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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Arthur K. Hamm

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 195-196 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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If you were to buy a pair of fine leather gloves made by one of the famous Gloversville manufacturers the chances are about even that they would be made from leather manufactured in the plant of the Liberty Dressing Company, Incorporated, of Gloversville, of which Arthur K. Hamm is one of the founders and secretary. Mr. Hamm is an expert in the highly technical matters of tanning and coloring skins whose knowledge of the subject, gained during forty years of actual experience in the trade, is one of the chief factors in the success of the firm of which he is the secretary. Born at Milborne Port, Somersetshire, England, in February, 1866, he is the son of John K. Hamm, a tanner and leather colorer by trade. For sixty-five years the father was associated with the firm of Ensor & Company of Milborne Port, leather manufacturers, and towards the end of his long life was retired from active work on a pension. He died in December of 1921, at the ripe old age of eighty-four. The mother, who bore the maiden name of Lucy Lewis, died in 1905.

Arthur K. Hamm spent his boyhood in his birthplace, where he was educated and at the age of fourteen went to work in the same plant in which his father was employed and there remained until he was twenty-one. At the end of those seven years of training he was a master of his trade as a tanner and colorer, having a detailed knowledge of his craft that comes only to one who has passed through a long and thorough apprenticeship under skilled workmen. In 1887 Mr. Hamm came to the United States and located at Gloversville, where he worked at his trade for various concerns until 1918, when he embarked upon his present business enterprise.

In partnership with Frank A. Patten and John Ruff, Mr. Hamm established the Liberty Dressing Company, Incorporated, of No. 17-29 Burr street, Gloversville, manufacturers of fine glove leather. Mr. Patten is president, treasurer and manager of the firm; Mr. Ruff is vice president; and Mr. Hamm is secretary. Both his associates are men of experience in the leather manufacturing and glove making fields. Mr. Patten, who is mentioned at length elsewhere in this work, was associated with his father in the glove-finishing business for years and is a practical glove man. In the quarter of a century that he has been in the leather industry, Mr. Ruff has specialized in beam house work, in which he is acknowledged to be one of the experts of the country. At first the company did only custom work in finishing leather, but soon entered into the leather manufacturing and the tanning of skins. Ninety-five per cent of the firm's output is sold to local glove manufacturers, whose fine gloves have made Gloversville famous. The company specializes in Spanish leather that bears the trade name of "Lidresco Spanish". About forty-five people are employed when the plant is running at full capacity and it ranks as second in size in the city.

Mr. Hamm and Miss Alice Maidment were united in marriage in June, 1904. Mrs. Hamm is the daughter of William and Eliza (Hambridge) Maidment, natives of Yeovil, England. Her father is a carpenter by trade and was one of the pioneers in his business in Gloversville, building one of the first homes in the residential section of the city. To him also belongs the distinction of having erected the first house to be built in Sea Cliff, Long Island, where he now resides, at the advanced age of eighty-seven. His wife has passed her eighty-sixth birthday. This old couple are almost unique in that they have had the privilege of living to see their great-great-grandchildren unto the fifth generation. Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hamm, three died in infancy. The only surviving child, a daughter, Gladys, married Henry Vanderbeek, who is employed by the Liberty Dressing Company. Mr. Hamm is a man of quiet tastes whose chief interests, outside of his business and family, are in fishing and hunting. He loves to be away from city life, out-of-doors in the northern woods, where game and fish abound, and he plans to spend at least part of his vacation time that way every year. His religious affiliations are with the Fremont Methodist Episcopal church and politically he ranks as a republican. To him have come the rewards of conscientious efforts, intelligently directed along a single line of endeavor. Preferring to be the master of one trade he has so devoted himself to his chosen work that he has risen to a high place in the industry where his expert knowledge as an authority is acknowledged by all. That the monetary rewards of such labor have not been lacking will be evident to all who have followed the remarkably successful career of the Liberty Dressing Company.

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