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description of Winchester factory interior in 1880s or 1890s sought
January 3, 2019
3:04 pm
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Hi all,

 

Thanks to those of you who offered advice on a previous question about the Pugsley papers.

Here's another. I'm trying to find a description of the production lines at the Winchester factory in the 1880s and 1890s. I've searched in the usual places - not to say I may not have missed something - including the Cody archives, 19th century copies of Scientific American, the huge files at Hathitrust, etc. I have a couple of photographs, but am seeking more detail.

How many milling machines did Winchester operate? Shapers? Lathes? Rifling stations? Did they have a hand filing operation to clean up the machined parts? (Some research suggests final touch ups with files to remove burrs, etc, continued at many factories into the 20th century.)  I've not found such detail in the Williamson book. But like I said, I could well have missed something. Any suggestions appreciated.

I've reached out to the folks at Cody, too, who are very helpful but are also very busy!

Nathan 

January 3, 2019
5:22 pm
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Several states in the NE conducted "industrial censuses" of major manufacturers in the 19th C., though the ones I've seen went into nothing like the detail you're looking for. I have seen more detailed write-ups in local newspapers, but those I've seen pertained to new factories recently established in the city.

January 4, 2019
2:47 am
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nathangorenstein@hotmail.com said
Here's another. I'm trying to find a description of the production lines at the Winchester factory in the 1880s and 1890s. 

How many milling machines did Winchester operate? Shapers? Lathes? Rifling stations? Did they have a hand filing operation to clean up the machined parts? (Some research suggests final touch ups with files to remove burrs, etc, continued at many factories into the 20th century.)  I've not found such detail in the Williamson book. But like I said, I could well have missed something. Any suggestions appreciated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nathan   

Out of everything I've come across, I haven't found anything that early, and nothing as specific and detailed as your wanting. I'm not saying it doesn't exist and assuredly such information did exist at one time. But I do believe you have your work cut out for you.

Only thing close to the info your looking for is that there is a nice description of the factory goings-on in a 1916 Factory Brochure.

1916WinchesterBrochure.jpgImage Enlarger1916PlantINFO.jpgImage Enlarger1916Plant.jpgImage Enlarger

Also there is this nice 1914 factory interior photo of workers milling receivers. I count 12 heads standing next to the main line of equipment. And close to the frame in that wood tray is what I believe are 95 receivers, but they could be 94s. I enjoy the gas powered lanterns overhead, but it being day time the light from the window is enough to do work. There was recently a photo of the factory floor of barrel rifling equipment that was on the cover of the Collector Magazine a while back. 

winchester1914.jpgImage Enlarger

I think one obvious problem you will run into is how to catalog such information. As stating you want the 1880s & 1890s, that is 20 years of constant change throughout the factory you'll have to deal with. That is a lot of information.

In 1895 the factory had 102 different numbered buildings, some of which were long tracts or had multiple parts, A,B,C, D, etc. and are multi-story. In 1900 the factory changed the numbering system somehow, as the highest building # is 251, but there aren't that many buildings. Between 1900 and 1909 there are approx. 30 newly constructed buildings on the factory site. Now not each building didn't have its own department, but depending on the year I know there are a lot of different departments. By 1915 there are practically over 100 various departments. The plant had its own fire department, police, hospital, power plant, cafeteria, chem lab, machine shop, blacksmith shop, bluing dept, browning dept, barrel proving, etc. This list goes on, HELL they had a building for "Cleaning Spittoons". 

Sincerely,

Maverick 

P.S. And with all sincerity, best of luck in this endeavor. As I would be interested in like information.

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January 4, 2019
10:16 am
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Hi Maverick. Thanks much for the photos! I had seen the production line but couldn't figure out which receiver they were working on, so thanks for filling me in. I'll have to go back and look at the collector's magazine cover.

 

I'd very much like to read the original source of your great data about the plant complex in 1895. Is it from a book or a Winchester company publication? The aggravating thing about web searches is coming up with the right search terms!

 

I have one or two other old photos of the interior I'll post later today. 

 

Nathan

January 4, 2019
2:19 pm
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Nathan, Would you be kind enough to post those pics of the factory that you’ve found?

January 4, 2019
9:54 pm
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nathangorenstein@hotmail.com said
I'd very much like to read the original source of your great data about the plant complex in 1895. Is it from a book or a Winchester company publication? The aggravating thing about web searches is coming up with the right search terms!

I have one or two other old photos of the interior I'll post later today. 

Nathan  

I believe you need to give Cody a call back or give them more time to find the information you seek. As they have some of the info I'm referring to. They have a few lists of the Building Tracts. They also have some of the factory insurance maps.

I collect some old maps and historical documents. I have a couple of these insurance maps.

Also a good source for like information would be the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. The Sanborn Map Company was founded in 1866 and surveyed most if not all the major cities throughout the country from 1866 to the 1970s using hand inked drawings to scale on large format paper. The company still exists today and have gone digital with now. I've always thought about putting a archival request in for all the maps they have of New Haven from 1860 to the 1940s. But have never found the time or had the extra money to order such maps.

I actually got a new Map in the other day. Its from 1930, but I hadn't gotten it framed or done anything with it yet. It has some mold and water damage that needs taking care of first.

20190104_152429.jpgImage Enlarger

20190104_161428.jpgImage Enlarger I also just noticed in pencil on the back of one of the sheets is written J M Olin and E Alton.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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January 7, 2019
5:01 am
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Just a thought but I’ve seen a few images of a company publication from later times, I wonder if there was a similar publication in this time period? I know quite a bit of the machinery changed over the years but the layout may not have. It’s hard to imagine a plant where raw materials went in and finished firearms came out. Virtually every part, down to the tiniest screw and pin, was built at the plant. Power was supplied by steam and delivered by leather belts. Parts were built one at a time by skilled craftsmen and women. Hard to imagine in our world of global parts sourcing, technology and labor outsourcing.

 

Mike

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