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Farrel Company Records

Identifier: 1989-0053

Scope and Content

The Farrel Company Records document a prominent Connecticut business with contents such as newspaper clippings, information on legislative bills, correspondence, executive and campaign records, grant files, questionnaires and press releases. Also included in this collection is information pertaining to the towns in which the factories were located.

Additional records including ledgers, journals and photographs found after box 234 were added at a later date and have not been fully inventoried.


  • Creation: undated, 1800-1993

Restrictions on Access

Use of audiotapes requires production of listening copies. Collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


The Farrel Company was founded in 1848 by Almon Farrel in Ansonia, Connecticut. Almon Farrel was a prominent engineer and millwright whose contributions to manufacturing enterprises appeared in Connecticut and southern New York. Aided by his son, Franklin, Almon Farrel won his reputation by successfully constructing and equipping manufacturing plants. In 1844, at the request of Anson Phelps, Almon Farrel and his son journeyed to Ansonia to survey, engineer and build a water project and erect a copper mill. The Farrel presence remains evident in town today.

Almon Farrel's original business in Ansonia was Almon Farrel and Company. Begun in 1848, the business included a small foundry and machine shop. The company supplied heavy machinery to manufacturers in the Naugatuck valley. Earlier products were power drives and gears for water-powered installations and brass and iron castings. Late in 1848, Almon and Franklin Farrel entered in a partnership with Richard Johnson, a pattern maker, and formed Farrel-Johnson Company. Almon Farrel contributed $8,000 of the $15,000 capital required to begin operations. In 1850, the partnership was incorporated and renamed Farrel Foundry with Almon Farrel serving as president.

In 1851, the company expanded its operations to Waterbury, Connecticut, where a foundry and machine ship were built. The Waterbury facilities were designed to offset transportation difficulties and speed repair service in that area. In 1880 the plant was taken over by its manager, Edward Coffin Lewis. In return for his quarter interest in the Farrel business, Lewis received control of the Waterbury branch, severing all legal ties with the parent company. Lewis served as president of Waterbury Farrel Foundry & Machine Company until his death in 1901. The company remains in operation today as a division of Jones & Lamson Textron>.

Following Almon Farrel's death in 1857, Farrel Foundry reorganized and was incorporated as Farrel Foundry & Machine Company. It was capitalized with $90,000,000. In 1869, Franklin Farrel became president of the Company.

Farrel Foundry & Machine Company products were designed to meet the needs of the expanding brass and rubber industries in the area. The company concentrated on producing rolling mills and rubber processing machinery and fabricated the first rubber calendars used in industry. Production of chilled iron rolls remained a mainstay of the company's business until the mid twentieth century. The company proceeded to produce roll-equipped machinery for the plastics, metals, paper and sugar industries.

A policy of diversification was implemented in the 1870s when Farrel Foundry & Machine Company began manufacturing sugar mills. In a separate venture, Franklin Farrel purchased sugar estates in Cuba and Santa Domingo. Interests in these ventures were sold in 1903. In 1877, Franklin Farrel acquired the Parrott Silver & Copper Company in Butte, Montana. After limited success in this and other mining ventures, Farrel sold Parrott to Amalgamated Copper Company in 1889.

In 1920, the company purchased a plant in Buffalo, New York, to help meet the growing demand for rubber machinery. However, the plant was never used for its original purpose. Farrel acquired a patent for the Sykes Gear Cutting Machine and the Buffalo facilities were utilized for gear production. The plant closed in 1961.

In 1927, Farrel Foundry and Machine Company merged with the Birmingham Iron Foundry to form Farrel-Birmingham Company, Inc. Founded in 1836 by Sylvester and Sullivan Colburn, Birmingham Iron Foundry produced primarily rubber machinery. [Farrel Company currently uses 1836 as its founding date.]

Farrel-Birmingham Company, Inc. acquired Consolidated Machine Tool Corporation located in Rochester, New York, in 1951. This corporation represented a conglomeration of machine tool companies with the facilities and equipment capable of handling Farrel's larger operations. The plant and product lines were sold to Conlin Company in 1983.

The company shortened its name to the Farrel Corporation in 1963. In 1968 the company joined United Shoe Machinery (USM) with divisional status. In 1976, Emhart Corporation merged with USM and the Farrel Machinery Group, as it was then known, became a division of Emhart. On 6 May 1981, Franklin Farrel IV resigned as assistant secretary of the company, signaling the end of family participation in the business. The company's most recent name, Farrel Company, Emhart Machinery Group, dates from 1983. in 1989 Emhart was taken over by Black & Decker.

