A Lively Experiment

Notes on collections and events at the RIHS

Object Thursday: Parkinson’s Electric Royal Ice Pick

The Society recently received a gift of a nickel plated Parkinson’s Electric Royal Ice Pick, 1880-1930. Not having heard of the company and being very intrigued by the idea of an electric ice pick I checked the Providence Board of Trade Journal to determine when and where the Parkinson company was located in Providence.

Not finding any company information in the Board of Trade Journal or in our manuscript and printed catalogs, I searched the Providence City Directories for the Parkinson name and found the first record of a Edward Parkinson in 1880. Edward is listed individually as machinist working at 21 Friendship Street and also in the Providence Business directory pages under Machinists and Machinery Mfrs. (sewing machines). Being the only listed machinist we can posit that he is the Parkinson that produced this ice pick.

In the 1886 City Directory, Edward is working at 34 Friendship and individually listed in in the Providence Business directory pages under Machinists and Machinery Mfrs. From these listing between 1880-1886 it appears that Mr. Parkinson may have been working on his own perhaps repairing and or manufacturing sewing machines.

In 1898 he is again listed as machinist and also treasurer of the American Nickel Plating Co.. This firm also deals in sewing machines as well as bicycles. The firm’s address is 112 Elmwood & 69 Sprague. In an advertisement found under “Sewing Machines”, Edward Parkinson, was selling “Cycles and household sewing machines” with the office and salesroom at 112 Elmwood Avenue and the Factory and riding school, 69 Sprague Street, Providence,RI. One can surmise from the advertisement under the Parkinson name and the same street address as the American Nickel Plating Co. that Parkinson possibly founded this manufacturing concern and bicycle school.

Royal Ice Pick This tool is well made and fits nicely in the hand.These days we don’t have much use for ice picks as we have modern refrigeration that not only keeps our food cold and fresh but also make ice cubes for us.

1908 Providence Directory

1908 Providence Directory

By 1903, the American Plating Co., moved from 69 to 84 Sprague Street and was manufacturing loom forks and mill supplies along with other steel and malleable iron products. Circa 1922, the company moves to 308 Dexter not far from Sprague Street and continues on until circa 1940.

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