Historical Fulton, NY

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Foster Brothers Knife Works was a well-known manufacturing company on West First Street in Fulton from 1878 to 1979. At its peak, more than 135 people churned out all types of knives at the factory. Employment dwindled to 19 people by 1977. The company was started by brothers Frank and Allie Foster, who had developed a method for tempering steel for machine knives used in paper mills. The knives earned a local reputation for being of good quality and farmers started using them on their hog carcasses. Then other people started using the knives for other purposes. Younger brothers J.A. and C.F. Foster expanded the business into other types of knives. At one time, the company made knives of 500 different sizes, shapes and styles. The largest was a 4-foot-long splitting knife used by meat packers. The smallest (no size was specified) was used to dress poultry. Handles were made of wood from Panama and Nicaragua and rosewood and ebony from South America and Africa. J.A. Foster from the company went on to become Fulton’s first mayor. This photo shows workers at the plant in 1904. Information supplied by the Friends of History at the Pratt House.
Photo courtesy fultonhistory.com
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