In the 1980s the Farrel Company


156 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Farrel Company was founded in 1848 in Ansonia, Connecticut, by Almon Farrel and his son Franklin, and made brass and iron castings, wooden mortise gears and parts for water-power plants. By the 1860s the company was producing rollng mill equipment for the rapidly expanding copper and brass industries, and pioneered in the development of processing machinery for the rubber industry. Other items produced included stone and ore crushers, iron rolls (used for milling) and processing equipment for rubber, plastics, linoleum, and paper. Throughout many name changes and mergers the company remained a family owned business until the 1980s.


Series I: Administrative Files (undated, 1844-1982) is composed of nine subseries: Company Statements, Legal Records, Master Agreement Files, Minutes, Notebooks, Personnel, Reports and Surveys, Subject Files and Stock Records. The bulk of the series contains Master Agreement Files and Subject Files. Master Agreement Files (1893-1962), are general subject records maintained by the company for legal purposes or kept as a control record. Included are deeds and contracts, licenses and patents, policies and procedures and other files related to the Banbury Mixer, Consolidated Machine Tool Corp. and Atwood and Watson-Stillaman divisions. Subject Files (1863-1979) cover a variety of subjects, including proposed mergers, salary adjustment, mining activities, Buffalo operations, World War II contributions, USM Corp., Emhart Corp., and sugar mills. The extensive group of Notebooks (1844-1926), covers subjects relating to business and personal matters. The majority of notebooks were kept by Farrelrsname> family members. Stock Records (1851-1968) included dividend accounts, notes and certificates and records of stock transactions (Series IX, Audio Visual Records, contains reel to reel tapes of annual stockholders' meetings, 1957-1968). Major gaps appear in twentieth century records. Legal Records (1849-1968) include contracts and agreements, deeds, corporate documents, licenses and patents, indentures and copyrights. The bulk of these records are nineteenth century documents. Reports and Surveys (1904-1972), were undertaken by the company to appraise policies and procedures or to examine developments affecting the industry. Reports were prepared in-house or by consultants, such as McKinsey and Company and Norris & Elliott. Personnel files (1906-1972) include wage and employee statistics, training manuals and labor relations materials. Contained in Company Statements (1850-1982) are annual reports, 1945-1982; annual statements, 1856-1913; balance sheets; profit and loss statements. Minutes (1910-1968) is a very small subseries containing minutes of directors' meetings, 1958-1968; executive board meetings, 1913-1917; and miscellaneous committee meetings.

Series II: Correspondence (1840-1966) consists of general correspondence, 1840-1966; outgoing correspondence, 1878-1897; in the form of letter press copy books; and convertible notes file, 1938-1944. The bulk of general correspondence is dated 1845-1920. Indexed letter press copy books primarily contain correspondence from Franklin Farrel.

Series III: Sales and Marketing Records (1869-1956) contains three subseries: scrapbooks, catalogs, and sales. The bulk of the series of composed of Scrapbooks (1901-1956), related to Farrel Company or industry activities. The scrapbooks include newsclippings, product catalogs and advertisements. Newsclippings referring to Ansonia and Derby are sprinkled throughout the scrapbooks. Scrapbooks are arranged alphabetically by subject and within each subject are filed chronologically. Illustrated Catalogs showcase Farrel products and include Buffalo production lines. Sales include order books (1869-1928) which are partially indexed. Order books and other sales records usually include customers' name, product, price and occasionally specialk production specifications or instructions.

Series IV: General Accounts (1848-1961) is composed of daybooks, journals, ledgers, cash books, accounts received and paid, bills and receipts and a few miscellaneous account records. The daybooks, 1848-1880, include volumes from Farrel Johnson and Company and Farrel Foundry. Cash books are arranged in three subgroups: cash, 1853-1934; cash received, 1935-1961; cash disbursed, 1926-1929, 1935-1960. Ledgers, 1849-1961 are arranged by type: ledgers, general ledgers, transfer ledgers, general ledger transfers, current ledgers and sales ledgers. Journals, 1953-1957, are arranged in sets and each set is in chronological order. Accounts received and paid, 1927-1961, record office and travel expenditures. Bills and receipts are primarily nineteenth century records.

Series V: Production Records (1874, 1933) contains inventory books, expense records, gear lists and nomenclature, specifications, circulars and miscellaneous production records. Annual inventory books, 1904-1909, document total production output. An inventory of rolls, 1874, is included. Expense records, 1915-1933, verify expenditures and production costs of various departments such as the drawing room, machine shop and blacksmith shop. One volume is a record of the Derby plant's expenses. Gear lists of the company, 1893, 1897, 1918, are incomplete. Circulars received by the company are primarily nineteenth century advertisements. Production records are extremely spotty with major gaps evident throughout the series.

