Come see what made New Britain the Hardware City of the World

The New Britain Industrial Museum collects, preserves and exhibits items representing more than 200 years of New Britain innovation and invention.

From 19th century hooks & eyes to 21st century ERA Cobra Cars the museum and its collection serve as a bridge between New Britain’s past and present and provides inspiration for the future.

New Britain’s impact has been, and continues to be, felt far beyond its borders and very few of the items we use or wear everyday could have been created without a machine, or a part, or a concept that originated in New Britain.  In fact, for most of the 20th Century every American came into contact with at least one New Britain Product a day; it was either made here, had a part in it that was made here or was made on a New Britain machine.

Stanley no 45 combination plane

There is something for everyone on display…..whether your interest lies in kitchen appliances or hand tools you will be amazed at the range of items manufactured in New Britain and the stories of the places they were made: Stanley Works, Stanley Rule & Level, North & Judd, P.F. Corbin, Russell & Erwin, Landers, Frary & Clark, Fafnir, New Britain Machine and many, many more! Explore our website and our Facebook page to learn about the history of the Hardware City of the World and who we are and what we do.

300 Years ago

It’s nearly impossible for a 21st Century Yankee to imagine the hardships of daily life experienced by citizens of the 18th Century “Great Swamp”.  The land was unspoiled and abundant, but taming it and surviving was a daily challenge.

Imagine further that you are traveling back in time to foretell to these hardy pioneers the modern conveniences that their founding efforts and toil would make possible.

It seems to us today that their clearing of forests and mining of various ores to manufacture sleigh bells and all kinds of primitive hardware progressed – in logical, inevitable fashion – to the sophisticated  tool and houseware industries that made New Britain famous.   But these founding mothers and fathers from 1717 would surely scoff at tales of electrical tools and appliances, and even tiny ball bearings taking men to the moon.  Science fiction!

When you visit our museum at 59 West Main Street, New Britain, please imagine that you are an early settler from 1717 seeing  all these wonderful devices and tools for the first time.  Gazing at the collection through a pioneer’s eyes is a great way to appreciate anew the innovations and genius that were required to make New Britain the Hardware City.  Unbelievable!

We look forward to your visit.

Randall N. Judd
For the Board of Directors