Paterson, NJ Danforth Locomotive and Machine Works Fire, Mar 1880


PATERSON, N. J., March 4.---A fire broke out in the oil room of the Danforth locomotive and machine shops, in this city, this morning, about 8 o'clock, the origin of which is unknown, and the locomotive buildings burned consisted of a blacksmith shop for heavy work; the locomotive erection shop, two stories high, in which were two completed locomotives, several nearly completed, and a number in various processes of construction; and the locomotive-building shop proper, a large structure, four stories high, in which the various parts of the machinery were made. All the above were of brick and stone, and very sub sequentially built. The tools and machinery were of the best description and very costly. The buildings devoted to machinery for the manufacture of silk and other purposes, and a new three-story brick structure for finishing locomotives, were saved. The loss is estimated at from $170,000 to $200,000. Three hundred to three hundred and fifty men are thrown out of employment.

The Sun, Baltimore, MD 8 Mar 1880


The machine shop of the Danforth Locomotive Works, at Paterson, was destroyed by fire soon after five o'clock on Saturday morning, with five locomotives in course of erection, and a lot of valuable machinery. Incendiarism is suspected, a fire alarm box having been tampered with. The loss is estimated at $150,000. About 300 of the 800 employes[ineligible] of the works will be temporarily thrown out of employment.

Daily State Gazette, Trenton, NJ 10 Mar 1880


The Danforth Works enjoyed a remarkable immunity from disastrous fires-- the only fire of consequence being that which burned the attic off the cotton mill in, 1844---until March 6th, 1880, when a fire occurred that destroyed the locomotive erecting shop, the blacksmith shop and the shop where the driving wheels of locomotives were made. The loss aggregated $100,000, the insurance $70,000. The burned buildings were soon rebuilt, so that all departments were in full operation again in an incredibly short space---which was largely owing to the tireless diligence and remarkable energy of Superintendent James Cooke, a brother of President John Cooke, whose health unfortunately was quite broken down under the great strain he subjected it to, so that he has been more or less of an invalid from that date. Not only were the burned buildings replaced, but large additions were made, so that the establishment was soon in better condition that before the fire.

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, pages 142-143