A Timeline Of Fitchburg's Machine Tool Shops in the Industrial Age
Genealogy and Sites of Some Fitchburg Machine-Tool Companies
1838 John and Salmon W. Putnam, from Mason Village (Greenville) N. H., begin as tenants of Alvah Crocker at old Leonard Burbank mill (Water Street) on Nashua River; textile/paper machine building/repair, machine-tool building. Water-powered site.
1845 Putnams move to new brick bldg nearby, still as tenants of Crocker; machine tools are built. Water-powered site.
1849 Charles H. Brown (steam engine builder from Otis Tufts, East Boston) joins the Putnams as partner; they start to build stationary steam engines (offered by 1851), as well as machine tools. Fire, Dec 7, destroys shop. Re-build at same site.
1850 Charles R. Burleigh (steam engine builder, also from Otis Tufts) joins the Putnams.------------------Putnam Machine Co. Firm is incorporated 1858 as "The Putnam Machine Co.", the "Putnam" (1838-1929) stationary steam engine, and machine tools are produced.
1859 Charles H. Brown leaves Putnams; starts rival stationary steam engine co. by 1863- C. H. Brown & Co. Louis DeBlais Bartlett (also a steam engineer from Otis Tufts) replaces Brown at Putnams. (1863-1915?) Newton Lane 1863-5, lower Main (Sawyer's bldg) 1866-1873, Main at Willow 1873-1915.
1863-1864 Sylvester C. Wright leaves Putnam's, establishes-Fitchburg Machine Works James L. Chapman joins 1864. S. C. Wright & Co. (1863-1867); (1863-1924) Fitchburg Machine Co. (1867-1877); Fitchburg Machine Works (1877-1924).
1866-1867 Putnam's moves to Main at Putnam St. Putnams buy the land, design main structure. Steam powered site (some water turbines still in evidence).
1867 Burleigh Rock Drill Co. formed. Drills and assoc. built at Putnam's shop--Burleigh Rock Drill Co. John F. Haskins joins Burleigh 1868. Burleigh Tunnel & Mining Co. formed 1869. (1867-1915?)
1870 Fire destroys Heywood chair shop at Water St., Crocker re-builds structure, but Heywood re-locates to River St. site later occupied by Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle works.
1871 Haskins leaves Burleigh Rock Drill Co., Haskins Machine Co. at former Heywood site--Fitchburg Steam Engine Co. (leased from A. Crocker by Apr. 1, 1872), produces stationary steam engines (verticals). (1871-1925)
1876 Haskins resigns, goes to Philadelphia. Charles and Fredrick Fosdick head firm as Fitchburg Steam Engine Co. 1872-1892 Water St., 1892-1925 Cleghorn Dist.
1882 Putnam Tool Co. founded by S.W. Putnam, Jr. and George Putnam--Putnam Tool Co. New plant erected, Walnut St. New designs for machine tools. (1882-1886)
1886 Putnam Tool Co. merges into Putnam Machine Co. Walnut St. site sold by 1910 to Stratton Machine Co.
1897 Putnam's sells its Main St. office location to widow of Iver Johnson for construction of Johnsonia Bldg, Putnam's office bldg. relocated to Putnam St.
1900-1910 New Street put in, rail crossing at Putnam St. eliminated.
1913 Manning, Maxwell, and Moore Co. (large N. Y. C. railroad supply firm) buys out Putnam family remaining interest in firm.
1913-1915 New steel-frame structures. Broad St. put through. Heavy machine tools built.
1926 Fitchburg Machine Works bought out by Seneca Falls Machine Co., Seneca Falls, N. Y. -----Fitchburg Automatic Lo-swing lathe produced there. Marcus A. Coolidge runs Fitchburg Automatic Machine Co. (1926-1946) Machine Co. at former sites of Fitchburg Machine Works, and at former John Becker bldg., Water St.
1929 Manning, Maxwell, and Moore Co. shuts Fitchburg operation. 5 employees start ---------------Fitchburg Engineering Co. Locate at site of former Fitchburg Steam Engine Co. ; they build special machine tools, milling machines, wood chipper.. (1930-1985)
1941 General Electric Co. occupies Putnam site, builds steam turbines, remains until early 1998.
Francis D. Morrison