, which then were fitted with keys of ivory. One half interest in this firm was owned by George Read.

When Read left his original partnership with Phineas Pratt II in 1816, he joined with Essex comb maker Ezra Williams to set up a new ivory working factory in Deep River. This new firm was known as Ezra Williams & Company. In 1829, Read became the senior partner and the company's name was changed to George Read & Company. This company later secured a very important contract to supply ivory keys for the first American manufacturer of pianos, Chickering & Sons of Boston.

In 1863, the firms of George Read & Company, Julius Pratt & Company, and Pratt Brothers & Company, were merged to form Pratt, Read & Company. The new company further enlarged its factory in Deep River in 1866. In 1871, the old Julius Pratt & Company factory in Meriden was closed and its operations moved to Deep River. Though this factory was destroyed by fire in 1881, a larger factory was quickly rebuilt and the company was back in business early in 1882.

With the election of George L. Cheney as president in 1892, Pratt, Read & Company began a period of continued expansion. In December of that year the company joined with another Connecticut piano component manufacturer, Comstock, Cheney & Company, to organize a midwestern manufacturing branch, under the name of the Piano & Organ Supply Company. This firm was to serve the territory west of Toledo, Ohio, operating in competition with its parent companies. In 1929 Pratt, Read and Comstock, Cheney combined to buy out the Piano & Organ Supply Company and it was dissolved.

In 1910 Pratt, Read & Company decided to begin the manufacture of piano actions. An independent manufacturer of piano actions, New York based Wasle & Company, and its subsidiary, the Wasle Unique Player Action Company, were acquired that same year. In 1914, Pratt, Read built a second factory solely for the production of player piano actions in Deep River. Wasle & Company was dissolved in 1919 and its production was continued under the Pratt, Read name. The company soon acquired two additional keyboard and action manufacturers: the Sylvester Tower Company of Cambridge, Mass., was purchased, dissolved, and all its equipment was moved to Deep River in 1924; and Strauch Bros. Company of New York was purchased in 1926. The Deep River player action plant operated until 1928, when business declined and production of player piano actions was discontinued in favor of manufacturing small motorboats. This line of business also soon declined and the project was abandoned by 1932.

COMSTOCK, CHENEY & COMPANY. Meanwhile, other manufacturers of ivory products had been at work in the Essex area. Chief among these was the firm of Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The dominant figure in this company was Samuel M. Comstock. He had learned the ivory cutting trade while working in his older brother's Saybrook area ivory cutting shop, known as Joseph A. Comstock & Company. By 1838, Samuel had left his brother's shop and joined with Edwin Griswold to set up Comstock & Griswold Company further west up the Falls River in Centerbrook. In 1848, the company moved its operations to a new factory in the Ivoryton area, where combs, toothpicks, and other ivory products were made. At the same time, the firm's name was changed to S. M. Comstock & Company, reflecting Samuel's sole ownership.

In 1860, Samuel Comstock allied his firm with George A. Cheney to form Comstock, Cheney & Company. Cheney had invested in Comstock's firm and was one of the principals in the important New York based ivory importing firm of Arnold, Cheney & Company. The new firm began production of thin slices of ivory for mounting on wooden piano keys. It also had its own agents buying ivory in Africa, most of which went toward production of piano keys. The company was formally incorporated in 1872 and in 1873 it opened an even larger factory in Ivoryton.

1936 MERGER. On December 31, l936, Pratt, Read & Company of Deep River was consolidated and merged with Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The resulting corporation was titled Pratt, Read & Company, Inc. By l938, all manufacturing operations had been consolidated in Ivoryton and the Deep River factory closed. During World War II, both the Deep River factory and the Ivoryton factory were used to produce CG 4A "Waco" troop carrying gliders for the U.S. Army Air Forces, along with LNE 1 training gliders and the GLOMB experimental plane for the U.S. Navy. Production of piano keyboards and actions was sharply curtailed for the duration of the war, and was slow to resume afterward. In l946 the Deep River factory was sold.

From 1948 to l957, the Ivoryton factory was enlarged and modernized on a large scale. During the Korean War, the company contracted to make helicopter blades for the Kaman Corporation of Bloomfield, Conn., and this partnership lasted for fourteen years. In l958, Pratt, Read transferred all of its piano action manufacturing operations to a newly built plant in Central, S.C. This move was made primarily in order to modernize production facilities at a lower cost than would have been possible through continued renovation of the Ivoryton plant.

