First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County
The Aborn Family of East Orange, New Jersey
Margaret Lyman Aborn (January 23, 1835 - August 16, 1909),
was the daughter of Lemuel Hastings Arnold (1792-1852, Governor of Rhode Island
1831-33 and a Congressman 1845-47) and the widow of Benjamin Aborn (March 2, 1832 - December 1, 1884).
She lived in Providence, R.I. and in Brooklyn before coming to East Orange, where her home was at
562 Park Avenue. According to tradition the Unitarians
of the area met in her parlor before the organization of the First Unitarian
Church of Essex County in 1890.
Three of Margaret L. Aborn's sons were members of our church:
A fourth son, Albert C. Aborn of Upper Montclair, also in the coffee business, does not appear in the membership roll
up to 1938.
- Benjamin Aborn (born in Providence,R.I., 1856, died March 4, 1934). With his cousin Thomas L. Arnold,
he founded in 1878 the
firm of Arnold & Aborn in New York City, referred to in one source as "importers and jobbers of coffee and
tea," and in another as a "roasting firm." He retired
from the firm about 1919.
His wife was Agnes Baldwin Aborn (1872-1950).
- William H. Aborn (born 1865 in Brooklyn, died January 31, 1928).
William H. Aborn was at various times Treasurer and Secretary of the church.
He was a coffee broker, with the firm Aborn & Cushman. In 1916 he conducted boiling and filtration tests
in the mountains of Yellowstone Park, demonstrating the altitude limit for coffee brewing, at 9,000 feet.
He was one of the founders of a society newspaper
called The Record,, and then of the Record Ambulance service of the Oranges. (Among the other founders
of the ambulance service was Allerton D. Hitch.) William H. Aborn served on the East Orange City Council from 1919 to 1921,
and "received a major share of the credit for having broken the deadlock between East Orange and the
Lackawanna Railroad over the abolishment of grade crossings in the city." His wife Isabel Thorp Aborn (1867 to 1952)
was a director of the
Visiting Nurses Association and the Children's Aid and Protective Society.
(Their return from their wedding trip was marked by a tea and reception at Margaret Lyman Aborn's house, on April 20, 1892,
with about 250 guests received.)
Their son, Benjamin Aborn 2nd (1894-1989),
joined the church March 27,1910.
Edward Aborn (1871-1930). He married Natalie Palmer (1881-1953; daughter of Ernest Palmer,
M.D., 1850-1913) on June 3, 1903.
He was a leader of our church's Unity Club, who wrote and acted in
plays produced by that club, and who was for a time the superintendent of the Sunday School. He was a principal
in the firm Arnold & Aborn. He invented the Make-Right coffee filter device in 1911. He was the
reporter for the Better Coffee Making Committee of the National Coffee Roasters Association, which from 1913 through
1916 engaged in an educational campaign promoting brewed coffee.
He served as second vice president of that Association in 1918.
He patented a design for the Tru-Bru filter coffee pot (an improved version of the Make-Right) in 1920,
and a coffee-brewing apparatus and a process of coffee extraction
in 1930. His son Edward Aborn [Jr.] (born about 1911, died Jan.15, 1995) took over the company
at his father's death, helped develop instant coffee, and was president of the National Coffee Association in 1951-53.
Two other Aborns listed in
the membership roll up to 1938 are Margaret Isabel Aborn (joined June 7, 1914) and Louie Palmer Aborn (joined June 8, 1919).
- Aborn family gravestones, Rosedale Cemetery, Orange, NJ.
- "Aborn-Palmer," New York Times, June 4, 1903.
- Coombs v. Aborn, 21 R.I. 40, 68 A. 817, 14 L.R.A. N.S. 1248 (1908).
- "East Orange Society Events," New York Times, April 21, 1892.
- Obituary of Benjamin Aborn, New York Times, March 5, 1934, p.15.
- Obituary of Edward Aborn [Jr.], New York Times, Jan. 28, 1995.
- Obituary of William H. Aborn, Newark Evening News, Jan. 31, 1928.
- U.S. Design Patent No. 54,810 and Patents 1762208 and 1762209.
- William H. Ukers, All About Coffee (New York: The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1922),
pages 392, 439, 513-14, 651, 701-702, 713-716, 751,