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Pratt & Whitney Company Records

Identifier: 1991-0033

Scope and Content Note

The Pratt & Whitney Company Records contain blueprints, administrative records, publications, notes, correspondence, photographs, photographic negatives and a film of the Pratt & Whitney company from 1901 to 1989.

The largest portion of the collection consists of photographs, and photographic negatives, of company related equipment, materials, events, and people throughout the company's history. The photographs document many facets of the company, including branch offices, small tools and gages, the Steinle Machine Company, sub contract work, Taylor & Fenn, drills, cutters and cutting tools, the International Harvester Company, lathes, Pratt & Whitney's 100th birthday party, automatic duplicating machines, bottle molds, conventional gages (cylindrical, thread, tri-roll), forging dies, the machine tool division, machining centers, and various other precision tools.

The records also include a 16 mm film, "P&W Presents a New Plant," filmed in 1939, showing the construction of a new facility in West Hartford, Connecticut.


  • 1901-1989


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


Pratt & Whitney Company was founded in 1860 by Francis Pratt (1827-1902) and Amos Whitney (1832-1920), who met while working as machinists for the Phoenix Iron Works. The first products they produced included silk winders, guns, lathes, and drills. The company formally incorporated in 1869. By the end of the 1800s the company branched into the production of planters, screw machines, die sinkers, wrenches, gages, weighing machines, and more.

In 1879 the company hired Harvard professor William A. Rogers and Stevens Institute of Technology graduate George M. Bond to begin work to establish the standard inch. This led to the important development of the Rogers-Bond Comparator, accurate to one fifty-thousandth of an inch. This research helped Pratt & Whitney develop and promulgate the mass production of interchangeable parts.

In 1901 Pratt & Whitney Company was purchased by the Niles-Bement-Pond Company. At that time the company concentrated on the manufacture of machine tools, small tools, and gages. In 1925 the company began producing aircraft engines, but by 1929 had moved this operation to a plant in East Hartford, Connecticut. With the move the manufacture of engines became unaffiliated with the Pratt & Whitney Division of the Niles-Bement-Pond Company, but the company retained the rights to use the Pratt & Whitney name.

Due to its need for expansion the Pratt & Whitney Company relocated from its original offices on Capitol Avenue in Hartford to a 166-acre complex on Charter Oak Boulevard in West Hartford in 1939. The company became well known for the precision of its equipment, which was able to accurately measure to 5 millionths of an inch. By 1961 Pratt & Whitney had begun to produce numerically controlled measuring systems, which allowed for even greater accuracy.

In 1945 Niles-Bement-Pond Company was acquired by Chandler Evans. Chandler Evans merged with Penn-Texas Corporation in 1955. Penn-Texas Corporation was renamed in 1958 as Fairbanks Whitney Corporation after it merged with Fairbanks Morse & Company. By 1960 the Pratt & Whitney Division employed over 2500 workers and produced more than 2000 items.

In 1991 Moore Products Company assumed control of Pratt & Whitney Company and moved its headquarters to Plainville, Connecticut. Today the company is known as Pratt & Whitney Measurement Systems, Inc. and is located in Bloomfield, Connecticut. The company still upholds its tradition of accuracy as it continues to develop and manufacture measuring systems.


103 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Pratt & Whitney Company Records includes instruction books, product information, machine reports and proposals, advertising circulars, catalogs, reference books, journal excerpts, publications, scrapbooks of images of machines and trade paper advertisements, transparencies, photographs, photographic negatives and a film of the Pratt & Whitney Company from 1901 to 1989.

Provenance and Acquisition

The majority of the records were donated by the Pratt & Whitney Company in 1991. The 16mm film of "P&W Presents a New Plant" was donated in 2013 October by Mr. Dave Thorstenson of Manchester, Connecticut.

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials of Connecticut business records. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

Pratt & Whitney Company Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
2012 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US