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New Britain Machine Company Records

 Collection
Identifier: 2007-0049

Scope and Content

The records consist of photographs, patents, tool and machine catalogs, employee newsletters, board of directors minutes, financial ledgers, mechanical drawings, and manuals of instruction.

Dates

  • undated, 1890-1990

Access

The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

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.

History

The New Britain Machine Company of New Britain, Connecticut was established in 1895 by the officials of the J.T. Case Engine Company. Formed in 1887 the J.T. Case Engine Company was a leading manufacturer of steam engines. However, with the introduction of the gasoline engine the company was forced to reconfigure itself. In order to shift direction and keep up with the new technology the company rebranded itself as the New Britain Machine Company. The first product the company manufactured was a chainsaw mortising machine. This new wood-working machine was capable of cutting multiple mortises, revolutionizing the operations capable by a single machine.

By the turn of the twentieth century the company produced and sold a line of cast iron shop furniture for use by heavy metal fabricators. In 1911 the company purchased the George Prentice Company and began producing a line of automatic chucking machines, to be expanded to include automatic bar machines in 1913 when the company acquired the Universal Machine Company of Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1920 the company began producing a line of socket wrenches that could be sold to the general public for automobile service and repair. The production of automobile tools became a major industry for the company, starting what would become the company's New Britain Hand Tools Division. By the 1930s the company was divided between three major divisions, each producing precision metal tools and products.

Having created antiaircraft guns during the World War I, the company was able to easily shift production to accomodate the needs of the country during World War II. Following the war the company was able to add new precision machine tools to its production line thanks in part to new innovations and technologies in drilling and boring machines. In 1955 the company expanded its Hand Tools Division to include their Black Hawk line of hand tools. The new production of hand tools allowed the company to expand and grow, eventually producing numerous other lines of precision tools. In 1972 the company was purchased by Litton Industrial Products, who in 1990 shut down the New Britain Machine Company's century old operations.

For a more complete history of the New Britain Machine Company please see, Bingham, Harold J., History of Connecticut: Industrial and Institutional Records, Family and Personal Records, Vol. III. (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1962.) pp. 53-56.

Extent

47.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The New Britain Machine Company of New Britain, Connecticut, was established in 1895 as a successor to the J.T. Case Engine Company. Through the years the company produced a variety of machines including bar, chuckers, turning machines, precision boring machines, lathes, hand tools, and injection molding machines. The records consist of photographs, patents, tool and machine catalogs, employee newsletters, board of directors minutes, financial ledgers, mechanical drawings, and manuals of instruction.

Custodial History

The New Britain Machine Company records in boxes 1-39 were donated to the Connecticut Historical Society after 1990. The materials in boxes 40-42 were donated to the New Britain Industrial Museum from various former employees from 1990 to 2010.

Acquisition Information

The materials in boxes 1-39 were held by the Connecticut Historical Society immediately prior to their donation in 2007 and 2010 to the University of Connecticut. The material in boxes 40-42 were donated by the New Britain Industrial Museum in 2010.

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository.

Related Material

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

Title
New Britain Machine Company Records
Status
Published
Author
Archives & Special Collections staff
Date
2011 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

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

Contact:
University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US
860-486-2524