Archive for the ‘Merchants’ Category


Where Do The Bottles Go?

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 24, 1906

Where Do The Bottles Go?

Question Not Easily Answered by Busy Milk Men — Many Housekeepers Borrow Them at Times

“Where do the pins go?” is an old and trite query that has never been satisfactorily answered. The modern dealer is puzzled by a similar question equally difficult of solution: “Where do the milk bottles go? No matter how carefully or plainly they are marked, they say, there is a constant shortage which can not always be accounted for by the breakage which is, of course, to be expected.

“Our regular customers,” said one of the prosperous dealers a few days ago, “are very good about returning the bottles. It is the chance purchaser who runs into the store for a quart or a pint who is apt to be careless about sending back the bottles.”

“Yes, the bottles belonging to different dealers are always getting mixed,” continued the same speaker. “Many people, who are both willing and anxious to return the bottle, can not realize that it matters what dealer gets them, just so they are handed to some one of us. Some times I have bottles belonging to three or four different dealers, all plainly marked, left at my store or handed to my drivers by people who seem to think they have done their duty in a most exemplary manner.

“We had a good deal of trouble getting them to their proper owners until the last one of us established a sort of exchange in his milk store. the store is centrally located and when any of us gets another’s bottle by mistake we just stop and set it on a shelf behind the door there and look among the collection for our own. There are generally bottles representing half a dozen dealers or so on this shelf, which we find a very convenient institution.”

Variously Used

“It is a surprise how many uses cna be found for a milk bottle. They are a convenient shape, solid and strong, and the four different sizes in general use suit quite a variety of purposes. They come back to us in all sorts of conditions.

“Some housekeepers appear to depend upon them for supplying a shortage in the supply of bottles for catsup or pickles. They are quite popular receptacles for pear butter, apple butter and other sort of jams which need not be air tight. People seem to think we ought not to object to loaning them for a few months for such useful purposes.

Sometimes Coal Oil

The use we do most seriously object to our patrons putting the jars to is that of a substitute coal oil can. Every once in a while, when we put a quantity of bottles into the scalding tub, we notice strong fumes of coal oil. Of course that means that the whole tubful of bottles must be taken out and thoroughly washed through several waters in order that the offending bottle may be certainly secured, and nobody have cause to complain of the flavor of the milk next morning. If we could find out who was guilty of putting milk bottles to such a use it is likely that person might have trouble in getting bottled milk, but the bottles are returned with others and we are apt not to notice until the hot water gives it away.

A great many bottles are ruined by carelessness in taking out the pasteboard tops, say the dealers. People in a hurry force a carving fork hastily between the bottle and the cap, or often strike the tip carelessly when trying to force it off with some equally clumsy implement, and the result is nicked and uneven edges, which often extend themselves into cracks, which in time spell the fate of the bottle.

A neat little wire implement has been invented for lifting the cap and some of the dealers have presented one to each customer, finding that hte small outlay is more than made up in the improved condition of the bottles.


Window Glass Costs More

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 21, 1905

Window Glass Costs More

There Has Been More Than Forty Per Cent Increase in the Cost of Glass Since Early Summer

Window glass is rapidly becoming a luxury. Within the past six weeks the price of this article has been increased to not less than forty per cent over the prices prevailing early in the summer. At a meeting of the western glass window jobbers held in Chicago a week ago another ten per cent increase was made. Local dealers have not received formal notice of this, but expect it within a day or two. They were apprised of the meeting for the purpose of arising the prices.

A Glass Shortage

The reason for the great rise in the price of window glass is a shortage of glass all over the country. Most window glass is blown by men engaged for that purpose. During the summer months it is almost impossible for them to work because of the heat. The glass blowers also have very strong unions and there is an agreement between them that there shall be no work during the hot summer months. For this reason nearly all of the larger glass factories are closed down during the summer months.

There is only one manufacturer of window glass that operates during the summer, the American Window Glass company, which controls a mechanism for the blowing of glass. The machine is patented and the other glass factories cannot make use of it. The American Window Glass company is running at its full capacity, but it is not able to supply the demand on account of the great building boom prevalent all over the west. Inasmuch as there was not a great deal of window glass in stock this summer to begin with it is natural that the price shuld (sic) rise during the summer months.

