Across the long and rich history of Albany, Nipper ranks as the top dog. The twenty-eight-foot tall, four-ton steel and fiberglass canine statue anchored atop a warehouse on North Broadway has captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike for three generations.

Nipper was a real-life dog in nineteenth-century England who was painted by the dog owner’s brother, Francis Barraud. He depicted the curious dog listening to a gramophone and titled it “His Master’s Voice.” It became an internationally recognized logo for several audio recording companies, including RCA.

Nipper came to his downtown Albany perch at 991 Broadway in 1958 following renovations of a rundown reinforced concrete warehouse built in 1900 to house the American Gas Meter Co. The refurbished structure became the new home of RTA, an appliance distributor specializing in products by RCA. The sculpture was fabricated in Chicago, shipped by rail in five sections, assembled on the roof with the help of a ten-story crane, and attached to a metal frame.

Nipper has no formal legal protection as a landmark, although its place in the heart and soul of the city is unassailable.

 

Magnifying Glass
Nipper at 991 Broadway, Albany
Photograph by Gary Gold
2015
Digital photograph
Courtesy of Gary Gold
Magnifying Glass
Nipper Advertising Statue
Twentieth century
Painted plaster
Courtesy of Nancy Carey Cassidy