…that patents granted to North Branford residents included one for a device used for paring coconut meats in 1875. An industrial invention rather than a tool for the home kitchen, the Machine for Paring Cocoa Nut Meats, patented by Edward Smith and E. Chapman Maltby, handily separated the coconut from its hairy rind.
Around 1850 Maltby had established a brick factory in Northford where he made buttons, wooden spoons, and water dippers from the shells of coconuts imported from the West Indies. These dippers were particularly handy in an era when water was drawn from a well with a bucket. Though the coconut meat had initially been discarded, Maltby began making shredded or “dessicated” coconut from the meat and Northford became the home of shredded coconut in the US. At the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, Maltby’s shredded coconut won first prize. His brick factory was torn down in the mid-1930s and was later the site of two restaurants, one called the Millpond Taverne.