Price Affects Many

Jobbers say that the retailers are not the only sufferers from the shortage in window glass. The price has been raised to the jobber just as it has been raised to the retail trade.

There is little indication that the price of window glass will be lowered for some time yet at least. The glass factories will not resume work until October 1 and it will require a month for them to get the market stocked. After that the prices will in all probability moderate to some extent,


Price of Flour Soars Upward

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 9, 1904

Price of Flour Soars Upward

Jumped Twenty Cents on the Sack Monday and Will Go Higher

It May Reach Two Dollars

Damage to Wheat Reported to be the Cause of the Raise — Rust in North Wheat District Said to be Serious — New Bug in Minnesota

Two dollars a sack (about $50 today), that is what flour may be within the next few days, according to the judgment of Andrew Hower, the Fort Dodge authority on flour. On Monday this commodity made two jumps of ten cents ($2.52) each and is now selling at $1.70 ($42.77) per sack, with no relief in sight for the immediate future and a continued upward tendency at the present.

Wheat Damaged in Northwest

“Wheat is reported to be badly damaged in the northwest by rust,” said Mr. Hower, to a Messenger representative this morning. “This is responsible for the present advance. the price at the mills has raised fifty cents ($12.58) on the barrel the past week, and the advance will undoubtedly continue. Flour that was welling yesterday morning at $1.50 ($37.74) per sack is now retailing at $1.70 and is likely in my judgment to go on up till it reaches a price right around two dollars. Wheat, I believe, will be forced up to at least $1.10 ($27.68) per bushel, before the new crop comes on and the uneasiness is over, and flour is bound to soar in sympathy.

New Bug Damages Wheat

T.H. Hoffman, the partner of Mr. Hower in the wholesale flour business, has just returned from a trip into the wheat growing districts of southern Minnesota, and he reports the crop in the territory covering a number of counties in the best of the wheat territory has been attacked by a new bug, and is threatened with very serious damage. The oldest residents of the country infested have never seen anything like the insect that is causing the trouble. The bug operates by getting into the stem of the grain and taking the substance out of it. The outlook in this district according to Mr. Hoffman, is said to be serious.

The Grocers Optomistic (sic)

The grocers of the city who have been seen seem to think the matter is not so serious as the (millers) would make believe, and they think the scare will blow over in a short time. R.A. Schroeder, of the Right Place, said this morning: “I really believe the reports as to the damage to the wheat crop of the northwest have been exagerated (sic) and that there is not so much occasion for worry with regard to the matter as has been made out. I think when the harvest comes, there will be plenty of good wheat. There is generally a little flurry in wheat about this time of year, and I believe that present excitement is caused to a great extent by the men who would dispose of the old wheat they are holding at a good margin and they are taking advantage of the exagerated (sic) stories of damage to the new crop to boost the price of the old wheat on hand.”

(Editor’s note: No where in this article does it explain what amount of flour is being sold to the consumer. I imagine it is a large amount, like a 25-pound or 50-pound bag, rather than the 5-pound or 10-pound bag that we are familiar with today.)


A Free Trip to the World’s Fair

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 5, 1904

A Free Trip to the World’s Fair

Boston Store Makes Magnificent Offer to Public of Fort Dodge

Give Away Five Railway Tickets

Inaugurates Voting Contest, Winners to Have Free Trip to St. Louis

There is a good trip and a good time in store for five customers of the Boston Store during the coming summer. In this evening’s issue is a notice in the Boston Store advertisement, that the management will give first class railway round trip tickets from Fort Dodge to St. Louis, to the five persons having the largest number of votes. The voting starts Monday and tickets or votes will be given with each fifty cent purchase. A Messenger representative in conversation with Mr. Charon was informed that there would be no restrictions of any kind placed  upon those who vote, except that none of the clerks in the store will be a candidate. A large receptacle will be placed in a conspicuous place in the store where the votes may be deposited. These will be counted once a week and an annauncement (sic) made of the count and the votes for each candidate that have been deposited. The tickets will be awarded some time during the month of July. Just what date has not been decided upon, but will be announced later. It is the intention to procure the tickets over one or more of the roads running into Fort Dodge.