Series VI: Labor Records (1858-1956) contains payroll records, manhour statistics and employee accounts. Time book and payroll volumes, 1867-1877, 1898-1901, 1918-1920, are weekly records of work done and wages received by employees. Workman's monthly time book, 1858-1859, includes employees' wages and attendance. Payroll and Office volumes, 1903-1956, include wages and deductions. “Black Book” salary records, ca. 1940s, include employees' name and age, department worked, dates of employment and reason for departure.

Series VII: Birmingham Iron Foundry (1858-1927) is composed of records of that company preceding its merger with Farrel Foundry and Machine Company in 1927. The series is arranged in four subseries: administrative records, production, sales and general accounts. Administrative Records (1858-1927) consist of general subject files, legal records and stock records. Appraisals, cost accounts and inventories are also included. Production Records (1899-1927) contain gear lists and specifications. Sales Records (1863-1891) include an extensive array of illustrated product catalogs (no dates) and various order books. General Accounts (1864-1927) include ledgers, journals, a cash book, balance sheets and bills and receipts.

Series VIII: Newsclippings and Publications (1909-1978) is arranged by subject. Three subjects comprise the bulk of this series: company activities, company buildings and land, town activities. Other subjects are employee articles including works by Franklin Farrel III. J. R. Bowen's newsclipping files encompass Farrel Company, industry and town activities. Personnel contains articles and obituaries about employees from all plants, including Buffalo. In-hours publications include Farrel-Birmingham Newsletter, 1942-1942, and Farrel-Birmingham Notes, 1940-1943.

Series IX: Audio Visual Records (1850-1968) contains photographs, reel to reel tapes, plans and blueprints, and memorabilia. Eight scrapbooks, ca. 1930-1955, contain photographs of company products with emphasis on sugar mills built by the company in Louisiana. Other photographs are arranged by subject, although the majority are unidentified. Subject headings include events, facilities, personnel, products and machinery, and World War II activities. Tapes contain proceedings of stockholder annual meetings, 1957-1968, and includes a special 1968 stockholders' meeting, as well as a conversation between Fernley Banbury and Arthur Strahan concerning the Banbury mixer. Plans and blueprints are arranged in three sections: Buffalo operations, facilities and projects, and equipment. Though few in number, the drawings and blueprints are in good condition. Photocopies of blueprints are included. Memorabilia includes ephemera and special record items received or generated by the company. Included in this category are commemorative service pins and tietacks, anniversary seals, company embossers, awards and certificates, letterhead samples, and business cards.

Series X: Historical Papers (1847-1984) is arranged in three subseries: Farrel Company, Family Papers, and Reference. Farrel Company includes historical information on the company, its stock, and the town of Ansonia; as well as correspondence and notes of Franklin Farrel Sr., Franklin Farrel Jr., and Franklin Farrel III. Family Papers includes biographical notes, death notices, genealogy and legal records; as well as personal correspondence. Reference contains books relating to the Farrel Company library, these books were used primarily for in-house purposes.

Series XI: Publications (1940-1988) contains various printed materials of relevance to the Farrel Company, and includes information on world markets, products, and equipment, as well as annual reports, journals, newsletters, and reports and addresses.

Series XII: Addendum (1800-1898) contains materials added to the collection after its initial processing. The records have been arranged by subject and includes records on machinery, patents, production, stock transactions, cost control and pricing, and legal matters. Information on the 1989 Emhart/Black & Decker merger is included here, as well as information on the 1987 Emhart/Farrel lawsuit. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series XIII: Ledgers and Journals (1866-1942

Custodial History

The papers were previously maintained by the Ansonia Public Library where Mr. Farrel had placed them on deposit in 1982.

The Ansonia Public Library retains a limited amount of materials relating to the history of Ansonia and surrounding towns.

Acquisition Information

The Farrel Company papers were donated to the University of Connecticut Library in April 1982, by Franklin Farrel III. The materials in accession 2012-0130 were donated by the Farrel family and brought to the Archives & Special Collections in August 2012 by UConn Professor Fred Carstensen

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

A portion of the collection has been digitized and digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository

Separated Material

The following materials have been separated from the collection and cataloged:

Pioneers in Industry, Dodd Call No.5600

Tercentenary Pictorial and History, Dodd Call No.56001

Flood Dodd Call No. TBD

Hurricane Rains and Floods of August 1955, Carolinas to New England, Dodd Call No. TBD

High Water Mark: The 1955 Flood inthe Naugatuck Valley, Dodd Call No. TBD

Farrel Company Records
Archives & Special Collections Staff
1984 October
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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