University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of New Haven,   pp. 427-433


Page 427

U.
MANUFACTURES OF NEW HAVEN.                  427
MANUFACTURES OF NEW HAVEN.
According to the Census of 1860, there were in the city of New Haven
216 manufacturing establishments, having a capital of $3,980,465, em-
ploying 4,926 males, 3,110 females, and producing a value of $8,835,663,
or about one-third of the aggregate product of the county. The lead-
ing business was the manufacture of Carriages, of which there were 41
manufactories, having a capital of $1,174,000, and which employed
1,774 men and 55 women, and produced Carriages to the amount of
$2,462,057. A brief account of the history of this important business,
in the leading centre of its manufacture, deserves to be recorded.
One of the earliest Coachmakers in New Haven of whom we have any
account, was Mr. John Cook. Ie commenced business there in 1794,
in a shop in the rear of his house on Chapel Street, and on the north
side of where Orange Street now is, opposite to the factory of his sons,
Messrs. Thomas & George Cook. At that period the principal pleasure
carriage was a Chaise or Gig, and it was not until just previous to the
war of 1812 that four-wheeled carriages were introduced. In 1809 a
circumstance occurred that has indirectly exerted more influence than
any other in making New Haven the principal seat of carriage-building
in New England. A young man named James Brewster, while travel-
ling in a stage-coach on his way to New York, was detained in New
Haven by an accident to the coach ; and while walking around the town
"happened in" to Cook's Carriage Shop on Orange Street, and had an
interview with the proprietor which induced him to locate in New
Haven. In the succeeding year (1810) Mr. Brewster commenced busi-
ness in a little shop on the corner of Elm and High Streets. At that
time the aggregate annual production of all the Carriage inanufactories
in the town did not exceed $30,000, and the quality of the workmanship
was very indifferent, the journeymen being generally paid in trade.
Drinking customs prevailed among them to a disastrous extent, and the
morals of the "craft" were not of a high order. Mr. Brewster's first
object was to attract to New Haven a superior class of workmen, by
offering good wages, payable in cash, and to educate them to a higher
sense of their responsibilities by Lectures on moral and practical subjects,
which he delivered to his employees in the evening. He also originated
and sustained a course of scientific Lectures, by such men as Professor
Silliman and Olmsted, and paid a thousand dollars a year to a gentle-
man to aid Prof. Silliman in preparing the Lectures, which were illus-
trated by experiments.
In 1827 Mr. Brewster opened a repository in New York, and em-


Go up to Top of Page