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Snell Manufacturing Company mill and workers
TitleSnell Manufacturing Company mill and workers
Full Size Image
SubjectAugers--Massachusetts--Sturbridge; Industries--Massachusetts--Sturbridge; Bits (drilling & boring)--Massachusetts--Sturbridge; Sturbridge (Mass.:Town)--History--Pictorial Works; Sturbridge (Mass.:Town)--Pictorial Works; Sturbridge (Mass.:Town)--History; Sturbridge (Mass.:Town)--Industries
DescriptionThe Snell Manufacturing Company, Fiskdale, a village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, has a long history. In 1841 Melville Snell came from Pawtucket, Rhode Island to Sturbridge where he manufactured augers and bits for 2 years. Melville's nephew, Otis, moved from Ware and with his uncle and Mr. Judson Smith, formed a partnership, Smith, Snell & Co. In 1850 Lucius Snell, younger brother of Otis, purchased Mr. Smith's interest. Melville Snell and his nephews, Otis and Lucius, reorganized as Snell & Brothers and continued as such until 1861. In 1854 Deacon Thomas Snell, father of Otis and Lucius, and brother of Melville came from Ware and joined his family in the business. In 1862 the business was bought by Emery L. Bates in partnership with the New York hardware firm of Clarke and Wilson. The history of the real estate had some setbacks. The first building used in 1842 was an older one and was destroyed by fire in 1852. The town wanted the company to rebuild and $770 was donated by individuals as an enticement for it not to move to Warren. In turn the Snells bought Wights gristmill and moved it 200 feet further east to make a place for a large factory. The gristmill was used as an office and packing room. The wooden buildings shown in several photographs date from the late 1800's. One may date from a 1895 reconstruction after fire had destroyed some large stone buildings that had been erected in 1854. In 1912 another fire burned the 1895 building and was replaced by a 2-story building where Sturbridge Yankee Workshop began occupancy in 1960. The Snell Manufacturing Company was the oldest maker of augers and bits in the country. An early method of marketing used by Thomas Snell was to drive to Boston with his wagon loaded with finished tools and return with the same wagon filled with steel stock. This image shows workers, many dressed bib overalls and cloth sports caps, both of which were popular with late 19th century factory workers. The windows on the factory, oversized paired sash 4 over 4 with segmented arch 2 pane transom windows, reflect a style of the later 19th cenury. Large glass became available after the Civil War with the introduction of the tin-float process. Although undated, these observations suggest a date between 1880 and 1899. Back label, "The last building across canal."
Relation From the Joshua Hyde Public Library Archive, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
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