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J. Frank Cutter
S.A. Stewart & Co., 1870s-1910s; Hugh Stewart, 1878-1890s; Boston, Massachusetts; Hugh Stewart & Co., 1887-1910; Stewart Bros. & Co. 1887-1930s; Cambridge, Massachusetts (the preceding firms were collectively known as Stewart Bros.) J. Frank Cutter, 1908-1930s; R.A. Martin & Co., 1911; Cambridge, Massachusetts
Associated Firms
Kimball Bros.

J. Frank Cutter, Cambridge, Massachusetts was the successor to Hugh Stewart & Co., a member of a well-known metropolitan Boston carriage building family who entered the business in the mid 1870s.

There were three distinct Boston carriage manufacturers that used the Stewart surname at the end of the 19th century, all of them related. The Stewart family’s operations were collectively called Stewart Brothers, although each operation was managed by a different ‘brother’, Samuel A., John A, and Hugh.

I spent many hours trying to connect the ‘brothers’ via US and Massachusetts census reports, but came up with no concrete evidence supporting nor contradicting the claim. Although their familial connection was never explained within their pages, the Boston Globe considered them brothers, so I’ll defer to their reports, although I have my doubts.

The earliest and best -known was S.A. Stewart & Co. Samuel A. Stewart started in the business during the early-1870s as a salesman of carriage goods with Sergant & Ham. By 1877 he had branched out on his own, establishing his own carriage goods and vehicle depository at 63-67 Sudbury St.

The S.A. Stewart Carriage Repository was located along Old Boston’s ‘carriage row’ which during the late 19th century was centered along Bowker and Sudbury Sts. and included Sargent & Ham and Kimball Bros. Samuel A. Stewart’s second known address, 67 Sudbury st., is confirmed by the December 16, 1877 issue of the Boston Daily Globe which reports him as the victim of a Boston con man:

“Charles E. Brown, alias Charles Brooks, for obtaining $88.50 by false pretenses from Samuel A. Stewart of 67 Sudbury street, in May last, was ordered to recognize in $500 for examination on the 19th inst.”

Stewart’s business grew and he eventually became a member of the Carriage Builders National Association. The need for additional stock obtained at reasonable prices prompted him to organize numerous family-owned manufactories that were overseen by his two brothers, John A. and Hugh Stewart. Collectively the Stewart’s carriage businesses were known as Stewart Brothers, although each brother was eventually given his own distinct firm.

S.A. Stewart, Stewart Bros. and Hugh Stewart operated seemingly competing businesses in and around Boston’s carriage row during the 1880s, sometimes even sharing the same address. The Stewarts also operated facilities in Cambridge under all three names starting in the mid-1880s.

S.A. Stewart & Co.’s Boston addresses included; 30 Bowker St., 67 Sudbury St., 63 Sudbury St., 117-119 Court St. *, 118-120 Subury St., 43-45 Pitts St., and 13 Green St. Their Cambridge addresses included 242-246 Main st., 365 Main st., 468 Main st., and 474 Main st. Cambridgeport.

(*119 Court St. was located at its intersection with Sudbury St.)

30 Bowker St. was also a known address for another well-known Boston vehicle constructor, Sargent & Ham, which gave their address as 26-30 Bowker St. in the mid-1870s.

Stewart Bros. & Co.’s Boston address was 118-120 Subury St. Their Cambridge addresses included; 242, 244, 246 Main st., 365 Main st., 458 Main St., 468 Main st., 27 Tudor st., and 75 Hamilton St.

Hugh Stewart’s Boston addresses included; 9 Pitts St., 13 Green St., and 118-120 Subury St. His Cambridge address included; 224 Main st., and 414 Main St., Cambridgeport.

13 Green St. was on the corner of Pitts St. in old downtown Boston. Bowker and Sudbury Sts. were located a couple of blocks away. One of the two Stewart factories was originally the home of the Pitts St. Chapel as described in a period entry:

“Passing from Bowdoin Square into Green Street one sees leading from it a narrow street in which a short distance down on the right hand side is an old brick building now used as a carriage factory bearing on its front a tablet with the inscription ‘Pitts St. Chapel, 1836.‘”

Although they manufactured carriages at a number of small Boston manufactories, their main manufactory was moved across the Charles River to Cambridge in 1886. Overseen by Hugh Stewart, the Stewart’s Cambridge operations were originally founded by Winthrop A. Ward, who established a carriage manufactory at 242, 244, and 246 Main st., sometime after the Civil War. In later years he entered into a partnership, Ward & Blood, with Albert S. Blood, a Boston wheelright and blacksmith who had previously been in a partnership as Blood & Judkins with A.C. Judkins at 149 Beach st., Boston.

Almon Blood (b. 1819 in Groton, Mass.), was another well-known Boston carriage builder who practiced the trade in downtown Boston at 115-119 Eliot St., and 55 Eliot St. (1850s-1870s). An even earlier builder with the Blood surname was S.D. Blood who worked out of a shop located at Broadway at the corner of 3rd during the 1840s.

The Stewart’s various addresses were culled from the following sources:

1875 Sampson & Davenport Boston Almanac and Directory: Under Carriage Repositories - S.A. Stewart, 30 Bowker St.; Under Carriage Builders - Kimball Bros. 112 Sudbury St. - Sargent & Ham, 26-30 Bowker St.

1878 Sampson & Davenport Boston Almanac and Directory; Under Carriage Repositories - S.A. Stewart, 63 Sudbury, Samuel A. Stewart proprietor.

1880 Sampson & Davenport Boston Almanac and Directory; Under Carriage Repositories - S.A. Stewart, 117-119 Court St.,

A series of display ads in the 1883 Pathfinder Railway Guide, pub 1883: “S.A. Stewart & Co. CARRIAGE BUILDERS; Carriages & Sleighs, Latest Patterns, Carriages Exchanged; “Depository; 118-120 Subury St.; Factory 43-45 Pitts St., Boston, Mass.”

A small item in the July 15, 1887 issue of the Boston Daily Globe implies that Hugh Stewart had a plant on Sudbury St. at the time: “Preparing for Labor Day. At a meeting of Thomas Goddard Carriagemakers’ Assembly, 5571, K. of L., held last evening, the committee on picnic were instructed to canvass the different shops in this city and vicinity to get the wishes of the majority of workmen in regard to joining the parade on Labor Day. It was announced that Hugh Stewart of Sudbury street had granted his men the Saturday half-holiday through July and August without loss of pay.”

1888 Sampson & Murdock Boston Almanac and Business Directory: Under Carriage Builders; Hugh Stewart, 9 Pitts; Under Carriage Repositories - S.A. Stewart & Co.,118 Sudbury St.

1889 Samson, Murdock & Co. Boston Almanac & Business Directory: Under Carriage Builders: Hugh Stewart - 9 Pitts and 13 Green; Under Repositories - S.A. Stewart & Co. 118 Sudbury and 13 Green sts.

1895 Jones’ Cambridge Blue Book: under carriage manufacturers; Stewart Bros. & Co., 244 Main St., Cambridge, Mass.; Hugh Stewart & Co., 224 Main St., Cambridge, Mass.”

Documents of the City of Boston 1889 mentions a small fire which took place at the S.A. Stewart plant which coincidentally shared an address with the plant of Hugh Stewart:  “March 22d 8;08 P.M. No. 13 Green st., 4 story brick owned by *N. Whitney, occupied by S.A. Stewart, used for carriage manufactory; cause spontaneous combustion of oily rags, loss none; accidental.” (*Should be owned by Nathaniel Whiting).

