Detailed Vat Photos from the Douw-Quackenbush Rum Distillery, Quackenbush Square Parking Facility Historic Archaeological Site, Albany, NY


Photographs of the distillery vats, still bases, and plumbing at the Douw-Quackenbush distillery, Quackenbush Square Parking Facility Site, Albany, NY. Citation for Figure 4: "Spirit Distillation." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Ann Arbor: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library, 2010. Web. [fill in today's date in the form 18 Apr. 2009 and remove square brackets]. <>. Trans. of "Distillateur d'eau-de-vie," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 3 (plates). Paris, 1763.

Cite this Record

Detailed Vat Photos from the Douw-Quackenbush Rum Distillery, Quackenbush Square Parking Facility Historic Archaeological Site, Albany, NY. Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc.. 2002 ( tDAR id: 381452) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RV0NFF

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1759 to 1823

Spatial Coverage

min long: -73.76; min lat: 42.634 ; max long: -73.729; max lat: 42.67 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc.

Record Identifiers

New York State Museum Accession Number(s): A2003.23

Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc. Project Number(s): 1997

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Unique Site Number(s): 00

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Project Review Number(s): 00PR02006


General Note: Detailed photos of the vats and distillery elements of the Douw-Quackenbush Distillery at the Quackenbush Square Parking Facility site, Albany, NY. Qbush Vat Photo 1: Fermentation vats from the late phase. These were considerably smaller than the early vats but were constructed similarly. The staves were pinned together and bounds with sapling ties. This view shows Feature 507, which originally held about 1,500 gallons and measured 6.5 ft (2 m) in diameter. The intact height was about 5 ft (1.5 m) and the estimated original height was 6 ft (1.8 m). Qbush Vat Photo 2: This view shows the hoops around one of the vats (Feature 501). They were made of saplings with the ends overlapped and bound. To ensure a tight seal, barrels were assembled when the wood was dry. When put into use, the wood expanded as it became saturated. Qbush Vat Photo 3: This view shows one of the six early vats. With a diameter of 8.5 ft (2.6 m), this vat originally held 3,000 gallons. Qbush Vat Photo 4: The floors of the vats were constructed of planks attached with trenails to underlying wooden joists. The planks were pegged to one another. This view depicts Feature 504 as the floor was dismantled to permit excavation of the pipes. Qbush Vat Photo 5: The fermentation vats were connected to the underlying pipes by short wooden tubes. In Feature 504, a wooden collar around the tube ensured a tight fit between it and the floor boards. Qbush Vat Photo 6: Feature 509 was encountered with a plug in situ. Like the earlier examples, this piece was broken at the top. However, at over 4 ft (1.2 m), it was much closer to its original length, which would have been long enough to extract the plug while the vat was full. Qbush Vat Photo 7: The wooden pipes were constructed of logs with a hole bored lengthwise. At the ends, the holes were plugged and a metal band was wrapped around the tapered tip of the pipe. The pipe was faced on the top and both sides. This view shows the join between two pipes. The conical tip of Feature 538 was inserted into a hole in the side of Feature 528 (foreground). Qbush Vat Photo 8: The footing for the chimney is in the foreground of this view of Feature 535. The footings for the stills were circular with clay fill in the center. Qbush Vat Photo 9: This view shows the stone footing for the stills and chimney. It was constructed on the 17th-century brickyard surface. The large still base is in the foreground. The small base is further back, just in front of the 19th-century foundation and water pipe. Though in most locations, the footing was 1 ft (0.3 m) or less tall, in one place it survived intact to the elevation of the 18th-century surface inside the still house. Qbush Vat Photo 10: This view shows the remains of the early collector vat (Feature 537). Most of the staves were removed when two new fermentation vats were constructed (Features 507 and 508). The lowest set of bands and the vat floor were intact. Also, the ends of three early wooden pipes that outlet into the collector were in situ. Qbush Vat Photo 11: The two pipes that entered the collector vat from the east had square ends. This view depicts Feature 529. Qbush Vat Photo 12: This view shows the plumbing system beneath one of the truncated early fermentation vats (Feature 517). The plug had a pointed tip and was broken off at the top. Qbush Vat Photo 13: This view shows the wooden pipes beneath the base of the fermentation vat (Feature 506). The drain tube found elsewhere was missing. In its place, the pipe was stoppered. This attempt to keep soil out of the pipe and liquid in suggests that the plumbing system was still in use with other vats. Also shown is the connection between the two pipes. The tapered tip of Feature 542 was inserted into the hole in the side of Feature 528. The connection was perpendicular.

Source Collections

New York State Museum

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
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