Contrary to what most Amsterdam residents probably thought, the Cranesville Block Company one of the most successful family-owned businesses in Amsterdam history has not always been owned only by the late John Tesiero. It was actually a Rug City trio of young WWII veterans that included Tesiero, Ray Francisco and today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant who began the company in a barn on Cranes Hollow Rd. in 1947.
Originally, the blocks were made by hand until Richard “Dick” Furman saw a pattern for a block-making machine in his Popular Science Magazine and built the contraption himself. Within a decade, the company had relocated to Amsterdam’s Erie Street and purchased a Multiplex block-making machine that produced 600 blocks per minute. Within another decade, Cranesville’s business had grown so big that the company moved into the old Adirondack Steam Plant, alongside Route 5S and Tesiero was buying up every sand pit and crushed stone maker he could find to feed the ravenous appetites of the company’s state of the art block making paraphernalia.
Dick Furman graduated from Amsterdam High School in 1943 and then joined the Navy to fight for his country. He married his wife Florence in 1947 and together they raised a family of four sons and a daughter. As he proved when he constructed that first block-making machine, Furman could build just about anything, including his own home. As successful as his business was, he remained a man of simple tastes and a giving heart.
Dick Furman passed away in May of 2015 at the age of 89. He shares his April 3rd birthday with this former Amsterdam Congressman.