December 5 – Happy Birthday Homer Snyder

SnyderAmsterdam, NY let a great one get away when 24-year-old Homer Snyder left his job at the McFarlane Knitting mill in 1887 to accept a foreman’s position in a knitting mill in Pennsylvania. Snyder’s parents had moved to Amsterdam from Wisconsin two years before he was born on December 5, 1863. He attended the community’s common schools but by the time he was 9-years-old he was working in one of Amsterdam’s knitting mills. An obituary for Snyder that appeared in a Utica newspaper claimed that even at that young age he was a diligent worker and he’d spend his leisure time studying how the knitting machines worked.

The news of this young man’s superior work skills must have circulated because when he was 19-years-old, he received and accepted that job offer to come work at the Pennsylvania mill and he left town. During the two years he worked there he married his wife and had his first child, a son who would die just 12-years later.

He returned to this area in 1884 and is credited with turning around a Cohoes, NY knitting mill that was failing. He then moved on to Little Falls, NY, where he accepted an offer to become the Superintendent of the Saxony Knitting Company. While in that position he devised a process to improve the texture of knitted fabrics. In 1890 he and a partner started a new company that manufactured the knitting machine attachment that enabled that process. The business was successful from the start. By 1896 Snyder had bought out his partner and established H.P. Snyder Manufacturing Co., Inc. He had also expanded into the manufacturing of bicycles and his company would eventually become one of the largest producers of bicycles in the entire country…

You can read the rest of my story about this talented Amsterdam athlete in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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