The Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company was organized in January, 1869, albeit under a different name. It began as Holmes, Booth and Atwood when Israel Holmes, John C. Booth and Lewis J. Atwood formed a partnership after "defecting" from Holmes, Booth and Haydens. Other principals included Aaron Thomas, George W. Welton, and Burr Tucker. Soon after it's formation, the firm bought the brass mill of the Thomas Manufacturing Company in Thomaston which had originally been organized in 1854 to roll metal for making clock movements. They also purchased the Hayden & Griggs Manufacturing Company, a similar concern in Waterbury.
Hiram W. Hayden, an original partner of HB&H, contended that the new company's name matched the existing company's name too closely. A legal battle ensued and Hiram prevailed. In 1871, Holmes, Booth and Atwood became Plume and Atwood Manufacturing Company. The "Plume" was David Scott Plume, the treasurer of the new company.1 The company was incorporated in January, 1880.
An early Plume & Atwood advertisement
Plume & Atwood produced a full line of lamps and lamp trimmings. Their lamp lines included ROYAL, PLUMWOOD and NAUGATUCK in table, bracket and hanging versions. They made gas burners, shade ring of all descriptions, filler caps, and just about any brass lamp part you could mention. Their burners included BANNER, a high quality DUPLEX, the MOEHRING and HARVARD burners often associated with finer student lamps, the HORNET, NUTMEG and ACORN burners often found on night lamps, and scores more. The 1906 catalog, depicted below, is packed with seventy-eight pages of lamps and trimmings.
The FIRESIDE Burner, patented on
Feb. 11, 1873 which incorporated
an earlier Nov. 26, 1872 patent
Between April 18, 1871 and November 19, 1912, the company was listed as the assignee for at least 62 lighting patents - see the patent table
below for details. Lewis J. Atwood, a prolific inventor, dominated the field with 44 patents during this period, a whopping seventy-two percent of P&A's patents! It should be noted that Atwood also had a significant number of patents assigned to Holmes, Booth and Haydens when he worked there - at least fourteen between 1862 and 1870. While Plume & Atwood clearly produced and market their own line of lamps, they also produced and supplied similar brass fittings to other lamp manufactures. P&A made all the brass parts (founts and burners) for all the Aladdins through 1963. This includes Models 1 through 12 and burners for Nu-Type A, B and C.2
The Plume & Atwood Company, Waterbury, Conn.
, the Manufacturing Division and Main Offices relocated from Waterbury to Thomaston, Connecticut. "During the first 17 days of August, 1955 rain fell steadily in the western part of the state. The effects of the rainfall and Hurricane Connie left an average of six inches on the ground. The land could no longer hold the water and became soggy."
"The streams that flow into the Naugatuck River filled to the top of their banks and the Naugatuck began to rise. By Thursday, August 18, 1955, the tail winds of Hurricane Diane hit the area, bringing strong winds and extremely heavy downpours of rain. Early on the morning of Friday, August 19, just north of Seymour, the Naugatuck River burst from its banks." "The brawny, aggressively moving water cascaded through the towns of Torrington, Thomaston, Waterbury, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and eventually into Seymour.
Image of the 1955 flood showing Plume and Atwood buildings on the left. Note the level of the water almost to the top of the door of the building in the center. Photo courtesy of James J. LeBlanc, Jr.
Everything which stood in its way was destroyed - bridges, buildings, trains, trees, cars, cows and people."3
The Plume & Atwood plant suffered crippling damage. The buildings were virtually destroyed and most of the equipment and tooling was either lost or severely damaged.
Risdon Manufacturing Company of Danbury, CT took over the Waterbury plant in the late 1950's. Dorset-Rex acquired the Thomaston plant during the same time period. The Fabricating Division of P&A was sold to Landers, Frary & Clark in New Britain, Connecticut, who manufactured housewares. Landers, Frary & Clark was subsequently purchased by the J.B. Williams Company, New York, which was then acquired by the General Electric Company's Housewares Division in 1965. Risdon continued to produce "P&A" burners well into the 1960's and possibly beyond.
This reprint is of a circa 1906 Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company Catalog features Kerosene Oil Burners, Gas and Oil Lamp Trimmings, Lamps, Oil Heaters, Etc. This is an invaluable reference for anyone interested in kerosene lighting, particularly burners and trimmings. Check The Book Nook for available copies of this catalog!
|Patents assigned to Plume & Atwood between April 18, 1871 - November 19, 1912|
||[ more? ]
|D = Design Patent, RE = Reissue of an earlier Patent|
To view any of the above patents, enter the number in the box below and select Query USPTO Database. This will take you to the specific patent images on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database. Learn more about the USPTO here.
- 1 Lathrop, William G. The Brass Industry in the United States. New Haven, CT: The Wilson H. Lee Company, 1926.
- 2 Courter, J.W., Aladdin, The Magic Name in Lamps (Paducah, KY:
Image Graphics, 1997) 21.
- 3 Town of Seymour, CT. Town History (11 Nov. 2001)
- Courter, J.W. Aladdin, The Magic Name in Lamps. Paducah, KY: Image Graphics, 1997.
- Courter, J.W. The Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company. n.p., n.d.
- Lathrop, William G. The Brass Industry in the United States. New Haven, CT: The Wilson H. Lee Company, 1926.
- The Historical Lighting Society of Canada. HLSC FONT&flame. Volume Four,
No. 1, Winter 2002.
- Town of Seymour, CT. Town History. 11 Nov. 2001. <http://www.seymourct.org>