Alfred J. Lamb was a prominent resident of Hempstead and Rockville Centre, Long Island from 1870 to 1935 . Primarily a builder, Lamb’s story was told in his February 12, 1935 obituary published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Mr. Lamb came to this country from his birthplace in Terrington, England, at the age of 12 (in 1852). He and his father John Lamb, and his brother James engaged in the building business in Brooklyn. They helped to develop the Putnam Ave. section.
Mr. Lamb moved to Nassau County 65 years ago. He had been a resident of Rockville Centre for the past 50 years. He conducted building operations in Hempstead and Rockville Centre, contributing largely to the development of both communities.
After his retirement he became proprietor of the Long Island Express Company of Rockville Centre and also operated a livery business. In 1899 he was a village trustee and later served as keeper of the town’s poorhouse.
He was certainly engaged in the bottling business in 1892. That year, “A. J. Lamb & Son (John T),” was listed in the Rockville Centre Section of the Brooklyn City Directory with the occupational title of “soda water.” The company was not listed in the 1923 Rockville Centre Directory. I haven’t found any other directory information that would serve to further narrow down the time frame of the business.
That being said, there’s some evidence that A. J. Lamb & Son could date back to the late 1880’s. Among his other pursuits, on May 23, 1888 the (Brooklyn) Times Union announced that Alfred Lamb was opening a new ice cream saloon on June 1. Two years later, a May 1, 1890 story in the Times Union (written around the time he sold the saloon) described the operation.
He opened the place as an ice cream and dining saloon. This enterprise was heartily sanctioned and the place was well patronized during the summer months. In the fall Mr. Lamb, at the request of many young men of the village, converted the second story into a pool and billiard parlor. He also engaged in the sale of cigars and temperance drinks and served oysters in all styles.
At the time it’s wasn’t uncommon for the proprietors of hotels or restaurants to bottle their own beverages so it’s likely that A. J. Lamb & Son’s bottling operation was in business in 1888. At the time Lamb’s son, who was born in 1872, would have only been 16 so it couldn’t have been established under that name much before then.
The Lamb family’s involvement with bottling , however, could date back to 1880 and possibly earlier. That year, in the census records, Alfred Lamb’s father, John Thompson Lamb, listed his occupation as “grocery dealer,” so it’s possible the family was bottling soda water in connection with his grocery business as early as the late 1870’s.
There’s no mention of anything related to bottling in the 1900 census records.
Alfred Lamb would live to be almost 95 years old and I couldn’t end this post without mentioning how he spent his 80th birthday. According to the April 17, 1920 edition of the Times Union:
Rockville Centre, L. I. April 17 – Alfred J. Lamb, a retired building contractor of this village, celebrated his eightieth birthday Thursday by taking up automobiling. He appeared on Village Avenue with a new sedan, operating it with all the skill of an experienced chauffeur.
The bottle I found is a pony (approximately 8 oz) with an applied blob finish. It fits a late 1800’s manufacture date.