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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 426

having added the manufacture of Belts to that of Carpet Bags, his sales
rapidly increased until, in about four years, they amounted to $300,000
a year. In 1855 he embarked in the manufacture of Hoop Skirts,
which soon became so much in demand, that in less than one year the
sales of these alone amounted to $300,000. For several years these
have been the leading article of the firm's manufacture, though recently
they have added Corsets. The principal manufactory of the firm is a
building in West Meriden, having a front of 160 feet and an average
depth of 115 feet, where about 400 dozen Skirts are made daily and a
proportionate quantity of Corsets. Besides these, two other shops in
the town are employed in making Skirts for the firm.
Since 1860 Messrs. Wilcox and Co. have made the Tape used in
Skirts, and occupied a building for the purpose that is 135 by 40 feet.
To this an addition has been made 100 feet long by 40 feet deep,
21 stories high, and another 60 feet square and 4 stories high, both of
which are being filled with costly machinery for the manufacture of
Balmoral Skirts, the dyeing as well as the spinning of the yarn
being done on the premises.     They have also just completed a
large boarding house for the convenience of the operatives, of whom
from 700 to 800 are now employed in the various manufactures. When
the manufacture of Balmoral Skirts is further established, this firm ex-
pect to increase their sales to the amount of a million and a half of dol-
lars per annum, which will make it the largest manufactory of the kind
in the United States.
Besides these concerns, which make about one-half of the total pro-
duct of the town of Meriden, the next three largest are the Meriden
Britannia Company, which in 1860, employed 320 hands and produced
a value of $480,000; the Meriden Cutlery Company, which employed
126 hands and manufactured to the amount of $167,000; and Read,
Pratt & Co., who manufactured Ivory Combs and Piano Ivory to the
amount of $175,000. A consolidation of all the principal firms engaged
in the manufacture of Ivory Combs in the United States, has been
recently effected, and their principal factory at Meriden. The Mallea-
ble Iron Works of M. C. Augur & Company employed thirty-five
hands; the Caster Manufactory of Foster, Merriam & Co., employed
thirty hands; the Clock and Bell Manufactory of Bradley & Hubbard,
employed sixty-two hands ; the Hoop Skirt Factory of Charles P. Colt,
employed ten men and eighty women; while sundry manufactories
of Brass and Plated goods, Lamp Trimmings, Japanned and Tinware,
Machine Castings, Soap and Candles, Fertilizers, Carriages, etc., con-
tributed to make up the aggregate product of $2,786.000.

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