But 1898 was not the first appearance of the Gold Dust Twins. Another set first came on the scene in 1892.
Fairbank's Gold Dust washing products was a line of all-purpose cleaning agents researched and developed in the late 1880s by the Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank Soap Manufacturing Company and first introduced to the American consumer in 1889.
The Gold Dust Twins, "Goldie" and "Dusty," had appeared in printed media as early as 1892. Thanks to a new process, soap could now be offered in a granular powdered form instead of a long cumbersome bar and it became wildly popular.
The Gold Dust Twins ad campaign dominated America in the early part of the 20th century as banners proclaimed "Let the Gold Dust Twins do the work."
In 1879 Wallace noted:
"Of later years, they have grown greatly in the public esteem, and Fleety, with her record of 2:20 and Lucille, with hers of 2:19 1/4, have placed the family on a solid basis. There is no use in any longer attempting to pooh-pooh [dismiss] the Golddusts; they are not only trotters, but they are able to stay out the distance."
The first 2:30 trotter Lady Suffolk, 2:26, was a granddaughter of Messenger [Hambletonian 10's grandsire] while Flora Temple, the first horse to break the 2:20 mile barrier, was a Morgan mare.
The Studebaker Brothers (originally Blacksmiths from Ohio) opened in South Bend, Indiana in 1852 and was the largest carriage manufacturer in America. They proudly advertised that their product was “Fancy, hand-worked iron trim, the kind of courting buggy any boy and girl would be proud to be seen in.”
His father William H. "Billy" Vanderbilt (1821-1885) was the richest man in America and, amongst many other enterprises, had operated the American Horse Exchange just down Broadway in Long Acre Square. The Square was originally named for its counterpart in London and thousands of carriages were bought and sold and repaired there. It also was the center of the blacksmith trade in New York up until the turn of the century.
In 1905 it would be renamed Times Square as the New York Times newspaper would construct a high-rise building. They didn't drop the ball until New Years Eve of 1907 though.
In September of 1850 he tells of "The New York State Fair" in town with its crowds raising "a lot of dust." Rochester had hosted the State Fair along with quite a few other cities such as Albany, Syracuse, Watertown, Elmira, Binghamton etc. between 1849-1889 before finally settling in Syracuse in 1890.
He talks of his interest in several young ladies and of going on a sledding party and the numerous social events where he "danced until 10."
And he complains of sometimes spending more than his budget on an annual income of less than $500 a year as well as trying to prompt his boss for a raise of a $.50 cents a week.
In the later part of the 1700's road building was vastly improved as roads were laid out in straight lines between cities. “Turnpike Trusts” were set up to pay for their construction and they were toll roads. Collectors were staged every 10 miles or so to get your money. There was a barrier placed across the road [similar to the gates of pointed pykes that protected a medieval town from the charging cavalry] that would be turned/opened after the cash was paid and thus were called a "turn-pyke."
The Driving Club of New York had very select membership such as William Rockefeller [John D.'s younger brother and co-founder of Standard Oil] William C. Whitney [Patriarch of the Family and Secretary of the Navy], Leonard Jerome [financier, racetrack owner and Winston Churchill's grandfather] and William K. Vanderbilt amongst others.
In 1881 the Club leased Fleetwood Trotting Park just up Park Avenue on Webster by East 165th Street to hold their meetings. It was on the estate of William Morris and the track had originally opened as a commercial venture in 1871 but closed several years later.
It was there he prospered. In 1863 he invested in lard, a new growing commodity from the byproduct of the slaughter houses that were going gang busters due to the Civil War. He constructed and opened The N.K. Fairbank Company on the south side of Chicago. He would become known as "The Lard King of Chicago" as his ads always included a pair of cherubic animals [albeit hogs]...
In 1867 he published the Thoroughbred horses' lineage in "Wallace's American Stud Book" which included a hundred-page supplement with the names, color, and race records of the trotters who had gone a mile in 2:40 or faster. He also added their breeding IF it was known.
But while Dexter was being led off the track, the bull-headed and fired-up horse ran off from his groom and barreled through the barn area. He smashed the four-wheeled, single-passenger carriage "to atoms" before being caught... which made headlines.
After he was examined for and found not to have any injuries, Bonner hitched him to another new "sulky" and went a mile in 2:21... and then continued to go another mile in 2:35.
Maybe just to take the starch out of the sonovabitch?
In Hungary during the 1400's a wainwright [wagon maker] came up with the idea of putting smaller wheels in the front to make the carriage easier to turn thus making them more stable. Then they suspended the body off the axels [as the Romans had done over a thousand years before] with leather straps [thoroughbraces] to absorb the jarring shock of the rut-riddled roads. The new conveyance from that little village of Kocs was called a "Kosci" which morphed into "coach" and it spread throughout Europe.
