In Lieu of Virtual Keys…

While many of us have become accustomed to the world of virtual keys on tablets, phones and laptops, we often forget about the technologies that came before them, such as the typewriter. In 1868, a man by the name of Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for his invention of the typewriter, which spawned a booming industry in Hartford. One of the major typewriter manufacturers of the 1900s was the Royal Typewriter Company. Continue reading

“Weaving” History in the Research Center

A recent visit from a researcher prompted a trip to retrieve some of the Warren book collection at CHS. She was looking for definitions relating to wool processes, and immediately I thought of the “Warren books” as a point of reference. Continue reading

What in the “World”?

Sometimes the genesis of a blog is a current news story that has obvious historical parallels. Then again, a recent acquisition can certainly get my creative juices flowing. But once in a while I just like to slowly walk through collections storage, drawing inspiration from the many fabulous objects that help us connect to our past. Continue reading

Bells in East Hampton.

As part of our NHPRC-funded cataloging project, archivists are looking through collections that have never been cataloged and adding records for our online catalog.  One recently cataloged collection is N.N. Hill Brass Co. Records, 1893-1917, Ms 100549.  The collection consists of cash books, sales records, labor accounts, ledgers, invoice books, factory order slips, factory inventories, credit reports on other companies, and correspondence of this East Hampton, Connecticut, bell manufacturer.  Sales included gongs, rattles, scales, chimes, and tea, call and door bells, among other products.  Their customers were located throughout the east.

Unusual items of interest in this collection are:

correspondence with A. Mugford, a Hartford engraver, concerning the printing of a catalog for N.N. Hill, 1902-1906.

correspondence with Muller, Maclean & Co., New York City merchants, who in 1906 were trying to make a contact to sell bells overseas.

and a long correspondence, 1902-1912, with the Wm. L. Gilbert Clock Co. of Winsted, Connecticut, which included orders, requests for delivery, and complaints about the quality of products.  The letterhead for Gilbert Clock illustrates the factory building.

Found with these materials are two ledgers, numbered 7 and 8, with entries for customers, most from East Hampton, Connecticut, for such items as cheese, overalls, bacon, oil, beef, oats, and “merchandise”, 1896-1908.  These may be the records of the company store, or of an independent merchant in town; unfortunately, there is no identification.

East Hampton was the “bell capitol” of Connecticut, so having this collection finally see the light of day is significant from both a local history and a manufacturing history point of view.