The Hartford Manufacturing Company

Hartford Manufacturing Company is a bit of an enigma.  In some popular and well respected books on the subject of American silverplate it is barely mentioned if, in fact, mentioned at all.  And trying to find any history relating to the company and the principals involved is pretty much difficult to say the least.  However, for those of you who have long awaited this information, here it is! In the last post I mentioned that the Rogers Brothers Manufacturing Co. had moved into a new factory building in 1851 at Trumbull & Hicks Streets in Hartford. A few years later, and in close proximity, we find the Hartford Manufacturing Company, having been incorporated Sept. 23 1854. In the detail from an 1877 map shown below, the two buildings are shown as (99) Rogers and (98) Hartford, 15 & 49 Trumbull St.

Hicks & Trumbull

Hicks & Trumbull

Hartford Mfg. and Rogers Bros. Mfg. listings are show below from a 1861-62 Hartford City Directory.  Note: Asa Rogers is shown as living in Waterbury and associated with some firm by the name of J. McClester & Co.

1861-1862 Hartford City Directory

1861-1862 Hartford City Directory

Also cut from the 1861-62 Directory are J.H. Ashmead and Edmund Hurlburt, shown as treasurer and president of the Hartford Manufacturing Co. as well as “gold beaters”. In 1846 James Ashmead entered into partenership with Edmund Hurlburt, of Windsor, Conn., who had been a plater on Main St. in Hartford. This 1860 advertisement emphasizes their positions (at the bottom of the ad).

Express Office Handbook 1860 pg.123

Express Office Handbook 1860 pg.123

Next, are two brief histories on companies that Ashmead & Hurlburt were involved with taken from “Hartford Conn as a Manufacturing Business and Commercial Center”:

Ashmead Hurlburt

Ashmead Hurlburt

Below are listings for those referenced above. (From 1845-46 Geer’s Hartford Directory)

Johnson Ashmead Hurlburt 1845-46 Geer's

Johnson Ashmead Hurlburt 1845-46 Geer’s

Of importance here is the Wm. B. Johnson address “No. 6 Exchange Buildings” the same location that we saw in the previous post for Wm.Rogers. Ashmead & Hurlburt were not only gold beaters but also involved in dental supply see 1847 ad below from “The United States Statistical Directory, Or, Merchants’ and Travellers”:

The United States Statistical Directory 1847

The United States Statistical Directory 1847

Of interest, Simeon Rogers married Ann Hurlburt in April 1840. Below in a later listing we see the Ashmead gold beating tradition continues (from 1875 Hartford City Directory)

1875 City Directory pg28

1875 City Directory pg28

In this 1857 Le Roy S. White patent it is assigned to Rogers(misspelled), Sperry, Ashmead & Hurlburt:

Patent 17475 Le Roy White 1857

Patent 17475 Le Roy White 1857

Were these gentlemen in the above patent those most involved with operating Hartford Mfg.?  Simeon Smith Rogers, Egbert W. Sperry, James H. Ashmead, Edmund Hurlburt, and Henry Ephraim Robbins (Robbins was mentioned in the ad shown above). Robbins is listed in other patents as one of the assignees and an inventor in his own right (improvements for tobacco case). He is listed in the 1861-62 Hartford Directory as “sec’y Hfd. Manuf. Co.” The following on Le Roy S. White came from “History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley Conn. 1918” pg.49a

History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley Conn. 1918

History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley Conn. 1918

Le Roy White’s 1867 patent 2551 lead to the famous Gorham lawsuit; see my blog post “Persian versus Jewell”. Le Roy White went to Waterbury with Asa & Simeon Rogers and David B.Hamilton in 1858 to establish Rogers & Brother there. The patent above shows that Simeon Smith Rogers was involved with Ashmead & Hurlburt as well as E. W. Sperry. It seems from the article below (from “Connecticut Reports” 1885) he had Hartford Mfg. produce spoons, forks and knives with a seemingly deceptive “Rogers” mark.

Conn.Reports pg123

Conn.Reports pg123

Flatware marked simply “Rogers A1” and made between 1856-1859 are probably on the rare side, but an interesting find. Also in patent no. 17475 (above) E.W Sperry is listed as one of the assignees. Egbert W. Sperry might have been an influential figure in the developement of silverware production as the article below indicates.

Leading Pursuits 1856 pgs 406 407

Leading Pursuits 1856 pgs 406 407

next page…

Leading Pursuits 1856 pg 408

Leading Pursuits 1856 pg 408

The next photo shows the “Threaded” pattern with the Sperry backstamp. Is this an example of one of the abovementioned patterns in Freedley’s book?

