A Legacy in Steel: Billings & Spencer Co.

While it can be argued that these days Hartford is thought of as primarily a center of insurance and financial services, anyone driving through some of the neighborhoods just beyond downtown will be quick to note an impressive array of old industrial buildings. These brick and stone structures, some empty and unloved, others hosting a wide variety of modern dreams, offer very real clues to one of the city’s earlier incarnations—an industrial hub specializing in metal products. In addition to iconic Colt firearms manufactured at the complex along the Connecticut River in the city’s south end, there are other buildings just bursting with stories of technological innovation and daring, many of them strung along the Park River. Weed sewing machines, Underwood typewriters, and Pope’s Columbia bicycles (and later automobiles), are just a few of the products that come to mind. Close by stands the remains of yet another hometown industrial giant—Billings & Spencer. Continue reading