Frederick T. Stanley and the “Hardware City”

Frederick T. Stanley and the “Hardware City”

Frederick T. Stanley, 1802-1883.

A STORY OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIALISM

When the first locomotive to pass through New Britain stopped at the town’s brand-new train station in 1850,1 Frederick T. Stanley was one of the passengers.

The occasion was unusual for a couple of reasons. Stanley was terrified of the new machine for “fear that the plaguey thing would explode.”2 The second was that despite his fear, Frederick T. Stanley was aboard a train that had been named the Frederick T. Stanley.3


Left: New Britain Map, 1875.
Right: Stanley Works, 1879.

Stanley was born in Connecticut in 1802. One of seven children, he learned the New England Yankee work ethic at a young age while working on the family farm. By 1843, after brief stints in various manufacturing industries, Stanley co-founded the Stanley Bolt Manufactory,4 and later The Stanley Works in 1852.5 By the time of his death in 1883, The Stanley Works’ capital investment had increased more than tenfold, and the enterprise had developed into a well-known manufacturer of hinges, planes, bolts, bits and other tools.6

Stanley was not only a shrewd titan of the hardware industry but also a man deeply involved in the civic life of New Britain — soon to be dubbed the “Hardware City.”7 When New Britain became a town in 1850, he was its first warden8 and petitioned for a connection to the Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad.9 As a result of his successful efforts, the railroad company named a locomotive after him.10


Main Street New Britain.

Stanley understood the importance of infrastructure in ensuring the growth and success of the Hardware City. In 1857, he helped design a modern waterworks. Despite much opposition from the people of New Britain, he continued to plan and promote infrastructure improvements.11

Stanley also oversaw the growth of his personal enterprises into what were viewed as the best employers in New Britain.12 He was steadfast in his purpose to transform the city into a modern manufacturing hub. His fellow citizens eventually came around and recognized his commitment to the city. “He has done more for New Britain than any one [sic] here,” they often said, according to a New Britain Herald article from the 1880s.13

Stanley Works Photograph, 1890.

While The Stanley Works has changed greatly over the past 175 years, its purpose has remained the same. Today’s Stanley Infrastructure still builds and maintains railways and waterworks,14 ensuring that Stanley’s customers — those who make the world — have the tools and infrastructure needed for guaranteed success.

 


 

[1] "The Town of New Britain, Hartford County, CT." Map. In New Britain Historical Society. Philadelphia, PA: Richard Clark, 1851.
[2] "The End at Last: Frederick T. Stanley, One of New Britain's Honored Citizens, Dies Thursday." New Britain Herald, August 03, 1883.
; Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. 20.
[3] Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. 20.
[4] Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. 19.; "The End at Last: Frederick T. Stanley, One of New Britain's Honored Citizens, Dies Thursday." New Britain Herald, August 03, 1883.
[5] Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. 20.
[6] Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. 21, 36, 41
[7] Wildham, Robert G. Welcome to Stanley Tools. New Britain, CT: Stanley Tools. Pg 2.
[8] Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. Vii.
[9] Andrews, Alfred. Memorial. Genealogy and Ecclesiastical History. Chicago, IL: A.H. Andrews, 1867. 506
[10] Levitt, Robert K. Foundations for the Future. The History of Stanley Works. New Britain, CT: Privately Published, 1951. 20.
[11] Camp, David N. History of New Britain: with sketches of Farmington and Berlin, Connecticut 1640-1889. Pg 482; "The End at Last: Frederick T. Stanley, One of New Britain's Honored Citizens, Dies Thursday." New Britain Herald, August 03, 1883.; Blomstrann, Lois. "Park offers glimpse at industrial past." The Middletown Press. April 18, 2007. Accessed February 07, 2018. http://www.middletownpress.com/news/article/Park-offers-glimpse-at-indus....
[12] Rodengen, Jeffrey L. The Legend of Stanley: 150 years of The Stanley Works. Fort Lauderdale,
FL: Write Stuff Syndicate, 1996. 43.
[13] "The End at Last: Frederick T. Stanley, One of New Britain's Honored Citizens, Dies Thursday." New Britain Herald, August 03, 1883.
[14] "Applications." Stanley Infrastructure. Accessed February 07, 2018. http://www.stanleyinfrastructure.com/.