With the election of Peter H. Comstock (a great grandson of one of the founders of Comstock, Cheney & Company) as President in 1954, the firm began an ambitious plan of diversification. The Cornwall & Patterson Company of Bridgeport, Conn., manufacturer of piano hardware, was purchased in l957. In 1959, Pratt, Read joined with six British Commonwealth firms to acquire British Piano Actions, Ltd., of Wales. Keyboards, Inc., a Chicago based producer of keyboards for electronic organs, was acquired in 1960. The Tech Art Plastics Company of Morristown, N.J., a custom molder of plastics materials especially for the piano industry, was acquired in 1961. The F. Kelly Company of Derby, Conn., which specialized in the production of small metal parts, was acquired in l964, and operated as a division of Cornwall & Patterson. In l966, Pratt, Read purchased the Allen Rogers Corporation of Laconia, N.H., which produced wooden furniture and piano components.

MERGER WITH VOCALINE COMPANY. In February l968, Pratt, Read & Company, Inc., was merged into the Vocaline Company of America, Inc., of Old Saybrook, Conn. Peter H. Comstock became chairman and chief executive officer of Vocaline Corporation, while remaining president of Pratt, Read. Vocaline was then organized into two major divisions the Vocaline Division and the Pratt, Read Division. The Pratt, Read Division concentrated on the production of piano keys and actions. It operated three subdivisions: the Ivoryton Division (keyboards, wooden and plastic moldings, and unfinished furniture); the Action Division (piano actions); and the Lund Division, formerly Keyboards, Inc., (electronic organ components). Both of the latter divisions operated out of the Central, S.C., plant. The Lund Division was known as the Electronics Division by 1970.

The Vocaline Division produced and sold electric motors, timing devices, and other small electromechanical mechanisms through its Electronics Section and its Bristol Motor and Timer Section. Another subsidiary of the Vocaline Division Altron, Inc., based in Westerly, R.I. produced wire coils. Through its Research and Development Center in Waldboro, Maine, Vocaline conducted antisubmarine warfare research for the U.S. Navy. By 1970, the Vocaline Division had been streamlined into four divisions: the Allen Rogers Corporation (small shaped wood products); Altron, Inc. (wire coils); the Bristol Division, later known as the Bristol Saybrook Company (electric motors and timers); and the Cornwall & Patterson Company (piano hardware and small tools). In addition, research for the Navy had been expanded and combined with other oceanographic research under the control of a subsidiary company, VAST, Inc., with operations in both Maine and the Caribbean.

PRATT READ CORPORATION. In October 1970, the Vocaline Corporation changed its name to the Pratt Read Corporation. This was done partly to increase identity with its oldest traditions and partly to reflect a shift away from the early emphasis on the Vocaline side of the corporation. The new corporation continued to refine its interests under the direction of Peter H. Comstock, who became company president in February 1970. The Tech Arts Plastic Company was sold off in May 1972, although it remained a source of supply for custom molded parts. In 1974 Pratt Read purchased the Atlas Plywood Company of Morrisville, Vt., in order to use its mill and kilns in the preparation of lumber for the Ivoryton factory, whose own facilities were overburdened. This company was operated as a subsidiary of Pratt Read.

By 1976, the Pratt Read Corporation was organized into five operating divisions. The Allen Rogers Corporation produced toys, golf tees, spools, knobs, and other turned and shaped wood products. Altron, Inc., produced bobbins and coils of copper wire. The Bristol Saybrook Company produced small electric motors and timers. The Cornwall & Patterson Company produced piano hardware parts, screwdriver blades, and other small hand tools. Pratt, Read & Company produced wooden components for pianos and other musical instruments. The company's ownership of VAST, Inc., was sold off in March 1976. Later that year, the company acquired Sight Line Corporation, a Freehold, N.J., manufacturer of golf clubs. This subsidiary, operated as the Sounder Sports Division, was sold in May 1979.

