Merchant Stores had a large hydraulic press that it used to compress cotton bales. In 1891, people complained that when "exhaust steam was blown off it made a noise that sounded like a cross between the bellow of a bull and the scream of a tiger cat, which could be easily heard two miles." The press ran day and night, infuriating the nearby residents. The complaints about the noise eventually attracted the attention of the Board of Health, which suppressed it.
Merchant Stores was located at Piers 40 and 41 at the foot of Coffey Street.
Text of the article “The New Cotton Crop” in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 1891
Large quantities of cotton are arriving at the Merchants’ stores, German American stores and the stores of the New York warehousing company on Red Hook point. It is said that the exports promise to be very large, but so far, the immense hydraulic press erected two years ago at the Merchants’ stores has been practically idle. When the exhaust steam was blown off it made a noise that sounded like a cross between the bellow of a bull and the scream of a tiger cat, which could be easily heard two miles. The people in the neighborhood were furious, as the machine worked day and night with a bellow or scream about every two minutes. One woman was stated to have died of its noise. The attention of the board of health was drawn to it, and it was promptly suppressed.