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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 Meriden,   pp. 424-426

Page 424

Seventeen miles southwest from Hartford, on the Quinepiack River and
the Hartford and New Haven Railroad, is Meriden, another important
manufacturing town in Connecticut.
In 1832 Mr. Charles Parker commenced here the manufacture of
Coffee Mills, employing at first only three or four men, and to his busi-
ness energy and successful enterprise the town is largely indebted for its
present industrial importance. Prpbably there is no one now living
whose history, if the facts could be obtained, would illustrate more satis-
factorily the means by which immense enterprises are developed from
insignificant beginnings. Mr. Parker is now the proprietor of four
large manufactories, located at different places in Meriden and its vicinity,
and some of them comprise so many departments for the manufacture
of distinct articles that they might be regarded as several distinct estab-
lishments. His principal factory, located at Meriden centre, is an aggre-
gation of numerous buildings that cover an area of more than two acres
of ground. Here are manufactured Coffee and Corn Mills, Patent Bench
Vises, Plated Wares, and Sewing Wklachines. His Coffee Mills have
long been standard articles with the hardware trade, and with the recent
improvements, are not surpassed by any in this country. They are now
made having a combination of two sets of runners or grinders-the first
or upper set cracking the coffee, spices, wheat, or rice, and the second
or lower set grinding them as fine or as coarse as may be desired by
means of a regulating screw acting on the lower runner. His patent
Parallel Vises are in general use in all New England manufactories.
The Plated Spectacles, Spectacle Cases and Tobacco Boxes, are made
by patented machinery so expeditiously and cheaply that the demand
for them is very extensive. The Parker Sewing Machine is manufac-
tured under the patents of E. Howe, Jr., Wheeler & Wilson, and Grover
& Baker, and makes the double-lock stitch, with the tension so arranged
that the stitch lays perfectly flat and smooth on the under side. The
parts are all adjusted before leaving the factory, and are pinned together
in such a manner as not to get deranged by using. This machine has
very many valuable qualities, is one of the simplest now made, and the
sales, not only in this country but in Europe and South America, are
very large. Recently, Mr. Parker erected an extensive building adjoin
ing these works, and is now fitting it up with newly patented machinery
for the manufacture of Gimlet Pointed Screws. This enterprise, if suc-
cessful as it promises to be, will be welcomed with great satisfaction by
all dealers in American Hardware.

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