Lost Industries

‘Buggy Whip industries’ are a shorthand for industries that no longer exist.  Industries relating to horses are, of course, far less common than they were in 1900.  Of the over forty companies that made carriage whips in the late 1800’s, only one still exists: Westfield Whip, in Westfield, Massachusetts http://westfieldwhip.com/index.html which still operates out of the orginal brick factory, covered in ivy, and endlessly fascinating to the would-be historian driving by.  It looks abandoned, and yet isn’t.  Still, the industry, as an industry, is very dead.

This digression to Massachusetts was brought about by finding a business card for a dealer in New Hartford. One E.R. Carter was a dealer in: Cutter Whip Sockets, along with Carriage, Tire, Whiffletree, and Shaft bolts; all of which were advertised as being made out of Norway iron, which had a reputation for high quality.  Whip sockets have to be even more arcane an item than the whips themselves, and yet clearly there was enough of a demand for Mr. Carter to print up business cards advertising these wares. He also sold wagons, carriages, sleighs, surreys, and other horse or ox drawn equipment.  Carter might be compared to an independent car dealer, with plenty of after-factory or custom parts available for purchase.

Carter, who was active in town in the 1900-1915 era was a wealthy man, in addition to his shop he owned six houses in town and some vacant land.  His property was primarily in the North Village, High Street, and Steele Road areas. His family was also associated with Barkhamsted, quite a bit of space in his office memorandum book is taken up by the purchase and exchange of cemetery plots in the Pleasant Valley cemetery in Barkhamsted.  The New Hartford Carters may be connected to the Carter family who built the Soldier’s Monument now located in the Center Hill Cemetery in Barkhamsted, but that is not presently known.

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