Hennessy & Nolan, Albany, 1879

hn-2  hn-1

The proprietors of Hennessy & Nolan were John Hennessy and Murtaugh T Nolan. John Hennessy was first listed in the 1861 Albany Directory with the company of Kinsella & Hennessy. The company was listed as “root beer” and was originally located at 106 Arch Street. By 1867 they had moved to Morton Avenue, corner of Elizabeth Street.

Hennessy & Nolan was first listed in the 1870 Albany Business Directory under vinegar, located at 92 & 93 Quay Street. The next year, in 1871, the business was listed under “soda and mineral water” and located at Morton, corner of Elizabeth. Advertisements in the 1875 and 1877 Directories listed both the Quay Street and Morton Avenue addresses.


So it appears that between 1871 and 1877 the business maintained two locations and, if I’m to believe the advertisements, they sold cider and vinegar at the Quay Street location and bottled soda and beer at the old Kinsella & Hennessy plant on the corner of Morton/Elizabeth Streets.

In the 1878 Directory, the Quay Street location was dropped from the listing and their advertisement only included one location: “Factory corner Morton, Elizabeth and Catherine Sts.”

As a result, by 1878, it looks like they had expanded at the Morton Avenue location to include the entire block of Elizabeth Street between Morton Avenue and Catherine Street and centralized the business on this block. The business remained listed at this location until 1912. In 1903, the company was listed for the first time as: Hennessy & Nolan (John Hennessy and M T Nolan estate) so it looks like Nolan passed away around this time.

In 1907, Hennessy and Nolan was one of 14 bottling companies in Albany to sign an agreement with Bottler’s Union No. 375. There were these seven points contained within the agreement:

  1. Only union men were to be employed.
  1. One could be discharged for disobedience of orders, intoxication, dishonesty, incompetency or disrespect to the employer.
  1. Nine hours constituted a day’s work hours: 7am to 5pm with an hour for dinner. This applied to inside men only. Peddlers worked on a 50 hours per week schedule. There was no Sunday work (except as necessary to maintain the business).
  1. Overtime was paid as time and a half. Holiday and Sunday work was paid double-time.
  1. Election Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Decoration Day and the 4th of July were considered holidays.
  1. An arbitration committee was established to resolve disputes.
  1. Wages were established as follows: Peddlers $15, Wagon Helpers $10, Beer Bottlers $14, Mineral Water Bottlers $16 and Assistant Bottlers $12.

Today, the buildings on the block between Morton and Catherine are all quite old and some could very well date back to the 1870’s. The east side especially has several two and three story buildings and a small one-story garage/warehouse building.

The bottle I found is a small pony with an applied blob finish. Most likely a soda bottle, it has the year 1879 embossed on it. This puts it at the Morton/Elizabeth/Catherine location right after the business centralized there. How it got to the south shore of Long Island is anybody’s guess.