Our Collection

Out of the blacksmith forges populating 18th century New Britain grew 5 major industries that fueled daily life in America for most of the 20th century. From the lock on your front door and the key in your pocket to the appliances in your kitchen and the parts in your car, all of those things and more were either made in New Britain, contained New Britain parts or were made on a New Britain Machine.

Industries that defined the Hardware City of the World:
Manufacturing Machines and Machine Parts
(New Britain Machine; Union Manufacturing; Skinner Chuck; Peter Paul, etc)
Hand Tools
(Stanley Rule & Level/Stanley Tool; Union Manufacturing; New Britain Machine, etc)
Ball Bearings
(Fafnir Bearing)
Builders Hardware
(PF Corbin; Russell & Erwin; Stanley, etc)
Consumer Goods
(Landers, Frary & Clark; North & Judd; Taplin; American Hosiery; Parker Shirt, etc)

Click on the links below to learn about a few of the factories in New Britain and the products they manufactured:

Virtual Tour (June 2012): Take this virtual tour for a brief introduction to a number of the main exhibits in the museum as they appeared in June 2012. There is much more to see of our changing exhibits so please come visit us in person.

If you have items manufactured in New Britain or relating to New Britain Manufacturing (newsletters, old photos, salesmen’s premiums, books, catalogues etc) that you no longer want, please consider donating them to our collection. Please contact the museum director if you would like to donate an item.

We collect stories as well as items. Did you work in a New Britain factory, own a business in town, or have a family member that did? Fill out a family work history and share your family’s New Britain story with us.