Iron foundry in Taunton, Massachusetts that produced stoves for individuals and several large local companies. Includes monthly labor payments to workforce of thirteen, as well as monthly accounts of sales, merchandise on hand, and rent. Also documents the company’s worth, annual profits, and the worth of company partners in 1870.
Sampson Perkins was an iron molder born in Smithfield (probably Rhode Island) in 1806. By 1830 he had moved to the metalworking city of Taunton, Massachusetts where he met and married the former Almira Horton. In 1850, Perkins had accumulated $1,200 in real estate and lived in a household of five, including his wife, a daughter also named Almira, and two boarders, twenty-year-old Gustavus Thomas (also a molder) and eighteen-year-old Hannah Thomas.
Sometime in the 1860s (his company does not appear in the 1860 manufacturing census), Perkins established a small iron foundry where he made stoves and did job work for the larger Taunton companies. His shop on Water Street was situated in the middle of the Taunton River manufacturing complex. Thus, Perkins did work for such large neighboring companies as Crocker Bros. & Co., Reed and Barton, the Taunton Iron Works, American Screw Co., Phoenix Machine Co., and W.R. Potter.
Sampson Perkins & Co. disappears from the business directories as early as 1878, perhaps the result of Perkins’ death.
Perkins’ accounts demonstrate the mix of job work and stove production for individuals. According to the 1870 manufacturing census, the company did a business of $17,875, about $14,000 of which was stoves. Perkins’ shop had one lathe, two blowers, and a one and a half ton furnace. Perkins’ accounts for 1871-1872 also list monthly payments to his workforce of 13, one of whom may have been the son of the Gustavus Thomas who lived in his house in 1850. Perkins paid his workers well. Monthly base salaries ranged from $35 to $96 in 1872, and several of the workers had the opportunity to earn extra money beyond the base. There are also monthly accounts of sales, merchandise on hand, and rent. On pages 492 and 493, there is also a detailed description of the company’s worth (over $15,000), annual profits ($5,289), and the worth of Perkins ($8,762), Gustavus Thomas ($1,684), and O.G. Thomas ($1,051) for the year 1870.
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Sampson Perkins & Co. Account Book (MS 232). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1989.
- Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
- Iron foundries--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
- Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
- Taunton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Wages--Iron and steel workers--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
- Wages--Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Taunton--History--19th century
- Perkins, Sampson, b. 1806
- Sampson Perkins & Co
Types of material
- Account books