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Business and Industry

Advertisement with a drawing of a silk spooler and text

L.D. Brown and Son Silk Mill: A Staple in Middletown’s South Farms District

With established factories in Mansfield and Middletown, Lewis Dunham Brown and his son, Henry Lewis Brown, were pioneers in the US silk industry.


Print showing three men working in a printshop preparing a plate for the press and operating the press, circa 1642

Thomas Short – Connecticut’s First Official Printer

Thomas Short became the Connecticut Colony’s first official printer in 1708, printing the laws and proclamations for the colonial legislature as well as the colony’s first book.


Two people standing next to a large printing press

Charlton Publications: Song Lyric Printing Business to Major Player in the Comic Book Industry

By the late 1950s, Charlton Publications was home to some of the most accomplished artists and writers in the comic book industry.


Industrial scene where several men are working at a manufactured gas plant

Early Connecticut Gas Light Companies

The first private gas light companies in Connecticut appeared just before 1850 in New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport.


Print of a factory

Illuminating Connecticut’s Past: The Bradley & Hubbard Legacy

Meriden’s Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company was an industry-leading American manufacturer of kerosene lamps and metal household items.


Black and white photograph of a submarine draped in American flags on the water.

Electric Boat: From Innovation Trials to WWII Submarine Leadership

US submarines accounted for 63 percent of all Japanese ships sunk during WWII—Electric Boat’s vessels were responsible for a significant number of these successful outcomes.


Poster with a blue and red flag and several people underneath cheering

Army-Navy “E” Award Honors Connecticut for Support Against the Axis Powers

During WWII, the US military bestowed 175 Connecticut war plants with the Army-Navy “E” Award for outstanding production contributions to the army and navy.


Tan colored bonnet with a green ribbon attached

Sophia Woodhouse Welles: Wethersfield’s World-Famous Bonnet Maker

Wethersfield’s Sophia Woodhouse Welles made a name for herself as an inventor and a businesswoman in antebellum America with her bonnets.


Fuller Brush building following collapse of tower

Fuller Brush Tower Collapses – Today in History: March 31

On March 31, 1923, a 56,000-gallon water tank dropped through 4 concrete floors of the Fuller Brush Company Tower.


Southern New England Telephone Company Operator School

Connecticut’s First Female Telephone Operator – Today in History: March 24

On March 24, 1879, Marjorie Gray became Connecticut’s first female telephone operator.


Black and white profile portrait of a woman looking to the side.

Alice Hamilton: The Nation’s Leading Expert on Industrial Diseases

Dr. Alice Hamilton was a leading authority on industrial diseases and the first female faculty member at Harvard before she retired to Hadlyme, Connecticut.


Hartford Street Railway Company Electricians, ca. 1907. Electrifying the railroad created new jobs

A Revolution in Horse Power: The Hartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad Goes Electric

In 1888, Hartford commuters and city-goers zipped down Wethersfield Avenue in a horseless trolley car for the first time.


Black and white photograph of a group of men sitting or standing in front of a brick building

Southington Cutlery Company: From Silverware to Hardware

Initially known for table cutlery, the Southington Cutlery Company began operations in a two-story brick factory in downtown Southington in 1867.


The Sea in their Blood: The Portuguese in New London County

Many Portuguese immigrants came to the US as mariners serving aboard ships, some remained to build new lives and communities in Connecticut.


Detail of Bethany area from Map of Connecticut, from actual survey by Moses Warren, 1811

Bethany: Small-town Perseverance in the Face of Growing Industrialization

One contribution the town of Bethany makes to historical scholarship comes from a look at its evolution from a parish and agricultural settlement to a thriving residential community.


Cornwall Bridge Furnace, Cornwall

Two Cornwall Firms Part of Famed Salisbury Iron District

February 13, 2023 • Cornwall, Business and Industry, Salisbury

As part of what is today called the Salisbury Iron District, Cornwall manufactured iron that was nationally recognized for its quality and durability.


Detail of number 15 the Derby Silver Company from the birds-eye map Birmingham, Conn

The Derby Silver Company

January 12, 2023 • Business and Industry, Shelton

The Derby Silver Company was founded in 1872 and began operations on Shelton’s Canal Street one year later.


Writing-arm chair attributed to Ebenezer Tracy

Ebenezer Tracy Made Some of the Finest 18th-Century Furniture

Ebenezer Tracy was a carpenter from Lisbon, Connecticut, who specialized in making fine, hand-crafted furniture.


Advertisement for Isaac Doolittle's bell foundry

Early Church Bell Founders

Church bells served many important functions in early New England. Consequently, skilled bellfounders in Connecticut found themselves in high demand.


Original waterwheels, Waterbury Brass Company

Birth of the Brass Valley

December 29, 2022 • Business and Industry, Waterbury

The brass industry in Waterbury began in the mid-18th century and provided an alternative for people struggling to make a living off the rocky, exhausted soil.


City of Hartford, Connecticut

Bird’s-eye Views Offer Idealized Portraits of Progress

Panoramic prints of growing cities and towns became popular in the late 1800s as Connecticut transformed from an agricultural to an industrial state.


Image of an advertisement with a red train coming through a mountain and a boy in white clothing waving. There is a body of water next to the train with two boats. The tagline reads "Ives Toys Make Happy Boys." Catalog 1925

The Ives Manufacturing Company: Connecticut’s Foremost Toy Maker

The Ives Manufacturing Company—arguably Connecticut’s most famous toy company—became known for its variety of clockwork toys and trains.


Southern part of Saltonstalls Pond, East Haven

East Haven was Home to Connecticut’s First Iron Works

The roots of Connecticut’s iron industry lie in East Haven, starting in the 17th century.


Black and white photograph of a long large building. There is a river and dam in front

Willimantic’s American Thread Plant–A Multinational Corporate Takeover

American Thread’s arrival in Willimantic in 1899 demonstrates Connecticut’s role in the Progressive Era’s “rise of big business” and “incorporation of America.”


Borden's Evaporated Milk Crate Label

Evaporated Milk’s Connecticut Connection – Who Knew?

In, 1856 businessman Gail Borden Jr. opened the first commercial milk condensery at Wolcottville (now Torrington).


Black and white image of a stove

The Stamford Foundry Company Made Notable Stoves

When it ceased operations in the mid-1950s after over 120 years, The Stamford Foundry Company was the oldest known stove works in America.


Illustration of "The Connecticut Courant", Oct. 29, 1764

The Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper – Today in History: October 29

On October 29, 1764, New Haven printer Thomas Green established a weekly newspaper, the Connecticut Courant, in Hartford.


Windsor brickmakers

Building a Nation Brick by Brick

Brick making was an important industry in Windsor even in its colonial days.


Amos Shepard, Plantsville, Design for a Wrench Member

The “Perfect Handle” Hatchet – Who Knew?

In the early 1900s, H.D. Smith and Company of Plantsville began the manufacture of a line of “Perfect Handle” hand tools.


Yankee Ingenuity: Curtis Veeder, a Mechanical Genius and Shrewd Businessman

Curtis Veeder patented a bicycle seat he sold to the Pope Company, and later invented a cyclometer for measuring distances traveled by bicycles.


The Colt's Manufacturing Company float for the parade dedicating the Bulkeley Bridge, October 7th, 1908

Hartford’s Industrial Day – Today in History: October 7

Hartford celebrated the 1908 opening of the Bulkeley Bridge, which connected Hartford and East Hartford, with a three-day extravaganza.


