Biography of Cluett, Coons & Co.
Rensselaer County, NY Biographies





Cluett, Coon & Co. - This firm owns and carries on what is probably the largest shirt, collar and cuff manufactory in the world, and its practical founder may be considered in the person of George B. Cluett, who was born in Wolverhampton, England, November 21, 1838, and who arrived in America and settled in Troy with his parents, William and Ann Cluett, on July 19, 1850. Receiving a liberal education he became, when sixteen (1854), a clerk for Joseph Maullin and E. D. Blanchard, collar manufacturers under the firm name of Maullin & Blanchard, who had established themselves in business in 1851, and in whose employ his brother, J. W. A. Cluett. had been since 1852. In 1856 the firm became Maullin & Bigelow by the retirement of Mr. Blanchard and, the admission of Charles H. Bigelow, and in 1861 the style was changed to Maullin, Bigelow & Co. In 1858 J. W. A. Cluett joined his father in the book and music business under the firm name of William Cluett & Son. George B. Cluett continued as clerk for Maullin & Bigelow until 1861, when he became a partner with Mr. Maullin, Mr. Bigelow having withdrawn. Mr. Cluett had charge of the manufacturing department from 1858 to 1863. In the latter year Mr. Maullin died, and a new firm was organized under the style of George B. Cluett, Brother & Co., consisting of George B. and J. W. A. Cluett and Charles J. Saxe. At this time the partnership existing between J. W. A. Cluett and his father was dissolved. Another brother, Robert Cluett, became a clerk for Maullin & Cluett in 1862, and in 1866, on the withdrawal of Mr. Saxe, he was admitted to the firm of George B. Cluett, Brother & Co. In 1837 the company opened a retail men's furnishing store in Troy, and soon began the manufacture of shirts to order. Their success in this line induced them to add shirts to their large and growing collar and cuff manufacturing business, and for several years these branches have been profitably carried on. The establishment has steadily increased in capacity until it has reached its present extensive proportions. From the first attention has been given mainly to the manufacture of fine goods, which have a national reputation. The celebrated "Monarch" shirts and the various brands of collars and cuffs are known all over the United States as well as in many foreign countries. From 1862 to 1874 the factory was located at No. 890 River street, and from 1875 to 1880 at Nos. 74 and 76 Federal street, where they were burned out on March 20 of the latter year. In 1878 a five story building was erected for laundry purposes on North Fourth street, and in 1880 the manufacturing business was moved to No. 556 Fulton street. In 1881 the first of the five immense factory buildings on River street was erected, and covered an area of 100 by 100 feet. On November 1, 1889, the firms of George B. Cluett, Brother & Co. and Coon & Co. were consolidated under the name of Cluett, Coon & Co., which still continues. The firm of Coon & Co. was originally started in 1856 by John H. Coon and H. W. Cole, as Cole & Coon, for the manufacture of collars. It was located on the northwest corner of Grand Division and North Third streets until 1859, when quarters were obtained and occupied in the Manufacturers Bank building. In 1859 J. M. Van Volkenburgh was admitted under the name of Cole. Coon & Co., and in 1861 the business was removed to No. 7 Union Street, where it was burned out in 1862. Mr. Cole withdrew in 1861 and the name was changed to Coon & Van Volkenburgh. Mr. Van Volkenburgh withdrew in 1868, and J. H. and Daniel W. Coon and W. H. Reynolds formed the firm of Coon, Reynolds & Co. Mr. Reynolds died in 1879, and the firm of Coon & Co. was organized by J. H. and D. W. Coon, H. C. Statzell, and F. F. Peabody. This company continued business until the consolidation of the two firms in 1889. George B. Cluett is a trustee of the Troy Orphan Asylum, has been a director in the Mutual National Bank since 1890, and is an active member of Christ church, Troy, a public spirited, liberal and influential citizen, and a representative business man. He was married, first, in 1863, to Miss Sarah B., daughter of G. D. Golden, of Troy, who died in 1864. In 1867 he was married to Miss Amanda R. Fisher, niece of Judge N. J. Rockwell, of Illinois. Mr. J. W. A. Cluett was born in Wolverhampton, England. Was married to Miss Elizabeth B. Bontecou of Troy, N. Y., in June, 1863. They have two daughters now living. Jessie A., wife of C. Vanderbilt Barton. residents of Colorado Springs, Col.; Louise B., at home. Mr. Cluett and family are members of Christ Episcopal ãhurch. Mr. Cluett with his brother George B., during the year 1896, erected the stone spire of the State Street M. E. church in memory of their parents, who were members of that church. J. W. A. Cluett, as well as his brothers, are all staunch Republicans. Mr. Cluett has devoted much of his leisure to literary and scientific pursuits, and for many years has been a member of the Troy Scientific Association, making a specialty of the study of Microscopy.

From:
Landmarks of Rensselaer County
BY: George Baker Aaderson
Published By: D. Mason & Co. Publishers
Syracuse, NY 1897


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