History of Martin Kalbfleisch and Bushwick Chemical Works


Publication: History of American Manufacturers from 1608 to 1860

Philadelphia, PA, United States
vol. 3, p. 195-197

The Bushwick Chemical Works—M. Kalbfieisch & Sons,


Situated in the Eastern District of Brooklyn, a few miles from New York, are among the most important and extensive Chemical manufactories in the United States. The Works are composed of numerous buildings of various sizes, the largest being front one hundred and sixty to two hundred feet in length, and from sixty to seventy feet in width. Among them is a Glass House and Pottery, in which are made all the Retorts and Bottles used in manufacturing and packing the Acids and other products of the Chemical Department. The whole group of structures, with their extended walls, spacious roofs, and lofty chimneys, covers an area of over five acres, and presents an imposing appearance even at a distance. The interior appointments and equipments are of a character corresponding with the extent of the buildings. One of the chambers, for manufacturing Sulphuric Acid, is two hundred and seventeen feet long by fifty feet wide, no doubt the largest in existence, and is a model in every particular. Among the noticeable objects that attract the attention of visitors, are three Platina Stills, imported from France, at a cost of about fifteen thousand dollars each.

The products of these Works include a great number of those articles recognized as standards in the commerce of the world. Of Sulphuric Acid they have a capacity for producing three hundred thousand pounds weekly, and of Muriatic Acid, about three hundred and fifty carboys weekly. Besides these, they manufacture Aquafortis, Muriate of Tin, Strong Ox, Muriate Tin, Soda Ash, Aqua Ammonia, Tin Chrystals, Nitrate of Iron, Sulphate of Zinc, anti other officinal chemicals. The firm employ constantly from seventy to eighty workmen, for whom they have provided comfortable dwellings; in the vicinity of the Works. The Office and Salesrooms are in the City of New York, at the corner of Fulton and Cliff streets.

The House of Martin Kalbfleisch & Sons was established by the present senior partner in 1829, and under his judicious and successful management has attained its present commercial importance and eminence. As his four sons, Frederick W. Charles H., Albert M., and Franklin H. Kalbfleisch became of sufficient age, they were taken into partnership, and are now relieving their father of the greater part of the details, and hard work incident to the business. With a long and thorough practical training in the pursuit in which they are engaged, they unite those qualities of integrity and capability which have gained for them the confidence both of the community in which they reside and of the multitude of patrons, at home and abroad, with whom they have correspondence.

Hon. MARTIN KALBFLEISCH, the founder of this House, was born in Holland, and has always exhibited the characteristic traits of industry, enterprise, and love of liberty traditional to his native land. Coming to this country when young, be engaged in a business that calls for more than ordinary mental acquirements, and conducted it with such success that he has attained a prominent social position, an eminent name in the commercial world, and political distinction. Kindly and affable in his manners, a liberal contributor for the relief of suffering, just to his employees, his qualities have been recognised by his neighbors and fellow citizens, who have entrusted him with public as well as private interests and conferred upon him civic and other honors. He has held many important offices, from the loss important to the highest in the city where he resides. In 1861, and again in 1867, he was chosen Mayor of Brooklyn, receiving many votes from his political opponents, in consideration of his known practice of pursuing what be esteems to be right, and a universal confidence in the purity of his purposes.

Before his term of office had expired, be was elected, in 1862, by an overwhelming majority, Representative to the National Rouse of Representatives from his Congressional District. As evidence of his personal popularity, it may be mentioned that upon this occasion the majority of votes cast for him exceeded the entire number given to his unsuccessful competitor. His residence is near the Works in Brooklyn, and is one of the most magnificent and beautiful in the city. Although not retired from business entirely, he has the wisdom, in his advancing years, to rest somewhat on his well-earned laurels, and to leave the details of the great establishment to his enterprising and active junior partners.


Keywords:Martin Kalbfleisch : Brookfield
Researcher notes:Book was written by J. Leander Bishop. The glass house was taken over by James and William Brookfield.
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:October 18, 2008 by: Elton Gish;