A Different “Type” of Connecticut Industry

In the middle of the 1800s, the invention of the typewriter revolutionized the way Americans communicated, including in Connecticut.


Detail from the map View of Windsor Locks, Conn. 1877

The Windsor Economy: A River Ran Through It

Windsor’s location on the Connecticut River shaped the area’s development dating back to its earliest recorded years.


Nuclear power plant, Haddam Neck

Connecticut Yankee Brings Power to the People

For nearly 30 years the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company operated a nuclear power plant in Haddam Neck, Connecticut.


Guyton flying the V-173, November 23, 1942

Boone Guyton Tested the Limits of World-Famous Aircraft

A long-time resident of Woodbridge, Boone Guyton was one of the most prolific test pilots in US aviation history.


Connecticut Pin Makers

For the latter half of the 19th century and for much of the 20th century, Connecticut led the nation in pin production.


The Smith-Worthington Saddle Company

Saddles Fit For a Shah

Since 1794, Hartford-based Smith-Worthington Saddlery has made tack for horses—along with the occasional ostrich harness and space suit prototype.


American Mills Web Shop, West Haven

Elastic Web Expands Textile Manufacturing in West Haven

For the better part of a century, West Haven produced one of the more unique and innovative textile products in United States’ history.


Front facade of a multi-story building with three arches over doorways.

Connecticut’s First Mutual Savings Bank Opens in Hartford

On June 1, 1819, Governor Oliver Wolcott Jr. approved a legislative charter for the Society for Savings in Hartford—the first mutual savings bank in the state.


Elisha K Root, President of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Elisha Root Changes Industry – Who Knew?

Elisha Root standardized production and made the Colt revolver the first handgun in the world with fully interchangeable parts.


Envelope of the Briggs Manufacturing Company

Briggs Manufacturing Drives Voluntown’s 19th-Century Cotton Economy

The Briggs Manufacturing Company was the premier employer in Voluntown, Connecticut, throughout the latter half of the 19th century.


Shaker advertisement to board horses, 1884

Enfield’s Shaker Legacy

Shaking Quakers settled in Enfield and created the packaged seed business.


A Metal Giant in Wilton

August 14, 2022 • Arts, Business and Industry, Work, Wilton

Kenneth Lynch was an accomplished blacksmith who was a longtime resident of Wilton and created memorable pieces of metalwork found in the Northeast.


Shelf clock by Eli Terry

The Life of Chauncey Jerome: An Insider’s Look at What Made Early Bristol Tick

A glimpse at clock making in Connecticut from Chauncey Jerome’s 1860 autobiography


Westford Glass Company factory, Ashford

Ashford’s Glass from the Past

In 1857, 13 stockholders invested $18,000 to form the Westford Glass Company—Ashford’s largest and most famous business enterprise.


Francis Ingals, Chaffinch Island, Guilford

Guilford’s One-Man Fire Department

August 4, 2022 • Business and Industry, Guilford, Work

In the early decades of the 20th century, the town of Guilford had a fire department stationed on Chaffinch Island that consisted of just one man, Francis Ingals.


L. B. Haas & Company address label, 1958

Cash Crop: L.B. Haas & Co. and the History of Tobacco in Connecticut

Louis B. Haas was a Dutch immigrant who opened a retail cigar store, Essman & Haas, on Central Row in Hartford in the late 1840s.


Ensign, Bickford & Company fuse factory campus, ca. late 1800s

The Steady Evolution of a Connecticut Family Business

Simsbury and Avon’s fuse-making helped build America’s railroads, mine her natural resources, expand the Panama Canal, and even blow up tree stumps in local farm fields.


Site of the Revolutionary War Foundry, Salisbury

Salisbury Iron Forged Early Industry

Connecticut’s bucolic northwest corner, with its Taconic Range, Berkshire Hills, and pastoral valleys, harbored a major iron industry in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Up from the Ashes: Fire at the Meriden Britannia Company – Today in History: July 16

A manufacturer of silver-plated ware rebounds from the worst fire ever to occur in Meriden.


Detail of Beacon Falls Mill, Beacon Falls

Weaving the Cultural Fabric of Beacon Falls

The textile mills of the Naugatuck Valley brought tremendous change to towns like Beacon Falls.


Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


1938 ad for Sperry Topsider

Boat Shoes Have Ties to Connecticut – Who Knew?

During the 1935 winter, Paul Sperry watched his dog run across ice and snow without slipping and got inspired to create a shoe that would help human traction.


Ad for Goodyear's patented Hay & Manure forks

Amasa Goodyear and Son Re-Invent Naugatuck

Born in New Haven, Amasa Goodyear was an inventor, manufacturer, merchant, and farmer.


Captain James W. Buddington and crew on whaling schooner

The Rise and Fall of Sealing in Early New London Industry

New London owed much of its early prosperity to the success of its whaling fleet: it was once the third-largest whaling port in the world.


A worker cutting ivory

Ivory Cutting: The Rise and Decline of a Connecticut Industry

At one time, manufacturing facilities in the town of Deep River and village of Ivoryton in Essex processed up to 90 percent of the ivory imported into the US.


Black and white Logo for WDRC Radio station

WDRC AM/FM – Connecticut’s Oldest Commercial Radio Station

WDRC is the oldest continuously operated commercial radio station in Connecticut that uses both AM and FM transmissions.


Orange: Connecticut’s Candy Dispenser

Orange, Connecticut is home to one of the most revered, nostalgia-inspiring candy companies in the United States, PEZ.


Broadside for Pine Apple cheese patented in 1810

The Story of Pineapple Cheese

On a farm in West Goshen, Lewis Norton made one of the more unusual and popular foods of the 19th century, pineapple cheese.


Makris Diner, 1795 Berlin Turnpike, Wethersfield

A Hip Road Trip

Known as “Gasoline Alley” during the 1950s, the Berlin Turnpike boasts a heady visual mix of neon, brand names, logos, and 1960s’ motel Modernism.


Pope Automobile Model S, Seven Passenger Car, 1909

Albert Augustus Pope, Transportation Pioneer

Pope’s bicycles and automobiles not only gave 19th-century consumers greater personal mobility, they also helped propel social change.


Benjamin Dutton Beecher had a Penchant for Invention

Described by some as “eccentric,” Benjamin Dutton Beecher was a millwright and machinist with a knack for invention.


The Gilbert clock model is on the right

Papier-Mache Clocks – Who Knew?

The William L. Gilbert Clock Corporation of Winsted was one of the few clock-making firms in Connecticut allowed to continue the manufacture of clocks during World War II.


The Middlesex Quarry, Portland

Portland Puts Its Stamp on an Architectural Era

The brownstone quarries in Portland, Connecticut, owe their existence to millions of years of prehistoric sediments accumulating in the Connecticut River.


Hervey Brooks's pottery wheel

Hervey Brooks’s 19th-Century Pottery Barn

Hervey Brooks was an American potter and farmer who made red earthenware domestic products in Goshen for more than half a century.


Map of a collection of islands. There is a key in the bottom left hand corner

The Incident of the Stonington Schooner ‘Breakwater’: A View from Indian Country

Hundreds of American Indians served as mariners, including on the Stonington schooner ‘Breakwater,’ which survived capture in the Falkland Islands.


The Collins Company Dry Grinding Department, Collinsville

World-renowned Maker of Axes: The Collins Company of Canton

The New England factory town of Collinsville, which can still be toured today, once supplied the world with axes, machetes, and other edge tools.


