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Esleeck Manufacturing Company

Esleeck Manufacturing Company Records
1898-1987
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 505

A manufacturing firm specializing in the production of onion skin paper, the Esleeck Manufacturing Company was established in 1898 as the Monadnock Paper Co. The principal owners, Augustine W. Esleeck and Alfred T. Judd, had worked together with the Valley Paper Mills of Holyoke, Mass., but when striking out on their own, moved to Turners Falls, believing the town to be the ideal location for a mil. Changing their name to Esleeck Manufacturing Co. in 1901, the firm sought to be a good neighbor, using local labor and products from local firms in their manufacturing. After more than 100 years of continuous operation, the company was purchased by Southworth Co. in 2006.

The collection consists chiefly of financial records, but also includes three minute books from 1898-1961 that capture the the company’s early history, as well as a memorial history of the company written by a long-term employee in 1954.

Subjects
  • Paper industry--Massachusetts
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Esleeck Manufacturing Company

Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company

Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company Records
1799
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 088

Authorized in March 1799, the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company constructed a toll road through miles of rough terrain and sparse settlements, connecting Leominster, Athol, Greenfield, and Northfield. Having opened areas to land travel that had previously been accessible only over rivers, the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike ceased operations in 1833 after years of declining revenues.

The collection consists primarily of one volume of records of the directors of the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike, including minutes of meetings, accounts of tolls collected, and drafts of letters.

Subjects
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company

Florence Manufacturing Company

Florence Manufacturing Company Histories
1916, 1974
1 folder (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 380

Photocopies of two typescript company histories for the Florence Manufacturing Company: “50 Years of Brush Making (1866-1916)” and “50 More Years of Brush Making, 1916-1974.”

Subjects
  • Broom and brush industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Florence Manufacturing Company

Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Inc.

Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Collection
1978-1980
2 items
Call no.: MS 911

Between 1929 and 1934, the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company manufactured their distinctive Gee Bee aircraft at the airport in Springfield, Mass., using a hangar converted from a former dance hall as their plant. Originally from New Hampshire, the five brothers drew upon their self-taught mechanical ingenuity in the years after the First World War to transform an automobile and aircraft repair business into aircraft design and production. The brothers flew their first craft in Boston in May 1929, a biplane they advertised as “the fastest and most maneuverable licensed airplane for its horsepower in the United States,” moving operations to Springfield later that year. Although only about two dozen Gee Bees were ever manufactured, the planes gained a wide reputation for their innovative aerodynamic designs, raw power, and extraordinary success on the air racing circuit. Gee Bees claimed speed records and numerous prizes, including the coveted Thompson Trophy in 1931 and 1932 won by pilots Lowell Bayles and Jimmy Doolitte, but the death of the eldest brother in a flying accident and the impact of the Great Depression caused the company to shutter in 1934.

Aviation historian Tom Nallen conducted a series of interviews with former employees of the Granville Airplane Co. beginning in the late 1970s, recording memories of the company and its workers, the Gee Bee planes, and their performance during the golden age of air racing.

Subjects
  • Airplanes--Design and construction
  • Gee-Bee (Racing plane)
Contributors
  • Granville, Robert
  • Nallen, Thomas E.
  • Roberts, Paul
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Oral histories
  • Sound recordings

Keystone View Company

World War Through the Stereoscope Collection
ca. 1917-1923
2 boxes
Call no.: PH 077
Image of Stereoscope
Stereoscope

The Keystone View Company was founded in Meadville, Penn., by Pennsylvania native B. L. Singley (1864-1938), who had been a salesman for the stereographic producer and distributor Underwood & Underwood. The first prints sold under the Keystone name were Singley’s own photographs of the 1892 French Creek flood. Incorporated in 1905, Keystone opened its Educational Department, creating products designed for classroom use, with an emphasis on social studies, geography, and the sciences. As the company grew, with branch offices in several major cities and staff photographers all over the world, it acquired the stereographic inventories of several of its competitors, including Underwood & Underwood, becoming the largest company of its kind in the world. In 1932, Keystone launched its Stereophthalmic Department, which included stereoscopic vision tests and products for correcting vision problems. Singley retired as Keystone’s president in 1936 or 1937, and Keystone was bought by Mast Development Company in 1963.

This 1923 boxed set, World War Through the Stereoscope, part of the “Stereographic Library” and housed in a box imitating the look of a two-volume set of books, contains 100 images of World War I and just after, taken ca. 1917-1921. The stereographic prints are pasted onto Keystone’s distinctive grey curved mounts, with extensive descriptive information on the reverse of each mount. Prints are numbered with identifiers—those beginning with “V” were originally Underwood photographs—as well as numbers indicating the order in which they are to be viewed. The stereographs are accompanied by a viewer, also manufactured by Keystone.

