A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

History: William Fountain, Hardware Merchant in Matawan (1904)

It has not been that long since people in Matawan used gaslight to illuminate their homes. This ad for Block Light brand gaslights distributed locally by W A Fountain appeared on page 5 of the 3 November 1904 edition of The Matawan Journal.

W A Fountain is likely identical with William Fountain, a hardware merchant enumerated in Matawan Township in the 1900 Federal Census. Mr Fountain was born in Apr 1839 in New Jersey. His wife of 30 years was named Annie S Fountain, born Aug 1849 in New York. She had had 3 children but only 2 were still living. Their son Albert F Fountain, born May 1874, was living with them, as was their daughter Emma Close, born Feb 1877, and her husband of 1 year William A Close. At age 47, William was over twice Emma's age (47 v 23). William was a merchant (Crab & Feed). A servant, Anna Vandeveer, also lived with them. Her occupation was listed as nurse.

The History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio, Vol 2, by Joseph Green Butler, pg 54, says that the Block Light Company was based in New York until 1908, when it moved to Youngstown to be more centrally located in the nation. The firm became the Block Gas Mantle Company in 1915. The book discusses the company in context of its biography of Otto Kauffman. The Gas Light Journal, vol 89 (1908), mentions Block Light's recent purchase of Cremo Mantle in Youngstown. A 40-page book titled The Block Light Company was published in 1910.


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