Detail from Map of Windham County, Connecticut

The Pike Family Lived a Life of Dyeing

The Pike family of Sterling, Connecticut worked in textile dying for four generations.


Shaker women and buildings, Enfield, 1890s

Shakers Revolutionize Garden Seed Business – Who Knew?

Enfield Shaker-grown garden seeds, one of their best and most successful endeavors, were sold throughout the US in small packages.


Vivien Kellems Takes On the IRS

Reformer Vivien Kellems fought her most famous battle against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as she sought tax reform for businesses and single people.


Charles H. Dow

Humble Beginnings of the Dow Jones: How a Sterling Farmer Became the Toast of Wall Street

The life of Charles Dow, in many respects, follows the storyline of the prototypical self-made man.


Shad Hat

Mad about Shad: Connecticut’s Love Affair with an Oily Fish

Some Connecticut River towns continue to hold an annual shad festival, replete with a “Shad Queen” and a feast known as a “shad planking.”


Mounds Candy Bar Involved in Espionage – Who Knew?

A storied Naugatuck business had its own “navy” and that it performed espionage services for the United States government during World War II.


J.O. Davidson, Battle of Port Hudson

Connecticut’s Naval Contributions to the Civil War

Companies across Connecticut helped keep the Union navy afloat while sea-savvy leaders and sailors from the state kept it in fighting form.


Aetna Helps Make Hartford “The Insurance Capital of the World”

Aetna started out as fire insurance company in Hartford in 1819, but spread into life insurance and is now a global leader in the health insurance industry.



The Industrial Might of Connecticut Pegmatite

Connecticut has a complex and compelling geologic legacy with substantial mineral riches, including pegmatite that has historically been a boon to industry.


Early 20th-Century Immigration in Connecticut

Connecticut played host to new, vast populations of Italian, Polish, and French Canadian immigrants who helped reinvent the state’s cultural identity.


Detail of an advertisement for Connecticut Pies, 1913

The Pie Man from Georgetown and the Connecticut ~ Copperthite Pie Company

More than just a wagon driver and Civil War veteran, Henry Copperthite built a pie empire that started in Connecticut.


The Shoemakers printed by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg

The Sole of New Canaan’s Shoe Industry

March 12, 2022 • Business and Industry, New Canaan

New Canaan, now largely a residential suburb of New York City, was once a leading producer of US footwear.


Excelsior Cutlery

Connecticut Pocketknife Firms

Connecticut pocketknife production began around 1840. Over the next two decades, Connecticut became the earliest state to have a burgeoning craft.


Hannah Bunce Watson: One of America’s First Female Publishers

Hannah Bunce Watson was one of the first female publishers in America and helped the Hartford Courant survive one of the most challenging times in its history.


Clock works by Daniel Burnap

Marking Time: Early Connecticut Innovations Transform Clock Making

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Connecticut played a major role in transforming clock making from a time-intensive handcraft into a mass-production industry.


P. & F. Corbin hardware shipping crate

The Corbin Cabinet Lock Company and Patent Law: A Lesson in Novelty from a CT Perspective

New Britain, fondly known as the “Hardware City,” had numerous companies that contributed to modern industrialization.


Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Samuel Colt: From Yankee Peddler to American Tycoon

Hartford native Samuel Colt built a financial empire on his design and automated production of the revolver.


Cheney Brothers Mills

The Cheney Brothers’ Rise in the Silk Industry

February 9, 2022 • Business and Industry, Work, Manchester

Building a business on the back of an insect may seem foolish but for Manchester’s Cheney Brothers silk mill, it became the ticket to global success.


G. Fox and Co. Delivery Fleet, ca.1910-1950

G. Fox and the Golden Age of Department Stores

Founded by Gerson Fox in 1848, G. Fox & Co. went on to become the nation’s largest privately owned department store.


Improvement in Cards for Hooks and Eyes

Family Ties Bring Together North Branford Industry

In 1830, a resourceful industrialist opened a button making shop in what today is the Northford section of North Branford.


Image showing the expanse of the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet mills

First Connecticut Carpet Mills Emerge in Simsbury and Enfield

In the 1820s, the first two notable carpetmakers emerged in the north central part of Connecticut—the Tariff Manufacturing Company and the Thompsonville Carpet Manufacturing Company.


Trade card for Hill’s Archimedean Lawn Mower Co

Selling Connecticut Products Abroad

In the mid-1800s, manufacturers from Connecticut found new overseas markets for everything from clocks and firearms to lawn mowers and machetes.


Souvenir Book of the Hippodrome to show the connection to theater world

Hartford’s Charles Dillingham Discovered Broadway Stars

After growing up in Hartford, Charles Dillingham explored numerous career paths including newspaper publishing, politics, and—most famously—theatrical managing and producing.


Section of page from the Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1852

Rubber Vulcanization and the Myth of Nathaniel Hayward

Colchester has a persistent myth that Hayward invented vulcanization—a process that helps make rubber useful for manufacturing—but did not receive the credit he deserved.


Peddler E.H. Farrell with his cart, 1910

New Britain’s Yankee Peddlers Boost 18th-century Economy

While the rural economy of the North in the 18th century focused on local exchanges of goods within a community, Yankee peddlers used their mobility to bring finished products directly to the consumer.


Hazard's Electric Gunpowder, Hazard Powder Company

Colonel Augustus G. Hazard, Gunpowder Manufacturer – Who Knew?

By 1843, Augustus Hazard and partner Allan Denslow formed a joint stock venture called the Hazard Powder Company.


Norwich Arms barrel room

Norwich’s “Volcanic” Past

With its water power, its location, and proximity to major port cities, Norwich has been attracting gun manufacturers since the American Revolution.


Aerial view of Black Rock Turnpike Bridge and Vicinity

Overland Travel in Connecticut, from Footpaths to Interstates

By overcoming the limitation of distance, transportation makes possible the many economic and social interactions that allow a community, a people, an entire culture, to thrive


Receiving end of the first successful pipe-line built in 1865

William Hawkins Abbott Finds the Energy to Power the Northeast

William Hawkins Abbott helped transform the market for affordable energy through his oil refining, pipeline, and distribution networks.


The Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company in East Hartford

The Early Years of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company

Wasp and Hornet engines secure the reputation and success of this 1920s start-up venture.


Detail from Map of the Farmington Canal

Farmington Canal Designed to Give Connecticut Commerce a Competitive Edge

The Farmington Canal serves as an example of how developments in transportation played a pivotal role in facilitating the country’s industrial activity.


Advertisement for Phillips' Milk of Magnesia in the Washington DC Evening Star, 1945

Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia Originated in Stamford

In 1873, Charles H. Phillips patented Milk of Magnesia and his company produced the popular antacid and laxative in Stamford, Connecticut, until 1976.


Postcard of Beechmont Dairy in Bridgeport, CT

Beechmont Dairy: Bridgeport’s Ice Cream to Die For

Joseph Niedermeier Sr. founded the Beechmont Dairy in Bridgeport in 1906—a popular local business for over 60 years.


Advertising leaflet for the "Cal" Pistol, J. & E. Stevens Co., Cromwell

Cromwell’s Iron Men Made Toys for Boys and Girls

The J & E Stevens Company eventually became the largest manufacturer of cast-iron toys in the country.


The American Brass Company: Leading the Way in the “Brass Valley”

The American Brass Company helped make the Naugatuck Valley a center of international brass production until the late 20th century.


Scrabble tiles

Scrabble Copyrighted – Today in History: December 1

On December 1, 1948, James Brunot of Newtown copyrighted the famous spelling game Scrabble.