Gift of Ed Klekowski, May 2017
Subjects
  • World War, 1914-1918
Contributors
  • Keystone View Company
  • Singley, B. L. (Benjamin Lloyd)
  • Underwood & Underwood
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Stereographs
  • Stereoscopes

New England Telephone and Telegraph Company

Western Massachusetts Ice Storm Photograph Collection
1942
1 envelope (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 354 bd
Image of Ice damage near Becket
Ice damage near Becket

Approximately every twenty years, western New England suffers from devastating ice storms, leaving heavy ice coating on trees and buildings and hazardous conditions. Major storms struck in 1921, 1942, 1961, 1983, 1998, and 2008, with the storm of December 29-30, 1942, disrupting power and closing roads throughout a broad swath of the northeast. In northern New York state, ice depths reached six inches.

The collection includes twenty six of an original thirty eight photographs depicting ice storm damage to power lines in the Pittsfield District (Windsor, Middlefield, Washington Mountain to Becket) resulting from the storm in December 1942. The collection also includes a cover letter pertaining to photos (not included) documenting a similar situation in Northampton, affecting the New England Power Service Co.

Subjects
  • Electric lines--Massachusetts--Photographs
  • Electric power systems--Natural disaster effects --Massachusetts--Photographs
  • Ice storms--Massachusetts--Photographs
Contributors
  • New England Power Service Company
Types of material
  • Photographs

Northampton Cutlery Company

Northampton Cutlery Company Records
1869-1987
113 boxes (55.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 058

The Northampton Cutlery Company was among the major firms in a region known for high quality cutlery manufacture. Incorporated in 1871 with Judge Samuel L. Hinckley, its largest stockholder, as its first President, the company was located along the Mill River in Northampton, Massachusetts, where operations continued until its closing in 1987.

Records document company operations and technology used in the cutlery manufacturing process, as well as details about employment of immigrant and working class families in the region. Includes administrative, legal, and financial records; correspondence; personnel and labor relations files; and production schedules and specifications.

Subjects
  • Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Northampton Cutlery Company

Otis Company

Otis Company Records
1846-1847
2 folders (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 310

The Otis Company of Ware, Massachusetts, was founded in 1839 and became a major producer of textiles, including checks, denims, and cotton underwear. At the height of their operations, the company operated three mills with a workforce of over 1,300.

The collection contains correspondence between Otis agent Henry Lyon and the firms of Parks, Wright & Co. (1846-47) and Wright, Whitman & Co. (1847), both of Boston. It includes bills, invoices, letters, and memos, covering orders for such goods as lamp glasses, patent starch, whale oil, gas pipes, bales of cotton, pot and pearl ashes, fish glue, sour flour, fire buckets, potato starch, tar, sheet copper, and indigo.

Gift of John Foster, May 1990
Subjects
  • Mills and milling--Massachusetts--Ware
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Ware (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Otis Company

Portland Granite Company

Portland Granite Company Records
1836
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 648 bd

Three months after it was incorporated by the state of Maine in March 1836, the Portland Granite Company acquired 17 acres of land from Seth Clark in Westbrook, Me., and began its quarrying operation. With 160 shares of common stock, the company’s members elected a board of three directors (Henry Iseley, M.P. Sawyer, and George Clark), with Henry R. Stickney serving as Treasurer and Secretary.

Recorded in a bound ledger, the records of the Portland Granite Company provide slender, but critical documentation of the organization of a significant quarrying operation. Included are the formal act of incorporation for the company, a record of approval by the corporation to accept their charter; a list of company by-laws; approval for the distribution of stock to members of the company (160 shares); and an agreement with Seth Clark to purchase 17 acres in Westbrook for the operation. The records were apparently kept by Stickney.

Subjects
  • Granite industry and trade--Maine
  • Gravestones--Maine
Contributors
  • Stickney, Henry Rolfe, 1799-1887
Types of material
  • Ledgers (Account books)

Rodney Hunt Company

Rodney Hunt Company Records
ca.1850-1987 (Bulk: 1862-1943)
316 boxes, 150 vols. (158 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 105

The Rodney Hunt Company Records document the operation of one of the region’s major producers of textile machinery, water wheels, turbines, and other specialty industrial products. Founded in Orange, Massachusetts, in 1840, the company was incorporated in 1873. Still an active concern, it continues to sell its products in international markets.

Due to a fire in 1882, and several floods, relatively few early records of the Rodney Hunt Company survive, but from the time of its incorporation in 1873, documentation improves, with nearly complete coverage from the period 1883–1914. The collection provides an excellent introduction to the history of technology and industry in 19th- and 20th-century Massachusetts. Of particular note is the incoming correspondence from 1876 to 1903, which is nearly complete. Other materials include company histories, correspondence, board minutes, blueprints, installation drawings, sketchbook drawings, patents, payroll ledgers, account books, price lists, sales books, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, subject files and photographs.

Subjects
  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Turbines--Design and construction
  • Waterwheels
Contributors
  • Rodney Hunt Company
Types of material
  • Account books
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