1868 Coolidge Boston Almanac: under Carriage Builders; A. Blood, 55 Eliot st.; A.S. Blood, 149 Beach st.

1872 Sampson & Davenport Boston Almanac and Directory: Under Carriage Builders; A. Blood, 115 to 119 Eliot st.; Blood & Judkins, 149 Beach st.

1873 Sampson & Davenport Boston Almanac and Directory: Under Carriage Builders; AImon Blood, 119 Eliot st. h. at Newton; Blood & Judkins, A.S. BIood & A.C. Judkins, 149 Beach st.; A.S. Blood, wheelwright & blacksmith, 149 Beach h. Mt Vernon.

1873 Greenough, Jones & Co. Cambridge, Mass. Directory: Under Carriage Builders; Winthrop A. Ward, 242, 244, and 246 Main st., Cambridgeport.

1876 Greenough & Co. Cambridge, Mass. Directory: Under carriage builders; Ward & Blood  (Winthrop A. Ward and Albert S. Blood), 244-246 Main st.

1908 Motor Cyclopedia: CAMBRIDGEPORT, Mass.;  Parts and Accessories Manufacturers, Hugh Stewart & Co., 414 Main St. Wood and metallic bodies auto tops.

Following the 1891 death of Portland, Maine’s famous carriage builder, Charles Porter Kimball, his estate sold off all of the firm’s assets, save for their successful Chicago, Illinois operations. An 1892 display advertisement in the Oxford Club Souvenir announced the consolidation of S.A. Stewart’s and Kimball Bros. Sudbury St. warerooms:

“S.A. STEWART & CO., HAVING CONSOLIDATED WITH KIMBALL BROS. CO. UNDER THE STYLE OF S.A. Stewart Company,  Are now prepared to offer an assortment of SEASONABLE CARRIAGES In all the leading styles, at lowest market prices. 110, 112, 114 Sudbury St., Boston.”

The Stewart’s Cambridge-based operations were located in Cambridgeport, a primarily residential neighborhood located within the city of Cambridge, Essex County, Massachusetts, bordered on the north by Massachusetts Avenue, on the south by the Charles River, on the west by River Street, and on the east by the tracks of the Grand Junction Railroad.

Their Cambridge factory burned to the ground on the night of Saturday, July 21, 1888. The next day’s ( July 22, 1888) Boston Sunday Globe recorded the event in great detail:


“Stewart's Carriage Shop Bums to the Water. Big Blaze in Cambridge Witnessed by Many Thousands. Fourteen Horses Perish in the Fiery Flames – Loss is$40,000

“S. A. Stewart & Co.'s carriage factory at the lower port, on Main street, Cambridge, was totally destroyed by fire shortly before midnight last night, entailing a loss of about $40,000. The fire originated in the blacksmith shop on the first floor, in the southwest corner of the building, and within a dozen minutes it communicated to almost all parts of the structure.

“The blaze, was first discovered by a son of a fireman, Jack Fitzgerald, who is employed at Gove's drug store as a clerk, by whom an alarm was at once sounded from box 17. When discovered, which was a few minutes off 11 o'clock, it was shining brightly through a southwest window, but before the bells had tolled the second time, the whole end seemed to be enveloped in flames.

“The building was a three-story wooden structure, with a frontage of about 250 feet on Main street. It was built out into the Charles river on piers to a depth of seventy-five feet, covering an area of 18,550 square feet. Only a part of the building was used by the Stewart Brothers for the manufacture of carriages. The northeast wing or portion was occupied by James Hackett as a sales and boarding stable.

The Stewarts used the first floor for storage purposes and salesrooms, many of their best carriages being, at the time, housed there. The second floor was used as a manufacturing department proper, and contained all the machinery used in the construction of vehicles. The third floor was used principally as a storage department, and at this time was almost with sleighs almost wholly filled with sleighs.

“The cause of the fire remains at present a mystery, but is supposed to have been communicated from the forge to some cotton waste usually found lying around loose in carriage factories. Once underway, the flames spread with almost lightning rapidity to other parts of the large structure until the whole seemed to burst, as it were, into one giant blaze.

“The illuminations wore such as to attract several thousand people, not only from Cambridge, but from the West End of Boston, and even Park square and Charlestown were for the time, deserted. On account of its proximity to the Charles river, the stream from Craigie's bridge to that connecting Cambridge with Brookline was lighted up in pyroramic style, equaled only by that occasioned by the total destruction of Kendall's iron works last winter.

“Many of the Boston folks crossed in boats to view the flames, and as the wind set in from the river the fortunate owners or occupants were enabled to approach quite close to the structure, which was being rapidly consumed.

“The West, Boston bridge, Main street and every available spot on the east side of the highway was crowded with thousands of spectators, and the sight was an unusually brilliant one.

“The first alarm was immediately followed by a second call. This was deemed proper owing to the inflammable material which was stored in the structure. Before a stream could be turned upon it, the flames had extended almost over the entire factory, so that the firemen gave much of their attention to protecting other building in the immediate neighborhood. The wisdom of this was apparent, for the heavens seemed to be laden with shooting streams of fire and brightly burning pieces of lumber.

“The danger of dwelling houses upon the other side of Main street, especially on the west aide of Broadway and the intersecting streets, became at one time so alarming that assistance was summoned from Boston. In response to the call engines 6 and 10, hose 8 and chemical engine 1 soon appeared upon the scene, and lines of hose were quickly put in operation.

“Scarcely had the first stream from the Boston engine lost itself in the bright flames before the outer walls if the building fell in with a crash. For a moment the heat became so intense that not only were the spectators driven headlong back, but the fire ladies were even forced to suspend operations and shade their faces from its intensity.

“The delay was brief, for within a half a minute the bravo men were again at their work. The structure, despite persistent and heroic efforts of the Cambridge department, burned gradually down lower and lower, until the waters of the Charles alone prevented the piers from following its fate.

“The most disastrous feature of the fire was the consumption of 14 horses, eight of which belonged to James Hackett, the other six boing owned by individuals who used Mr. Hackett’s stables for boarding purposes.

“The operator of the stable said that not more than 15 minutes before the fire started he had been at the stable feeding some of his horses. One attempt was made to rescue some of them, but the intensity of the heat cutoff all approach except, perhaps, from the waterside. Approach from this quarter was next to useless, as was there was no scow or large flat-bottomed boats nearby.

“The building was owned by John Stewart and was valued at $16,000, upon which he had but a little more than $5,000 insurance. The loss to S. A. Stewart in stock and machinery will aggregate $18,000, while that to Mr. Hackett will fall little short of $5,000. The insurance was very light in either case.

“The structure was built about 14 years ago by Wentworth & Ward [sic]*, carriage manufacturers, the Stewart Brothers assuming control a little more than two years ago. During the decade or more of years that it has been in existence, it has been visited by fire as many as three times but this was the first that resulted seriously.

“At midnight the fire had spent its fury, but not until the telephone and telegraph service had been rendered useless. Fortunately the fire was confined to the carriage factory only, none of the neighboring structures having been at all harmed.”

(*Should be Winthrop A. Ward)

Stewart Brothers blamed some of their losses on Cambridge’s emergency services workers, the charges contained in the following article published in the August 2, 1888 Boston Globe:


“Hugh Stewart's Charges Not Sustained - Cambridge Fire Laddies and Their Action at the Late Blaze.