Gold Hall circa 1900, a men's dormitory named in honor of UConn trustee T. S. Gold. The building burned down in 1914

The First University of Connecticut Trustees

When the University of Connecticut started life as the Storrs Agricultural School in 1881, Governor Hobart Bigelow appointed its first eight trustees—all with agricultural backgrounds.


Emile Gauvreau and the Era of Tabloid Journalism

Emile Gauvreau, former managing editor of the Hartford Courant, became a pioneer in the rise of tabloid journalism.


Bacon Jabez House, Woodbury

Daniel Curtiss: The Life of a 19th-Century Self-Made Man

Daniel Curtiss spent most of his life in Woodbury, thriving in business, pioneering the sale and distribution of commercial goods, and serving his town by holding political office.


Adam Farm in North (or East) Canaan, Connecticut

The Land of Nod Farm, East Canaan, Connecticut

The Land of Nod farm was an important agricultural and residential resource for both the people of East Canaan and the workers at the Beckley furnace.


Map of Plan of the city of New Haven - Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library

New Haven’s Long Wharf

From the 17th through the 19th centuries, the economic prosperity of New Haven significantly depended upon Long Wharf.


German American workers from the buff room

Late 19th-Century Immigration in Connecticut

Immigration to Connecticut in the second half of the 19th century proceeded much as it had in earlier decades.


Typing History

Home to companies such as Royal and Underwood, Connecticut became an important manufacturing center for typewriters in the early 20th century.


Illuminations at the entrance to the Bulkeley Bridge

Mighty, Mighty Hartford

In October of 1908, Hartford celebrated the opening of the Bulkeley Bridge, which connected Hartford and East Hartford, with a three-day extravaganza.


Whitneyville Armory, Whitney's Improved Fire-Arms, from an advertisement, ca. 1862

The Whitney Armory Helps Progress in Hamden

Eli Whitney later established an armory in Hamden that not only produced weapons for the US government during the early 19th century but also contributed to the evolution of mass-produced firearms.


Steam-powered cider press at BF Clyde's in Mystic

BF Clyde and the Steam-powered Cider Mill – Who Knew?

In 1881, Connecticut resident Benjamin F. Clyde began producing and selling cider in Mystic.


Charcoal Kiln, Union

1938 Hurricane Fuels Charcoal Business – Who Knew?

The hurricane of 1938, which devastated the Quinebaug Forest, ended up driving the development of the charcoal industry in Union.


Illustration of Lorenzo Carter's first cabin

Putting Cleveland on the Map: Lorenzo Carter on the Ohio Frontier

From Connecticut, Lorenzo Carter became the first permanent settler of the community that became Cleveland, Ohio.


The Wheeler & Wilson Ruffler

Wheeler & Wilson: A Stitchy Situation in Watertown

The Watertown firm of Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing produced one of the most successful products of the late 19th century.


Sharpe Hill Vineyard in Pomfret

Raise a Glass to Winemaking in Connecticut

The Colony’s first settlers produced wine and spirits, but it would not be until the 1970s that Connecticut could grow and sell its harvest.


Workingmen's Restaurant, 129 Market Street, Hartford.

Serving Up Justice: Hartford’s Black Workers Organize

The earliest labor union for African American workers in Hartford appeared in 1902 with the birth of the Colored Waiters and Cooks Local 359.


Lisbon Tunnel Completed – Today in History: August 28

The Norwich and Worcester Railroad built the first railroad tunnel in Connecticut, and one of the first in the nation, in the town of Lisbon in the 1830s.


David Humphreys

David Humphreys, Soldier, Statesman, and Agricultural Innovator

Despite an accomplished political career, this Derby-born gentleman of means is best remembered for introducing Merino sheep to North America.


A Pie Tin’s Soaring Sales

Tins used to hold pies at William Frisbie’s pie company in Bridgeport in the late 1800s reportedly provided the inspiration for Wham-O’s most popular toy, the Frisbee.


Andover Creamery, 1889

Andover’s Award-Winning Creamery

Started in 1886 by town residents, the Andover Creamery Corporation typified cooperative agricultural enterprises of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Hubbell’s Pull-Chain Electrical Light Socket – Today in History: August 11

On August 11, 1896, Bridgeport inventor and industrialist Harvey Hubbell patented a socket for incandescent lamps.


Colonial currency from Connecticut Colony. Signed by Elisha Williams, Thomas Seymour, and Benjamin Payne

Connecticut’s Early Commercial Banks

After observing the financial success of commercial banks in Boston and New York City, wealthy elites in Connecticut pressured the Connecticut General Assembly to grant charters for privately owned commercial banks in Hartford, New Haven, and New London in 1792.


Hidden Nearby: The Bantam Lake Ice House

Bantam Lake served a vital function as a supplier of ice that local residents used to preserve food when temperatures began to rise.


Everett B. Clark seed barn, Orange

Orange Seeds Yield Corn, Alfafa, Soy, and More

The antecedents of many of today’s most widely utilized crop seeds can trace their lineage back to a company started by the Clark family in Orange, Connecticut.


The Danbury Hatters

References to the hat making industry abound in Danbury and continue to shape much of the city’s identity today.


A Baltic Mill Helps Found a New Town

The Baltic Mill was once the largest cotton mill in the United States and led to the founding of the town of Sprague.


Dressing Table. Probably made in 1783 by the shop of Eliphalet Chapin

Connecticut Valley Style: Eliphalet Chapin Inspires a Tradition of Craft

Favoring local cherry and pine woods, this furniture maker introduced Philadelphia-style flair to New England consumers.


Dr. Sheffield's creme dentifrice box

Aristocratic Dental Cream Gets Squeezed

Taking advantage of his skills as a dentist and chemist, Dr. Washington Wentworth Sheffield, in 1850 at the age of 23, invented modern toothpaste.


Brass City/Grass Roots: From Farmers to Developers: The Rasmussens of Town Plot

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Brass City/Grass Roots: The Pierponts of East Farms

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Brass City/Grass Roots: Remnants and Revivals

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Brass City/Grass Roots: Bucks Hill: Waterbury’s Rural Holdout

This article is part of the digital exhibit “Brass City/Grass Roots: The Persistence of Farming in Waterbury, Connecticut”


Margaret Rudkin

Pepperidge Farm Opens Bakery – Today in History: July 4

On July 4, 1947, Margaret Rudkin of Fairfield opened a modern commercial bakery in Norwalk and gave it the name of her small bakery, Pepperidge Farm.


Bigelow Tea–A Connecticut Tea Party

The Bigelow Tea Company was started as a small family business in Manhatten before moving to Norwalk and then Fairfield.


Postcard of Plant B, Pierson's Greenhouses, Cromwell

The Rose King of America Transformed Cromwell’s Landscape

Andrew N. Pierson established A.N. Pierson’s, Inc., a small floral nursery in Cromwell that evolved into the largest commercial rose growing enterprise in the country.


J. P. Morgan’s Connecticut Roots

One of the great financiers of the late 19th and early 20th century, J. P. Morgan was born (and spent much of his youth) in Hartford, Connecticut.


North Haven: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s

Lippincott, Inc., in North Haven, was one of the most highly respected fine-arts metal fabricators in the country in the second half of the 20th century.


Mead Memorial Park, New Canaan

Summer Crowds Flocked to New Canaan and Stayed

Like many towns in Connecticut, New Canaan owes much of its modern character to the evolution of industry and transportation in the Northeast.


