“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Florence in Hampshire County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

Florence Manufacturing

Florence Manufacturing Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
1. Florence Manufacturing Marker
Inscription.  Florence, or Broughton’s Meadow as it was originally called, was one of America’s early manufacturing centers. In 1837, Samuel Whitmarsh established the area’s first silk mill along the Mill River. Importing silk worms fed on homegrown mulberry leaves, Whitmash hoped to manufacture fabric and ribbons from domestically produced silk. The Northampton Association of Education and Industry, the anti-slavery utopian community, brought the factory in 1842. By 1846, the community was facing financial difficulties. One of the founders of the Association, Samuel Hill, bought out the enterprise, which eventually become the Nonotuck Silk Company, producing the nationally famous Corticelli brand until it closed in 1932.

The American plastics industry began in Florence in 1843 when A.P. Critchlow experimented with a new substance called the Florence Compound---a crude, brittle plastic made from resin, wood fibers and shellac from which he manufactured buttons, jewelry cases, revolver handles and its most successful product, dagosffeotype cases, By 1885, the company produced the first commercially successful toothbrush, changing its name to the
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Pro-Phy-Lac-Tic Brush Company in 1924. The Pro Brush Company, as it became known, diversified, manufacturing a vast array of plastic products, including Top Secret atomic bomb parts for the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Just prior to the Civil War, Leander Langdon invented and patented a sewing machine. Just five years later, the Florence Sewing Machine Company produced 20,000 sewing machines a year. By the 1870s, it was also producing stoves, becoming the Florence Machine Company. Its brick factory buildings along Florence’s Main Street now houses professional offices and shops.
Erected by Historic Northampton.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1837.
Location. 42° 20.117′ N, 72° 40.4′ W. Marker is in Florence, Massachusetts, in Hampshire County. Marker is at the intersection of Park Street and Meadow Street on Park Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Florence MA 01062, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Florence Eagles (here, next to this marker); The Anti-Slavery Community (here, next to this marker); Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists (here, next to this marker); The Abolition Era: Elm Street & Round Hill
Florence Manufacturing Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
2. Florence Manufacturing Marker
Wide shot of the marker
(approx. 2.1 miles away); The Manse (approx. 2.1 miles away); Town Clock (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Musante Mile (approx. 2.4 miles away); Draper Hotel (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
Florence Manufacturing Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
3. Florence Manufacturing Marker
Four markers on one stand
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 8, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 795 times since then and 108 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 8, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 23, 2023