“Since Stewart's carriage factory was consumed by fire at Cambridge on the night of July 21, members of the firm have severely criticized the action of the fire department for not saving some of the property.  Hugh Stewart, who run the construction department, smarting under imaginary neglect, petitioned for an investigation, stating that not only the fire department was negligent, but even the police, in a measure, prevented well-meaning persons from saving some of his carriages.

“Last night a hearing was given before the board of engineers, Chief Casey presiding.

“Mr. Stewart said that when he got there, there was ample time to save the carriages in the storeroom before the fire had worked its way from Hackett's stable to the factory proper. To bear him out in his charges, he had several witnesses present, from the testimony of whom, it appeared that all that possibly could be done was accomplished by police and department.

“Samuel M. Thompson was the first witness who said: When the alarm rung I looked up towards the engine house, and was very much surprised to see a big blaze. Taking the horse car I went down, thinking that I might be able to do some good, knowing the interior so well.  I started toward the door and was met by some men taking out a safe. I took a stool and started round for the bay window to break it in. There was no fire in that part of the building at that time, and to me it seemed as though the whole place could be cleaned out quite readily, at least before the fire.

“Could Get Into the Showroom.

“An officer stooped me, and told me to touch nothing there without orders. I was forced back.

“Alexander Sprague testified that he arrived upon the ground very soon after the alarm was sounded. I went down purposely to try and save some of Hackett's horses, but after I got there I saw there was no use. I went round to Stewart's place and saw that not even a door had been opened. I feel satisfied in my own mind that had that front been broken down there was plenty of time to save all the carriages out of Stewart's storeroom. It was fully 15 or 20 minutes after I got there before the fire worked into the factory. There was lots of fire up stairs, but it had not worked round into the lower part.'

“Michael J. Shea, one of the earliest on the spot after the alarm was pulled in, said: I reached the place just about the time the hook and ladder did, and seeing Officer Hall standing in front of the building, I said 'Jimmy, why not get an axe and break down that show window?' He and I went over to the hook and ladder truck, but not being able to get one, concluded to give it up. The fire men were there all working upon a line of hose and none trying to save anything. It was one of those fires that required quickness and with prompt action the carriages could have been saved. I certainly feel that with a trained department there would not have been any trouble because the firemen would have known what to do. I do not think anything could have been saved 20 minutes after the fire started, possibly not outside of 15 minutes, but effective work could have been done inside of the first 10 minutes at least.

“Maurice Fitzgerald, the young man who rung in the alarm, made a statement to the effect that the officers, as far as he could see, did not attempt to drive anyone back until it was certain death to attempt to enter the building.

“It was even dangerous to go near the building. I was among the first to get at the fire, and am positive that nothing more could have been saved than was, on account of the smoke. It would take a number of men to tear down the show window, and even if it had been knocked out I do not think any carriages could have been taken out.

“James Hackett, the owner of the stables in which the fire is supposed to have started, stated: ‘When I got there the fire had not reached Stewart's part of the building at all. It is my candid belief that a good many things might have been taken out of the stable also.’

“Patrolman James P. Hall stated: I was at the corner of Broadway and Brewery street when the alarm came in. When I got to the fire I rushed to the stable and found the little door broken in. There didn't appear to be any noise in there, so I went round to Stewart's part of the building, and found parties taking out a coupe through the door. I go behind it and pushed it up to the crossing. I returned to the building and found that the gas had been lighted in the office. I do not think we were in there more than half a minute before we were forced out with smoke. Mr. Shea did speak to me about getting an axe, and I went with him to the hook and ladder truck and tried to get one. We were told that we would have to see the engineer, and he not being at that particular place, we returned to the front. I did not stop any one from saving what could be saved; in fact didn't stop making attempts myself until it was certain death to go near the structure. By orders of Sergeant Alexander I got to work putting the crowd back so as to give the firemen plenty of room. I didn't see any one that wanted to go into the building, in fact go near it, when we began to rope the street.

“Patrolman Michael A. Ginty said: When I got there the fire was burning pretty lively. I rushed to the office dour for the purpose of saving the Books and Papers of the firm. I tried the door, and finding it secure, attempted to kick it down. Mr. Cutting broke in through the window, and passed out the books and papers to me. After taking them to a safe place, I hastened back to the building again. I saw someone taking a coupe out, and made up my mind to try and run one myself. The smoke and heat was at that time so intense that I could not get in there. Sergeant Alexander came along then, and seeing that nothing could be saved, ordered us to drive the crowd back. I did not hinder anyone from saving anything that could be saved.

“Sergeant James Scott Alexander testified that when he reached the scene of the conflagration the fire was burning so fiercely it was impossible to do anything toward effecting the removal of any property from the building. After helping to save some books and papers, he ordered the street roped off so that the fire department might have plenty of room to work.

“’When I got there, which was very soon after the fire started,’ said the Sergeant, ‘I didn't see any one that was wanted to go inside. The lire had spread quite rapidly, and in a very few moments from the time the alarm was pulled in, it was not sate for anyone to go inside.’

“Arthur C. Day, a member of the fire department, said; ‘No man could live inside, the smoke was so dense and the heat so strong. Everything that was possible was done to save property.’ When the glass window, to which Mr. Stewart refers, was broken in, fire and smoke burst forth in a manner which threatened to destroy the life of any one who was foolhardy enough to attempt to go inside.

“Captain Hunter, also of the fire department, testified: ‘I reached the scene of the fire inside of three minutes after the alarm was sounded. I crowded in and attached a rope to the safe, by moans of which it was drawn out. I bad to hug the floor to get air, and after the safe had been gotten outside it was dangerous for anyone to attempt to enter again.’

“Chief Casey made a statement to the effect that nothing in the form of neglect occurred. The department worked with a will, and did everything that was possible under the circumstances.

“Mr. Stewart, however, found fault because the department saved his safe and allowed his carriages to burn. He reasoned that the department ought to know all about the interior construction of his building, and, believing this, blamed the department for not knowing just how to get through his rooms.

“The board of engineers found that the department, supported by the police, did all that, was possible under the circumstances. They were all exculpated from any culpable negligence. The board then adjourned.”

The main Cambridge factory was rebuilt at 224 Main St., and a temporary wareroom was established a couple blocks away at 244 Main St. The December 25, 1888 Boston Daily Globe announced the completion for the rebuilt facility:

“Messrs. Stewart Bros., the carriage builders, were surprised last evening by their employees and friends, who presented them with a large American flag and a streamer bearing the firm name and also a very handsome clock and gold-mounted inkstand for their new factory.”

A week before their workers went out on strike, an article appearing in the March 20, 1893 Boston Daily Globe, gave the impression that Stewart’s workers were ‘happy’:


“Cambridge Firm Restores a 10 Per Cent Cut in Wages

“Thirty-five carriage workers employed by the firm of Stewart Bros. & Co., Cambridgeport, are in a happy frame of mind over the restoration of a 10 percent cut down effected last fall. This restoration was brought about by a strike of the men yesterday, all of whom are members of the carriage and wagon makers Union of this city.

“It appears that when the cut down was ordered the men were directed by the union to accept the same and to bide their time until the conditions of the trade warranted action by their union. At the last meeting it was decided that the present would be a good time to make a move, as the treasury was in an excellent condition.

“Representatives of the executive board of the union were present at the shop yesterday, and the men were notified not to go to work until their demands were satisfied. Accordingly every man refused to go to work, and after waiting for two hours, the manager of the firm notified them that their demands would be conceded.”