The 1909 seven passenger limousine

The Hardware City Could’ve Been the Motor City – Who Knew?

In 1903 the Russell & Erwin Company and the American Hardware Corporation purchased the Bristol Motor Car Company of Bristol, Connecticut.


Detail from Puck magazine, "It costs money to fix things" - C P Huntington

Collis P. Huntington: The Boy from Poverty Hollow

From a poverty-stricken life in Harwinton, Connecticut, Collis Huntington grew to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful railroad men of his era.


An Evolution of Fluid Burning Lamps up to the Electric Light

Connecticut Domestic Oil Lamp Makers

In a time before gas lamps and incandescent bulbs were more widely embraced, Connecticut firms made oil lamps using various fuels, burners, and different materials.


Hitchcock chairs

Built on Innovation, Saved by Nostalgia: Hitchcock Chair Company

In the 1820s Lambert Hitchcock adapted mass production concepts pioneered in the clock-making field to chair manufacture.


The Inventive Minds of Connecticut Women: Patents in the 19th Century

Between 1790 and 1930, Connecticut residents were issued the most patents in the US per capita, many of them inventions by women.


Detail from the map GoodSpeeds Landing

W. J. Squire’s Gill Net Manufactory in East Haddam

In the early 1870s, Wilbur J. Squire (1837-1890) built his factory for the manufacture of gill nets in East Haddam.


Diagram of SS Savannah

Steaming Across the Atlantic

New London’s advantageous location on Long Island Sound made it a center for innovation in the transportation of goods and services by sea.


The Beckley Blast Furnace stack as it looks today

The Beckley Blast Furnace, East Canaan

The Beckley Blast Furnace, also known as East Canaan #2, is located in northwest corner of Connecticut on the Blackberry River.


Advertisement for the Eastern line of stages, 1842

Stagecoach Sustained Commerce and Communication in 1800s

In its early 19th-century heyday, stagecoach travel was a large-scale enterprise and a source of livelihood for many state residents.


A receipt for two prints of John Trumbull paintings

Jeremiah Wadsworth, “foremost in every enterprise”

Jeremiah Wadsworth was a sea-going merchant, commissary general to the Continental army, and founder of the nation’s first banks.


Child Labor in Connecticut

While Connecticut proved to be one of the more progressive states when it came to child labor laws, it still took federal legislation to protect children in the workplace.


Blacksmith Isaac Glasko Challenges the State Constitution

Isaac Glasko was a blacksmith of mixed African American and Native American descent who challenged 19th-century voting rights in Connecticut.


Advertising card of the Dr. Warner’s Caroline Corset

From Bombs to Bras: World War I Conservation Measures Transform the Lives of Women

A shortage of metal during World War I encouraged women’s clothing manufacturers (such as Bridgeport’s Warner Brothers Corset Company) to switch from producing corsets to brassieres.


Chamberlin Mill: A Woodstock Survivor

West Woodstock’s Chamberlin Mill is a rare example of a water-powered circular saw mill converted to gasoline power.


St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland

The Wearing of the Green: 19th-century Prints of Irish Subjects by Hartford’s Kellogg Brothers

Irish immigrants arrived in Connecticut in great numbers during the 1800s and, while anti-Irish sentiment was widespread, Hartford’s Kellogg brothers viewed these new Americans as potential customers.


Patent Model for the Manufacture of Rubber Fabrics, Charles Goodyear, 1844

Charles Goodyear’s Machine for Making Rubber Fabrics

Credited with discovering the vulcanization process that fortified rubber against extreme temperature changes, Charles Goodyear received several patents over his lifetime.


Martha A. Parsons House

A Pioneering Woman in Business: Martha Parsons of Enfield

Enfield’s Martha Parsons broke new ground in her pursuit of employment opportunities for women. Her family home now belongs to the Enfield Historical Society.


Shipbuilding at Gildersleeve Ship Construction Co., Portland

The Gildersleeve Shipbuilding Legacy in Portland

Perhaps the most recognizable name in the history of Portland, Connecticut shipbuilding is Sylvester Gildersleeve.


Rockwell hardness tester

Rockwell Hardness Tester – Today in History: February 11

In 1919, Hugh Rockwell and Stanley Rockwell received a patent for the Rockwell hardness tester, one of the 20th century’s metallurgical innovations.


Laboring in the Shade

Thousands of Black Southern students, including a young Martin Luther King Jr., came north to work in Connecticut’s tobacco fields.


Plan of the City of New Haven

The Successes and Struggles of New Haven Entrepreneur William Lanson

The life of this savvy businessman illustrates the possibilities—and limits—urban Connecticut presented to African Americans in the early 1800s.


DN-1: The US Navy’s First Airship

The United States military’s experience with lighter-than-air technology began with the Connecticut Aircraft Company’s DN-1 airship built for the navy in 1917.


Hazard Powder Company gunpowder barrel

One-Legged Stools – Who Knew?

Hazard Powder Company employees sat on one-legged stools to keep them from falling asleep while working with dangerous materials.


Fire at G. Fox & Co., Main Street, Hartford

G. Fox & Co. Destroyed by Fire – Today in History: January 29

On January 29, 1917, watchmen discovered a fire on the ground floor of the G. Fox & Co. building complex located on Main Street in Hartford.


Case Paper Mill, circa 1925

Andover Looks Good on Paper

In 1889, Fred Case built a paper mill on the Hop River in Andover.


Bryant Electric Items from the 1930s

The Rise and Fall of Manufacturing in Bridgeport: The Case of Bryant Electric

For one hundred years Bryant Electric was a staple of Bridgeport industry, adapting to the challenges of the changing industrial landscape in America.


Artist’s rendering of the Connecticut Yankee Power Company Plant

Connecticut Yankee and Millstone: 48 Years of Nuclear Power

In 1968 the prospect of nuclear power energized those hoping to find an alternative to coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.


Sam Colt

Sam Colt’s Funeral: The Day Hartford Stopped

The funeral of America’s first great munitions maker was spectacular—certainly the most spectacular ever seen in the state’s capital city.


Map of the West Indies, 1717

Connecticut and the West Indies: Sugar Spurs Trans-Atlantic Trade

This profitable exchange brought wealth and sought-after goods to the state but came at the price of supporting slavery in the bargain.


Starr Mill

Buckling Up For Auto Safety

Connecticut joined several other states and the District of Columbia mandating seat belt usage for children and adults in automobiles in 1985.


A worker on the final assembly of a WASP engine

Pratt & Whitney Debuts Wasp Engine – Today in History: December 24

On December 24, 1925, aviation engineer and head of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company Frederick B. Rentschler debuted its first product: the Wasp engine.


Monumental Bronze Company

The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport was the only producer of a unique type of grave marker in the United States between 1874 and 1914.


Merritt Hat Factory, Danbury

Ending the Danbury Shakes: A Story of Workers’ Rights and Corporate Responsibility

Despite the known dangers of prolonged exposure to mercury, the hat-making industry was slow to safeguard workers against its toxic effects.


Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company

Bevin Brothers Helps Transform East Hampton into Belltown, USA

Home to 30 different bell manufacturers, the town of East Hampton is informally known as “Belltown, USA.”


Just Pour Over Ice – Who Knew?

The Heublein Restaurant served its thirsty customers pre-mixed cocktails that became so wildly popular they had to build a distillery just to meet demand.


Henry Austin, Grove Street Cemetery Entrance, 1845, New Haven

Father of Architects Born – Today in History: December 4

On December 4, 1804, “Father of Architects” Henry Austin was born in the Mt. Carmel section of Hamden, Connecticut.


