Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A bit of a trip

In 1853 travel was not simply tossing lunch into the carriage and heading out. You made plans. A trip to New York was a good distance and many days travel away.

With that said I am rather impressed with the efforts of one local business man to sell his wares to a larger audience. At the 1853 Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York was a rather famous name. Otis. A manufacturer of elevators. Elisha Otis demonstrated an elevator equipped with a device called a safety brake.

In the book "Official Catalogue of the New-York Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations. 1853", it has listed a local connection.

90 Specimens of fans and fly brushes of peacock feathers - George A Blair, Manu. Smyrna Tennessee.

I'm impressed. This was the large trade show for all of America. They had major industry, and in the 'Extreme North Gallery', they had someone showing the wares manufactured in Smyrna Tennessee. You would not want customers unless you could  produce for the customers, especially at such a large exhibit. The odd thing is that I have never heard of anything like this in Smyrna history. 

To give you an idea how small the population was in the 1850's. This is for the whole of Rutherford County.

1850 29,122 
1860 27,918

Smyrna actually grew in the same time period

1950 1,544 
1960 3,612

Right now I'm not even sure there are any Peacocks being raised in Smyrna at all.

As for George A Blair. Checking out some online census records shows that there were some Blair's in Rutherford County, some black and some white. There is really nothing else out there connecting Smyrna and peacocks at all, just this one small bit in a catalog for this fair.

Just a little tidbit of history about Smyrna. 

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