In October of 1979, James H. Tucker replaced Peter H. Comstock as president of Pratt Read; Comstock remained chairman of the board and chief executive officer. His nephew, Harwood B. Comstock, became the next president in October 1982. In June 1982, the Ivoryton factory was severely damaged by flooding after two dams burst upstream during a torrential rainstorm. Although the administrative offices were destroyed and the plant filled with several feet of mud and debris, the facility was back in production within two weeks. In August 1982, Pratt Read acquired the Sohmer Piano Company, a 111 year old Long Island based manufacturer of pianos, and in December 1982 Sohmer's production facilities were moved into the Ivoryton factory. By July 1983 Sohmer was producing about six upright pianos a day in its new location.

By the early 1980s, the American piano industry had entered a period of decline and even Peter Comstock's diversification efforts could not keep it out of trouble. A major blow came in 1984 with the loss of a large contract to manufacture keyboards for Mattel Electronics's Intellivision home video system. This was exacerbated by a slump in the piano industry in mid year. The increased import of Japanese and Korean pianos further undercut the American industry, resulting in slowdowns and profit losses for Pratt Read. Attempting to compete on the same basis with this foreign competition, Pratt Read joined with the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company in May 1985 to establish the Pratt Win Corporation. This joint venture resulted in the closing of Pratt Read's Central, S.C., piano action manufacturing plant and the transfer of its operations to a new Baldwin plant in Juarez, Mexico. Pratt Read sold its interest in Pratt Win to Baldwin in October 1986.

Piano sales continued to decline, however, and Pratt Read continued to suffer losses. In March 1986, the company was acquired by Crescent & Company, a corporation controlled by Harwood B. Comstock, president of Pratt, Read & Company. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Crescent & Company, but retained the name Pratt Read Corporation. In April 1986, the company sold its Sohmer piano subsidiary together with the Ivoryton factory where it was housed; Sohmer & Company continued to produce upright pianos under independent ownership in Ivoryton until December 1988. In December 1986 the Bristol Saybrook Company was sold off. By 1990, the company had sold off all remaining assets except for a sawmill in Vermont and the Cornwall & Patterson Company in Bridgeport, Conn., where the remaining corporate staff relocated.

Sources

Deep River Historical Society, Inc. A History of Pratt Read & Co. 1973.

1899 Souvenir of Essex, Connecticut. Rpt., The Ivoryton Public Library, 1979.

Johnson, Curtiss S. "From Ivory Combs to Carnegie Hall and Today:The History of the Pratt Read Corporation." [Unpublished history in the collection.]

Moore, Ernst D. "History of Pratt, Read & Company." [Unpublished history in the Ernst D. Moore Collection, Archives Center Collection #321.]

Newspaper Clippings in the collection.

Pratt Read Corporation. Annual Reports.

Vocaline Corporation. Annual Report, 1970.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Records relating to Pratt, Read and to Comstock, Cheney can be found in a number of other collections, both within the Archives Center and in other repositories. The Wood & Brooks Company Records (Archives Center coll. #457) contain significant information on Pratt, Read's operations and an important record of production statistics gathered by George Wood while he was factory superintendent and taken with him when he set up a rival firm in Buffalo. While the Ernst Moore Collection (Archives Center coll. #321) primarily documents the purchase of ivory in Africa (much of which was ultimately used by Pratt, Read), it also includes a history of Pratt, Read written by Moore while he was employed by them. The Sohmer & Company Records (Archives Center coll. #349) document the piano manufacturing firm that Pratt Read acquired in 1982.
Separated Materials:
The Pratt Read Corporation also donated a number of objects to the National Museum of American History at the same time as their 1988 donation of archival records. Included were combs and letter openers and other examples of products made from ivory; piano components, such as gauge boards, key actions, and keys; and such diverse items as tools used in the factory, World War II employee I.D. badges, and a uniform from the company sponsored basketball team.
Provenance:
Donated by Pratt, Read Corporation in 1989. In addition to the papers donated by the company, several individuals donated Pratt, Read materials in their possession.
Restrictions:
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Piano  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Ivory  Search this
Gliders (Aeronautics)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements -- 20th century
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing Records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Labels
Stock records
Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0320
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0320
Online Media:

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Ivory

Creator:
Warshaw, Isadore, d. 1969  Search this
Extent:
0.23 Cubic feet (consisting of .5 box , plus digital images of some collection material. )
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business ephemera
Ephemera
Date:
circa 1843-1893
Summary:
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Ivory forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana
Scope and Contents:
This subject category- Ivory consists of materials involving the manufacturing and sale of ivory or ivory goods. The bulk of the materials is from companies in the northeast United States and are dated from the mid to late nineteenth century. Researchers interested in the manufacture or sale of ivory during the last half of the 1800s will find this information useful.
Arrangement:
Arranged in two subseries. Subseries 1 is arranged alphabetically by company name. Subseries 2 is arranged by subject.

