Charles B Knox Gelatine Co. Inc.
Edition of
The Old Mohawk-Turnpike Book

Charles B. Knox Gelatine Co., Inc.,
Johnstown, New York


Johnstown, New York

Outside the eternal rush and turmoil of metropolitan existence in a section of the country where ideals are less tarnished and the finer things of life are more sought after than they are in huge commercial centers, lies the city of Johnstown. Born and bred under a baptism of fire, nurtured through its precarious Colonial existence by the kindly but firm guidance of Sir William Johnson, that splendid old warrior from whom the city takes its name, Johnstown has gradually grown from a community of strategic importance in a military way, until today it stands revered as a pioneer city and a city of continued importance in the food industry.

It was in Johnstown in 1891, that Charles B. Knox established his first, modest plant for the preparation of gelatine as a food. This plant has grown side by side with the later growth of the city. Each owes much to the other. Each takes great pride in the other, for though one is a city and the other a factory, they are united by the same fundamental platforms of cleanliness, honesty and fair play. No unsightly slums mar the fair city. No grumbling, underpaid workers mar the factory. The streets and beautiful homes of Johnstown are fresh and exude the wholesomeness of their Colonial heritage. The factory, growing in this environment bears the same indelible stamp. It is beautifully constructed of reinforced concrete along the most advanced lines of up-to-date factory architecture with perfect lighting, heating and sanitary conditions. Situated back from the roadway, as it is, in its own little park of well laid out flower beds and shrubbery, it has become a landmark to be pointed out to visitors to the city.

When Charles B. Knox started the business, very little was known of the possibilities of making dainty desserts out of gelatine and, for a time, it was an uphill fight to get a footing. Women in those days depended very much upon their own ingenuity for inventing new dishes for the home table. There were no domestic science courses in college. Few women then, even went to college. There were no cooking classes or community clubs. Managing the home was a handicraft task passed on from mother to daughter. It was not, as it is today, a science. Knowing the merits of his gelatine and through his own indomitable pluck, Mr. Knox laid the foundation for the very substantial business which has grown each year until today the Knox Gelatine package is known the world over and is recognized by all as the standard Gelatine.

All this was a tedious task throughout the early days of the business for it required a great determination and a clear vision of the possibilities of an unknown product. But the hard work was well repaid, for it brought success.

Perhaps the best part of his success was the fact that he never forgot the city that offered him his start, nor did he ever do anything in his business contrary to the clean principles held sacred in the hearts of his fellow townsmen.

Upon the death of Mr. Charles B. Knox, the responsibilities of the business were assumed by his wife, Mrs. Rose M. Knox. She operated the plant in the interest of her sons, then in their boyhood. The surviving son, Mr. James E. Knox, is now the vice-president of the company and directs it jointly with his mother, who is still the active president.

Mrs. Knox had written the first Knox recipe book many years before, but after she had been conducting the business for a few years, experience taught her that she needed to create more recipes, more uses for the product that was growing in popularity to such an extent, that she began in her experimental kitchen these new and attractive desserts and salads. New recipes were created to fill the ever increasing need of the housewives, and out of this experience came the famous little booklet, "Dainty Desserts for Dainty People," published for free distribution to help the housewife in her daily task. That booklet has gone through many editions and is recognized internationally today as the leading authority on the making of desserts, salads and gelatine candies.

Mrs. Knox's next task was to build a new factory. The old one had grown inadequate for the needs of the growing business and besides Mrs. Knox had her own ideas as to what a modern food factory should be. 

Screening the Gelatine.
Gelatine being screened for uniformity.  It is then fed into
the hoppers which carry it to the automatic bag filling
machines on the second floor.


In designing and laying out the new building, she kept the thought in mind that she must have a large, airy, convenient kitchen on the upper floors, where the gelatine was to be handled, and the main floor was to represent the immaculate every-day home where cleanliness, order and system prevailed, and where one found comfort in his surroundings, and, with the instinct of a good housewife of experience, she proceeded to make it so.

When the new factory was built it was made as nearly fireproof as modern building construction permits. Not only the company's interests but the convenience and comfort of its employees were taken into consideration.

There is not a nook in the large building except in the vaults, where the light of day cannot penetrate. Large windows on all four sides of the building and also in the portions connecting the rooms, arranged and shaded in a scientific way, give the best light and ventilation it is possible to obtain. The entire place is fitted up with indirect lighting which is so easy on the eyes.

In the erection of the building, the Knox Company has not only lived up to the present regulations required by the State Board of Health, but has anticipated future laws of sanitation. The concrete walls in all the rooms outside of the office have been painted cream, while the floors, of a composition soft and pliable under the feet, have a color scheme of cream and brown.

The employees of the packing department wear white coats and aprons. Realizing that gelatine is a dainty food product, the company has purchased and built various packing and filling machines so that at no time does the pure sparkling gelatine come in contact with hands. One has but to go through the building and see the gelatine packed to discern at once that the whole aim has been to have the home of Knox Sparkling Gelatine as clean and sanitary as it is possible to make it and not to have it exceeded in sanitation and equipment by any building constructed for the manufacture of a high grade food product.

Not only has Johnstown benefited through the publicity given this model industrial plant but it has also become famous internationally directly through Knox advertising and the people of the city are appreciative of the fact. The little packages of gelatine and the millions of copies of the famous booklet, "Dainty Desserts for Dainty People," which have been sent out all over the world, have found their way into millions of homes, and on each package and booklet can be read the words, "Knox Sparkling Gelatine, Johnstown, New York." The product is widely advertised throughout the country and in every advertisement the fact that the gelatine comes from Johnstown, N.Y., is very apparent.

The Knox home stands amid beautifully landscaped grounds, and although built in modern times, its pure Colonial architecture harmonizes pleasantly, in the mind of the visitor, with the historic surroundings, the tales and the aura of romance that will hang forever over Johnstown.

The greenhouses on the estate have become famous for their rare orchids. In fact, their orchids are a matter of pride to the whole community, winning, as they have every year, prizes in flower shows throughout the country.

Perhaps the best part of the homestead is the fact that it is a real home of kindly and gracious hospitality. Mrs. Knox, although a business woman, acknowledges that woman's first duty lies in her home and what is more, she practices what she preaches.

Exhaustive research work made with Knox Sparkling Gelatine, conducted by highly scientific authorities, clearly explains and proves the great importance of plain edible Gelatine in the diet, from infancy to old age.





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