Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Egbert Egberts

This low, mossy marble gravestone on the Middle Ridge bears a rather Dickensian name; Egbert Egberts. 

An Albany shopkeeper, Egberts is credited with establishing the textile mills that the nearby city of Cohoes would be well known for.  Working with a machinist named Thomas Bailey, Egberts invented a powered knitting machine - the first of its kind - that allowed them to establish mills in Cohoes where the massive waterfall and the Mohawk River would provide the steampower which allowed the industry to flourish for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was a founder of the Cohoes High School, served as president of the Bank of Cohoes, and a street in the city still bears his name.

Born in 1791, Egberts died in 1869.  Less than twenty years after his death, the still-growing mill industry in Cohoes reportedly accounted for a quarter of knitted good produced in the United States.

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