Subseries 1: Companies, circa 1843-1893, undated

Subseries 2: General Information, circa 1874-1883, undated
Materials in the Archives Center:
Archives Center Collection of Business Americana (AC0404)
Forms Part Of:
Forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana.

Series 1: Business Ephemera

Series 2: Other Collection Divisions

Series 3: Isadore Warshaw Personal Papers

Series 4: Photographic Reference Material
Provenance:
Ivory is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Ivory  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business ephemera
Ephemera
Citation:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Category: Ivory, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0060.S01.01.Ivory
See more items in:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Ivory
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0060-s01-01-ivory
Online Media:

Archives Center Stereograph Collection

Creator:
Underwood & Underwood  Search this
Keystone View Company  Search this
Community Life, Div. of, NMAH, SI  Search this
Owen, Mary June  Search this
Donnald, Morrill  Search this
Jarvis  Search this
Extent:
24 Items
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Stereographs
Photographs
Place:
Mombasa (Africa)
Africa -- 1900-1910
Italy
Amalfi (Italy)
Date:
circa 1910
Scope and Contents note:
Collection established to consolidate miscellaneous stereographs transferred from other Smithsonian units and other sources. Currently the group contains 25 cards.
First item:,A view of "Ivory Ready to Ship, Mombasa, Africa." Depicts workers with elephant tusks loaded on trucks. At left, storage building of an American firm which handles hundreds of tons of ivory each year."
Second group:,23 stereographs, three of which are Underwood & Underwood views; the remainder are miscellaneous lithoprint (photomechanical) images, both color and black-and-white, some in poor condition.
Third acquisition:,1 albumen stereograph by Underwood & Underwood, "Amalfi, Italy--from the Capuchin Convent--"I beheld the scene and stood as one amazed"--." c1900. (Woman in hat with veil looking down on the coast.) Original negative in Coll. 143, #143.VDF 12808. Photographer apparently was Jarvis, but the dates on the glass plates are shown as 1907.
Fourth acquisition:,3 albumen stereographs by M.H. Zahner and 10 albumen stereographs by George W. Griffith.
Biographical/Historical note:
The Keystone View Co. was one of the leading publishers of stereoscopic views at the turn of the century.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Division of Community Life, NMAH, through David Shayt,1992, and Mr. Morrill Donnald,Surreptitious gift, through Susan Strange, January 11, 1999, and Ms. Mary June Owen 2000, August 8, and State of Alabama Dept. of Archives and History, through Linda L. Overman, date unknown.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use on site by appointment. Archives Center collections do not circulate. Unless protected by plastic sleeve, must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Seacoasts  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Elephants -- Africa -- Mombasa  Search this
Convents  Search this
Genre/Form:
Stereographs -- 1900-1910
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Citation:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History. (Credit individual donors: e.g., gift of Ms. Mary June Owen; or gift of Morrill Donnald).
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0495
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0495

Ernst D. Moore Papers

Author:
Arnold, Cheney & Co.  Search this
Collector:
Moore, Ernst D. (importer, trader)  Search this
Names:
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Roosevelt, Theodore, President, 1858-1919  Search this
Extent:
1.6 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Letters (correspondence)
Diaries
Articles
Receipts
Photographs
Maps
Account books
Date:
1888-1932
Summary:
Papers documenting Moore's work as an ivory trader employed by Arnold, Cheney and Co. Includes copies of his diary entries while working as an ivory trader, financial documents, price lists, his writings on the subject of ivory, articles, a map, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists primarily of copies of records still in the possesssion of Moore's family. Foremost among these are copies of his diary entries for the time he was employed overseas by Arnold, Cheney & Co. These provide a daily, often humorous, description of the lifestyle of an American businessman trading in the outposts of the British Empire. Further documentation of this lifestyle is provided by Moore's personal account book, expense account statements, and receipts, as well as the materials on Club life in these spots. These include rule books for the Union Club at Aden, the Mombasa Club, the Mombasa Sport Club, and the Mnazi Moja and English clubs at Zanzibar, along with statements of Moore's accounts at each.