Initially the coaches were used only by the rich but coaches for hire appeared in London by 1625. Since they were expensive, people still traveled by horse or just walked... they "hoofed it."
Wallace was the man, who in 1878, proposed the Standard of 2:30 for a mile to define the new breed. Horses, both trotter and pacer, were now known as Standardbred which was adopted by Trotting Horse Association.
In America the great age of turnpike building began in the early 1800s in the major cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Boston's web of toll roads that led into the city resembled the spokes of a wheel and it soon became known as "the Hub of New England."
Engineer John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836) constructed highways in England and revolutionized travel. The first “Macadamized” Road [using crushed stone] in America was the Boonsboro Turnpike Road in Maryland in 1822.
They also give us an example of life back in those days as he writes of being at the center of a young Americana. He notes with interest the arrival of President Millard Fillmore; the great orator Daniel Webster; the performance of "the Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind - who he referred to as "somewhat human" - as well as a speech by Henry Ward Beecher, the father of Harriet Beecher Stow [Uncle Tom's Cabin] and the freed slave turned abolitionist Frederick Douglas.
subject. He was a most uncompromising opponent of betting in all forms and had many bitter enemies among horse owners and track owners owing to his unceasing warfare against pool-selling. He would not go as far as from his office at Broadway and Fulton streets, to Fleetwood Park, to see an ordinary race. "
The first Stage coaches left from The Lamb in Boston in 1767. The Golden Age of Stage Coaches in New England ended in 1836. That was the year the first passenger rail-road opened from Boston to Providence. In 1835 in Boston alone there were over 1300 Stage Coaches operating daily on 77 Routes. They were reduced to local deliveries within a few years as the Rail-road Train now made a 50 mile-trip in less than three hours.
Ironically when Amos and Andy transferred to television veteran vaudeville actor Tim Moore [1887-1958] played the role of George "Kingfish" Stevens in the short-lived series from 1951-1953. Moore always claimed that the Gold Dust Twins characters were based on his vaudeville act in 1898 that he was in as an 11-year-old called "Cora Miskel and her Gold Dust Twins."
The act traveled throughout the U.S. and Great Britain and by 1904 joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus. When Moore got too old Miss Miskel just sent him home to his parents in Illinois. He would go on to be a stable boy then a jockey and eventually a prize fighter. With about $141,000 [$1.8 million in today's monies] earned from his fights Moore returned to vaudeville. He would be a headline star for over 20 years. He was called out of retirement for the Amos and Andy Show and became quite popular again.
A comical tale was "The Great Roast Beef Scandal of `58." Seems that Moore found that the last of the New Year's roast beef had been eaten by his "mooching in-laws" (stepson, stepdaughter, and her husband) and they looked at him blankly when he voiced his ire about it.
"These free-loaders have eaten everything in the house. My wife protects them and every time we talk about it, we get into an argument. The argument got a little loud and the next thing I knew, the big boy (his stepson Hubbard) jumped out of his chair. I ran upstairs and got my old pistol. I didn't want to hit anybody although I could have. Anyway, you should have seen them scatter when I fired that gun."
Up until the turn of the century there were over 4,600 carriage companies in the United States alone and boasted over 21 million horses. Most of the cities and towns sported a "Gentlemen's Trotting Club" to showcase the best.
In a strange twist of fate the largest owners of horses in America were the Railroad Companies.
And those Railroad owners were some of America’s best and most ardent Trotting Horse men.
Gold Dust Washing Powder was the really first major advertising campaign in the United States and it was highly effective as Americans were bombarded in the media [newspapers and magazines] by "The Twins"...
Goldsmith Maid  and Smuggler  were in the top five. Listed as number 6 was a foal of 1866 named Lucille Golddust, 2:16 1/4. She was also one of those headline horses who competed as they toured the country at such tracks as Hartford, Connecticut, Buffalo, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio.
Another one of Golddust's get was a mare foaled in 1868 named Fleety Golddust, 2:20. She was not quite as fast but would compete against the top performers as well.
While many had their residences in Chicago and New York, they spent the summers on their estates in Newport, Rhode Island and the balmy winters on Jekyll Island. There they enjoyed such activities as golf, sailing, game hunting, and carriage horses.
And now the story deepens...
In the early days, the "Trotting Thoroughbred's" breeding was not closely scrutinized. If he was fast and was a good-looker it did not matter in they were by Pa's pony out of Ma's mule. In fact 9 out of every 10 farmers in Sullivan County boasted of having a blooded horse that could show “marvelous speed.”
