Culture on the Cheap
The Glue Wars
As mentioned in this post, I have been researching Peter Cooper’s glue factory. This establishment was one of a number of businesses located in Bushwick Green that rendered animal “by-products”. Soap factories, gelatin makers and fertilizer companies were, in fact, commonplace. The result was a rather noxious odor that hung over the area much to the irritation of the local population. In 1891 they started to fight back…
with a little help from their friends in Greenpoint.
An extensive legal campaign ensued. A retinue of experts were brought in, 150 in number, to testify that Peter Cooper’s glue factory posed no nuisance (it created jobs they argued, among other things) and the Health Department had no right to interfere with its operation. On the side of Peter Cooper was Abram Hewitt, former mayor of New York City —he also happened to be Peter Cooper’s son in law and as such had a financial stake in this establishment— and one Professor Joseph A. Raymond. Here is the latter’s take on matters as documented in the March 16, 1892 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
In the end Judge Van Wyck barred the Health Department from interfering with the operation of Mr. Cooper’s glue factory. But this didn’t mean the issue was closed: a three year legal battle followed. The conclusion of the “Glue Wars” as they were then called will be forthcoming later today on New York Shitty. Stay tuned!