Rockwell Park Lagoon, Bristol

Mr. & Mrs. Rockwell’s Park

In 1914, bell and ball bearing manufacturer Albert Rockwell donated 80 acres of land to the city of Bristol for the creation of a public park.


Danbury’s Sandemanian meeting house, built in 1798 next door to the “eating house,” on a rise above Main Street.

The Sandemanians

December 2, 2020 • Danbury, Belief, Business and Industry

The Sandemanians of Danbury were a semi-communal sect whose local influence outweighed its tiny numbers.


Beatrice Fox Auerbach meets with the department heads of her store, G. Fox & Company

Beatrice Fox Auerbach: Retail Pioneer Led Iconic Family Department Store

Beatrice Fox Auerbach was pioneering retail executive who ran the G. Fox & Co. department store and numerous philanthropic benefiting people in Hartford and around the world.


Connecticut River and Mt. Holyoke Range from Mountain Park, Connecticut

The Connecticut Valley Authority That Never Was

In the early 20th century, supporters of the New Deal tried to recreate the Tennessee Valley Authority in the Connecticut River Valley.


Williams Shaving Cream and Aqua Velva ad, ca. 1929

The Aqua Velva State – Today in History: November 17

On November 17, 1917, the J.B. Williams Company of Glastonbury filed a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the Word Mark “Aqua Velva.”


Oyster grounds, Western Division; Town of Westport

The Battle for Cockenoe Island

In 1967, the United Illuminating Company proposed to build a nuclear power plant on Cockenoe Island off the coast of Westport, but grassroots activism ultimately scuttled that plan.


An Oyster Supper

Any Month with an “R” in It: Eating Oysters in Connecticut

Lack of refrigeration and higher bacteria counts in tidal waters once made summer months a dangerous time to eat oysters.


Birthplace of Seth Thomas

Seth Thomas Works Around the Clock in Wolcott

Seth Thomas was a Connecticut native who became a pioneer in the mass production of high-quality wooden clocks.


New Haven: What Was Everyday Life Like During the Civil War?

A great primary resource for digging into a community’s everyday life is a city directory.


Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company

Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company Puts Best Foot Forward

October 13, 2020 • Beacon Falls, Business and Industry, Work

Father and son George and Tracy Lewis not only founded a business together, they also had a hand in more than doubling the population of Beacon Falls.


Improved Centrifugal Governor

Portland Improves the Steam Engine

Thomas R. Pickering, an engineer, ran a factory power plant in the mid-1800s and made improvements.


Climax Fuse Company, 1899

Avon Industry: From Underground to Outerspace

The origins of the Climax Fuse Company date back to 1852 in Avon, Connecticut.


The Wallingford Oneida Community

In the late 1800s, Wallingford was home to a small branch of the Oneida Community.


Silkworms, Cheney Brothers, Manchester

Connecticut’s Mulberry Craze

Connecticut, especially Windham and Tolland Counties, was the epicenter of US raw-silk production in the mid-19th century.


Halladay’s Revolutionary Windmill – Today in History: August 29

On August 29, 1854, Daniel Halladay a machinist, inventor, and businessman patented the first commercially viable windmill—Halladay’s Self-Governing Windmill.


Nicholas Grillo and his Thornless Rose

Nicholas Grillo was a self-made floriculturist who earned international acclaim for developing the world’s first thornless hybrid tea rose.


Honiss Oyster House, Hartford

Oystering in Connecticut, from Colonial Times to the 21st Century

Why tasty Crassostrea virginica deserves its honored title as state shellfish.


Steam tugboat J. W. Coultston, ca.1890s

The Great River: Connecticut’s Main Stream

Highway. Barrier. Resource. Sewer. Over the centuries each of these names has been used to describe one of the defining feature’s of the state’s landscape.


Pier at Savin Rock, West Haven, 1905

Savin Rock Park: “Connecticut’s Coney Island”

Savin Rock Park was a seaside resort constructed in the late 19th century in the modern-day town of West Haven.


Intertwining Family Businesses

Emory Johnson, a farmer from Chatham, Connecticut, moved to East Haddam and operated one of the area’s most successful businesses of the late 19th century.


Engine number 36 in a Hartford station

Steam Railroads Transform Connecticut Travel and Commerce

In 1832, the state chartered its first railroad and ushered in a new age of fast, and sometimes dangerous, regional transportation.


Workmen in quarry with stone for Bulkeley Bridge, Branford

Branford’s History Is Set in Stone

Recognized for its superior quality, the polished rock that came out of Branford traveled by schooner or rail to points as far as Chicago and New Orleans.


Detail from the map Colony of Connecticut in North-America by Moses Park

East Haven’s Revolutionary Salt Works

East Haven’s Amos Morris helped supply Americans with salt (essential for preserving food) during critical shortages brought on by the American Revolution.


Machine for Paring Cocoa Nut Meats

North Branford Vied for the Title of “Shredded Coconut Capital of the World” – Who Knew?

Patents granted to North Branford residents included one for a device used for paring coconut meats in 1875.


The Farmington Canal near Mount Carmel in Hamden

New England’s Grand Ambition: The Farmington Canal

Connecticut took leading role in waterway that transformed the region’s commerce.


A Revolution On Two Wheels: Columbia Bicycles

Albert Pope’s company not only played a prominent role in developing improved bicycle designs, it also developed the market for them.


Monument to Capewell, the inventor of the famous horseshoe nail

Horseshoe Nail Capital of the World – Who Knew?

In the late 19th century, George Capewell formed the Capewell Horse Nail Company, which mass produced horseshoe nails.


Furniture Caster Patented – Today in History: June 30

On June 30, 1838, the US patent No. 821—the first for a furniture caster—was granted to the Blake Brothers of New Haven.


Group photo of Famous Artists School Faculty

Instruction by Mail: The Famous Artists School

The Famous Artists School in Westport once provided the premier correspondence training for those interested in an art career.


Leffingwell Inn, Norwichtown

Christopher Leffingwell Born – Today in History: June 11

On June 11, 1734, businessman and civic leader Christopher Leffingwell was born in Norwich.


Columbia Bicycle Model 105, 1903

Albert Pope Pioneered Bicycles for Women

Hartford-based inventor Albert Pope saw his first bicycle at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and was so impressed that he went to Europe to study how bicycles were made.


Jacob Schick Invents the Electric Razor – Today in History: May 13

On May 13, 1930, Colonel Jacob Schick obtained patent No. 1,757,978 for his dry electric shaver.


The Newsies Strike Back

Despite organizing in 1909 to fight pay cuts, ultimately, vending machines and changing business models brought an end to the era of the Hartford newsie.


Exterior of the Connecticut State Building

Take Me to the Fair: Connecticut Exhibits at the International Expositions

Connecticut took part in many of the great World’s Fairs, especially those held in North America.


Borough of Stonington

Settled in 1752, Stonington became a fishing, shipbuilding, whaling, and sealing center and survived attacks during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.


Hamilton Wrecks Aeroplane – Today in History: April 22

On April 22, 1911, aviation pioneer Charles Hamilton crashed his brand new, all white, biplane the “Moth” at Andrews Field in New Britain.


Driving and Braking Mechanism for Cycles

The Coaster Brake – Today in History: April 9

On April 9, 1907, Harry Pond Townsend patented the driving and braking mechanism for cycles, the first device to combine driving, braking, and coasting.


