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William B Stanley, Henry W Clark, & Lora Waters began manufacturing machinery in New Britain, Connecticut in 1830. Late in the year, Frederick bought out the company and began making door locks. His brother W B Stanley joined him soon after. The brothers introduced the first steam engine used in new Britain. They were profitable until the financial panic of 1837 at which time they moved into the shop of Stanley, Woodruff & Company.
Stanley, Woodruff & Company
F T Stanley, Smith Matteson, Emanuel Russell, Truman Woodruff, and Norman Woodruff established Stanley, Woodruff & Company in 1835 with $18,000 in capitalization. Some of the members withdrew on January 1st, 1839. Henry E Russell, Smith Matteson, C B Erwin, & F Stanley formed Stanley, Russell & Company. F T Stanley retired on January 1st, 1840 after which the company is named Matteson, Russell, & Erwin. John K Bowen bought in with the organization becoming Matteson & Russell, & Company in 1841. Matteson then died in 1842 without change coming until December 31st, 1845. The capital of Matteson and Bowen was withdrawn, and the company reorganized the next day as the Russell & Erwin Company. The partners bought out North & Stanley, William H Smith, and the Albany Lock & Argillo Company during 1850. Incorporation takes place on January 1st, 851 as the Russell & Erwin Manufacturing Company. They were successful with a large building being erected in 1875 exclusively to manufacture wood screws. Builders hardware was added in 1876.
Frederick T Stanley began making door bolts and trunk hardware in 1842 and established the Stanley Works in 1852 as a joint stock company to make door hinges. A large brick building was erected in 1871 served by the New York & New England and the New York, New Haven, & Hartford railroads. F T Stanley died in 1883 at which time William H Hart became president.
Thomas S Hall and Frederick Knapp began making plumbs and levels in 1853 becoming Hall & Knap in 1854. Augustus Stanley, T A Conklin, and T W Stanley started making rules as a branch of Hall & Knapp located in the upper floor of J B Sargent & Company. They bought out a business in Bristol that Mr. Conklin had been involved in as their start. Operating as a separate venture, the branch was known as A Stanley & Company. They then bought the works of Seth Savage in 1857 and moved all materials to the upper floor of North & Stanley’s hook-and-eye factory. Plans are laid for a new factory.
Stanley Rule & Level
The Stanley Rule & Level Company was formed on July 1st, 1857 as a joint stock company when Hall & Knapp and A Stanley merged. The company bought the business of Augustus Stanley in 1862 and C L Means of Brattleborough, Vermont in 1863. The wood plane business of Leonard Bailey was added in 1869. Leonard Bailey left in 1875 and began making “Victor” planes. Stanley bought the Victor in 1880. The Bailey Tool Company was also added in 1880. Selden Bailey unrelated to Leonard, made the “Defiance” plane. The Defiance name wasn’t used until deep into the depression. Later, Defiance would become “Handyman”.
The Justus Traut patent “Liberty Bell” was introduced in connection with the Centennial in Philadelphia in 1876. The premium “Bedrock” was first made in 1900 and continued until 1943. The Gage Tool Company was acquired in 1919. Gage sold the “self-setting” plane. The merger of the Stanley Works and Stanley Rule and Level occurred in 1920 into 1921. The “Sweetheart” logo commemorated the event appearing on wood planes until 1935.