Threaded Pattern With Sperry Backstamp

Threaded Pattern With Sperry Backstamp

The following photograph shows a fork backstamped “E. W. Sperry”.  This is the “Tuscan” pattern.  One thing is for certain, this Sperry mark is very rare:

E. W. Sperry Fork

E. W. Sperry Fork

 

 

SperryFork

. W. Sperry Fork

A kind reader was good enough to share photos of a fork in either the Tuscan or Brunswick pattern (not sure which) with the Hartford Mfg. Co. mark. See the following:

wp-1489149612076.jpg

For more from Freedley’s book, see my blog post “Freedly 1856 Silver Plated Wares”. Included is a segment on Lewis Morgan who was also in Hartford. He was born Jan. 17 1817 in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  It seems he was involved in the Hartford silver scene from the mid 1830’s through the late 1850’s. He is in the 1845 Geer’s as a silversmith at 281 Main St. He married Jeannette Pinney of Granby, on Christmas day 1845, which makes me think he was at Cowles in “Spoonville” with the rest of the plating gang. E.W. Sperry and his brothers Albert and William are noted as being in “Spoonville” at Cowles in the mid 1840’s. For more on the Cowles operation please see blog post “The Search for Spoonville”.  Also worth a mention is that I believe Albert A. Sperry did some designs for Cephas Rogers & Bros. before cousin Arthur, for example the “Westminster” pattern of 1883 (please see blog post “Cephas Rogers & Brothers and Cousin Arthur”. In the 1861-62 Hartford Directory E.W.Sperry resides at 78 Maple Ave. in Hartford and is considered a “silversmith”. In 1867 Egbert W. Sperry was issued three  design patents numbers 2641-43 (“design for a knife or fork handle”). He was living in Wolcottville, Conn. at the time. In newspaper accounts of the tragic death of Mr. Sperry’s son in a train accident, his former company is called both “Hartford Britannia Company” and “Hartford Britannia Works”. Next is a patent issued to Albert M. White in 1860. There is an Albert M. White listed in the 1861-62 directory as a machinist living at the American Hotel.

Patent 30707 A.M.White 1860

Patent 30707 A.M.White 1860

What is of importance here is “ROGERS & BROTHER OF WATERBURY, AND HARTFORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY, OF HARTFORD”. I have four silver plate forks in the “Olive” pattern manufactured by Hartford Manufacturing Company for sale at my Etsy shop.  All four forks have the mark shown in the following photo:

HARTFORD MF'G Co. Mark

HARTFORD MF’G Co. Mark

In my listing I noted that these forks “predated the Civil War”.  I’ve since learned that Rogers and Brothers and Hartford Manufacturing Company actually provided flatware for ironclad gunboats used during the Civil War. The USS Cairo, commissioned in January 1862, and her six identical sister vessels were built for the purpose of regaining control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy. These City Class gunboats were all named for cities along the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

USS Cairo, US Public Domain

USS Cairo, US Public Domain

Myron J. Smith, author of “The USS Carondelet, A Civil War Ironclad on Western Waters” and Edwin C. Bearss, author of  “Hardluck Ironclad: The Sinking and Salvage of the Cairo” both mentioned in their books that the officers on these ships ate on ironstone and used flatware manufactured by “Rogers and Brothers and Hartford Manufacturing Company”.

USS Carondelet

USS Carondelet

I’m thinking that Rogers and Brothers and Hartford Manufacturing Company most likely provided the flatware for all of these ships.

USS Cairo Flatware

USS Cairo Flatware

From the photo above (taken from the National Park Service USS Cairo Museum website) it’s hard to identify the pattern of the flatware shown.  However, it could be the “Olive” pattern (shown in the photo below from my Etsy shop listing).

Hartford Mfg. Co. "Olive" Pattern Forks

Hartford Mfg. Co. “Olive” Pattern Forks

Following is the link to this listing at my shop:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/62229547/4-silver-plate-forks-hartford-mfg-co What more can I say?

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This entry was posted in Ashmead Hurlburt, Civil War, Cowles Manufacturing, Cowles Mfg., E W Sperry, Egbert Sperry, flatware, Hartford Manufacturing Co., Hartford Mfg. Co., ironclad gunboat, J. M. Ney, LeRoy White, Olive Pattern, Rogers & Bro., Rogers Bros., Rogers Brothers, silver plate, silver plate manufacturer, silverplate, silverplate manufacturers, Simeon S. Rogers, USS Cairo, Wm. B. Johnson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Hartford Manufacturing Company

  1. KerryCan says:

    Again, great research! You should be a private eye–you’re so good at this. It’s neat that the flatware might’ve been that used on the gunboat!

  2. Michael Wood says:

    How do I find out about the number stamped on my 1929 trophy dish?

    • queenofsienna says:

      Hello, in addition to the number on the bottom, what else does it say? Hartford Mfg., Hartford Silver Plate, etc. I need to know what the exact markings are on the bottom.

  3. Melissa says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have a pair of what I believe to be “Tuscan” pattern forks. They are marked “HARTFORD MF’G Co A1” but my confusion is that there are several versions of the Tuscan pattern out there. I noticed 3 on sterlingflatwarefashions.com and different dates from 1846 to 1880 or so. I even wondered if there were slightly different versions of the design for the fork, spoon, etc. Do you happen to know?
    Best,
    Melissa

  4. queenofsienna says:

    Hi, Melissa. The original Tuscan patent designed by Michael Gibney in 1846 and produced by Ball & Black is somewhat different than the pattern known as Tuscan produced by Rogers & Bro. and others. I think it might be helpful to read this post:

    https://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/the-early-spoon-design-patents-it-would-be-an-interesting-collection/

    It’s confusing for sure!

    I have never seen the Tuscan pattern with a Hartford Mfg. backstamp. I suspect it might be similar to the Rogers’ Tuscan variation. Could you possibly send me a photo of yours? I’d love to put it in my blog. My email address is queenofsienna@gmail.com

    Hartford Mfg. was incorporated on Sept. 23, 1854 and closed circa 1862 (per Dorothy Rainwater) Finding flatware with their backstamp is not easy! And it dates your forks to a very limited period of time.

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