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 Waterbury,   pp. 440-445


Page 440

MANUFACTURES OF WATERJURY.
MANUFACTURES OF WATERBURY.
WATERBURY, Conn., it is well known, is the chief seat in the United
States of the manufacture of Sheet Brass, and Gilt Buttons. The first
manufactory of Buttons there, of which we have any account, was one
established before 1800 by Henry, Samuel, and Silas Grilley. Their
Buttons were made of block tin or pewter and cast iron moulds, the eye
being at first of the same material, but afterward wire eyes were em-
ployed. The manufacture of Gilt Buttons was commenced about 1802,
by Abel Porter and others associated with him. This firm employed
eight or nine hands and made Buttons of various forms, convex, concave,
and oval-the face only being gilded. Their brass ingot they carried to
Bradleyville, in the west part of Litchfield, where it was rolled in an
iron mill. The metal was brought back in strips in a very rough state,
and pressed between steel rolls two inches in diameter, moved by horse-
power, and thus smoothed and finished. All the other work was done
by hand. This firm were the founders of the extensive manufactory of
tihe
Scovill Manufacturing Company,
whose history is as follows: In 1816, Abel Porter & Co. disposed of
their business to Leavenworth, Hayden & Scovill, who continued it with
moderate success for sixteen years, until the fall of 1827, when Dr. Leav-
enworth and Mr. Hayden sold out their interest to William H. Scovill,
and the firm became J. M. L. & W. H. Scovill. Two years subsequently
this new firm met with a severe loss in the destruction of their factory
by fire, but it was soon rebuilt and the business was prosecuted with
much energy and marked success.
In 1840, Mr. S. M. Buckingham and Abram Ives became interested
in the button business, which was now carried on under the name of
Scovill & Co., while J. M. L. & W. H. Scovill continued the manufac-
ture of Rolled and Plated Metal, which had then become an important
interest.  They also associated with themselves John Buckingham,
under the name of Scovill & Buckingham, in the making of Brass Butts,
the business being carried on at the place now owned by the Oakville
Pin Company on Steel's Brook.
In January, 1850, a join't stock company was formed under the name
of the Scovill Manufacturing Company, into which all the interests
named above were merged, and some of the employees were admitted as
440


Go up to Top of Page