A city-wide strike of carriage and wagon workers commenced 5 days later, on Saturday March, 25, 1893. It’s coverage in the Boston Daily Globe is important as it’s the only well-documented account of a major 19th century American carriage strike. It also reveals the relative sizes of Boston’s numerous carriage builders, which at that time was the nation’s second largest, dwarfed only by Amesbury’s. When all three Stewart Brothers operations are combined, they were clearly Boston’s largest builder, with an estimated 125 employees.

The Globe’s coverage quotes a number of the city’s largest builders, including the Stewarts, Chauncey Thomas, and Joseph Pray and the paper made it their main headline on the front page of their Monday, March 27, 1893 edition:


“Strike of Carriagemakers Began Promptly; Five Hundred Leave Their Work; Determined To Battle For Nine Hours; Gallishaw Men Return At Short Day; It Is Expected Other Victories Will Follow Soon; Cambridge and Malden are Also Affected; Davitt Expects Fight to Last a Week at Least

“Every carriage shop in the city and suburbs, with two exceptions, is deserted today by the workmen. The long-threatened strike for nine hours has begun, and the men claim first blood. The men established headquarters at 45 Eliot st., and here everything was animation and bustle in sharp contrast to the still and deserted shops

“All during the morning hours men were coming and going bringing reports from their shops and bringing back the decisions from their men.

“Various propositions were made by different employers, but in each and every case the rule adopted of no discrimination in favor of any manufacturer was faithfully lived up to by the committee.

“The first victory this morning was J. G. Gallishaw of Friend St., whose 12 men went to work on the nine-hour system. O. A. Judkins of Beach st. is expected to give the nine-hour day also.

“On account of Mr. French not having agreed to the details of beginning and ending work, and also being obliged to be away in New Haven, the 60 men in Fred F. French & Co. also came out, but they have no fear but what a settlement will be reached as soon as Mr. French gets home.

“It is much easier to give the names of those whose factories are working than it is to tell who are not.

“The New England Carriage Company on A St. were reported as having their men, 20 in number, at work behind locked doors.

“In A. M. Wood & Co.'s shops all the bodymakers are out, while the rest of the shop is working.

“The fine weather made the men happy this morning, and many expressed themselves as perfectly willing to take a week off if the same kind of weather continued.

“According to the report of the committee about 600 men are out, working in 90 shops in Boston and surrounding cities and towns. Among those whose men have left are Joseph Pray & Co., Chestnut st.; Danielson & Son, Charles St.; Stewart Brothers, Sudbury St.; Hall Carriage Company, Hawkins St., and Ferdinand French & Co., Sudbury st.

“At Chauncey Thomas Co.'s Works, the only men who have gone out are the blacksmiths, who number, according to different authorities, six or eight men. They, at least, do not lack any determination, if their statements to a CLOSE reporter this morning are any indication of their feelings.

“A picket of the former workmen of Thomas & Co. was on guard near the establishment this morning when the reporter was making his rounds, and they expressed the greatest confidence as to the outcome of the strike.

“‘We are going to win,’ they said.

“Mr. Pray was seen himself, and said:

“‘There are 36 or 40 of our men out, and they include the men in all of the departments. Our men were always used well and I do not know why they have gone out from us. I think it would have been better if the matter had not been sprung so quickly. Some agreement could have been come to.’

“In reply to further questions Mr. Pray said that he did not care to discuss what action he should take in regard to filling the places of the men on strike, but preferred to await developments.

“The members of the firm of Chauncey Thomas & Co. said: ‘Our men are all at work with the exception of the blacksmiths, who are only six in number. The rest of the men went to work as usual this morning, although their former fellow workmen were out on the corner trying to induce them not to go to work.

“Of course we expected that from the first. Outside of the blacksmiths' department we are going on as usual. There is the best of feeling, and everything is all right. We are having applications for the places left vacant by the men who left, and, as I told them before they left, if they did so, and that we found competent men, and hired them, of course we would hold them on no matter what the result may be.

“‘We made a change in the manner of running our blacksmiths' shop about a month ago, and I have no doubt that that had something to do with causing the men to leave. But there is the best feeling in this shop you ever saw.’

“One of the men who had left Mr. Thomas' employ said, ‘Thomas’ shop is one of the best shops in the city to fight, and we are going to fight it.’

“The men in the shop held a meeting a week ago last Wednesday and agreed to join the union Thursday night, but when we got to the union we only found six men there to be initiated. But we are still going to make a strong fight, and we have not the slightest doubt but it will be a winning fight."

“At the factory of Danielson & Son, Charles St., there are 30 men out, and only the yardman, a foreman and a boy remain at work in the shop. It is believed to be the opinion of the firm that the outcome of the strike will be a compromise between the men and their employers, by which the men will be conceded nine hours, but will only receive nine hours' pay.

“Stewart Brothers, on Sudbury st., have about 10 or 11 men at work out of 75. Friday evening, according to the statement of Mr. John Stewart, the men were all called together and asked if they had any grievance to complain of, and not one of them said he had any complaint to make.

“Mr. Stewart expressed the determination of the firm to employ men as fast as they could be found to take the places of the strikers.

“Mr. A. R. Nelson of the Hall Carriage Company, Hawkins St., said that 16 of the 20 men employed by the firm had not come to work this morning. In reply to a question Mr. Nelson said that he had heard a rumor to the effect that Mr. Pray was about to withdraw from the association.

“At Ferdinand F. French & Co.'s shop, it was learned that all the men employed by the firm, numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of 75, were out, and they appeared likely to stay out unless their demand should be complied with.

“There is a strong probability of one of the large Chestnut st. carriage manufacturers coming to terms with his men this afternoon. He sent for them and held a long consultation at noon, at which a number of propositions were made, but nothing decisive was done.

“Three small firms granted the nine-hour day up to 2 o'clock, but their names were not given out, as ‘the big manufacturers pounce on the little fellows and make them take it back, so President Jacobson said.

“The Medford men are so displeased because Manufacturer Symmes would not give the nine hours that they have decided to start a shop of their own, and already a piece of land to cost $6,000 has been secured. The men have already begun to go away.

“Now that the busy season is opening, carriage-makers are in demand. Many would not feel justified in exposing themselves to the reproaches of the boss who kept them at work during the winter by seeking other jobs, now that carriage workers are in demand.

“The strike has given a number who were seeking to better themselves a pretext to leave, and many are taking advantage of it. Two blacksmiths and helpers went to Amesbury this morning.

“The strike becomes more and more a surprise to the manufacturers when they see how complete was the sweep, and many of the men are predicting a speedy victory.

“Secretary Davitt of the committee said to a GLOBE reporter that he expected that the strike would last a week at least. The committee is receiving the advice and counsel of members of other labor organizations who have had experience in conducting strikes and they say it will not fail.

“The men are confident and happy and thoroughly believe they are going to win. They are as a rule a very intelligent class of men. Boston is said to lead the country in the superiority of workmanship in the carriage trade, and certainly the men looked it.

“Among the strikers were a number of men with gray whiskers and hair who in bearing and looks might easily be taken to be members of the firms for whom they work.

“One of the features of the morning session was a temperance speech by one of the members, who strongly urged his brothers not to drink any intoxicating liquor.

“The union will hold a meeting this evening at 724 Washington St., at which it is expected 'that full reports from all the shops will be brought m much more completely than yet presented.


“‘Condition of Things in Boston Shops Brought About This.’

“Both factories of the Stewart Brothers on Main St., Cambridgeport, were deserted Saturday night and are practically in that condition today. The number of men employed in each factory was about 30, or 60 in both.

