Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

Oliver Ames & Sons were making plows at Worcester then; J. M. C. Armsby made cultivators, harrows and rakes . Paper making machinery was being produced by Rice, Barton & Co., and G. Henry Whitcomb was fashioning paper into envelopes. The famous Wheelock engine was under production, and boilers were being fabricated by Stewart & Dillon.

Winslow skates, Torrey razors, Wesson and Allen, and Wheelock firearms were well-known products. Osgood Bradley & Co. built fine carriages and cars. Carriages were also being built by 0. Blood & Sons, Tolman & Russell, and others. Taylor & Farley organs and melodeons were ornaments of many a front parlor.

There was also a large production of boots and shoes, chiefly boots. Prior to 1868 practically all footwear was handmade. The names Heywood, Walker, and Wesson were familiar in this industry for many years. There was also some leather tanning, and the firm of Graton & Knight had been organized a few years before for the production of leather belting.

It was altogether fitting that such a center should be the seat of an industrial school. Not only did it provide at close hand a great laboratory for student inspection, but within the walls of these factories there would undoubtedly develop opportunities for the employment of graduates.

Thus much digression from the course of the Institute's story may be permissible in order to supply a background upon which to sketch its beginnings, and to describe the community in which teachers and students of the Institute were to live, a community of diversified and thriving industries, good homes, and God-fearing people, who had not yet departed far from the art of living simply.


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999