Come see Interwoven: New Britain’s Textile Industry – the New Britain Industrial Museum’s first traveling exhibit – during its initial run at the Museum. Now through April 2020.

When 19th and 20th-century consumers sought clasps, buttons, eyes and hooks, ball bearings, zippers, wrenches, needles, lathe chucks, sash fasteners, and the best Merino wool undergarments, they needed look no further than New Britain, Connecticut. The city’s skilled hands and minds drove New Britain to create a distinctive textile industry, capitalizing on what made them different from riverside mill towns.

The New Britain Industrial Museum will proudly unveil its first-ever traveling exhibit, Interwoven: New Britain’s Textile Industry, during an opening reception on Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7 p.m.

After its initial six-month run at the New Britain Industrial Museum’s downtown New Britain location (59 West Main Street), the exhibit will travel to a variety of community partners’ locations. Museum Director Sophie Huget said, “this is an important step for the New Britain Industrial Museum. Our strong museum community knows New Britain’s impact on American industrial history, but we need to share stories like these where people don’t expect to see them. We are grateful to our community partners for hosting the exhibit, allowing us to rotate our displays more freely.”

The “Hardware City of the World” was not known for its contributions to the textile industry, especially when Silk City (Manchester, CT) and Thread City (Willimantic, CT) thrived on the other side of the Connecticut River. Companies producing knit goods were a profitable, productive part of New Britain’s manufacturing scene. More importantly, whatever was needed to make an industrial textile machine work was made in this city. Further, whatever was needed to make textiles useful to people (i.e. “personal hardware,” including clasps, buckles, and hooks and eyes) was made here.

Never-before-displayed pieces from private collections will be on view at the Museum, including an impressive assortment of North & Judd products and founding documents from the American Hosiery Company in 1868.

The Museum would like to thank Connecticut Humanities for making this exhibit possible. Additional thanks to Gariphic Design.


Immediate Past Exhibit: New Britain in World War I

       New Britain in World War I features Hardware City objects produced for the war and items owned by those who fought. The exhibit includes a scrapbook of photos owned by Simon Modeen and a scrapbook of original letters written to the Stanley Works by employees fighting in the Great War. Stanley began publishing their newsletter the “Stanley Workers” during WWI as a way to keep those fighting the war on the home front connected to those fighting overseas. After receiving the newsletter some of the Stanley soldiers would send letters back to the company thanking them for the newsletters, sharing a what they could about their experiences.

      You can hear 11 of these letters read by 3 CCSU students in a Grating the Nutmeg podcast. This link will take you to Fox 61’s coverage of the exhibit.

     These items will be on view until the end of 2017

     The museum’s permanent exhibit provides an overview of the history of manufacturing in New Britain; how it all began, the 5 major industries that became established in the Hardware City of the World, background on the beginnings of the Stanley Works and examples of the types of items produced in New Britain to meet the military needs of the United States Government.

Standing Order number 270, posted in the departments of Stanley Works



Landers, Frary & Clark electric percolators in the collection of the New Britain Industrial Museum. From left to right, the Permatel Coffeemaker and 3 versions of the Universal Coffeematic


Bread Mixer awarded a gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.