Race & Mathews & Co.
Niagara Mfg Co. - Lockport, New York

Inventors Washburn Race and Samuel R.C. Mathews were business partners with Birdsill Holly at the Silsby Manufacturing Company, a large maker of rotary pump steam fire engines in Seneca Falls, New York. Birdsill Holly was a very prolific inventor, and held 150 U.S. patents for many inventions, including the rotary pump for the Silsby steam fire engine, an improved fire hydrant, municipal steam heating, etc.

When Birdsill Holly moved to Lockport New York in 1859, he started a business called the Manufacturers Building Company. He constructed a 5 story building on the east side of Market St. near Exchange St. in Lockport. He rented out extra space in the building to other manufacturing companies.

One of those companies was Race & Mathews & Co. started by Mssrs. Washburn Race and Samuel R.C. Mathews. They were located on the 5th floor of the building, and hired Birdsill Holly to be their chief engineer. The company manufactured steam fire engines and other fire protection equipment, including fire hydrants.

Race & Mathews later merged with Holly Manufacturing Company and in 1864 Holly Manufacturing moved across the Erie Canal to a huge manufacturing complex.

By 1871, Samuel R.C. Mathews had relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to work with the R.D. Wood Company, producing his hydrants under the R.D. Wood Mathews name.

If you have additional information about the Niagara Mfg Co, or Race & Mathews & Co., or photos of their fire hydrants, please E-mail us.

Advertisement reproduced below, and much of the information above, courtesy of Jon Szpakowski

Shown here is an 1866 advertisement for the Race & Mathews hydrant, patented in 1858.