A singular archive containing approximately 2250 items. Whitin Machine Works, Textile Manufactories.
A singular archive containing approximately 2250 items
A singular archive containing approximately 2250 items
A singular archive containing approximately 2250 items

A singular archive containing approximately 2250 items

Providence & Whitinsville, Mass., [et al.]: early 1840s-late 1860s. A massive archive of items from this important Massachusetts / Rhode Island textile and machine manufactory which represents the pinnacle of industrial achievements of New England through an era that spans nine U.S. presidents, the Mexican War, the Gold Rush, Panic of 1857 through the end of the Civil War. The company town of Whitinsville (14 miles from Worcester and 29 to Providence) was developed by and named for this company which also had southern offices in Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA. The relationships between this section of Massachusetts and points in Rhode Island involve the importance of the water power of Massachusetts, the port of Providence, and the interconnections of the Blackstone Valley Industrial Corridor. The Whitin Machine Works was founded by Paul Whitin and his sons in 1831 in Northbridge, Massachusetts. The village of South Northbridge became known as Whitinsville in 1835, in honor of its founder. The WMW became one of the largest textile machinery companies in the world. Known as The "Shop" to locals, it would operate well into the 20th century, long after many of the New England mills had moved South. By 1948, The company was operating at peak capacity, employing 5,615 men and women. (See Wikipedia for an abbreviated history.) The core collection contains approx. 950 items, 1843-1863, including 600 pieces of correspondence and about 350 billheads, receipts and ledger sheets. A few highlights among the main group are about 25 items relating to the purchase of a Corliss Steam Engine from Corliss & Nightingale in Providence. Several boilers were built starting in 1849 and a letter from 1856 shows a bill of $881.00. George H. Corliss' engines were the industry standard of the time and were exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in 1876. Another group relates to the 1847 construction of the Whitin Machine Shop, and includes 14 autograph letters signed by renowned Boston architect Gridley J. F. Bryant. There are also items relating to the 1849 purchase and plan of the Uxbridge Cotton Mill and the Rockdale Cotton Mill, as well as the 1845-7 construction of the Whitinsville Meeting House, its minister (L. F. Clark) and its bell. A subsection includes items from Dexter Thurber of Providence, then part owner of the Manchaug Mills in Sutton, MA, home of Fruit of the Loom. The letters refer to the dam and the height of the water on Manchaug Pond from which the Whitin Co. was drawing water power. There are also items concerning the installation of lighting, gas, and heating systems, telegraph service, water wheels, an ice house, and fire engine. The fire engine was bought of Thomas Aldrich for $285 in 1862 in Providence. During the great Irish famine, the Whitin company and the town of Northbridge donated $705.00 for the "relief of starving population" (receipt dated March 2, 1847). At the start of the Civil War in 1861, James A. Potter wrote to Paul Whitin & Sons offering to furnish a flag staff "33 ft long made complete for $35 delivered on the cars". There is also a letter from J. G. Dudley & Co., New York, 1852, requesting a history of the company's capper and spreader and similar inventions for a speech on the "History of Cotton Manufactures" to be read before the New York Historical Society. Also included are two autograph letters signed by educator William A. Alcott (1798-1859, cousin to Bronson Alcott), an MD who lectured on topics such as the evils of tobacco use as early as 1836. He was scheduled for a lecture at Whitinsville in November of 1848. There are nine letters concerning Providence & Worcester Railroad (Paul Whitin was on 1844 founding committee) service between 1844-5. There is a large group of correspondence and receipts on construction of various buildings and projects; "stone posts for green house, buttresses, stones for piazza mantel, etc." A few of the suppliers involved were W.F. Merrifield of Worcester, Tingley Bros. of Providence, Richmond & Potter of Worcester, and Whitney & Russell of Worcester. There are engraved billheads and receipts from Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Co. (1851-1864) as well as a series of letters (1862) from the New York offices of Addison Smith, dealer in the McKenzie Patent Blower, Patent Cupola, and smelting furnace, gas exhauster and compensator. H.Q. Hawley (Henry Quackenbush Hawley, Pres. of the Auburn Gas Co.) writes long detailed letters (1858-1862) from Albany, NY, on furnaces, cracks in fire chambers, castings, and coal. There is also a series (14 items) of correspondence (1846-1850) from Walworth & Nason, of Boston. James Nason and his brother-in-law James Walworth of Boston, are considered to have introduced/invented indoor heating and ventilating. Nason coined the word "radiator." Also included is a brochure (1850) from Ball & Co.'s Patent Indestructible Water Pipe and an autograph letter signed by J. Ball. There is a series of correspondence (approx. 