A History of its Industries, Railroads and Inventions





Scythe and Axe Maker
 of Ballston Spa, NY



This book was a side project that was written while researching the book "Great Inventors of the Capital District." Due to its limited market, only 75 copies will be printed. Since about 15 will be donated, only 60 will be sold to the public. Each copy will be signed and numbered.

Isaiah Blood was born in 1810 and grew up in the town of Ballston. He assumed ownership of his father's scythe shop and built it into one of the largest edge-tool works in the country. He served as town supervisor, state assemblyman, and state senator.

The book contains dozens of pictures, graphics, and maps; a genealogy of Blood's direct ancestors dating back to the 1600s; and a comprehensive history of Bloodville.

NOTE: This book is now out of print (2016).


Table of Contents


Part I: The Blood Family

The First Bloods in America
Isaiah’s Ancestors
The Revolutionary War
Prominent Family Members 

Part II: The Blood Factories

Early History of Ballston Spa
Tool Making on the Kayaderosseras
The Art of Scythe Making
The Growth of Bloodville
Establishment of the Axe Works
The Civil War and Reconstruction
The Blood Family in New York State
Serving the Public 

Part III: Decline of Bloodville

The Town’s Largest Funeral
Trials of the Blood Family
Fate of the Scythe and Axe Works
End of the Blood Family



Excerpt from the Introduction (copyright 2010, Timothy Starr):


The evolution of hard edge tool making in the Ballston area closely mirrored the rest of the country. The earliest scythes and axes were made individually by blacksmiths and sold locally, much as Sylvester Blood did for thirty years at his home on Brookline Road. During the mid-1800s, the assembly line was introduced so that workers would be responsible for just one step of tool fabrication. Sylvester’s son Isaiah introduced the assembly line process in the new factories along the Kayaderosseras Creek, thereby increasing production by an order of magnitude. At the end of the century, various industry “trusts” were created that purchased many smaller companies and operated similarly to the conglomerates of today. Often the trusts closed down most of the branch locations and consolidated into a few large factories. The American Axe & Tool Company purchased the Blood factories in 1892. When most of the buildings were destroyed by fire a few years later, the company decided to consolidate operations into its Glassport, Pennsylvania headquarters, so the factories were never rebuilt.

The domestic edge tool business had passed its peak even before American Axe & Tool entered the area. In 1870, axe production started to decline due to the increased use of the crosscut saw. Axes were still used to limb trees, but the important role of the axe was diminished. Likewise the development of farming machinery such as tractors and threshers eliminated the need for hand-held scythes and sickles.

Isaiah Blood did not live to see these changes in the marketplace. Throughout his lifetime, the demand for his hard edge tools remained steady, even through economic recessions that forced many other businesses to idle or close. Throughout the three decades of Blood’s ownership of the scythe and axe works, there is no record of worker strikes or widespread discontent. Dozens of employees spent their entire working lives in the Bloodville factories.

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