This is the most liberal premium t hat has been offered to the buying public in the nature of railroad fare for some time. There have been trip tickets given away in former years, but no one concern has ever offered to give five away at o ne time. There is every reason to believe that the interest in the voting will spring into popular favor from the start and that there will be a spirited contest. A trip to the World’s Fair will be something to look forward to with great anticipation. Five persons would make an ideal number to go together in a party.


Fresh Vegetables on Local Market

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 19, 1904

Fresh Vegetables on Local Market

New Products From Farm and Garden Tell of Advent of Spring.

Strawberries Now in Season

While There Are Many Vegetables and Fruits to be Purchased.

There are quite a number of fruits and vegetables of spring in the market this week to tempt the pocketbook for the Sunday dinner.

Strawberries are quite plentiful this week and are of a good quality, selling at 30 cents per quart ($7.18 in today’s money – per quart). The egg plant has also made its appearance a close follower of grape-fruit, cauliflower, tomatoes, aetc. (sic)

Some fresh ground horseradish, just out of the frozen ground is also on hand, a welcome and strong reminder that spring is here.

Eggs and butter are still about the same price, the former bringing 15 cents per dozen ($3.59) and the latter twenty cents per pound ($4.79).

Fruits are about the same as last week. Oranges, bananas and apples are on the market and some fine specimens of all three varieties are exhibited at the stores about town.

The new potato is daily expected from the south, along with new cabbages and other vegetables which are the usual arrivals of this time of year.

In meats, there are all kinds of fresh fish and plenty of fine fowls of all kinds on the market. Some particularly fine ducks appear at the various meat markets of the city this week.

The oyster is getting in his last work of the season, selling for forty cents per quart ($9.58).

After the plain fare of the winter season, the fresh crisp things of spring are going like hot cakes before the onslaught of the afternoon marketers, but the supply is good, and Fort Dodge will have an opportunity to die (sic – should be dine) high SSunday (sic).

(Editor’s note: I am not familiar with the price of oysters today, but the other prices kind of shock me. The equivalent of $7.18 per quart for strawberries, $3.59 for eggs and $4.79 for butter seems high. Especially the strawberries.)


Burglars Enter Hardware Store

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 11, 1904

Burglars Enter Hardware Store

Entrance Forced to Sanders Hardware on Upper Central Avenue

Little of Value is Taken

Burglar Apparently Familiar With Store and Was Evidently a Boy

The burglar again gave evidence of his presence in the community when Thursday night he made a successful entry into the Sanders’ hardware store on Upper Central avenue, although so far as is known, he succeeded in getting away with little of value. The burglary was the third attempt of a similar nature made within the pst few weeks. Besides the hardware store, the saloon of George Benn at Sixth street and First avenue south has been molested twice, once successfully.

The discovery of the Sander’s (sic) robbery was made this morning when the store was opened for the day. Little disturbance was left to indicate the presence of an intruder, but his means of entrance was clearly apparent. He entered the building by cutting out one of the small windows in the back and then raising the sash. Between the front and rear of the store is a door which is kept locked at night. To pass thru the burglar cut a heart shaped hole int he panel thru which he evidently inserted his hand and opened the lock on the other side. From the size of the hole it is believed that the burglar was either a boy or a man with an unusually small hand.

So far as know this morning, nothing had been taken, the only evidence that the place had been disturbed, being the roller top desk, which is usually left open, but which this morning was found to be closed. A knife and a cigar holder, which the burglar had left behind him, were found and are the only clues to his identity.

The police as yet have been unable to apprehend the persons who robbed the cash drawer at the Benn saloon two weeks ago. A second attempt was made to enter the saloon a few nights ago. Two men were discovered by a policeman while they were working in the rear of the building. They took to their heels and were pursued by the officer, who shot twice and hit one of the men. Both, however, succeeded in making their escape.