The collection contains a great deal of information on the ivory trade, primarily in Moore's correspondence, both business and private, and in documents relating to his contract and service abroad. Although most of these are xerographic copies, a number of originals are included; since these are fragile, it is recommended that the researcher use the copies. There are several items directly related to ivory, including three ivory pricelists from 1922, a small pamphlet about ivory published in 1921, and Moore's handwritten description of the characteristics and classification of ivory. Also contained in the collection are a number of articles written by Moore about ivory and the ivory trade, along with his book, Ivory: The Scourge of Africa, in both typescript and published form. An additional folder contains a photographic copy of the map of "Ivory Country" used to illustrate the book.

The collection also contains copies of many of Moore's photographs. Most of them were taken during his days in Aden, Mombasa, and Zanzibar. These document all aspects of the ivory trade, from the elephant in the wild to the loading of tusks onto ships bound for New York. They depict ivory poachers, transport of tusks, weighing and measuring tusks, storage facilities in the traders' compound or "ivory house," trade goods used to purchase the ivory, and local scenes. Of especial interest are a number of photographs which show the visit of ex President Theodore Roosevelt to Mombasa in 1909. There are also three photoprints showing activities in Pratt, Read & Company's factory at Deep River, Ct. The remaining photographs are family snapshots, mainly of Moore's children. NOTE: Permission to publish these photographs must be obtained directly from the donor, who retains the copyright on them. The collection also includes a history of Pratt, Read & Company which Moore wrote in 1930.

Biographical information in the collection includes a chapter from a biography of Moore which was written by his daughter as a school assignment, autobiographical recollections of Moore's days as an ivory buyer, and a copy of his obituary.

Of additional interest are copies of documents relating to Moore's uncle, Dwight Moore. These deal with his service as U.S. Consul at Aden and Zanzibar in the 1880s 1890s, and correspondence between Moore and his uncle during Moore's service overseas.
Biographical / Historical:
Ernst R. Domansky was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 1, 1884. He was an ivory trader employed by Arnold, Cheney & Co., ivory importers of New York city, serving as that firm's agent in Aden, Mombasa, and Zanzibar from 1907 to 1911. He negotiated for the purchase of tons of elephant tusks from the Arab traders who brought them from the interior of Africa, and made several trips into the interior himself. He also served briefly as U.S. Consul at Zanzibar in 1911.

Shortly after his return to the United States sometime between 1911 and 1913 Domansky changed his name to Ernst D. Moore. There were evidently several reasons for this: Moore had been his mother's maiden name and, while his own parents were dead by this time, his uncle, Dwight Moore, had always looked after his interests. Dwight Moore had, in fact, obtained Ernst's position with Arnold, Cheney & Co. for him. In addition, both of his brothers had already switched from Domansky to Moore.

In 1913, Moore married Miss Elsie Warner of Chester, Connecticut, where he took up residence. He was then employed by the piano manufacturing firm of Pratt, Read & Co., of Deep River, Connecticut. Pratt, Read was the chief customer for the ivory which Moore had purchased in Africa; the company used it in making piano keyboards. Moore served as Secretary, and later as Vice President, of Pratt, Read's subsidiary, the Pratt Read Player Action Company, located in Deep River. Following that, he was head of the Moore & Fisher Manufacturing Company, also of Deep River. He retained his interest in ivory and, after retiring, wrote a book describing his days in Africa and the ivory trade his Ivory: Scourge of Africa was published in 1931. He died on June 5,1932.
Related Materials:
The Archives Center also contains Collection #320, the Pratt Read Corporation Records. It includes a few photographs of E. D. Moore, as well as information on the ivory trade and the American ivory industry. The records of Arnold, Cheney & Company for the period 1873 1902 are to be found at the Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts; they are in Collection #103, the Ropes Emmerton & Company Records. Additional records relating to both Arnold, Cheney & Company and Pratt, Read & Company can be found in the Cheney/Downing Collection at the Connecticut River Foundation at Steamboat Dock, Essex, Connecticut.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Edith Sibley, January 30, 1989.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Permission to publish these photographs must be obtained directly from the donor, who retains copyright. See repository for details.
Topic:
Ivory industry  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Ivory  Search this
Imports -- 1880-1940  Search this
Elephants -- Africa -- Mombasa  Search this
Genre/Form:
Letters (correspondence) -- 1850-1900
Diaries -- 1880-1940
Articles -- 1880-1940
Receipts -- 20th century
Receipts -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- 1900-1950
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Maps -- 1880-1940
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Account books
Citation:
Ernst D. Moore Papers, 1888-1932, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0321
See more items in:
Ernst D. Moore Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0321
Online Media:

Ivory Industry in Essex, Conn., Area

Collection Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Collection Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Container:
Box 63, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Pratt, Read Corporation Records / Series 3: Pratt, Read and Company, Pratt, Read and Company, Inc., and Pratt-Read Corporation / 3.14: Historical Background Information
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0320-ref398

Ivory Industry

Collection Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Collection Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Container:
Box 63, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Pratt, Read Corporation Records / Series 3: Pratt, Read and Company, Pratt, Read and Company, Inc., and Pratt-Read Corporation / 3.14: Historical Background Information
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0320-ref399

E. D. Moore: Personal Correspondence, 1911-1932

Collection Author:
Arnold, Cheney & Co.  Search this
Collection Collector:
Moore, Ernst D. (importer, trader)  Search this
Container:
Box 3, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to publish these photographs must be obtained directly from the donor, who retains copyright. See repository for details.
Collection Citation:
Ernst D. Moore Papers, 1888-1932, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Ernst D. Moore Papers
Ernst D. Moore Papers / Series 1: Photoprints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0321-ref93
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Tippu Tip und der Elfenbeinhandel in Ost- und Zentralafrika im 19. Jahrhundert / Iris Hahner-Herzog

Author:
Hahner-Herzog, Iris 1956-  Search this
Subject:
Tippu Tip 1837-1905  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 373 p. : 1 map, 1 port. ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa, Central
Africa, East
Maniema (Congo)
Date:
1990
C1990
19th century
Topic:
Ivory industry--History  Search this
History  Search this
Call number:
DT363.3.H34 1990X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_416113

Ivory crisis / Ian Parker, Mohamed Amin

Author:
Parker, I. S. C (Ian S. C.) 1936-  Search this
Amin, Mohamed 1943-1996  Search this
Physical description:
184 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa
Date:
1983
Topic:
African elephant--Conservation  Search this
Poaching  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Call number:
QL737.P98 P38 1983X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_332040

Otto Gerdau Collection

Creator:
Gerdau, Otto  Search this
Orr, Craig  Search this
Extent:
0.15 Cubic feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
1876-1900
Summary:
The collection documents the ivory importing firm of Heinrich Adolf Meyer, of Hamburg, Germany.
Scope and Contents:
Documents relating to the ivory importing firm of Heinrich Adolf Meyer, of Hamburg, Germany. It contains a booklet on "Ivory" published by the firm in 1889, a photographic album on ivory published around the same time, one black and white photograph showing the largest and thickest tusks on record, two photographs showing the firms factory, a photostatic copy of the firm's 1876 US Centennial Exhibition catalog, and photostatic copies of notices of the awards it won at the Exhibition. Also included are photoprints from the photographic album and two copies of photoprints showing the company's exhibit at the Centennial. There is also one letter in the collection.
Biographical / Historical:
Otto Gerdau was the New York agent for the German firm of Heinrich Adolf Meyer. The firm was co-founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1818 by Heinrich Adolf Meyer and his father Heinrich Christian Meyer. The firm specialized in the import and export of ivory and its various substitutes, in both raw and finished form. the company's first factory was built in 1836; a new, larger factory was built in 1864. After his father's death in 1848, Heinrich Adolf Meyer ran the company alone. Meyer was a prominent man in Hamburg. he received a Ph.d from the University of Kiel in 1865 and was elected to the German Reichstag in 1877. It was through his influence that the Hamburg Aquarium was built.

