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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 Waterbury,   pp. 440-445


Page 441

SCOVILL MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
stockholders. The capital was at first $250,000, but subsequently in.
creased to $300,000.
This company has for many years been the principal manufacturer of
Daguerreotype Plates in this country, a business which was commenced
about the year 1842. These were made of British copper, which being
more perfectly refined and possessing a more even fibre is preferable to
American copper, where evenness of surface is indispensable.  The
plates are prepared by the rolling process, the silver being plated upon
the copper in the course of the operation, and then is afterwards cut
into the various sizes required. The " mats" or ornamental mountings,
usually fitted into the cases for keeping in the pictures, are engraved and
chased for the most part by machinery, and by an ingenious adaptation of
eccentric movements the " sight" of the metal frame is connected to the
true circle, oval or oblong, with turned corners in the same operation by
which the chasing is performed. The manufacture of these plates and
mattings was for many years a very extensive branch of this Company's
business, but since the introduction of photographs there has been a
marked decline in the demand for Daguerreotype Plates, though the
quantity produced at this manufactory is still large.
Buttons are now made very extensively by the Scovill Company (their
establishment having a capacity for producing 1500 gross per day), and
chiefly by machines invented and constructed upon their premises. One
machine for punching out the blanks for spherical buttons and raising
them to the required convexity in one operation, does its work at the
rate of 280 buttons per minute ; whilst another machine, fitted with
punches, strikes out 1800 plain blanks in the same space of time. An
ingenious machine is also employed for "milling" the eyes of the ordi-
nary plain gilt buttons, and does the work of ten or twelve girls. The
military Buttons made at the establishment, as also the general range of
ornamental articles of the same class, are in beeter taste, it has been con-
ceded by competent judges, than the generality of the same goods pro-
duced in England.
This Company now occupy extensive and commodious buildings, and
are manufacturing Sheet Brass, German Silver, Plated Metal, Brass and
Silver-Plated Hinges, Military Buttons, Daguerreotype Plates, Kerosene
Burners, Brass and German Silver Thimbles, and numerous miscella-
neous articles in brass, including a novel and highly ornate style of
Metal Boxes for druggists' and chemists' use.
About 400 persons are furnished employment in their manufactory.
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