Sedgwick Machine Works

Sedgwick

“The profit of any sale is of less importance than the opportunity the transaction affords to make of the purchaser a permanent customer and friend.” -Motto of the Sedgwick Machine Works

The Sedgwick Machine Works company’s story starts with its founding as an ironworks and furnace in Massachusetts in 1643, centuries before the idea of a factory even existed. Eventually, the company moved its headquarters to New York City, and almost 300 years later, in 1893, it built a modern factory upstate on the banks of the Hudson River. At this point, the Sedgwick Machine Works mainly produces elevators and dumbwaiters, which grow in demand as cities get larger and buildings get taller. The company had many notable customers, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used a Sedgwick dumbwaiter to get from floor to floor in his house after getting polio, and the Japanese Royalty, who had two Sedgwick dumbwaiters installed in the Palace of the Crown Prince of Japan. Sedgwick products could also be found in famous buildings like the Empire State Building and the Hotel Astor.

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The Testing Tower of the Sedgwick Machine Works

The most clearly visible part of the factory is a tall, thin tower, still bearing the Sedgwick name in worn paint. The tower was used as a place to test the elevators and dumbwaiters that the company was famous for. Although most of the tower’s entrances we’re boarded up, some boards had fallen away, and i managed to climb through. It is a long and dangerous way to the top of the tower, climbing from floor to floor up flights of wooden stairs that seem to get more and more brittle the farther up you go. Eventually, i reached the top floor.

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Long way to fall! Looking down from the top floor of the elevator testing tower.

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One of the middle floors of the testing tower.

Climbing down from the tower, I proceeded into the warehouse space. The main factory, once between the tower and the warehouses, was demolished in 2005.

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A warehouse interior.

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Another dark warehouse. Piles of insulation and chemicals litter the floors.

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Another Warehouse floor, showing insulation and chemicals.

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The warehouses and offices, from the tower.

The Sedgwick Machine Works is a relatively dangerous place to explore. The only way to the top of the tower is brittle wooden stairs and floors, and the warehouses are filled with dangerous chemicals. Please wear a respirator and watch your step.

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