American District Steam Heating, Taber Industries (455 Bryant Street)

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American District Steam Heating, Taber Industries (455 Bryant Street)


Before the electric age, there was the steam age.

Steam (harnessing the pressure created by boiling water) was used to power factory equipment, trains, and even to heat buildings. A system for heating entire cities with steam ("district steam heating") is developed by Birdsall Holly in Lockport in 1877. His American District Steam Company has a sprawling plant in North Tonawanda at 455 Bryant Street in the early 20th Century.

(Holly also develops the modern network of water mains connecting fire hydrants, providing a reliable water supply for firefighters, an important innovation for early American cities.)

As of 2022, the buildings are operated by Taber Industries. From their website:
Originally founded in 1941 by Ralph Taber, The Taber Instrument Corporation was established to manufacture precision testing instruments. As lead engineer, Mr. Taber invented numerous devices that aided in the understanding of material physical properties. Many of the original product concepts were so innovative they are still widely used today, and continue to be considered the standard for comparison in many industries. Best known for our expertise in abrasion and surface wear, Taber also offers a full product line to evaluate resistance to scratch, mar and scuff damage; along with bending and stiffness. Acquired by the Teledyne organization in 1966, the company’s name was changed to Teledyne Taber. In August 1992, the company changed ownership and became Taber Industries.
The buildings in the northeast section of the plant are now operated by LTR Rigging and Hauling.