Dexter, 2:171/4 [1858-1888], foaled in nearby Orange County and sired by Rysdyk's Hambletonian, was out of a Morgan mare named Clara.
DUSTED: In Search of the Original Gold Dust Twins...
They had their home in Chicago, less than two miles from his factory, and would build a summer estate called Butternuts along the shores of Lake Geneva. He would become the Commodore of the Geneva Yacht Club as well as building a private golf course.
At one point the N.K. Fairbank Co. employed over 400 people in three major cities and he invested heavily (and wisely) in railroads and mining.
He would become one of the first members of the exclusive Jekyll Club off the coast of Georgia in 1886 - known as "the Millionaires Club" - whose fellowship included the richest men in America.
With names like the following amongst their membership many of the country's major decisions were made there over a dinner:
He acclimated to "the Big City" life (population 36,000) as Rochester became the leading grain-producing city in America with over twenty refineries.
Back in Sodus illness stuck and took first his father and eventually his beloved older widowed sister. He worked through his grief and would record his sadness in a set of diaries that chronicled those years of 1850-1851.
But Nathaniel was a worker and after a few years he became the western sales representative of the David Dowd Co. the largest grain dealer in America and followed the already established route to Chicago in 1855.
The popular radio show that my father referred to was first aired in 1929 and called, coincidentally, The Gold Dust Twins. It was actually the forerunner of today’s info commercials as the show's theme was the advertising jingle of its sponsor Lever Brothers' Gold Dust washing powder.
The show featured two characters "Goldy" and "Dusty" as the twins. It was the same ill-conceived genre as Amos and Andy that ran on radio from 1928-1960.
Dexter had raced throughout America taking his mark in Buffalo, winning easily in Cleveland, and impressing Chicago so much that the Trotting Park was renamed Dexter Park.
It was Dexter that really established the dominance of his sire Rysdyk's Hambletonian 10 especially with his defeat of Ethan Allen, one of the many "Morgan" trotters that descended from schoolteacher Justin Morgan's stallion "Figure" [foaled in 1789] in Springfield, Massachusetts.
While Nathaniel Fairbank might not have called his very successful soap powder Fairbanks Golddust to keep up with his fellow "seal-skin brigade" Club members, he did name one of his sons born in 1876 Dexter.
In Wallace’s' 2nd Register in his Table 1, Dexter still ranked tenth in the world of the forty-five 2:20 trotters
It was these two popular mares, one bay and the other grey, that were most certainly known (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) as "The Golddust Twins."
The 24-foot-wide level well-drained roads reduced travel time by half. In 1786 the trip from Boston to New York had taken up to six days and with the advent of the new turnpikes by 1828 it only required a day and a half.
The coaches would leave early in the day, change horses every 20 miles or so as the passengers stretched their legs, and stop for lunch and dinner at scheduled times.
The supplement turned out to be quite popular and more often used than its Thoroughbred counterpart. Wallace then devoted his energies entirely to compiling “Wallace's American Trotting Register” first published in 1871.
The second volume was printed in 1874 and, with its overwhelming success, Wallace moved his enterprise to Manhattan in 1875 where he continued to publish Wallace's Monthly magazine which included summaries of all the trotting races across America.
One of the neighbors was Robert Bonner [1824-1899] the publisher of the New York Ledger whose estate was at East 164th Street and College Avenue. He paid record-amounts for the fastest trotters such as Dexter, Maud S, and Sunol but used them just as his road horses. He often had match races against ex-President and Union Club member General Ulysses S. Grant.
Stephen Fairbank was a carpenter as well and a deacon in the church. The Kellogg/Fairbank house was host to the weekly meetings of the Elders, a rather somber place. It was here that Nathaniel was born in 1829. The young Nathaniel was schooled well and often.
Unfortunately his mother passed in 1837 when he was eight.
After completing school at 15 he was apprenticed to his brother-in-law Henry as a mason in nearby Lyons, just south of Sodus and right along the Erie Canal. Due to Henry's untimely death in 1845, "Kell" Fairbank would be re-apprenticed to Henry's cousins in Rochester as a bookkeeper when he was 18.
In Wallace's Trotting Horse Register he was represented well:
Fleetwood Park was a mere 7 miles north while just across the East River over in Brooklyn the Prospect Park Fairgrounds conducted its meet up until the late 1870's. It was here in 1873 that Smuggler carried 24 ounces of weight in front and trotted in 2:19 3/4 for the mile.