“Mr. Hugh Stuart of Hugh Stuart & Co. was found calmly smoking his pipe when the reporter called. Said he, ‘The conditions of things, in Boston shops mainly, between the employer and the employees has brought about this strike. I have to suffer with the rest, although I have always paid my men well.

“‘I keep all employed the year round on full pay and I might say at a loss to myself. W here in Boston the men have been obliged to work four, five and possibly eight hours at a correspondingly reduced wages, mine work full time and of course get full wages.

“‘I cannot, therefore, do a nine-hour business. Why, this last winter I just cleared my expenses, so that I might keep all my men. They are all tried and trusted, and I might say have been with me 10 years.I pay from $15 to $25 per week, spring, summer, fall and winter, figures I cannot afford to continue at nine hours.

“‘When the men left Saturday night, they did so in the best of good feeling. They all expressed satisfaction with pay and work. Of course, they would like if they could to get the extra hour.’

“In the Stewart Brothers & Co., factory, just beyond, a similar condition of things was found to exist. John A. Stewart, the head of the firm, was absent, but from the men employed in the stable it was learned that the number out was 28, and that the two remaining ones left to finished up some work will join in the strike possibly this afternoon.

“Henderson Bros. men at North Cambridge are all at work and apparently will not quit for the present at least. The firm employs over 50 men. The 20 men employed by F. Ivers & Son, North Cambridge, were all at work this morning, However, the firm pays off this afternoon, and until then it is not known whether the men will go out on strike or not. The firm does not anticipate any trouble, and say that probably not more than one or two men will leave.

“The Nelson Carriage Company's men at Harvard sq., were all at work, and as yet the firm bad not been notified in anyway of an approaching strike. Mr. Nelson believes that his men will continue their work.

“The shops of Charles Waugh of Cambridgeport, one of the largest manufacturers in the city, are idle today, his men, 32 in all, having quit work Saturday night. Mr. Waugh said this morning; ‘Saturday afternoon, at the close of the day's work, my workmen held a meeting in the trimmers' shop and sent for me. I went up and talked with them for half an hour.

“‘I tried to reason with them and explain the stand they had taken. The men all appeared satisfied in general, they were satisfied with their wages, hours and treatment, but the union had called tor a strike and they had to go out. This morning only two men showed up.’

“Mr. Waugh said that he should put a new crew to work tomorrow. The manufacturers have agreed not to hire each other's men.


“Employes at Keene & Son's and at A. B. Palmer's Refused to Work.

“The big carriage-makers' strike for nine hours has affected but two concerns in Malden, W. B. Keene & Son give employment to 16 carriage-makers, who refused to go to work this morning, and the 10 men in A.B. Palmer's employ are also out.

“Mr. Keene hired five nonunion men this morning and he says he will replace all the old hands as soon as possible. P.A. Keidy's men went to work as usual this morning. He told the men that if the other firms consent to nine hours that he would not ask his men to do more.

“Fifty Idle Men in Brookline.

“This morning 40 men employed by W.N. Quinlan, the Brookline carriage manufacturer, went out on a strike, and 12 men employed by T.T. O'Brien of the same town, also quit. Mr. Quinlan, it is understood, will comply with the request of the men granting the nine hours a day it the other manufacturers do.”

The following day’s (March 28, 1893) Boston Daily Globe gave a slight advantage to the carriage and wagon makers union:


“Carriage Workers Gained a Point or Two.

“Strikers Quiet and Confident of Winning Strike; About 500 Men Said to Have Quit Work; No Hard Feeling Against The Employers;

“The strike of the carriage and wagon workers for nine hours yesterday was as complete as was anticipated by the men. It was a surprise to the manufacturers, as many admitted in interviews.

“They did not believe the published reports in the papers about the strength and determination of the men, but when their men, many of them old employees of 10 years' standing, refused to go to work yesterday morning, they were obliged to place faith in the reports.

“About 500 men quit work and reported to the union headquarters, 46 Eliot st., some 300 men are working nine hours without reduction of pay, and it is expected more will be today. The men are quiet and orderly, and are confident of winning.

“There is not a bit of feeling on the part of the men against their employers, but on the contrary it was nothing unusual to hear good words for the bosses they had worked for, and protests against their competitors being given any undue advantage in settlement.

“No discrimination was shown any the committee rejected several compromise offers, but the feeling of loyalty to the employers they had struck against was worthy of note.

“The event of the day was the statement by one of the manufacturers that Joseph F. Pray of Chestnut st., had notified the Carriage Manufacturers' Association that he intended to withdraw from the association and had sent for his men. This he thought be tokened the early dissolution of the association and feelings on the part of the manufacturers to each look after his own interests and let his competition take care of themselves.

“In fact, so sure was M. J. Quinlan of Brookline, who is a competitor of Mr. Pray, that he notified his men yesterday afternoon that he conceded the nine hours, and the men will return to work this morning.

“The firms who have conceded the nine hour day are Sargent & Ham Company, Peter A. McNnear, J. E. S. Adams, Boston Wagon Company, James O'Connor, Charles W. Gault, J. W. Gallishaw, William Bragg & Co., Joseph F. Pray, Quinsler & Co., Lally Brothers, Michael Dwyer and M. J. Quinlan.

“Two other firms have so far been reported to the union as having given the nine hours, Ferd F. French & Co. have granted the nine-hour principle in a letter from Mr. French to his men. On account of Mr. French not having agreed to the details of beginning and ending work, and also being obliged to be away in New Haven, the 70 men In their employ came out, but they have no fear but what a settlement will be reached as soon as Mr. French gets home.

“The union held a crowded and enthusiastic meeting in America Hall, and after initiating 30 new members, reports from the different shops were submitted by the different shop stewards.

“So far as the secretary had kept account of these reports, the firms whose men have struck are Russ & Co., 16 men out and 14 men in, with 4 coming out today; D. P. Nichols, 0 men out and 13 in; John T. Smith, all the men, 22 in number, out; A. B. Palmer of Malden, all men out but one blacksmith; Pillsbury Brothers, all out; Danielson & Sons, employees all cut: John A. Scott & Son of Roxbury, all out; two men in the Hall Carriage Company's factory; Nash's factory on Chester pk., all men out; Hugh Stewart of Cambridge, all men, 15 in number, out; Stewart Brothers & Co. of Cambridge, all out; Strangeman & Son of Malden are minus 21 of their employees; John A. Scott, men all out, 25 in number; John P. Smith's men all out; C. A. Waugh, secretary of the Carriage Manufacturers' Association, all out but two;J. P. & W. H. Emond and Andrew J. Jones, all out. All of Judkins' employees, 19 in number, have quit, and also those employed by P. McMurray; Donaldson & Co. had 16 men leave Saturday night, while none of David L. Linborn’s help quit work; every man employed by Teale & Hill, K. S. Symmes & Son, Nelson Carriage Company, North Cambridge, and at P. Healey's, East Boston, struck.The factories of Cameron, Vincent & McDonald, Keene, are shut down, all the employees having gone out. Chauncey Thomas & Co. have only six blacksmiths. Some of the men In Harrison's shop at South Boston, it is said, will go out today.”

As the strike wore on, it appeared that more than just a few of the owners were ceding to the Union’s demands. The March 29, 1893 issue of the Boston Daily Globe reported:


“Carriage Makers Gaining Ground in Their Strike. Three Manufacturers Conclude to Grant Demand for Nine Hours. Many Employers Claim That They Have Nearly a Full Force of Men at Work.

“The carriagemakers feel as though they were winning the strike for nine hours, slowly but surely. The net result for yesterday was three manufacturers who gave nine hours.