Offices of HELCO at 266 Pearl Street, Hartford

Let There Be Light: An Early History of the Hartford Electric Light Company

As cities switched from gas lamps to electric lighting, one observer noted that Hartford was “far in the lead of any other city in the world in the use of electricity for light and power per capita.”


1920s photo of the Fuller Brush plant in Hartford

Hartford’s Fuller Brush Company Goes Door-to-Door Across US

Founded in 1906 by Alfred C. Fuller, the Fuller Brush Company was one of Connecticut’s most notable corporations.


A Candy Bar Empire in Naugatuck

Almond Joy and Mounds were two of the most popular candy bars sold by Naugatuck’s Peter Paul Manufacturing Company, an enterprise begun by Armenian immigrant Peter Halajian.


Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: Connecticut Lessons from a Tragedy

While the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City is one of the most famous tragedies behind the organized labor movement, Connecticut had its share of equally dangerous work environments in the early 20th century.


Connecticut’s First Municipal Electric Utility

The first municipal electric plant in Connecticut began operating in the City of South Norwalk in 1892 to provide low-cost electricity.


Waterbury’s Radium Girls

In the early 20th century, girls working at the Waterbury Clock Company faced death and disease from exposure to radium in the workplace.


Early 19th-Century Immigration in Connecticut

Numerous factors contributed to the growth of Connecticut in the decades following American independence.


Assembly of parachute flare casings

Munitions Assembly Line 1943

Because so many men enlisted in the military during WWII, women were recruited to take their places in the all-important factory jobs that kept the forces abroad supplied.


Governor Trumbull becomes first governor in the nation to qualify for a pilot's license

John H. Trumbull: Connecticut’s “Flying Governor”

In 1926, at the age of 53, Connecticut governor John H. Trumbull received his pilot’s license. Piloting flights to his own appointments, he became known as “The Flying Governor.”


The boiler that fed the machinery at the Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford exploded

Today in History – Fales & Gray Explosion Underscores Need for a Hartford Hospital

At 2 pm on March 2, 1854, the power of steam incorrectly managed and harnessed wreaked havoc at the railroad-car factory Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford.


Postcard of Charles Island, Milford, CT

A Good Spot and a Healthy Place: A Short History of Charles Island

Before becoming a part of Silver Sands State Park, Milford’s Charles Island served as everything from a luxury resort to the home of a fertilizer factory.


North and South: The Legacy of Eli Whitney

After studying to become a lawyer, Eli Whitney actually helped further American industrial production methods through his numerous clever inventions.


Armory Fire

Colt Armory Burns – Today in History: February 4

On February 4, 1864, most of Colt’s East Armory, located in Hartford, burned to the ground.


February 2, 1902, a fire broke out at Reid & Hughes dry goods store in Waterbury

Six Cities Respond to 1902 Waterbury Fire – Who Knew?

A fire, which swept through Waterbury on a stormy February evening in 1902, would become the worst in its recorded history up to that point.


The Boardman Building, New Haven

First Commercial Telephone Exchange – Today in History: January 28

On January 28, 1878, the Boardman Building became the site of the world’s first commercial telephone exchange, the District Telephone Company of New Haven.


Detail of the W.A. Slater's Jewett City Cotton Mills in the foreground from Jewett City, Conn, bird’s-eye map by Lucien R. Burleigh

The Industrial Revolution Comes to Jewett City

The site of earlier mills, Jewett City seemed well-suited to the Tibbets’ textile enterprise: the Jewett City Cotton Manufacturing Company.


Detail of A New and Correct Map of the United States by Abel Buell

An Uncommonly Ingenious Mechanic: Abel Buell of Connecticut

This Yankee jack-of-all-trades, Abel Buell, created the first map of the new United States to be printed and published in America.


Hotchkiss & Sons Artillery Projectiles

Connecticut Arms the Union

By the Civil War’s end, Connecticut had supplied 43% of the total of all rifle muskets, breech loading rifles and carbines, and revolvers bought by the War Department.


Meriden Britannia Company, West Main Street, Meriden

Meriden’s Silver Lining

Despite large numbers of local industries going out of business by the start of the Civil War, Horace and Dennis Wilcox, helped establish a lucrative silver industry in Meriden.


Tobacco barns in Windsor, Connecticut

Windsor Tobacco: Made in the Shade

By the mid-19th century, the “Tobacco Valley,” Springfield, Massachusetts to Hartford, Connecticut had become a center for cash-crop production.


Samuel Colt…and Sewing Machines?

The National Museum of American History explains how a revolver, sewing machine, bicycle, and early-model electric automobile are connected.


Noble Jerome’s Clock Patent Model

Noble Jerome submitted this clock patent model to the US Patent Office along with his patent application in 1839, a common requirement up until the 1880s.


View of the Colt Factory from Dutch Point

The Colt Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company

Samuel Colt, the man who revolutionized firearms manufacturing in the United States, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 19, 1814.


Ivoryton's Comstock, Cheney Co. produced a variety of ivory goods

Phineas Pratt’s Machine for Making Combs – Today in History: April 12

On April 12, 1799, Phineas Pratt of Ivoryton, Connecticut, a deacon, silversmith, and inventor, received a patent for a “machine for making combs.”


Pepperidge Farm: Healthful Bread Builds a Business

Margaret Rudkin founded the popular brand Pepperidge Farm after finding out her son’s asthma was made worse by additives found in bread.


USS Bexar tour, bazooka demonstration

The Bazooka Changes War – Today in History: June 14

On June 14, 1942, the General Electric Company in Bridgeport finished production on the “Launcher, Rocket AT, M-1,” better known as the bazooka.


An Orderly & Decent Government: A Society in Ferment, 1819-1865

Industry, immigration, and urbanization characterized Connecticut in the 19th century.


An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1819-1865

Connecticut in the 1830s was characterized by a move from agriculture to industry, and the loss of residents to westward migration.


An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1776-1818

With its limited supply of fertile land either occupied or exhausted, one of Connecticut’s principal exports in the post-Revolutionary years was people.


An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1866-1887

In 1873, the legislature began to look more closely at the problems of Connecticut’s workers.


An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1866-1887

After the Civil War, arms manufacturing kept Connecticut industries busy, but an economic depression in the 1870s drastically changed things.


An Orderly & Decent Government: The Rise of the Factory, 1866-1887

In the years following the Civil War, Connecticut’s transformation to an urban, industrial state intensified.


Hills "Archimedean" Lawn-Mower

Reel Lawn Mower Patent – Today in History: January 28

On January 28, 1868, Amariah Hills of Hockanum, Connecticut, received the first US patent for a reel-type lawn mower and sold the patent in the 1870s.


Horse pistol ca. 1799, Simeon North

Government Orders Horse Pistols – Today in History: March 9

On March 9, 1799, the government issued its first contract for 500 horse pistols to Simeon North of Berlin at $6.50 each.


Video – Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures: American Clock & Watch Museum

Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures is a series of 50 five-minute film vignettes that profiles a variety of the state’s most notable cultural resources.


Nathan Starr Cutlass

Nathan Starr’s Cutlass Fought the War of 1812

On May 18, 1808, the Navy Agent Joseph Hull of New London negotiated a contract with Nathan Starr of Middletown for 2,000 cutlasses.


Bridgeport, Conn., 1882

A Bird’s-eye View of Bridgeport

The lower perspective of this 1882 example is somewhat atypical of most of the bird’s-eye views of the era, but its emphasis on industrial accomplishment is a hallmark of the genre.