Gerdau was a native of Hamburg, Germany. After emigrating to the United States, he founded the Otto Gerdau Company in New York in 1872. As the American agent for Heinrich Adolf Meyer, Gerdau imported ivory from germany. Following otto's death in 1920, his two sons, Carl and Allan, ran the company. Allan gradually assumed more responsibility for running the company's import lines which included rattan, mother of pearl, rugs from India, and marble furniture from Italy, in addition to ivory. After Allan died in 1986, the company was left in trust to three New York religious institutions who were to benefit from the company's profits. In 1989 the company was sold to a Florida industrialist and there is no longer any involvement in the company by the Gerdau Family.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Joan Rogers, January 1, 1990.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Reproduction fees for commercial use. Contact repository for details.
Topic:
Ivory  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Citation:
Otto Gerdau Collection, 1876-1900, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0363
See more items in:
Otto Gerdau Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0363
Online Media:

Ivory : power and poaching in Africa / Keith Somerville

Author:
Somerville, Keith  Search this
Physical description:
xvii, 390 pages : maps ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa
Date:
2016
Topic:
Ivory industry--Corrupt practices  Search this
African elephant--Effect of poaching on  Search this
African elephant--Effect of hunting on  Search this
African elephant--Conservation  Search this
Poaching--Political aspects  Search this
Terrorism--Finance  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1092329

To save an elephant : the undercover investigation into the illegal ivory trade / Allan Thornton & Dave Currey

Author:
Thornton, Allan  Search this
Currey, Dave  Search this
Russell E. Train Africana Collection (Smithsonian Libraries) DSI  Search this
Inscriber:
Thornton, Allan DSI  Search this
Currey, Dave DSI  Search this
Former owner:
Train, Aileen DSI  Search this
Physical description:
x, 212 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa
Date:
1991
Topic:
Ivory industry  Search this
African elephant  Search this
Wildlife conservation  Search this
Poaching  Search this
Call number:
HD9429.I862 T462 1991
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_785203

Le commerce de l'ivoire à Khartoum et au Soudan égyptien / par Louis Vossion

Author:
Vossion, Louis 1847-1906  Search this
Russell E. Train Africana Collection (Smithsonian Libraries) DSI  Search this
Former owner:
Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.) Library DSI  Search this
Physical description:
20 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa, North
Date:
1892
Topic:
Ivory industry  Search this
African elephant  Search this
Call number:
HD9429.I862 V96 1892
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_786325

Elephant under glass : the piano key bleach house of Deep River, Connecticut

Author:
Shayt, David H  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Connecticut
Deep River
Date:
1993
Topic:
Ivory piano keys (Sound device components)  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Call number:
T37 .I101
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_517755

Rivers of gold / by H. Ellert

Author:
Ellert, H  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 194 p., [24] p. plates (some col.) : ill., maps ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Zimbabwe
Portugal
Date:
1993
16th century
17th century
Topic:
Gold industry--History  Search this
Ivory industry--History  Search this
Commerce  Search this
History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_535723

Ivory trade : the Zimbabwe position / as given by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism at a press conference on 22nd September 1989

Author:
Zimbabwe Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism  Search this
Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wild Life Management  Search this
Physical description:
9 p. ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Zimbabwe
Date:
1989
Topic:
Ivory industry--Government policy  Search this
Elephants--Government policy  Search this
Wildlife conservation  Search this
Call number:
HD9429.I863 Z71 1989
HD9429.I863Z71 1989
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_436550

The Ivory trade and conserving the African elephant / Wildlife Conservation International

Author:
Wildlife Conservation International  Search this
Physical description:
16 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Africa
Date:
1992
Topic:
Elephant hunting  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Wildlife conservation  Search this
Call number:
SK305.E3 I96 1992
SK305.E3I96 1992
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_439955

An Ivory workshop in Liberia

Author:
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Liberia
Date:
1992
Topic:
Ivories  Search this
Tourism and art  Search this
Ivory carving  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Call number:
NK5989 .E44 1992
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_490275

Epilogue : the future of elephants, real and imagined

Author:
Ross, Doran H  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Africa
Date:
1992
Topic:
Ivory  Search this
Elephants  Search this
African elephant  Search this
Poaching  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Call number:
NK5989 .E44 1992X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_496756

Slaves, spices, & ivory in Zanzibar : integration of an East African commercial empire into the world economy, 1770-1873 / Abdul Sheriff

Author:
Sheriff, Abdul  Search this
Physical description:
xx, 297 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tanzania
Zanzibar
Date:
1987
18th century
19th century
Topic:
Slave trade--History  Search this
Spice trade--History  Search this
Ivory industry--History  Search this
Commerce  Search this
History  Search this
Call number:
HF3897.S54 1987X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_348669

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