“The men employed by M. Quinlan of Brookline went to work yesterday forenoon on nine hours.

“One of the largest manufacturers in the city has agreed to have the men nine hours and his men start to work this morning.

“A GLOBE reporter stood behind one of the committee who was telling a man to be ready to go to work in the morning, and when he turned around and saw the reporter he was greatly surprised. He explained that he promised that he would not lot the newspapers know that the firm had conceded the nine hours, and asked the reporter in deference to the wishes of both the manufacturer and the union not to print the name of the firm, as it would injure both parties.

“The promise was cheerfully given, with the provision that as the settlement had been foreshadowed in yesterday evening's GLOBE the reporter should be at liberty to publish the name in this evening's GLOBE, which agreement was satisfactory.

“Another firm has sent for their men to go to work on nine hours, and this will be news even to the members of the committee of the union, who were not aware of the fact last evening. The firm is Cushion & Kenny of Pynchon St., who told a member of the union to tell his men to come back in the morning, and up to 11 o'clock last evening he had not seen the committee to apprise them of the fact.

“Another large manufacturer is expected to give in tomorrow, but the committee will not give out anything, as the manufacturers as soon as they learn that one is weakening immediately make it warm for him, at least so the committee says.

“Some of the manufacturers are claiming that the newspapers are not treating them fairly. As a matter of fact, when a reporter goes to the committee of the men he is treated courteously and given all the news, while it is often quite the reverse when the reporter calls on the manufacturer.

“Secretary Waugh of the Carriage Manufacturer's Association said yesterday:

“’None of the 42 manufacturers who signed our agreement has given in, and I feel confident that they will not. The firms that have done so are not numbered among the largest in the city.’

“Hiram Nash said; ‘Twelve of our men loft us, but we have 10 at work and all we want is two more.’

“Oliver D. Pillsbury of Pillsbury Brothers said; ‘All my men but one are out. I apprehend no difficulty, however, in securing a full complement of non-union men to run my shop.’

“D.P. Nichols said; ‘I have got all the man I want and am only minus two of my regular number of men. Although nine of my men went out, I can easily get along with the force I have at present.’

“Mr. Thomas of Chauncey Thomas & Co. said: ‘In my opinion every firm who conceded will suffer by it on account of some who will never concede, and I, for one, do not propose to give in, so the final wind-up will be 40 hours' working time. We have 10 men at work and they will stand firm.’

“Stewart Brothers of Cambridge hired a few men yesterday, but they did not show up after dinner. The shop was closed and no attempt will be made to run it until some settlement has been reached.

“Mr. Lucas of Kimball Brothers & Co., said; ‘The manufacturers feel that they have been treated altogether too hastily. The nine hour situation was sprung on us only a few weeks ago, and such negotiations as were attempted were compressed within a few days.

“‘The question of whether a nine hour day is advisable is a matter on which we might take issue with the men but we are always disposed to treat with the men a business question. We may have to concede a shorter day, but we still think that the matter should be submitted to a longer argument before a strike was resorted to.’

“President Scott of the association said; 'As a matter of fact there are but 10 firms of those who settled who can be legitimately be termed carriage manufacturers. We cannot compete as manufacturers with Amesbury and sooner than give in I will turn my factory into a carriage repository.’

“Members of the committee, when asked about the manufacturers hiring plenty of men, said: ‘it is all bluff. It isn't so, as we have our pickets out and know just how many men are working. Chauncey Thomas & Co. is the only large firm with any force working, and they may not be before the week is over. All this talk about our jumping the nine-hour motion on the manufacturers is rubbish. We asked them to confer with us on the matter after we told them what we wanted, and they declined to meet us on a technicality.

“‘When they found out we meant business and their factories were deserted they commenced to whine that we had not given them sufficient time.

“‘When they declined to meet or recognize us, the only thing left for us to do was to strike. If they want to talk business, let them instruct their committee to meet us in a business-like manner and settle this deplorable strike in a business-like way. They are only men like ourselves.’

“Another firm in South Boston employed 12 men late last night notified the men that they would give nine hours. One of the firms was a member of the old Carriage Makers' Union in 1865. The meeting of the men was addressed by Henry Abrahams, secretary of the Central Labor Union, during the afternoon, and George E. McNeill has promised to deliver an address this afternoon.”

The Union’s overwhelming victory was publicly announced in the April 3, 1893 Boston Daily Globe:


“Many Firms Resume Work on That Basis Today. Carriagemakers Well Satisfied with Results of the Strike Thus Far.

“Chauncey Thomas & Co. and Stewart Brothers &Co. have granted the nine-hour day to the carriagemakers. Mr. D.P. Nichols of Chauncey Thomas & Co. is the treasurer of the Carriage Manufacturers' Association, and his action is regarded as the death blow to the association.

“Mr. Nichols, in explaining his action, said;

“’I expect to open my factory Monday morning and take back all my old men. They will work nine hours and receive nine hours pay.’

“Mr. Nichols also said that he understood Stewart Brothers & Co. and Joseph F. Pray had made a similar settlement. Stewart Brothers & Co., have settled with their men, and the men go back to work this morning at nine hours. The strikers say, however, that they get the nine hours and 10 per cent, advance, which means the same pay they were getting under 10 hours.

“Whether or not Mr. Nichols’ ‘nine hours pay’ meant with an advance or without one he did not state. The committee of the union did not have the name of Chauncey Thomas & Co. among those who settled when they gave out the names of those whose men were to go to work this morning on the union's terms, and will not say that they consider that Chauncey Thomas & Co. have given in.

“The firm has been negotiating with its men for two days or more and it was current report yesterday that many of them would go to work this morning.Whether the men get an advance or not the mere fact that Mr. Nichols, the treasurer of the association that was pledged to fight nine hours, has conceded nine hours is considered a big victory.

“The committee of the union yesterday drew up a list of the firms that had conceded the union's demands, and it was found that 46 firms, employing 467 men, would resume work on the nine-hour basis this morning. Of these firms, seven were members of the manufacturers' association and signers of the agreement not to give nine hours.

“This involves Stewart Brothers, Danielson & Co. and several small firms whose names have not hitherto been given out. The members of the committee of the union were feeling very happy yesterday and expected a settlement for the trouble by Wednesday night.

“The success of the strike thus far has had a good effect. The men working in five or six small shops, who had not become members of the Union, have decided to strike this morning. About 120 members were taken into the union yesterday. The men, hold a meeting during the afternoon at Pressmen's Hall, 45 Eliot St., and were addressed by Frank K. Foster, editor of the Labor Leader, who aroused intense enthusiasm by his eloquent remarks.

“The men who go to work this morning will pay 10 per cent of their weekly wages into the fund of the union while the strike lasts. The Medford men expect that Teele & Hill and Symmes will settle soon. The men are anxious to have it stated that the strike is still on in Medford and Malden, and carriage workers are expected to keep away from those places until the strike is conceded.”

The Stewarts remained out of the spotlight, save for an occasional announcement of a sale of sleighs or carriages, such as the following classified ad found in the January 13, 1901 Boston Sunday Globe:

“SLEIGHES AND BOOBIES – One six-seat Rockaway, on traverse runners, can be used also with wheels; one very light octagon booby, can be used with either pole or shafts; one very stylish trap sleigh, on traverse runners; a variety of single and double sleighs, both new and second hand. STEWART BROS. & Co. 474 Main Street. Cambridge.”