It also was at Prospect Park in 1869 that Robert Bonner paraded his $33,000 acquisition [$540,000 in today's money] the retired nine-year-old World Champion Dexter, 2:17 1/4 in front of an appreciative crowd of over 8,000. He brushed him a quarter in :33 seconds flat. Amongst the mummers of awe Bonner announced that he would "go a mile" with him after the next race had been contested.
There was even is a set of ham radio equipment in the 1950s that was nicknamed the "Gold Dust Twins." The receiver and transmitter cost over $2500 when new (equivalent to over $25,000 in 2016 dollars) and were considered 'top of the line'. Ham radio enthusiasts call the pair "The Gold Dust Twins" as they had not been affordable to most amateurs.
The most popular vehicle in America was the buggy which was a light four-wheel carriage with or without a collapsible top that seated one or two people.
While the most common means to haul a cart was with oxen, the nobility rode in carriages drawn by horses. Since roads in medieval England were not too well made the elite would prefer to ride on horseback while the general populace just walked.
His sire was Vermont Morgan (and) his dam was a mare owned by Andrew Hoke. She was said to be by Zilcaadi, a chestnut Arabian horse. He is described as being pure gold in color," "sixteen hands high and weighed 1,275 pounds. It should be noted that he was never defeated in the show ring at the trot or at the flat- footed walk " and he covered a mile in six minutes. His trotting fame earned him a place in the U.S. Trotting Association and a long list of renown progeny.
He was appropriately named... Golddust.
In 1866 he married Helen Livingston Graham, who was descended from Robert Livingston [1718-1775] and one of New York's leading families. Kell evolved into a prominent civic leader as he was founder and longtime president of the Chicago Club (which was the mid-west's counterpart to New York's famous Union Club), president of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees, first president of the Board of Trustees of the Orchestral Association (now the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and a directing member the Chicago Relief and Aid Society after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
The carriage had become a very visible sign of class status and owning one and driving in the park established membership in the upper class. People in society were judged by their horses and carriages much like the way we look at the difference between a new BMW and an old beat-up Yugo with no muffler...
"Hey, at least it runs!"
Most of the wealthy were urbanites yet they still had a need for open spaces and trees. In 1857, across from the millionaire’s row of 5th Avenue, Central Park was constructed. It was not intended for everyday people but was designed with roads specifically for the rich to showcase their "Road" and 'Carriage" horses.
Breeding would come to forefront with the writings and compilations of John H. Wallace.
Born in 1822 in rural Allegheny County Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh and the Ohio border, in 1845 he moved to a farm near Muscatine, Iowa and became involved with the local Agricultural Society. By 1856 he was a chief official in the Iowa State Fairs and often called upon for the pedigrees of the animals. While there were "herd books” for the registration of cattle, there was none for any breed of horse available. Wallace began by collecting any information available on "the British racehorse" - as the Thoroughbred was called - as well as "the Morgan's" and other fast trotting horses.
Railroading spread throughout America and created an economic boom unrivaled in history. Many of the men who had invested in shipping and canals became the Railroad Barons. Wealth was a new phenomenon in a rural America in the nineteenth century and in the 1850s it was concentrated in the major port cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston and their houses would rival the best in Europe.
There also had been "the Clays" from Henry Clay [a foal of1837] as well as the first Morgan-Arabian cross that was foaled in Kentucky in 1855.
He was bought as a weanling for $100 by L.L. Dorsey of Lexington and would eventually stand at his 1,000 acre Eden Stock Farm. According to the Morgan Registry: "For trotting speed" he "was the peer of anything bred before in Kentucky. Racing in 1861 he won in 2:43 and defeated Iron Duke [a 'Clay horse' foaled 1853] in a match race, best three out of five heats, for a purse of $10,000. Besides being an animal of great beauty and refinement, he was noted for endowing his offspring with extreme speed. Although his stud career was curtailed by the Civil War and his own untimely death [in 1871] he sired 302 foals and left 44 trotters of record. In getting speed, he outranks even the great Hambletonian. In addition to their speed and racing quality, his get also illustrated the style and beauty of their Morgan and Arab lineage." [which years later newspaper magnate and horse breeder William Randolph Hearst would term as "the Morab"]
In February 1851 he would travel to New York City on business and stayed at The Astor House, once the site of Astor's butcher shop, now the grandest hotel in America. The 22-year-old Kell's impression of the City:
Too many people too many strange faces. Too many men and women that look all alike. Too much noise & confusion too much of nothing and too much of everything. Too much of all!
George Fisher Baker [1840-1931] Founder of the First National Bank of NY.
Edwin and George Gould, the two sons of Railroad magnate "Jay" Gould [1836–1892]
William Avery Rockefeller, Jr. [1841- 1922] co-founder of Standard Oil.
Theodore Vail [1845-1920] President of AT&T.