Starr Mill

Understanding the Environmental Effects of Industry by Examining the Starr Mill

The development of resources both in and around the Coginchaug River in Middletown were representative of prevailing attitudes about industrial expansion and environmental protection.


Video – Martha Parsons Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Enfield native Martha Parsons, the first female business executive in Connecticut to earn her position based on merit.


Connecticut Courant building

The Hartford Courant: The Oldest US Newspaper in Continuous Publication

On October 29, 1764, New Haven printer Thomas Green began publishing The Hartford Courant (then known as The Connecticut Courant) in Hartford, Connecticut.


Detail from a Map of the survey for a canal route for manufacturing purposes from the head of Enfield Falls to Hartford

Windsor Engineers Success

In recognition of the importance of the canal and the village in fostering local economic development, the area was given the name Windsor Locks in 1854.


The boiler that fed the machinery at the Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford exploded

100 Years of Workers’ Compensation

April 18, 2015 • Business and Industry, Law, Work

Early attempts to enact industrial accident protections for workers were ruled unconstitutional by US courts, but a New York tragedy paved the way to successful legislation in Connecticut and elsewhere.


Products from New Britain’s Past

In the early 20th century, New Britain produced a variety of housewares popular with the American public, including cutlery, toasters, waffle irons, pocketknives, food choppers, and eggbeaters.


Miniature Boots, Wales Goodyear Shoe Company, Naugatuck

Charles Goodyear and the Vulcanization of Rubber

Obsessive dedication transformed rubber into a viable commercial material and made the town of Naugatuck one of its leading manufacturing sites in the 1800s.


Bird's-eye map of Moosup, Conn. Uniondale and Almyville,

A Bird’s-eye View of Moosup

This depiction of a Quinebaug Valley town and its satellite communities—Uniondale and Almyville—records an idealized view of the 19th-century textile boom.


Merino Sheep

Textile Mills in Oxford Dominated Early Industry

Domestic wool production is one of the oldest industries in the United States. The first mill in Connecticut arrived in Hartford in 1788.


American Chairs, Made in Connecticut

While the Windsor chair’s style and manufacture emerged in England in the early 1700s, it became extremely popular in North America during the 18th and 19th centuries.


Video: The Story of the Salisbury Iron District

Connecticut-made iron was extraordinarily high quality and sought after.


A Shipping and Railroad Magnate Remembers His Connecticut Roots

From Connecticut, Charles Morgan was a shipping and railroad magnate who became one of the most esteemed New York millionaires of the 19th century.


One Powerful Family in Bozrah

April 22, 2014 • Bozrah, Business and Industry, Work

The operation of BL&P began strictly as a family affair with a focus on providing exemplary service to the local community.


Stanley Works for New Britain

In 1843, Frederick Stanley founded a small shop in New Britain to manufacture bolts, hinges, and other hardware products for sale to local residents.


When Milk Powered Watertown’s Industry

The story of the dairy industry in Watertown mirrors that of many industries in Connecticut.


Palmer Brothers' Fitchville Mills

When Bozrah Provided Comfort to the Nation

April 3, 2014 • Bozrah, Business and Industry, Work

For the better part of a century, the Bozrah mills utilized by the Palmer Brothers company served the Fitchville section of town and the surrounding community.


HOLC Residential Security Map of Hartford Area 1937

The Effects of “Redlining” on the Hartford Metropolitan Region

March 18, 2014 • Business and Industry, Law, Hartford

Historical data reveals long-term patterns of inequality that can be traced back to now-illegal practices adopted by federal and private lenders in the 1930s.


A page from a clock design booklet by Daniel Burnap

When the World Ran on Connecticut Time

The success of the clock- and watch-making industries in Connecticut came about in an era when the state was just beginning to realize its industrial potential.


Colt workers in front of the Armory, 1876

Workers at the Colt Armory, Hartford 1867

Colt Firearms has been one of the most prominent industries in Hartford for over 150 years.


The Yankee Peddler

The Yankee Peddler 1850

Yankee peddlers were a common sight in the Connecticut countryside in the mid-19th century.


Crew of the Whaling Schooner, Margaret

Crew of the Whaling Schooner Margaret 1907

Seaports such as Mystic have been active in the shipbuilding, fishing, and whaling industries for hundreds of years.


Tobacco Valley, Windsor

Shade Grown Tobacco, Windsor 1965

Connecticut’s agricultural traditions have endured over hundreds of years, and survived through the continuing threat of manufacturing and other industries.


The Eli Terry Clock

Workers at the Eli Terry Clock Factory 1850

Born in 1772, Eli Terry opened the first clock factory in America in Plymouth, Connecticut.


View in Batterson, Canfield & Co.'s Monumental Works

James G. Batterson, Stone Contractor

James G. Batterson was an artist, inventor, and businessman. He helped commemorate the Civil War through his proficiency with stone.


Armstrong Rubber Company ad, June 1953

Armstrong Finds a Niche in the Tire Market

Armstrong tires, one of the most popular brands of automobile and farm equipment tires in the 20th century, has its roots in West Haven, Connecticut.


Philip Corbin

Philip Corbin: Manufacturing A Legacy for New Britain

The P&F Corbin Company manufactured builders’ hardware, including hooks, sash fasteners, picture nails, locks, and knobs, and coffin trimmings.


The Naugatuck Chemical Company with piles of old rubber tires

Naugatuck’s Early Chemical Industry

One of the attributes that made Naugatuck unique was that it was the home of Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber.


The Hartford Wheel Club, Hartford

The League of American Wheelmen and Hartford’s Albert Pope Champion the Good Roads Movement

How the 19th-century cycling craze led to improved roads and paved the way for future federal highway construction.


Frost Bolt Company employees

Southington Industry: From Nuts to Bolts

Buried in Southington’s past are the foundations of the bolt industry that helped build a nation from the ground up.


The lock and trigger assembly on the Deming rifle neatly combine function and aesthetics

A Pioneering Connecticut Firearm

Before Colt and others ushered in the age of mass production, individual makers, such Harmon Deming, handcrafted firearms.


Jens Risom and a selection of his furniture

The Answer Is Risom!

How the Scandinavian design movement re-fashioned local industry in the mill town of Thompson during the 1960s and ’70s.


Railroad tracks, Bolton Hill Cut, Bolton

Rock-Solid Industry in 19th-Century Bolton

Driving along Route 44 in Bolton, motorists travel through a narrow passageway of rocks, caves, and woods known as the Bolton Notch.


Holmes Block, Wyassup Road and village center

Stepping Back in Time: North Stonington Village Historic District

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the Stonington Village Historic District features buildings, canals, bridges, and machinery that recall life in a typical early 19th-century New England mill village.


View of Rockville, Conn

Bird’s-eye Views of Rockville Chart Textile Industry’s Growth

Two depictions, produced 18 years apart, illustrate how the textile boom transformed this borough of Vernon.


View of Winsted, Conn,1877

Bird’s-eye Views of Winsted

As bird’s-eye view maps declined in popularity during the early 20th century, artists incorporated technical advances in hopes of reversing the trend.


Detail of North Stonington from Town and city atlas of the State of Connecticut

North Stonington: Shunock River and Local Ambitions Powered a 19th-century Mill Town

With water supplied by the Shunock River and Assekonk Brook, North Stonington supported mill operations and local businesses from the late 1600s to early 1900s.


View of East Haddam. Connecticut. And Goodspeed's Landing

A Bird’s-eye View of East Haddam

In 1880, East Haddam was already a popular tourist destination and, despite its small size, boasted two steamboat landings to accommodate visitors.


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