Unions Boycott Lehigh Stores

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 9, 1903

Unions Boycott Lehigh Stores

Deadlock is On as Result of Establishment of Cash System by Lehigh Merchants

Buy All Goods Elsewhere

Unions are Purchasing Goods by Carload. May Establish Co-Operative Store

A deadlock is on at Lehigh between the merchants and the laborers and the outlook is a very serious one for the store keepers of the city.

The trouble all arose over the establishment of the cash system on February 15. The merchants of Lehigh held a meeting some weeks ago and decided to adopt the cash system, putting themselves under bonds to stick to the cash basis.

The miners, brick makers, and other laborers took exceptions to this move and immediately made arrangements for trading elsewhere, going to Dayton, Burnside, Homer and Fort Dodge for all their goods, while the business men and clerks of the town were left with nothing whatever to do.

the labor unions of the city got together immediately after February 15, and ordered a car of flour, while each individual family sent to Chicago m ail order houses, cutting out entirely the home trade. The laborer unions have even invited the farmers tributary to Lehigh to join with them and take advantage of the wholesale prices they get in their car load lots of flour, potatoes, feed, etc., and many of them have done so, thus still farther hurting the trade of the merchants. The business men still hold to their agreement, but all or nearly all of them are willing to sell out. N.H. Tyson, who has always been a leader in a business way in Lehigh, has sold his general store and will move to Fort Dodge, according to report.

It is understood that as soon as a building can be obtained, the labor unions will start a co-operative store, and claim that they will effectually put a stop to other business enterprises in the town.

Lehigh has always been a credit town since its establishment, and the sudden adoption of the cash system came as a shock that upset the business tranquility of the town and brought on the crisis which now threatens. It has been the custom for the merchants to carry the people from the fifteenth of one month to the next. It is understood, also, that the state organization of the united Miner Workers of American have $750,000, a part of which they will invest in establishing a wholesale house at Des Moines for the distribution of supplies to the members of the labor unions at actual cost. The outcome of the present difficulty at Lehigh will be awaited with much interest, as the situation is considered a serious one. More orders are bening (sic) sent out for car load lots of flour, feed, potatoes, etc., every day or two, and neither side will give an inch.

There was an unusually large crowd of Lehigh people came to Fort Dodge on Saturday to trade as a result of the business situation there. The Great Western morning train brought about one hundred and fifty passengers.


Stratagem That Worked All Right

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 13, 1905

Stratagem That Worked All Right

How Fort Dodge Women Relieved Herself From Bother of Canvassers.

Dose of Their Own Medicine

When The Oily-Tongued Agent Talked to Her About Buying His Wares She Opened a Masked Artillery in the Way of a Rival Set of Good Things.

In spite of the strict enforcement of the peddler’s law in Fort Dodge, there are still many canvassers extant, and there is one lady in the city who has been particularly bored by this class of people. Up to a month ago she was besieged by them day after day, and they took up the greater share of her time. Finally she decided to get a little enjoyment out of the eternal, unconquerable besiegers of her purse. She is a young and attractive lady, and enjoys fun with a zest, so she laid her plans deep, and with an eye to getting paid for the time she spent.

She decided that the most effective way of doing the agent to a turn was to give him his own medicine so she ordered a book canvassing outfit, and a number of “money-making specialties” among which were a patent nail trimmer, a skirt supporter and a few other trifles, so she would be prepared to suit the most fastidious disturber of her peace. When she had prepared her masked battery of “things that every person ought to have,” she laid low and awaited the coming of the unlucky victim.

It was not long until a dapper, and self-confident young man stepped up to the door and rang the bell vigorously. She was on hand to let him in herself, and as he slid his toe in the crack to prevent her closing it in his face, he was nearly taken off his feet by the cordiality with which he was received. She led him in and seated him in a most comfortable big easy chair, took his hat and treated him in every way as a guest. When he had somewhat recovered from his surprise he came to the conclusion that he had found an “easy,” and was not long in stating his mission. He was introducing into only a limited number of the best homes  of the city a “Complete Compendum (sic) of Common Sense Knowledge,” gathered from the four corners of the universe, which should adorn the shelves of every library in the land.

