Mr. Rodney Hunt born in
Ashburnham (Town of Orange, Massachusetts incorporated) on July
Rodney Hunt begins working in a
household furniture plant run by Reuben Harris.
Rodney Hunt moves permanently to a farm
in Orange. He works as general millwright in different cotton-, woolen-, saw-,
and grist-mills in the Orange area.
David Flint begins working for Rodney
James Waite begins working for Rodney
Rodney Hunt builds his first textile
machine, a fulling mill, and employs a few workmen. He also purchases a shop on
During the Civil War the Rodney Hunt
Company grows as the demand for textiles increases. Rodney Hunt begins to make
finishing equipment for John Mills Wool Fulling Mills in Partridgeville and
Partnership is formed, "Hunt, Waite, & Flint."
Rodney Hunt builds his first water
Rodney Hunt Machine Company is
Nelson Harris comes to Orange to work for
Roscoe White is hired by William Harris; he
thereafter works for 18 years in the eastern part of the state setting up and
installing water wheels for the many customers Rodney Hunt Company has in that
A fire on January 24, 1882 destroys some
company records (but not nearly as much as was expected, since most records
were stored in an old iron safe which was salvaged after the fire) and nearly
all of the company's buildings and equipment. A circular letter is sent March
1, 1882 to all customers stating the company's intention to remain in business.
Focus of activity shifts to a new site (present day site) about one-half mile
east of the former site. Nelson Harris designs a new foundry, machine shop,
pattern shop and other buildings on this new site. Rodney Hunt Machine Company
sells a small parcel of land, the remaining foundry shop and their interests in
the water rights to the New Home Sewing Machine Company for
Nelson Harris receives patent on "Hunt Turbine."
Nelson Harris becomes superintendent of the
firm; the first of many floods which affect company operation
Elbridge Harris moves to Malden,
Massachusetts and establishes a "Boston office" at 70 Kirby Street.
Rodney Hunt dies at the age of 78 on May 24,
1889; Elbridge Harris becomes president.
The company employs about 125
Nelson Harris makes plans, for a new machine
shop (east of old one) and additional machinery
Nelson Harris arranges with the Jolly
brothers, of Holyoke Machine Company, to purchase some of their turbine
designs. By incorporating features they patent the Hunt-McCormick Turbine.
William O. Harris follows his father, Elbridge Harris to Malden. William
becomes the clerk of the company and works in the new Boston
All boiler plate work for flumes, draft
tubes and penstocks, which had been previously contracted to outside companies,
is hereafter done at Rodney Hunt; another flood occurs.
William "Billy" Baines starts working for the company as an apprentice, and by 1905 is the foreman of the assembly department, working on water wheel turbines, governors, rotary fire pumps, etc.
A major flood causes some damage to the
Miss Norcross is the first woman to work
for the company, as a bookkeeper.
Carl Harris begins working for
Elbridge Harris dies, Nelson Harris becomes
The company buys property with water rights
at Partridgeville and renames the lake to Lake Rohunta.
Lake Rohunta power station
Carl Harris commutes by train to work
for the Simplex Time Recorder Company in Gardner, eventually patenting several
designs for them.
About 100 men work at the
Carl Harris acquires controlling interest in
the Rodney Hunt Company.
Carl Harris makes floor plans and converts
what is then a lumber shed to a roll manufacturing shop.
Rebuilding and adding on to the office is
Onset of depression and period of economic
loss. Also Messrs. Riggs and Lombard, who had been engineers in the textile
department, leave Rodney Hunt, taking with them various drawings and
information. They establish a competitive company in Lowell,
The development of the use of stainless
steel for textile machinery is a great "first" for Rodney Hunt. The company is the first ever to erect a building specifically designed for stainless steel fabrication.
The use of a time clock record of employees'
time begins, and rates of all salaried employees are readjusted to approximate
a 15% cut from October 11, 1931 rates.
The Water Control Apparatus Division is
Fire destroys the boiler plate building. A
major flood results in several feet of water and ice accumulating in the office
which destroys records, furniture and equipment. Damage is greatest to the
shops and foundry, where machinery had to be replaced or
As a result of the "great" hurricane and flood, Rodney Hunt suffers severe losses, not, only to the main plant but also to Lake Rohunta where the dam and power station are washed away.
Economic stability resumes; company grows
and prospers. During World War II the armed services once again call for a
dramatic increase in uniform fabric. Rodney Hunt helps the war effort by
keeping textile mills supplied with finishing machinery.
Earl Harris starts working for
The company has five divisions: Textile
Machinery, Water Wheels, Water Control Equipment, Industrial Rolls, and Process
Water wheel division is sold due to
decreased demand for turbines, a special provision is made not to sell the
Brook Water Wheel Division.
Carl Harris retires; Earl Harris becomes
president, pension plan established.
Name is changed to the Rodney Hunt
Process equipment division is
Establishment of five year building
Textile machinery division is
Channing C. Harris writes "The History of Rodney Hunt Company, Orange Massachusetts." At this time the company employs about 300 people and has one of the most, modern foundries in the East.
Continues to operate a large modern Plant at Orange.