Archive for the ‘Industrial’ Category

Leonard Silk Company Mill (1875)

Saturday, November 11th, 2017 Posted in East Windsor, Industrial, Italianate | No Comments »

The factory building at 132 Main Street at Warehouse Point, East Windsor, was built in 1875 by the Leonard Silk Company. Founded by J. N. Leonard in Rockville, the company produced thread from raw Japanese Silk. The industrial history of the site the Leonard Silk mill goes back to 1804, when Brazail Sexton started a woolen mill. The East Windsor Woolen Mill later failed and the property was acquired by Jehiel Simonds in 1870. The Leonard Silk Company became a tenant of the five-story building, along with the Barber & Chapin Silk Company. Not long after moving in, the building burned down in a dramatic fire on the evening of December 16, 1874. The fire had threatened the neighboring gas works, which were saved, preventing a disastrous explosion. Leonard’s company soon rebuilt, as reported in the Hartford Courant (under “State Correspondence”) on January 26, 1875:

It was two weeks after the fire before they concluded on their present course; and in the short time which has elapsed they have accomplished an astonishing amount of work, in the way of erecting a dye-house and fitting up new quarters with power, machinery, &c., necessary to conduct their business.

To protect against fire, the new factory utilized a sprinkler system, supplied from a water tank in the bell tower. The tower also contained a 780-pound bell, cast in 1868 in Sheffield, England. Leonard soon expanded his business, partnering with Luther J. Warren to expand the Warner silk mill at Northampton, Mass. As described in Picturesque Hampshire (1890):

Mr. Leonard came here fresh from his well known triumphs at Warehouse Point, Conn., where, as is generally known, he had the name of making a full honest weight of silk to the spool, and the very best in the market at that. Mr. Leonard has brought to Northampton the same spirit of intense application and painstaking attention which distinguished him in Connecticut

An addition to the Warehouse Point mill was constructed in 1887 and two more in the early twentieth century. The silk mill closed in 1940 and the bell was sold in 1960. Various companies have since occupied the building, most recently Keystone Paper & Box Company, Inc.

Old Basket Shop, Silvermine (1850)

Friday, November 3rd, 2017 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Houses, Industrial, Norwalk, Vernacular | No Comments »

The historic structure at 187 Perry Avenue, in the Silvermine section of Norwalk, was built c. 1850. It is located along the Silvermine River, just next to the Perry Avenue Bridge. Often called the Blacksmith Shop, it was used as a basketmaker’s shop in the later nineteenth century and is now a residence. Frank Townsend Hutchens, a painter, purchased the building in 1913 and it has since been owned by a succession of singers, writers, and sculptors over the years, including Tony Balcom, an etcher, painter and illustrator and a founder of the Silvermine Guild of Artists in 1922.

Burroughs Cider Mill (1884)

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 Posted in Industrial, Outbuildings, Trumbull, Vernacular | No Comments »

Happy Halloween! In keeping with the Fall season, today’s building is the Burroughs Cider Mill at 5913 Main Street in Trumbull. Built in 1884 by Stephen Burroughs, it remained in operation by the family until 1972 and was later restored, remaining at its original location. There is a recent book about the Burroughs Cider Mill by Serge G. Mihaly, Jr.

Bidwell Tavern (1880)

Saturday, October 28th, 2017 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Coventry, Industrial, Vernacular | No Comments »

The Bidwell Hotel in Coventry was built in 1822 and closed in 1938. The hotel’s Tavern continues in business at 1260 Main Street, not far from the old hotel building. The Bidwell Tavern is located in the former office building of the E. A. Tracy Shoddy Mill. The company, which expanded greatly in the later nineteenth century under the leadership of Eugene A. Tracy, produced shoddy, a recycled wool made by shredding old cloth to be rewoven into a reusable lower-grade product. The mill complex grew to include twenty buildings, but it closed in 1929 and the town of Coventry took ownership of the property. The former office building was used as the Coventry Town Hall from 1934 to 1964. Today, a section of the Bidwell Tavern is an area called “the vault,” where town records were once stored.

Plymouth Cordage Company Ropewalk (1824)

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 Posted in Industrial, Mystic, Stonington, Vernacular | No Comments »

Preserved at Mystic Seaport is a section of the original ropewalk of the Plymouth Cordage Company of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1824 by Bourne Spooner, who had learned the art of ropemaking in New Orleans. He opposed slavery, so he set up his business back home in Plymouth, hiring free labor. Spooner ran the company until his death in 1870, producing rope for many kinds of vessels, including the Great Republic, the largest clipper ship ever built. By the late nineteenth century, the company had become the largest manufacturer of rope and twine in the world. The company remained in business for 140 years. The ropewalk remained in operation until 1947, when changing technology led to the end of its use by the company. In 1951, a 250-foot section of the 1,000-foot ropewalk in Plymouth was saved and reassembled at Mystic Seaport. It came with its machinery, which is no longer powered but is set up as though it were still functioning in order to illustrate the process of spinning rope.

Atlantic Screw Works (1902)

Saturday, July 8th, 2017 Posted in Hartford, Industrial, Renaissance Revival | No Comments »

At the corner of Charter Oak Avenue and Wyllys Street in Hartford is a former factory complex erected by the Atlantic Screw Works, which built machines to manufacture screws. The company was established in 1877 in New York State, but moved to Hartford in 1879. It was originally based in rented space in the Colt Armory. By 1902 the company was ready to erect its own building. The earliest section of their new factory (on the right in the image above) was built in 1902-1903. The longer section (on the left in the image above), designed by Davis & Brooks, was built c. 1910 and more than doubled the company’s operating capabilities. The company lasted into the 1970s and the building was converted to office space in the 1980s.

Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Company (1908)

Friday, June 16th, 2017 Posted in Industrial, Italianate, Windham | No Comments »

The former factory complex of the Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Company, which produced paper making machinery, is located at 11 Machine Shop Hill Road in South Windham. The main building displays two dates: 1828 and 1908. The latter is probably the date that particular building was constructed. The former date is when Phelps & Spafford, the forerunners of Smith & Winchester, were first established in South Windsor. That company closed in 1837 and was sold to Charles Smith and Harvey Winchester. The company continued manufacturing through the 1960s.