Sperry Douglas Brower
- Born: 21 Oct 1808, Troy NY
- Marriage: Harriett Putnam on 7 Apr 1830 in Albany NY
Events in his life were:
- S. Douglas Brower was what was called a spoon, or flatware, maker. By the 1850s, when he went into business on his own, Americans were no longer content with plain spoon work and preferred what were generally termed fancy, figured, or ornamental patterns. As a role, the makers who survived in business at this time required large amounts of capital to purchase the machinery necessary to respond to the changes in taste, particularly dies and die-stamping machines. Brower was one of these; a writer in 1856 described him as: "giving . . . especial attention to tableware, his designs of which are of the latest and most approved styles. This department of the business . . . has undergone a great change within a few years, in consequence of an increasing demand for variety and a desire for ornament. Mr. Brower has not failed to note this change in public taste, but is constantly renewing his patterns, improving his designs, and perfecting his machinery."
The extent of Brower's success can be further gauged by his listing in the Federal census of industry of 1860, which records that on an annual basis his business produced sixty thousand dollars worth of "spoons, forks, knives and ladles" using thirty thousand ounces of silver valued at thirty-eight thousand dollars. The finished goods were made by a workforce of fifteen men and four women employing the "motive" power of a five-horsepower steam engine. [Federal Census of the Products of Industry for 1860, Albany County, Fourth Ward]
- He worked from 1832 to 1836 as a silversmith and watchmaker in Troy NY retired to take up farming, but returned to work as a silversmith in 1838, joining the firm of HALL & HEWSON in Albany. 12
- He worked from 1838 to 1849 as a silversmith in Albany NY on his own and for the firm of HALL & HEWSON.
- He appeared on the 1850 census taken at Albany NY, listed as a silversmith.
- He was a partner from 1850 to 1852 with Green Hall in Albany NY as HALL & BROWER, listed in Munsell's 1852 City Directory at 10 Plain Street.
- He appeared on the 1870 census taken at Albany NY, listed as a silverware manufacturer.
Sperry married Harriett Putnam, daughter of Elisha Putnam and Hester Johnson, on 7 Apr 1830 in Albany NY. (Harriett Putnam was born on 21 Jun 1811 in Troy NY, christened on 1 Sep 1811 in First Presby Church Albany NY and died on 20 Oct 1843.)