55 items) relating to fire insurance, mostly from the office of the Boston Manufacturers Mutual Fire Insurance Co. which had a branch in Providence. There is a set of personal and business correspondence (1843-50) from Whitin cousin Joseph A. Dudley (1815-1884) of Rome, New York, head of the wholesale (drugs, medicines, chemicals) house of Dudley & Stafford. John C. Whitin was operating the Holyoke Machine Shop in the 1860s and wrote about 70 letters (1854-62), to his brothers in Whitinsville on business. There are equally as many other items relating to the Holyoke Machine Shop from other correspondents. Approx. 400 items 1843-1865, from Seth Adams of Providence, including 200 items of correspondence; Seth Adams Jr., a dealer in flour and corn, 53 So. Water St., Providence, had many dealings with the company. Included are a series of autograph letters signed 1848-1865. "Messrs. P. Whitin & Sons, I have sent you the only perfect white corn in Providence, price .85 which it has been for a month... Maryland yellow is .80". He also writes of various shipping possibilities; the schooner John R. Mather, the Bay State, the Tryall, the Roxbury, the sloop James L. Long, etc. sailing coastwise from Baltimore. Approx. 305 items 1843-1859 mostly 1840s, from Alexander Fales Adie (1811-1890), wholesale dealer in everything from drugs and medicines to oils, varnishes, perfume, soap, pickers, shuttles, and glue, who was established at 23 Market St. in Providence. His letters contain much information on supplies used in the textile trade. "Oct. 2, 1849. Messrs. You will find 1/2 # Fish Sounds which I am selling in place of Russian Isinglass. I have sold 15# of them to a person here who covers (?) rolls and he said he found them equal to Russian Isinglass for cement... I thought you might like a sample as you use considerable Russian Isinglass. They are dissolved in New Rum or Alcohol best I understand." (Isinglass is a semitransparent whitish substance consisting of a very pure form of gelatin, produced from the sounds (swimming bladders) of the sturgeon - used as clarifying agent). Adie was an excellent salesman, constantly sending out free samples and suggesting the latest materials for the Whitins to use. Approx. 200 items from S. & W. Foster of Providence, 1843-1866 including 62 pieces of correspondence; Samuel and William Foster, grocers and agents in cotton machinery, represent about 200 items including 62 letters (1843-1866) & receipts. They were both born in MA, but operated out of Providence, supplying everything from lard, butter, and tobacco and also purchasing looms, pickers, and carders. "Nov. 4, 1848. Gent. We are this day receiving about 250 packages of very yellow waxy sweet butter made by the Scotch farmers in the northern counties of York State. They are in dairies of 5 to 20 tubs, one dairy in particular of 18 firkin is very good and we could sell it for 17ct..." Approx. 350 items from S.W. Razee of Providence, RI, 1855-1869, including 90 pieces of correspondence: Stafford W. Razee (1827-1906), a grain merchant and agent of the Harris Woolen Co. Razee was also a state senator and railroad director and erected the first steam grain elevator in Providence. There about 350 items (1855-69), most from 1840s, including about 90 autograph letters signed. "Woonsocket Dec 15th, 1869. I notice your quotations of corn came from Prov and are very much obliged for the information and this is not the first time that my Prov friends have given low quotations to my customers when they knew they had first purchased of me. The facts of the case are that the Prov grain dealers are determined to drive (double underlines) me out of the business... and do all in their power to create dissatisfaction among those who purchase grain of me..." Perhaps this is a reference to Seth Adams! A wonderful collection of nineteenth century business records from an important New England company. A fat manila file containing perhaps 75 related letters, receipts, billheads, etc. And, A Trip Through the Whitin Machine Works, Manufacturers of Textile Machinery. Whitin Machine Works, Whitinsville, 1925, which gives an overview of the company from its 1790 founding by Paul Whitin, the blacksmith, to Col. Paul Whitin who expanded the company into a 1500 spindle cotton mill, and John Crane Whitin, son and master mechanic, who developed the production of patented textile machines. Item #56871

Price: $5,200.00