Gilbert Hubbard & Co.
Life Span: ~1840-1871
Location: SE Corner Wells and South Water Streets
Chicago Tribune, November 18, 1861
The present war, while it has stimulated the industrial resources of the country in every direction, has also served to develop in our own midst, the resources of an establishment always prominent, and now second to few establishments of the kind in the United States. We refer to Gilbert, Hubbard & Co., long known in the west as ship chandlers and dealers in twines and cordage,
Since the outbreak of the war, this firm have enlarged their establishment and directed their attention to the manufacture of tents, flags, regimental colors, and other concomitants of the camp. Their immense ware house at the corner of Wells and North Water Streets, is a vast hive, buzzing with the hum of industry. The lower floor is used as a salesroom. The second for the manufacture of flags and tents. In the third, a large force of men is employed In the manufacture of sails and other vessel appurtenances. In the fourth, a hundred sewing machines driven by steam and presided over by as many girls, fill the room with deafening clatter. The fourth story and the basement are need for storage purposes. In these rooms are stored away tents and campequipage of the most approved description, sufficient to supply the army de mand for some time to come. This firm also manufactare the celebrated sibley tents for all the Western States, and are, sole agents for Ohio and Michigan. In the making of regimental flags and colors they stand unsurpassed, and are daily turning out most exquisite specimens in all.
The excellence of their work is attested by the daily receipts of orders from every part of the West. Government is fast learning the fact that it is poor economy to ship articles of camp equipage from the East to the West, when they can be manufactured at such low rates in Chicago, and in proof of this is the constantly increasing list of orders upon this firm to supply the various western regiments with tents, flags, and other camp equipage.
Their advertisement in another column details the specialties of their business, and to this we invite the attention of all interested.
History of Chicago; Commercial and Manufacturing Interests and Industry, Isaac Guyer, 1862
SAIL LOFTS, ROPE, CORDAGE AND TWINE,
Few great cities present such commercial attractions as Chicago, and few commercial houses represent so great and important an interest as the one of which this article will illustrate. Chicago is the commercial centre of the Northwest, with a population, today, of more than nine million of souls, which has sprung into existence, and developed the proportions for an empire, since the War of 1812, situated at the head of a vast chain of inland seas, upon which floats a marine of more than fifteen hundred vessels, with an aggregate of nearly four hundred thousand tonnage, employing more than eighteen thousand men. At the present time there are sixty-five more vessels on the stocks in the process of building, many of these at the different ports on the shores of Lake Michigan, and most of them, as is the case with most of the ship building on this lake, are supplied with their tackling by the leading commercial houses in this city. The principal and leading one is that of Messrs. Gilbert Hubbard & Co., who occupy that massive iron structure of architectural grandeur, which will defy the desolation of time and the spoil of ages, located on the corner of South Water and Wells Streets. If the reputation they have already attained, for sagacious, careful and honorable merchants, shall continue as unsullied by the hand of time, as the iron building they occupy, long will they be proudly numbered with merchant princes. The importance of a great house of this character located in Chicago, and the extent of their trade is significant of the rapidly developing marine interest of our inland seas.
This house have the largest and best selected stock of all the various articles in their line, of any establishment in the North- West, which they furnish the trade at prices comparing favorably with New York or Boston houses.
Among other articles may be found, Twines, Cordage, Manilla and Tarred Rope, Sail, Duck, Bags, Bagging and Burlaps, Wool, Seine and Gill Net Twines, Nets and Seines, Oakum, Tar, Pitch, Paints, Oils, Chains, Anchors, Tackle Blocks, etc., etc. Coal-Tar, Roofing-Pitch and Felting, Awnings, Banners, Flags and Ensigns, always on hand, and made to order.
Their long experience makes them masters of the business in all its minute details, as most of the sailing masters of the upper lakes can attest; their large capital enables them to produce the best articles at the lowest price.
The term Cordage usually comprehends all the various sizes of rope, cords, twines, lines, etc. The materials of which they are manufactured are Manilla, Russian, Italian and American hemp; and for fishing cords, and twines, cotton, flax, and the best qualities of Linen thread. Manilla hemp is the fibrous inner bark of a species of plantain, growing in the Phillipine Islands, whence it is imported into this country. The American used, is grown chiefly in Missouri and Kentucky. A considerable amount of Russian hemp is also used, and Jute is now employed to a considerable extent, in the manufacture of cords, bagging, etc. This firm represents every article of cordage, from the finest fishing line to the largest cable used, and every conceivable article used in the rigging of a vessel. During the last few months they have been giving employment to one hundred hands, in manufacturing Tents, Camp Bedsteads, Flags, Banners, and other camp and naval articles, for the armies of the West, and inland navy. Many of the articles in their line are manufactured in the eastern states.
History of Chicago, A. T. Andreas, 1884
GEORGE B. CARPENTER & CO., at the corner of South Water Street and Fifth Avenue, are manufacturers and wholesale dealers in sundries for mill, railway and vessel use, of marine hardware, wire, rope, blocks, twines and cordage, and are also ship-chandlers and sail-makers. The business of this house was established by George A. Robb, in 1840, only three years after the incorporation of Chicago as a city. In 1845, Mr. Payson was admitted to the firm and the name was changed to Payson & Robb. Mr. Payson retired in 1850, and Gilbert Hubbard entered the firm, the style of which was then made Hubbard & Robb. After the death of Mr. Robb, in 1857, George B. Carpenter became a partner in the firm, and the name became Gilbert Hubbard & Co. This style was continued during twenty-four years, until Mr. Hubbard’s death, in 1881, and in the course of those years the house advanced to its present position in the trade, and the name became a familiar one throughout the West. On January 1, 1882, the business passed into the hands of the present firm, who had been Mr. Hubbard’s associates for a quarter of a century, and George B. Carpenter & Co. have since cared for the trade, upon the same principles that characterized the old establishment. From 1859, until the great fire of 1871, the concern occupied the large iron-front building at Nos. 205-207 South Water Street, immediately opposite their present location. It was burned to the ground the night of October 9 of that memorable year, but before the ruins were yet cold, a tent was erected and Gilbert Hubbard & Co. resumed business. The tent answered the purpose a few days, until more commodious quarters were fitted-up from the ruins of an old grain-house at Nos. 14-16 Market Street, which were occupied in November following the fire. In April, 1872, the business was removed to a capacious three-story building, one of the largest and best erected after the fire, located at Nos. 226-32 South Water Street. In 1874, the erection of the present building was begun, and a year later was -completed and occupied. It is situated on the northeast corner of South Water Street and Fifth Avenue, and is five stories in height and one of the best business structures on the street. The upper story is used as a general storage room. The sail loft is on the fourth floor and is one of the best and largest apartments of the kind in the country. The fourth floor is devoted principally to manufacturing purposes, and presents at all times a busy scene, a large number of skilled mechanics being employed ; on the second story is stored a large variety of the lighter class of goods. The offices and general sales-rooms are on the first floor. In the cellar, a light, airy and perfectly dry apartment, are stored quantities of heavy goods.
George B. Carpenter came to Chicago with his father in 1850, and received his education in the “St. Mary’s of the Lake” Academy, destroyed by the fire. His father, Benjamin C. Carpenter, was prominently connected with the public affairs of the city, both political and commercial. He was the first president of the Board of Public” Works, and was a member of the old firm of Marsh & Carpenter, who were among the early packers in the city. His death occurred in 1881. Mr. Carpenter entered the present firm in his twenty-third year. Of life he has made a success, and is justly honored and respected by the thousands who have formed his acquaintance during his extensive business career.
Gilbert Hubbard & Co
Gilbert Hubbard & Co
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
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