The lady was delighted to have a chance to look at so valuable a work, but would the gentleman mind glancing thru a book she had? She would take only a very few minutes of his valuable time. She knew as soon as she saw his refined face that he would appreciate the volume at its true worth.

Here she picked up a prospectus of “The Home Maker and a Complete Encyclopedia of Cooking Receipts for the Things That Mother Used to Make.” She sat down in front of him and beginning at the binding, read every word of the specimen pages from start to finish, not omitting the index and preface.

After the first ten minutes the dapper young man began to squirm; in twenty minutes he was white to the lips and in half an hour he was fairly haggard. She held her victim a full two hours, giving him a canvass that should have sold seven sets of Shakespeare and a complete library of the poets.

However, the young man had found the big easy chair such a seat of thorns that he was unable to appreciate the book at its true worth and made the sickly statement that as he was boarding and had no home, he would be unable to use it in his business.

“Oh, that’s all right,” said the woman sweetly. “If that book doesn’t suit you I have three others and surely one of them should prove to be just what you are looking for.” The agent staggered up, grasped his hat and pleading an appointment, fled as tho pursued by a thousand demons. He reached the street in three steps, threw a frightened look back over his shoulder and sped west almost on a run while the lady of the house retired to her room to have a good laugh. On the lady agent with an assortment of cosmetic she worked off a skirt supporter and took up 45 minutes of her time in exploiting the merits of a newfangled mouse trap and a cockroach extinguisher. The man with the patent broom holder was given a dissertation on a duplex automatic mop stick, guaranteed to do the work without an effort on the part of the operator. The gentleman with the luminous name plate was sold seven packages of bunion cure and the girls with the “gems of the musical world” was forced to listen to a description of a book on “How to Land Big Fish From The Matrimonial Stream.”

This sort of thing went on for a week and the lady became more finished in her work of working the undoing of the wily agent at every encounter. At last the visits of the canvasser became less and less frequent until now she is let entirely alone. The skull and cross bones are suspended in the air over the house and the agent jumps sidewise and quickens his pace every time he catches sight of the place.


The Boston Store Adopts Policy of Expansion

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 19, 1903

The Boston Store Adopts Policy of Expansion

Arrangements Have Been Practically Completed for Opening of Branch Store at Eagle Grove.

The Boston Store has entered upon a policy of expansion. A store building has been leased at Eagle Grove, a stock of goods is now being installed, and it is expected that the store will opened (sic) about the close of next week.

This is an experimental venture on the part of the Boston store. If the store at Eagle Grove is a success, it is planned to establish others at different points in the state. J.H. Walters, who has for several years been connected with the Boston store in this city will have charge of the new store.

The management of the Boston store is going on the policy of enlarging their opportunity  for buying stock feeling that the more stock they buy, the cheaper and better they will be able to buy it. They feel that their store at Eagle Grove should be a success from the ease and facility with which it can be supplied form the main house in this city.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 26, 1906

Santa Claus Held Sway

Yesterday Given Up to The Observance of Christmas Day.

Good old Saint Nick, the knight of the sock, the reindeer and the big pack, reigned supreme yesterday and received his full share of homage in Fort Dodge. The day was given up to Christmas rejoicing, merrymaking, feasting and holiday celebrations all over the city.

Business was suspended, except such as had to be carried on through necessity, all over the city when the stores closed Monday night after the busiest day of the year 1906.

The Christmas sun rose radiant and the day continued throughout one of the most beautiful for the time of year that could have been wished for. Christmas gatherings, family reunions and church programs formed the main events of the day. The happenings are chronicled in part below:

At St. Mark’s.

One of the prettiest trees on Christmas eve was that of St. Mark’s Sunday school. Prior to the distribution of the gifts a program of recitations was given by Misses Grace Chantland, Ellen Clark, Elizabeth Wheeler, Martha Fransen, Evelyn Roper, Myrtle Drake and Katahrinee (sic) Francis. In spite of the fact that regular church is not being held the Sunday school has been suprintended (sic) very ably by Mr. Frank Griffith and the school teachers.

