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Docent Training Videos With Scripts

Industry Room
(Video 6)
  • In this room you will hear about some of the factories that made Seymour known worldwide. All are long gone now except for one. 

  • Do you know which one? (Kerite Company)

Move to the Swan display case

  • In 1876, an immigrant from Scotland named James Swan founded the James Swan Tool Company. It was located on Bank Street on land located today between Klarides Village and Allen Plumbing. They produced drills, augers and chisels. Many of these authentic tools are on display in the case as well as other memorabilia for the Swan Co including original photos of factory workers on the photo cubes.


  • As you can see these tools were recognized all over the world by their trademark swan.

**Point out the original office door from the Swan Company and the Tingue Shop Whistle.Scan for shop whistle sound.


Move to the next display case.

  • In this case are some of the earliest factories established in Seymour.


  • Seymour Manufacturing Co. was established in 1878 by William Henry Harrison Wooster, grandfather of Katharine Matthies. They manufactured German silver, sheet brass, tableware, slide fasteners, wires, rods, tubing and copper wire for telephone and telegraph. An elephant was their trademark. Later became Bridgeport Brass, then Seymour Speciality Wire Co. It is now the site of Stop and Shop. This site was also in the movie, ”Other Peoples’ Money”. (Point out painting on the back wall).


  • New Haven Copper Co. was established in 1848 before Seymour was officially a town. One of the most respected producers of cold rolled copper. It was located opposite the Post Office. It closed several years ago.


  • Tingue Manufacturing Co.was established in 1880 by John Tingue. Their principal product was mohair plush. Mohair was made from the fleece of Angora goats. It was located along the falls of the Naugatuck  River. Until this company was established, mohair was only manufactured in Europe. Mohair was used in Pullman cars,movie theater seats, etc.


  • Kerite Company was established in 1854 by Austin Goodyear Day and his brother-in-law, William Brixey. They used their knowledge of curing rubber to manufacture insulation and waterproof covering for wire and cable products so it could be used underwater and underground. (Point out display of cable sections on the wall). Kerite was the name of the original compound used. Kerite is the only factory still there today making cable and wire in all gauges and lengths for many applications for electrical supply to communication. It is located at Route 67 and Day street.


  • Fowler Nail Co. was established in 1866. They made Vulcan horseshoe nails. The process and machinery were invented by Thaddeus Fowler and where the 1st satisfactory machine pointed nails were made. It was originally located in the Humphreys Mill but moved to the west side of town when more space was needed. Carlos French was company president and treasurer. French also started Arethusa Spring Water Company and donated the land for French Park.


Secretary Desk Exhibit- feel free to adlib


Point out James Smith Shadow Boxes.

  • James Smith created many inventions. On display are his drawing and patents for a nutmeg grinder and lathe chuck. As you heard downstairs, his machine shop, in the old Humphreys Mill, was the last shop there before it was taken down in1908. His great- grandson, Frank Haines is a board member and vice president of the Seymour Historical Society.

Move to the last display case.  

  • In this case are items from the Waterman Pen Company and the H.A. Matthews Companies.


  • The Waterman Pen Co. was originally the H.P. & E. Day Company (Charles Goodyear’s 1st cousin, once removed, and brother of Austin Day). It became Waterman Ideal and then the Waterman Pen Company. They produced writing instruments (pens and pencils) ink, and penholders. Instrument bodies were made from cured hard rubber, while soft rubber bladders were made to hold ink. 


  • Waterman pens and pencils are still produced in Paris, France.


  • Interesting fact- Charles Lindbergh carried a Waterman fountain pen on his trans-Atlantic flight in the “Spirit of St, Louis”. The factory was located across the street from Citizen’s Engine Co. firehouse. The Waterman Pen Co. was purchased by Bic and relocated to Milford and then Shelton, CT. After the factory closed it was converted into the present day Fall View Apartments.


  • H.A. Mathews Company (Seymour Products) was established in1890. They manufactured stove trimmings and other hardware. In 1895, they began manufacturing bicycle parts. Just like Seymour Manufacturing, the elephant was also a trademark for this company. It was located at the mouth of the Little River (the corner of River Road and Bank Street.) 


Allow time to look around and ask questions.

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