Period Office 1


Our first period office is a photograph of one of the oldest American offices still in business, the Ashland Grove Lime & Cement Company, located in the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area.  Ash Grove Lime & Cement was founded in c.1882 which makes it close to 129 years old.

Mrs. Robert L. Lewellyn has preserved much of the history of this amazing company and through her kindness and generosity has given us permission to share this picture and its subsequent write-up with our museum network viewers.

One of the interesting aspects of this picture is the scope of technology that the Ashland Grove company was using during this period.  The person located at the extreme left of the picture is William Nelson Anderson.  He was obviously in charge or at least in some supervisory position, as he is the only person who has a Roll top Desk and interviewers chair.  The Roll top desk not only had a tambour enclosure that could secure the contents of the desk after hours but also the pigeon hole filing system so popular during this period (see MBHT example of Roll top desk).  On his desk is a candle-stick telephone.  We are unable to tell if the phone had a direct dial machanism.  Directly to his left is an Edison Business Phonograph, Model C, (see MBHT example).  To his right is a Combination Printer and Typesetter, manufactured by the Multigraph Company and first introduced to the market in 1902.  

At the far end of the office is a young man who is using a Dalton ten-key printing Adding Machine, with glass front and sides.  The glass sided machine was Daltons first model which first appeared in 1909, and manufactured in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and later, Norwood, Ohio (see MBHT example).

The young man seated in front of the only woman in the office is using an Elliott-Fisher bookkeeping machine that could write, add, subtract and compute totals of amounts written in verticle columns and at the same time compute balances of amounts written across the sheet, (see MBHT example). 

The gentlemen seated at the right front of the picture and directly across from him appear to be using an Underwood typewriter (see MBHT example).

There were electric lights as opposed to gas-lights and it appears that on the right side of the picture, some sort of electric device is plugged into the wall light fixture as electric outlets were not yet available.
Ash Grove Lime & Cement is a wonderful example of a company at the leading edge of technology for the period.

Note:  As a young Remington Rand typewriter salesman, I  remember selling and delivering a Remington Standard typewriter to this company over 50 years ago. 
Thomas A. Russo, Sr.
MBHT Executive Director