American Hardware


The American Hardware Corporation was formed in 1902 as a holding company for the Russell & Erwin Manufacturing Company and P. & F. Corbin, two companies which were rivals in the market for builder’s hardware. At the time the American Hardware Corporation was formed, an idea suggested by Henry Russell’s banker, many such consolidations were made to take advantage of economies in administration, savings in purchases and to eliminate duplication in manufacturing. Stock in both Russell & Erwin and P. & F. Corbin was largely  held by the same people, many of whom lived in New Britain, and whose interests would be served by the new corporation. Both companies were engaged in the manufacture and sale of builder’s hardware and their combined output at the time was roughly 1/2 of the entire industry. The same trades and classes of labor were employed in processes that were practically identical. Philip Corbin, president of P. & F. Corbin was installed as the first president and served in that capacity until his death in 1910.

In 1911 the American Hardware Corporation formally assumed the operation of the Russell & Erwin and P. & F. Corbin plants with general managers superseding the officers of the individual companies. Even with the formal consolidation, it is interesting to note that for the next 100 years Russell & Erwin and P. & F. Corbin continued to advertise and sell products under their own names. This structure continued even after American Hardware merged into the Emhart Corporation in 1964.  Today Corbin/Russwin is a division of ASSA/ABLOY and operates out of the plant American Hardware built in Berlin CT in the late 1960’s.

Information from “A Historical Sketch of the American Hardware Corporation”
prepared for the celebration of Connecticut Tercentenary 1635-1935