Friday, April 10, 2015

page 119 -- Gastrine Manufacturing Co., Windsor Manufacturing Co.

updated 10 January 2016
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This Presidential Flag was presented by The Gastrine Manufacturing Company of 59 Murray St., NYC. Gastrine claimed to aid digestion. From East Carolina University Digital Collections comes this advertising card (not part of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection):


Here's the back of the card. The medical claims and digestion times have not been checked for accuracy. Do not use this information to make any medical (or menu-planning for that matter) decisions! If you have questions, please consult with your physician or nutrition specialist.



The Windsor Manufacturing Company made nothing illustrated on this card.
Located in Windsor, VT, the Windsor Manufacturing Company, according to (http://www.crjc.org/heritage/V09-65.htm), made "machine tools, repeating and single shot rifles, sewing machines and Lane's Patented Circular Sawmills. The Windsor Manufacturing Company was the successor to the Robbins and Lawrence Company, the predecessor to the Jones and Lamson Machine Company, and by 1869 the largest manufactory in the village."

The American System of Manufacture, pioneered Robbins & Lawrence in Windsor VT "involved semi-skilled labor using machine tools and jigs to make standardized, identical interchangeable parts, manufactured to a tolerance, which could be assembled with a minimum of time and skill...." - Wikipedia

Lots of things are coming together here, the development of the firearms industry not the least among them. As often happens in American history, advances made in the production of the implements of war (the internet, for example) cross over into civilian uses.

The profound social consequences of employing semi-skilled as opposed to skilled workers are still unfolding. Education that produces experts in individual tasks leaves many without any understanding of the whole. The result can be the sort of mental laziness that looks for the comfort of conspiracy theories, strictly codified religions and simplistic economic or political structuring. It also leads to particular difficulty for host communities when individual industries such as Windsor Manufacturing collapse or relocate operations--as they do all the time.
                                      
From Wikimedia Commons comes this diagram of craftsmen associated Robbins & Lawrence who moved on to other industrial organizations (click to enlarge, use the return arrow on your browser to return here):



Roe, Joseph W., "Early American Mechanics -- Robins & Lawrence Shop," American Machinist, v. 41 no. 17 p.729-734, 22 Oct. 1914 as reproduced in Google Books gives one an idea of the complexity of attempting to trace early American firms:






The National Acme Company (formerly of 170 E.131st St., Cleveland OH), which acquired Windsor Manufacturing Company in 1915, published a reprint of an article on the Gridley Automatic Lathe originally featured in Machinery, May 1917.

The most authoritative and complete history I could find of the building that is now the American Precision Museum in Windsor VT was published online by the National Park Service, HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD ROBBINS & LAWRENCE ARMORY (AMERICAN PRECISION MUSEUM) HAER No. VT-39. Within this publication are a couple of earlier views of the facility showing first a two-story, then a three-story addition on the upstream side. Google Street View shows remnants of these additions:


From Street View, here's a side of the Windsor Manufacturing Company (also known as the Robbins & Lawrence Armory, now the American Precision Museum) building that shows its source of power before steam--the nearby Mill Pond dam in the right center of this snip. The works that conveyed water power to the building have been demolished, but as of 2016 Mill Pond remains a picturesque feature of Windsor VT.






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