Henry Hyde [1834-1899] head of the largest insurance company in the world.
Marshall Field [1834-1906] owner of the Chicago department store.
John Pierpont Morgan [1837-1913] the financier.
Joseph Pulitzer [1847-1911] the newspaper publisher.
William K. Vanderbilt [1849-1920] grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt [1794-1877, the 2nd wealthiest person in US history.]
A few blocks south on "The Broadway" was Madison Cottage [named for President James Madison] It was built in the 1820's alongside another park to be called Madison Square. For over 35 years it was the last stop for those leaving the city and the 1st for those coming south in. Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, were all born in the neighborhood.
In government in the 1930’s we had Benjamin V. Cohen (1894–1983), whose first appearance on the national scene was as a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Brain Trust. Cohen became a part of the Roosevelt administration in 1933 when he, along with Thomas Gardiner Corcoran (1900–1981] were the leaders of the "New Dealers," a group of young lawyers that became prominent within the administration. They appeared together on the cover of Time magazine in 1938 and were popularly known as the "Gold Dust Twins" as well.
Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank [1829-1903] was born in Sodus located between Syracuse and Rochester, New York. His mother's family, the Kelloggs, had come to the area from Massachusetts in 1815 overland by way of The Mohawk Trail. The ancient way had been in use by the native Americans as they sold their beaver pelts to the NY Dutch and later to the English. It was along this route that John Jacob Astor [1763-1848], a butcher in Manhattan, monopolized the fur trade into Ohio, Illinois, and Ontario and became the first multi-millionaire in a young America. The well-travelled path was also the highway that the cattle herds were driven to market to Albany, then down the Hudson, and eventually into New York City.
Grandfather Nathaniel Kellogg was a farmer and a carpenter and had a 100-acre farm off the beaten path in Sodus center. His daughter Mehitabel would arrive in his household with her husband Stephen Fairbank and their young daughter Cordelia in 1827 from Williamstown in western Massachusetts. It was a mere two years after the Erie Canal opened the mid-west to the great influx of settlers.
A grain barge along the Erie Canal c.1850
The shot Moore fired hit the china cabinet for which he received a $100 fine and a year's probation.
On the other side of the Square the prestigious Union Club of New York would open its doors [to invite only, of course] in 1853. It was the mansion of Leonard Jerome.
Founded in 1836 it was one of the oldest so-called “Millionaires’ Club" who, in the later part of the 19th century, numbered over 4,000 in America. Union Club member and one of the founders of the Jekyll Club, the grandson of railroad/shipping magnate Commodore Cornelius, William Kissam Vanderbilt (1849-1920) would build “Madison Square Garden” in 1879.
Using his business acumen he moved toward the development of liquid shortenings, Fairbank expanded his business into the manufacture of soap and cleansers made from lard and cottonseed oil. His chief chemists was David Wesson, who would later develop Wesson Oil.
During winter the snow on roads prohibited walking and wheels often got mired in the mush. The canals and rivers froze so people couldn't travel by boat and sleighing became immensely popular.
People would dash about in a one-horse open sleigh called a “cutter.” And nowhere was it more popular than in Central Park.
Almost twenty years after they’d raced, in 1892, a sharp advertising firm capitalized on the already recognized name to create the first mass advertising campaign for the new owners of Fairbanks Golddust. They were the two soap-making Lever Brothers from England named William and James.
The Twins would become one of the most iconic names in sports and advertising history.
By the 1870s, carriages had become more affordable and more widely available as mass production had lowered costs so much that eventually mail-order catalogs would sell simple vehicles for as little as $20.
To quote from The Horse of America his self-published book of 1897: His "whole interest and labor were in tracing and classifying pedigrees and records and drawing from the statistics so collected and classified deductions as to the sources of speed, the laws of heredity and the way to improve the breed of trotting horses." Wallace was "more of a scientist than a horseman. He cared little for what may be termed the practical side of horsemanship and racing. His taste and talent were almost wholly for the historical and scientific phases of the
“Cariage” is the French-Norman Latin-based word meaning "to carry." The French Norman were Vikings from Scandinavia whose descendants are now the Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes. The “North men” took over the north of France in 911.
When Angles-land (England) was conquered by William La Bastard and the Normans in 1066, most of the Angle-Saxon words [basically High German] used by peasants were replaced by the ruling Nobility’s language:
Ox became known as beef; pig became pork; a calf was veal; a deer was called Venison; chicken was termed poultry; sheep was now mutton and the cart was named a carriage.
And while the original pair has long since been forgotten, "the Golddust Twins" still survive to this day every time there is some sort of friendly - but quite serious - competition.