Paterson, NJ Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works Fire, Feb 1879


Destruction Conflagration in Paterson, N. J.

PATERSON, N. J., Feb. 13.----A fire broke out about seven o'clock to-night in the millwright shop, a building forming a portion of the Rogers Locomotive Works. The building was four stories, brick, about 175 by 140 feet, with two wings, and was filled in the first and second stories with costly machinery for locomotive building, which cannot be replaced for less than $125,000.

The third story was used as a wheelwright shop. The fourth was for the storage of costly patterns and models of locomotives now in use in all parts of the world. These were invaluable for the duplication of certain parts, and the loss is estimated at $45,000. The building cost $60,000. Total loss, $240,000.

The insurance is as follows: On building, $2500 each in the Safeguard, Empire City, Commercial and Royal; on machinery, $2500 each in the Home, Queens, North British and Phoenix; on stock, $5000 in all; $3500 in the Liverpool, London and Globe and $1500 in the Etna; total insurance, $25,000. The fire spread to the flax mill of Barbour Brothers which, together with the dye house was totally consumed together with $10,000 worth or yarn stored in the former.

The machinery had been removed to the new Barbour mill a few days ago, Estimated loss on the Barbour mill and contents $35,000; insured fully in New York and Brooklyn companies. Many houses were on fire during the conflagration, but no serious damage resulted. At least a hundred families moved their furniture on the street, expecting their homes to be swept away.

About one hundred hands are thrown out at the Rogers works, and thirty dye house hands at the Barbour mill. At half-past ten the fire was under control, and the Dolphin flax mill, adjoining the Barbour mill, was saved, though in imminent danger.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 14 Feb 1879


The only great fire which has occurred at the Rogers Works was that of February 13th, 1879, at which time the immense millwright shop, with its almost invaluable contents, patterns, tools, machinery, etc., were destroyed, entailing a loss above the comparatively slight insurance of fully $100,000. The burned portion of the works has since been entirely rebuilt and large additions made thereto. Several years prior to the date of this great fire there was a considerable fire in the foundry belonging to the works, but with these exceptions this establishment has enjoyed a remarkable immunity from disaster of this nature.

A History of Industrial Paterson: Being a Compendium of the Establishment, Growth and Present Status in Paterson, N. J. of the Silk, Cotton, Flax, Locomotive, Iron and Miscellaneous Industries..., 1882, page 123