Rhode Island Picture Post Cards
The James Hanley Brewing Company - World Famous Nine Horse Team
(Scroll down for Background History of James Hanley Brewing Company)

This is an advertising postcard sent from Providence, Rhode Island on April 15, 1917 and canceled with a machine cancel. The text on the reverse reads as follows:

These famous Roan Belgians are the largest and only NINE HORSE TEAM in the world. They range in height from 17 to 19 hands. The lightest horse weighs 2,200 lbs. and the heaviest 2,500 lbs. -- the team as a whole weighing 20,625 lbs. When hitched with their perfectly appointed harness, to the 20-foot Show Wagon, the display is wonderful. They are used for Exhibition purposes only and are shown throughout the country at all the leading fairs and horse shows.

Providence, Rhode Island

The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 ushered in the the famous Budweiser Clydesdale team when August Budweiser bought his father 18 Clydesdales and created the hitch used to this day by the brewing company. The 9 horse Belgian team shown above and used by the James Hanley Brewing Company predates this by at least 16 years.

I haven't been able to tie down a birth date for James Hanley as yet, but I did note that there were over a dozen James Hanley's that fit the time period and a rather large relocation of other Hanley's that emigrated from Ireland to Rhode Island and New England during the early 19th century. Since this migration of Irish to the Rhode Island area was several years prior to the Great Potato Famine of 1845-50, I assume that it was related more to a lack of jobs and opportunities than hunger. It was during this period that textile manufacturing was beginning to really take hold in the area.

The first mention of James Hanley, that I found was for 1861. It stated that in 1861, James Hanley was an established wholesale dealer of foreign and domestic liquors, wines and cigars. His address at the time was at 131 North Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island. This was his residence as well as his place of business. His brother Thomas J. Hanley began working for the firm in 1862

In 1870 James and Thomas formed the James Hanley & Brother Company located at 341 High Street and in 1877 James formed a partnership with John P. Cooney, the Cooney and Hanley Brewers. After Cooney died James bought out his share of the business from his heirs and reorganized as James Hanley & Co. 

James was operating out of 32 Exchange Place by 1884 and had become involved with several other breweries by this time. In 1886 James became the general manager of the Rhode Island Brewery and the name was changed to the James Hanley Brewing Company, which later became well known for it's quality ales and porters. In 1894 James Hanley and John E. Goode formed the American Brewing Company with Hanley as president and Goode as the treasurer. This brewing company was located at Eagle Street and Harris Avenue.

By the turn of the century, (1904-07) Hanley had become president of the Providence Brewing Company, (formerly the American Brewing Company) which also produced ales, lagers and porter beers.

By 1957 the James Hanley Brewing Company could no longer compete with the large National Chains and sold out to the Narragansett Brewing Company, which became the last surviving brewery in the state of Rhode Island. The Narragansett Brewing Company sold out to Falstaff in 1965.

I also noted that there appears to be a thriving business in James Hanley Brewing Company collectables; in particular trays featuring Hanley logos.

SEE:  Hanley's Peerless Ale Tray (Red)
             Hanley's Peerless All Tray (Green) 

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