During the early part of the 20th century, the portions of the Charles River that surrounded Stewart Bros. original Cambridge factory were filled-in to create the Charles River Basin, a Frederick Law Olmstead-designed park and recreation scheme. The construction of the Charles River Dam in 1908 provided the city of Cambridge with additional land on which to build new homes and businesses which culminated in the relocation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus from Boston to Cambridge. The reclamation project also resulted in the construction of the Charles River Esplanade and the poorly conceived Shoe and Leather Exposition Building.

The deaths of the two other Stewarts, Samuel A., and Hugh, went unnoticed, however John A. Stewart’s passing was announced in the August, 1915 issue of the Hub:

“John A. Stewart, 60, well known as a carriage manufacturer in Boston and Cambridge Mass. died July 13 in Cambridge. He had been ill since early spring when he left his quarters at the Revere House and went to a hospital for treatment. About six weeks ago he returned to his business for a short time but had to give up again. He had the principal interest in the carriage manufacturing firms of Stewart Brothers & Co., 448 Main street, Cambridge and Kimball Brothers Company, 112 Sudbury street, Boston. He had lived at the Revere House for seven or eight years.”

As a business, the Stewart Bros. survived, as indicated by the following classified ad that was included in the April 2, 1916 Boston Globe:

“BERLIN COACHES - TWO secondhand light Berlin coaches in good order will be sold at a sacrifice. STEWART BROS., 468 Main St., Cambridge.”

By this time, the firm’s Sudbury street operations were long abandoned, with the sizeable inventory of Kimball Bros. coaches, originally purchased in 1892, being transferred to their Cambridge facility. A final close-out of the inventory was announced in the June23, 1918 Boston Globe:

“CARRIAGES - Closing Out Sale of all the Kimball Bros. Co. stock of pleasure carriages; new and little used; all styles and no two alike; 125 to select from at your own price; they must be sold to settle up the estate; STEWART BROS. & Co, 458 Main St., near Kendall Square, Cambridge. Telephone 516 Cambridge.”

Shortly thereafter the firm split its automobile and carriage operations, with the former moving to a leased garage at 27 Tudor Street (owned by Albert C. Lynch) and the carriages to 365 Main St., Cambridge. The May 4, 1919 issue of the Boston Daily Globe containing two Stewart Bros. classifieds listing two different addresses:

“CARRIAGES: CLOSING OUT the Kimball Bros. Co. fine carriages; the stock including all styles, beach wagons, station wagons, wagonettes, 2-wheel carts, cut-under top phaetons, bankers gig; selling at great bargains. S. A. STEWART, 365 Main st., near Kendall square. Cambridge.”

“FOR SALE-Extension top carryall, leather top and curtains, first-class condition, trimmed in green cloth; been used private; a very rare carriage to find to these times. STEWART BROTHERS CO., 27 Tudor St., Cambridge; phone 516 Cambridge.”

Advertisements for the S.A. Stewart Co., cease at that time, but Stewart Bros. remained in business for the next two decades, relocated to 75 Hamilton St., Cambridge as reported by the June, 1927 issue of Iron Age:

“Stewart Brothers, 27 Tudor Street, Cambridge operating an automobile body and repair works, has construction under way on a new building at 75 Hamilton Street. It is scheduled for completion by June, when the present business will be removed to that location and additional equipment provided.

Since 1986 75 Hamilton Street has been the home of DeLeo’s Auto Body (on the left side) and the Good News Garage (on the right – which is the garage owned by radio personality Ray Magliozzi or the ‘Clack ‘ of Click & Clack). Numerous photos can be found of the building on the Facebook pages of devoted ‘Car Talk’ fans.

Although it’s certain the Stewart Brothers Company at 75 Hamilton, repaired and refinished automobile coachwork into the 1930s, no pictures are known to exist, and it’s unknown if they continued to construct automobile bodies. However, J. Frank Cutter, the successor to Hugh Stewart & Co. actively advertised his coachwork in the national trades and Boston newspapers.

A short biography of Hugh Stewart & Co. was included in Arthur Gilman’s ‘The Cambridge of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-Six’, published in 1896:


“In 1878 Mr. Stewart began the manufacture of carriages in Boston but business increased so rapidly that he was soon compelled to seek larger quarters. He removed his plant to Cambridgeport, and in 1891 erected the factory now occupied by the firm on Main Street at the junction of Harvard and Sixth streets. The same year he admitted as partner his former bookkeeper, J.F. Cutter. The firm does an extensive business in the manufacture of carriages and have a large repair shop connected with the factory.”

An January 1893 State of Massachusetts publication recorded the construction of the first factory attributed directly to Hugh Stewart:

“CAMBRIDGE - In May 1892, work begun on carriage factory for Hugh Stewart; wood, 75 x 75 feet, two stories.”

He’ also listed separately from Stewart Bros. in the 1895 Cambridge Blue Book, pub 1894 by Edward A. Jones.:

“Hugh Stewart & Co., 224 Main St., Cambridge, Mass. Under carriage mfrs.

“Stewart Bros. & Co., 244 Main St., Cambridge, Mass. Under carriage mfrs.”

Hugh Stewart was born in February 1841 in Ireland, married to Elizabeth Stewart (born Aug. 1839 in Ireland), Hugh Stewart emigrated in 1855 (one source says 1865). Children; Mary J. (b. April 1870 in Burlington, Middlesex, Mass.) Samuel G. (b. 1872 in Burlington-d. July 28, 1883 of diphtheria), and Rachel A. (b. 1879 in Burlington – d. July 21, 1883 of diphtheria) Stewart. They lived a 171 Magazine St., Cambridge., Mass. The 1900 US Census lists him in error as Hugh Stuart, all information identical.

A November 7, 1899 Boston Globe account of a fire refers to his factory as a separate entity, although it mentions inventory owned by S.A. Stewart & Co.:

“Two Alarms At Once

“Fire In Cambridge Carriage Factory Causes $10,000 Damage.

“Hugh Stewart's carriage factory on Main street, Cambridge, was severely damaged by fire early last evening. The fire made its appearance in a room on the top floor, leased to one Smythe, a manufacturer of piano stools, and in a very short space of time worked through the carriage factory proper.

“The storeroom was among the first of the apartments to fall a prey to the rapidly spreading flames. This room was filled with summer carriages, the property of S.A. Stewart, many of which were destroyed. Several sleighs also were badly damaged.

“The fire spread with such alarming rapidity that it was deemed prudent to ring in two alarms from box 17.

“Mr. Stewart’s loss on stock is estimated at $8,000 and on the building $1,000. Mr. Smythe’s loss on tools and stock is considered heavy. Jacques Brothers, pattern makers, also will be among the heavy losers, principally on account of the water. The losses are all amply covered by insurance.

“When the alarm was given from box 17 it was mixed up as to be understood by the fire department to be box 76. The latter box is located at the opposite end of the city and fully two miles or more from the actual scene of the fire. As a consequence, hook and ladder truck No. 1 and engine No. 1 flew for box 76, and consequently away from the carriage factory.

“It was not, however, the fault of the department, but that of someone who attempted to pull in two alarms at the same time.”

By 1907 Hugh Stewart & Co. had entered the automobile supply business, the April 1, 1907 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal reporting:

“The fifth annual automobile and Boat Show held March 5- 16 at Mechanics Building and Horticultural Hall Boston was considered the largest show of its kind... Among dealers and makers of tops and top supplies many new ones exhibited. One of the most prominent in this line was the Hume Carriage Co. of Amesbury, Mass., who showed its top and top supplies for the first time at any show. Hugh Stewart of Boston is also a newcomer in the show game. A prominent exhibit in the line of trunks robe racks and baggage racks was that of John A. Mason, Boston.”

