A Conversation for Peer Review

A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Entry: The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know - A87938086
Author: Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China - U1590784

Sure, you want to know all this about Pittsburgh in 1815. Don't you, Bluebottle?

Seriously: it shows what you can glean from a primary source.

smiley - run

smiley - dragon


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 2

bobstafford

Well, it is a very interesting entry, a snapshot of history, well-done DG, excellent work. smiley - smiley


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Thanks, Bob. smiley - smiley


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 4

Pinniped

Interesting indeed. Good Entry.
Surprising that relatively little of the city’s future seems to have been discernible by 1815.
They were making steel by then, certainly, but maybe didn’t want to crow about it?
What about the bridges? They must have had the first ones by then (or they’d never have got in and out).

(Old commercial directories are a great source of weird history though. There are several in the Local Studies Library here in Sheffield, and they make a wonderful read, as well as a major distraction to whatever research you’re supposed to be doing. Their publishers mostly seem to have offered two service options, either printing local firms’ own promotional copy (usually inept) or writing it for them (usually preposterous). A personal favourite is a confectionary manufacturer c.1860 cheerfully declaring that they never poison their customers, something that might have been taken on trust until they felt compelled to mention it).


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 5

Bluebottle

I heard my name mentioned so had a quick read-through – I'll have to read thoroughly later.
'They served as handy guides for travellers…' – ah, you mean sort of a hitchhiker's guide. That's a neat idea.smiley - ok

'This Society … a number of scientific gentlemen, Chemical… apparatus, and… mineralogy… in the Court house' – Having read that, if I was the judge I'd be quite wary of ever banging my gavel too hard just in case…

The currency seems remarkably stable, though. If you did that these days, by the time you'd written whatever the equivalent of 'to convert £ into $ multiply the given sum by 45 and divide by 28' is, it'd be completely different…

<BB<


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

smiley - rofl I was more worried about the 'Philosophical Apparatus', Bluebottle. It sounded dangerous.

And smiley - rofl 'Never poisoned anybody' - I wonder if there's a story behind that one.

There was some ironmongering by 1815, but no steel. I did a search, and the only Steel mention was a resident's name. I believe Carnegie really started the first steel mill there in 1872. Of course, there were plenty of iron forges all over western Pennsylvania in the early 19th Century. One is located a couple of miles from the small town where I am.

The first river-crossing bridge was built in 1818. Before that, people used ferries.

Now, of course, there are 446 bridges, according to the Heinz History Center.





A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 7

Bluebottle

Any relation to Sapphire and Steel?

<BB<


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Well, there's a Christopher Steel, who's a 'nailor', and a William Steel, justice of the peace.

But, although there are 8 pages in the 'Mc' section, there is no McCallum, and no Sapphire. smiley - laugh


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 9

Pinniped

You’ve taught me something here. I’d never previously realised how late the USA came to steelmaking.
By the time of American Independence, the cementation process has been in widespread use throughout Europe for a century, but it was seemingly never adopted in the USA at all. Similarly crucible steelmaking had been practised in Britain for forty years. It was a lot more secret than its precursor, but nonetheless Americans would have been aware of the steel properties achievable from the outset. In spite of that, no serious attempt to replicate the process was made until around 1840, almost in parallel with Bessemer’s (and Kelly’s) developments.
Why didn’t the USA try harder to convert iron (which it made in profusion, and even exported in significant volumes) into steel? Until finally driven to do so by the coming of the railways, the first eighty years of the nation lacked a wear-resisting metal for industrial use. How did they make gun barrels, even? Surely they didn’t import it all?


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 10

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Boy, that's a good question. More research needed. smiley - headhurts

But you're right, it was late. From Andrew Carnegie's memoirs I know that he and his friends decided that railways were wearing out too quickly and bridges were too dangerous. The Pittsburgh area had all the raw materials, and Carnegie had made a little startup capital from investing in the 1860s oil boom up here in the boondocks. So Carnegie said, 'What we need is a German chemist,' and they asked around Allegheny City (Northside Pittsburgh) until they found one. That's how they put it together.

I've just spent half the afternoon chasing down Pittsburgh's armed galleys, built in 1798-1799. Apparently, one became a merchant ship and was nearly confiscated in Livornio because the Customs officer didn't believe there was really a port city called Pittsburgh. smiley - laugh

'Tis a relatively brief history here compared to Europe, but it can be quite eventful.


A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Post 11

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Very interesting Entry! smiley - smiley


Key: Complain about this post

A87938086 - The Pittsburgh City Directory of 1815: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more