Item #880 Mechanical Engineer's Account Book. Daniel and William Kurtz.
Mechanical Engineer's Account Book
Mechanical Engineer's Account Book
A Very Special Book of Family Accounts Records of a Carpenter Father and his Son the Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineer's Account Book

Buffalo, New York, 1876-1925. Item #880

Folio.  275 x 225 mm., [11 x 9 inches].  Manuscript in ink and pencil. 222 pp. (pp. 115 – 322). including a partial alphabetical index of customers. Cover well worn, spine missing; text clean and highly legible.

 Financial records of a Pennsylvania Dutch family of engineers and contractors who worked in Pennsylvania and New York.  The first part of this ledger was likely kept by Daniel Kurtz, who was born in in 1825, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  A carpenter, he had a wife Elizabeth and six children including William, born in 1858.  Daniel’s accounts primarily show the cost of materials and hours spent on job sites.  It is basically a labor and materials price guide for a late 19th century skilled carpenter.  Daniel’s name appears in the 1900 census as living in Mt. Pleasant New York and notes his profession as mechanical engineer. 

Some of Daniel’s customers were women who owned property in Buffalo including Grace Styleer, Mrs. Nevins of Chestnut Street, Mrs. Shirk, Mrs. Barr and Mrs. Belle. His work was mostly household repair and fixing furniture.  He was paid for time and materials.  He also must have owned rental property because he was paid monthly by Mrs. Alice Frick for board.

After about 1879, the bulk of the ledger was kept by Daniel's son, William B. Kurtz, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1858. He had a wife Mary, daughter Grace, and a son LeRoy whose name appears in the ledger.   William’s account show much greater detail in the jobs he worked on and include long prose descriptions of the design, materials, and labor that would be required to complete the job.  For example for a job building a house on Norton Street in Belmont, N.Y., William writes extensively about the drawings required for the job, the excavation, the masonry, the lath and plaster to be applied, the nature of the plumbing system, carpentry, sheathing, shingles, siding, exterior work, flooring, wains coating, the choice of doors and window, the cellar equipment, and painting and varnishing of both the interior and exterior. 

 Other addresses in Buffalo include 234 Virginia Street, a house on Grant Avenue, Whitney Place, and one in Bound Brook. The names of Francis Hershey, J.A. Keepers, Jacob Reinninger, Crowell Manufacturing, and William H. Kennard are cited. The specifications for 324 Virginia Street in Buffalo are even more extensive than the specifications for the house in Belmont.  Several inventories of Kurtz's personal property and assets also appear in the ledger.

 Some of the property that William owned were sold to local women and he held the mortgages which were paid monthly.  Kate Chamberlain had a mortgage with William of $3,200 at 6 per cent interest.  Mrs. Beatrice Rankin had a $ 6,500 mortgage at 5per cent, and Mrs. Anna Impallario and Mrs. Sara Rose also had mortgages with William for property they purchased from him in Buffalo.


Price: $900.00