Canal Expansion Represents Greatest Engineering Feat

Volume 1, Issue 36

On July 4, 1817, New York State embarked on a crusade to complete the greatest feat in the history of modern engineering; a 363 mile ditch from Albany to Buffalo aimed at connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes. Eight years later this expansive project was completed and welcomed a vast number of packet boats and mule teams to its tow path. Improvements focused on repairing leaks and widening the canal began almost immediately in order to accommodate the flood of shipping traffic.

It was in 1903 that New York State authorized the redevelopment and massive expansion project that would turn the Erie Canal into the “Barge Canal.” Starting in 1905, this massive undertaking required thirteen years to complete and cost New York taxpayers nearly $100,000,000. The 82 locks located along the miles of canal prism covering 565 feet worth of elevation shifts represented an outstanding accomplishment for State engineers, but the expansive projects undertaken as part of Contract Number 65 in the western section of Orleans County was one that could easily rival any prior achievements.… More

Medina Once Home to Clock Works

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 35

Taken in early 1912, this image shows the construction of the new Monitor Clock Works factory in Medina. At that time the business was located on Rock Avenue, which was later renamed to Glenwood Avenue. The company began advertising their plans to construct this new 30,000 square foot facility in early December of 1911.

The history of the Monitor Clock Works dates back to Daniel Azro Ashley Buck, a native of Vermont who spent time as a jeweler and watchmaker in Massachusetts, then in Connecticut. It was in this area that he patented the long spring Waterbury Watch in the 1880s. Buck became well known for manufacturing small, mechanical items and received numerous patents during the 1880s and 1890s.

Buck received patents for watch parts, portable clocks, musical toys, kaleidoscopes, coin operating vending machines, and even an 1887 camera. It was the completion of the world’s smallest steam engine that earned him greater notoriety; a 150 piece engine that was built atop a gold coin.… More

Orleans County Pilot was Favored Wingman of WWII Fighter Ace

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 34

This image, courtesy of the American Air Museum in Britain, shows Capt. Eugene E. Barnum of Gaines discussing the actions of his latest mission at Halesworth Airfield in Suffolk, England. The exact date of the image is unknown, but was passed for publication on November 26, 1943. Standing left to right is Lt. Col. Francis “Gabby” Gabreski, Lt. Eugene Barnum, and Lt. Frank Klibbe. Gabreski was shot down over Germany on July 20, 1944 and spent five days imprisoned in Stalag Luft I near Barth, Germany. Klibbe died on January 27, 1944 during a flight test when the engine of his P-47D failed.

Barnum, a native of Gaines, was placed with the 61st Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group stationed in Britain. While flying with the 56th Fighter Group, Barnum became the preferred wingman of “Gabby” Gabreski until December 2, 1944.… More

Medina Man Patents “Novel” Farm Gate

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 33

Clarendon can stake her claim to Joseph Glidden, a one-time resident of the town who is credited with perfecting barbed wire – made quite a bit of money from it, too! Medina can stake her claim to Orrin J. Wyman, a man who set out to build a better farm gate.

Pictured on the far right is Orrin Wyman standing alongside his patented “O.K. Farm Gate.” Filing the patent on July 17, 1911, the patent was provided nearly five months later on December 12, 1911. This patent states that Wyman’s “novel” farm gate was newly designed and was “…braced…to prevent sagging of the outer or free end of the gate.”

This was not Wyman’s first patent, nor his first attempt to redesign the all-important device essential for farms throughout Orleans County and the United States. Orrin received his first patent on February 20, 1906 when he and several other men perfected a “Barrel-heading Press;” yet another important implement for our region.… More