The 1908 Motor Cyclopedia listed the firm under Automobile Bodies:

“CAMBRIDGEPORT, Mass.; Parts and Accessories Manufacturers, Hugh Stewart & Co., 414 Main St. Wood and metallic bodies, auto tops.”

By this time Hugh Stewart was 70 years old, and control of the firm was assumed by his partner, J. Frank Cutter.

J. Frank Cutter, b. 1869 in Lawrence, Essex County, Mass. to James M. (b.1834) and​ Winnifred (b. 1836 in Ireland) Cutter. James M. Cutter kept a boarding house in Lawrence. They also had another son, George W. Cutter (b. 1868).

Residence: 1920 - Cambridge Ward 10, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Wife – Francis B. Cutter (b. 1870 in Mass.) His wife was dead by the time of the 1930 US Census. (Aka James Frank Cutter, wife should be Frances B. Cutter.)

By 1908 Cutter was advertising under his own name. The March 11, 1908 issue Horseless Age reported on Cutter’s display at the 1908 Boston Automobile Show:

“J. Frank Cutter shows a line of automobile and motor boat tops, canopies and curtains, the majority of cars being supplied with special tops for each model upon the market. Leather, khaki and Pantasote are used in these tops etc.”

The 1910 Cambridge directory lists J. Frank Cutter at 152 Main St., Cambridge, Mass. The city’s streets were renumbered at the turn of the century, and maps revel it was the same factory erected by Hugh Stewart in 1893. An article in the July, 1911 issue of Carriage Monthly mentions that Cutter had taken on a partner:

“The old carriage factory of Hugh Stewart & Co. Cambridge Mass has taken on a new lease of life as Frank Cutter finding he had so much horse vehicle work on hand has joined forces with R.A. Martin who recently returned from California and who was at one time head of the trimming department for Hugh Stewart & Co. The two have established the firm of R.A. Martin & Co. and have taken over the Stewart plant. They are designers and builders of high grade carriages and also do automobile work including painting and upholstering. Mr. Cutter will give most of his time and attention to the automobile end of the business which is run as a separate department.”

By that time J. Frank Cutter had relocated the firm’s automobile business into the brand-new Cambridge Shoe and Leather Exposition Building, which was also the home of the Velie Motor Vehicle Co.’s Boston factory branch. Velie’s address was 16 Amherst St., Cutters, 30 Amherst St. The structure was erected by Boston financier Fred D. Fisk to house the annual National Shoe and Leather Exposition and Style Show.

Samuel Atkins Eliot's 'A History of Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1630-1913' describes the building as follows:

“One of the notable modern buildings of Cambridge is the Shoe and Leather Exposition Building which lends picturesqueness to the Cambridge bank of the Charles River. It is a source of self-congratulation to all progressive citizens that this structure has been allowed to remain one of the permanent landmarks of the city. This building is now the home of the J. Frank Cutter automobile industry. For about twenty five years Mr. Cutter has been identified with the carriage and automobile business first with Hugh Stewart & Company. This firm now is J. Frank Cutter, having been so the past five years. The firm has been located in the Shoe and Leather Exposition building since the first of February, 1911. The firm is one of the most extensive builders of Limousines and Landaulet bodies, automobile tops and slip covers, and also paints and upholsters cars.”

No mention of R.A. Martin & Co. followed, although Cutter remained active, exhibiting at the 1911-1916 Boston Automobile Shows. The firm remained noticeably absent from the national trades save for the following article, which was published in the October 10, 1915 issue of the Automobile Journal:


“ADAPTATION of motor vehicle body design to meet specific requirements and yet preserve the essential characteristics of approved types without approaching freakishness is both an art and a science. One may create what is novel enough at the expense of convention but to develop what will have every desired convenience and utility within the very limited passenger space of a normally proportioned car and yet preserve its internal and external appearance is an undertaking that more often results in failure than a practical accomplishment.

“A development of more than ordinary interest is a body that has for the purposes of description been given the name of a convertible touring sedan which has been installed on a White 45 horsepower four cylinder chassis, and was built by J. Frank Cutter, a well-known coach body designer of Cambridge, Mass. to meet the ideas of Capt. Ferdinand de Jony of Bellingham, Mass. who is now en route across the continent in it.

“Capt. de Jony is a retired Austrian army officer and Mrs. de Jony is a native of California. Both are enthusiastic motorists and they decided to drive across the continent in the autumn to visit the Panama Pacific Exposition at San Francisco and then pass the winter in California. Because they desired to have such protection that they could drive in practically any weather and in the event of need be independent of hotels or the hospitality of citizens, Capt. de Jony conceived a body that would be fully enclosed and which would afford them comfortable habitation so long as they were on the road.

“The ideas were developed by Mr. Cutter and the finished body conforms to conventional design but it may be either a touring car or fully enclosed, and the interior is so built that it may at night be converted into a sleeping compartment that insures extreme comfort.

The body is shown in the accompanying illustrations with the folding top raised and lowered and with the seats arranged for sleeping. The top is rather low and the sides of the body are somewhat higher than usual. The bonnet of the top extends forward over the permanent windshield. The four windows on either side drop into pockets in the doors, and in the body sides, while the metal frames for the windows fold, and are concealed by leather flaps that button flat. The windows are also fitted with metal screens for protection against insects and intrusion and they are fully curtained.

“The front seat is divided; that used for driving being adjustable to afford change and freedom of position and the seats are built so that the backs may be lowered and the seat cushions adjusted, much the same as those of a Pullman sleeping car, so they form a bed ample for two. There is a folding table for use in the space between the seats and two folding removable chairs for use at the table for four persons can be seated at a meal.

“The closed body is equipped with a ventilator in the cowl of the dash and it is heated from the exhaust. The doors may be locked from within or without. There is abundant storage space for clothing, food and supplies, and tools, and at the rear is a very large luggage carrier. The body itself is splendidly finished in gray and black and is luxuriantly upholstered. The chassis is equipped with the White company's non-stalling engine, starting device and a complete electric lighting system for the lamps.”

A single mention followed in a 1926 issue of Bus Transportation, stating that Cutter had constructed a sightseeing body, on a 1926 Pierce-Arrow Model Z chassis.

The April 3, 1931 issue of the MIT Tech mentions him, it gives no clue as to whether Cutter was still in business at that time, but mentions the building was about to be demolished:

“When the Leather Men Guessed Wrong

“Everybody has seen the series of advertisements which appeared in all the magazines last year, pointing out the ‘famous wrong guesses in history.’ Another ‘wrong guess’ is located right next to the Institute. The old, dilapidated building next to the old dorms which now houses a number of garages and over which hangs a large sign ‘J. Frank Cutter’ was built over twenty years ago to house an exposition of the shoe and leather industry.

“Usually such expositions were held in the old Mechanics Building in Boston, but the shoe and leather industry decided to build a super-exposition place tor their exposition and then rent it to other organizations who were planning similar affairs.

“But after the Leather Exposition no one else seemed interested in the building and it gradually deteriorated to its present condition. At one time a huge dome stood over its center but that was removed a few years ago because of danger that it might fall.

“The few tenants in the building now have been advised that they must soon vacate and it is expected that the building will be torn down in a year or so.”

© 2012 Mark Theobald -







Arthur Gilman - The Cambridge of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-Six, pub. 1896

Samuel Atkins Eliot - A History of Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1630-1913, pub. 1913

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