Dolliver’s Family Reunion.

At the Senator Dolliver home a family re-union was indulged in. Miss Gay Dolliver of Sioux City was present to enjoy the festivities of the day. “Uncle Vic” rigged himself up in fur coat and flowing beard to impersonate “Saint Nick” and succeeded in scaring a year’s growth out of the baby, George Prentiss Dolliver, and so confused Francis and Margaret that they were not sure of their bearings. They exhibited the same symptoms that a (shy?) colt does the first time he meets a steam roller and it took considerable assurance from the older heads before they could be brought to think that the impersonator was not a wild man who had invaded the home for the purpose of committing some terrible deed. After the youngsters had been quieted the program was carried on with merriment and the occasion made one that will linger long in the minds of those who were present to participate. The genial “Vic” succeeded in carrying out his part without destroying his borrowed plumage by fire or enacting any of the tragedies incident to the occasion. The younger member of the household has recovered from his scare but still retains an aversion to anything with long shaggy whiskers that speaks in muffled tones.

A Christmas Tree Fire.

A Christmas tree at the J.W. Amond home Christmas eve caused quite a little excitement by catching fire. No serious damage was done although the carpet was burned and Mr. Amond received a slight injury to his hand.

Remembered The Employes.

Among the most generous and most appreciated Christmas gifts were those received by the clerks of the Sturges company from their employer, Mr. L.E. Sturges. The gifts consisted of sums of money which were presented with the compliments of the season on Christmas eve.

Methodist Christmas Eve.

The surprise program of the Methodist Sunday School was one of hte most interesting and novel Christmas eve celebrations in the local churches. The church was decorated with two trees and festooned evergreen and strings of colored lights. In the centre (sic) of the choir loft was suspended a large star.

Nine classes took part in the evening’s celebration. Superintendent Dr. Money called upon each one in turn to give some literary or musical feature. Here are the classes:

Senior Bible Class – Scripture reading.
J.F. Nelson’s class – Piano solo, Miss Myrtle Parsons.
J.G. Early’s class – Album characters.
Miss Martin’s and Miss Houk’s classes in primary department – Sixty children in motion song.
Young men’s class, Mrs. J.G. Early, instructor – Cornet solo. Harry Sultzbaugh.
Miss Ruth Cummings’ class – Duet, Misses Sauerbrunn and Gregg.
Mrs. J.F. Monk’s class of boys – Recitation and chorus song.
James Sultzbaugh’s class of girls – Recitation – Miss Corenlia (sic) McBurney.
Miss Jeanette Early’s and Miss Phoebe Sultzbaugh’s classes – Chorus of 30 little girls.

The favorite number on the program was the album given by the young men and women of Mr. Early’s class. Here were shown pictures of members of the Early faily (sic – family?) in early days.

West Side M.E.

A Christmas program was held by the Sunday school classes of the West Side M.E. church Tuesday evening. A large crowd was present. A beautiful Christmas tree which held a gift for everyone present, and a fine program constituted the entertainment of the evening.

Railroad Offices Closed.

Yesterday there was not a railroad office in the city, with the exception of the Illinois Central dispatcher’s office, open. The railroad men one and all were making merry. On the Great Western freights 85 and 86 and the stucco special were annulled. On the M. and (S)t. L. the wayfreights were pulled off for the day. Business on the Illinois Central did not stop because of the holiday. The switch engines were busy in the yards all day and the traffic was as large as on any other day.

At Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart Catholic churches three morning masses were said. The first ones were at five and six thirty o’clock. They ended with the usual high mass at ten thirty. Sermons appropriate to the occasion were preached by the pastors.

Bring Back Gifts.

In almost every store along the street people can be seen today bringing back gifts to exchange them for a different design or size. Especially where the articles are gifts of clothing and a misfit resulted, is this to be noticed.

Merchants Invoice.

Now that the busy Christmas season has practically closed, many of the merchants along the streets are beginning to take their yearly invoice and perparing (sic) for straightening accounts, which always comes at the close of the year.