Lost Landmark-Bridgeport Brass Company, Bridgeport (CT)

Site of Bridgeport Brass Company, 744 E. Main Street, Bridgeport, CT
Image courtesy of Microsoft Bing Maps, accessed 9/16/2012

This company was organized in 1865 to make brass
clock movements, and later made hoopskirt frames, kerosene parlor lamps and the
first successful kerosene bicycle lamp, exhibited at the World’s Fair in
Chicago, in 1893. An offshoot from clock movements was a spring motor-operated
flyfan, forerunner of the modern electric fan; F. R. Wilmot, superintendent,
designed a crude micrometer, and the company also made incandescent lamp
sockets. Bridgeport Brass Company produced the first copper wire strung between
New York and Boston, made many telephonic improvements, features a ‘hard-drawn
wire,’ various alloys of high tensile strength, and was a pioneer in the
adaptation of the electric furnace to the brass industry.

22 thoughts on “Lost Landmark-Bridgeport Brass Company, Bridgeport (CT)

    1. I worked for Bridgeport Brass Company in the Detroit, MI district sales office from April 1968 until April 1986…I loved that job!

    2. I worked there from 1969 till the plant closed. I worked the second shift as a maintenance machinist.

  1. Hi,
    The F. R. Wilmot spoken of, was actually S. R. (Samuel Russell) Wilmot. He is my great, great grandfather. He is credited with over 100 patents (some for Bridgeport Brass), which included not a crude micrometer, but a micrometer that is the first invented micrometer that is credited to S. R. Wilmot. He started Bridgeport Brass with a brother and a man named David W. Kissam as Wilmot & Kissam Mfg Co. P. T. Barnum approached Wilmot & Kissam to relocate to Bridgeport, CT. They did, and reincorporated as Bridgeport Brass. In 1877, after being forced out of Bridgeport Brass by Daniel W. Kissam, S. R. Wilmot established the Wilmot Mfg. Co, (in the business of steel manufacturing) which was renamed in the 1880’s as the Wilmot & Hobbs Mfg. Co. when Wilmot brought his son in law, Willis Farrar Hobbs in as a partner. Hobbs later left Wilmot & Hobbs and established the Bridgeport Hardware Mfg. Co. In the late 1890’s (after S. R. Wilmot’s 1897 death) Frank Ashley Wilmot (S. R.’s son) reorganized Wilmot & Hobbs into the American Tube & Stamping Co. Inc. with a $3 million reorganization $1.5million common and $1.5 million preferred stock). S. R. and F. A. Wilmot jointly invented the process of Cold Rolled Steel for Wilmot & Hobbs.

  2. Confused?! Was this the Bridgeport Brass, Bridgeport, Conn. offices and mills acquired by Olin in 1984….if so, worked in the Detroit Sales Office on West Seven Mile Road from 1968 thru 1973…..one of the best place I’ve ever worked in my life.

    1. Hi Ms. Durban. Yes it is the one acquired by Olin. My great great grandfather, Samuel Russell Wilmot (1829-1897) started it in 1865 as Wilmot & Kissam in Brooklyn, NY before moving to Bridgeport at P. T. Barnum’s request and reorganizing as Bridgeport Brass.

  3. This factory was a key producer of ordnance during World War II, when Bridgeport, Conn. had 500 war defense factories working around the clock supplying everything from uniforms to medical products to vehicle frames to GE bazookas and electrical components to Singer Machine Works war materiels to Remington firearms and ammo to Chance Vought Sikorsky Corsair fighter planes to Stanley Works primary steel mills. This was a true Arsenal of Democracy as designated by FDR and it was the most diverse producer of a myriad of war related products of any heavy industrial belt in the U.S.A. and it could be argued the most valuable site when compared to Detroit or California or New Orleans or Balto with Glenn L. Marin aircraft mfg and Bethlehem Steel ship building and primary steel making for a multitude of war applications. Thank you Bridgeport, Connecticut for your huge role in the allied victory over the axis forces. Paul J. Cassavechia, M.A., Balto USA

  4. I have an antique bicycle pump. I am having an extremely hard time finding any information about it. I just found out it was possibley was made by Bridgeport. The picture I found is similar. I would really like to figure out the particulars of this pump. I would really appreciate if you can identify if this pump was made by Bridgeport and if it is, some information about it.
    Thank you so much,
    Greg Miller

  5. I have a 19X23 inch litho watercolor print titled “Brass Making -The Extrusion Machine” (c) 1935, Bridgeport Brass Co. The artist is Balconi and the plates and Lithography by Livermore & Knight Co. The print includes a corresponding, descriptive 5X6 inch written pamphlet. The artistic watercolor shows the “…smoke-darkened walls and rafters …the old-time casters and their helpers are at work.” The old pit-fired furnace days.

  6. My mother (age 86) recounts that my great uncle, Herman Steinkraus, was an owner of Bridgeport Brass ages ago, but I wonder if that is just folklore. Does anyone know if that’s true?

      1. Thank you kindly for your response. As a child we were always told that “Great Uncle Herman” was the son chosen to be sent to college. He then “gave back” to his siblings by paying for their children to go to college (and he paid for my father’s medical school). How unfortunate to not have ever met him.
        Susan Steinkraus Geraci

    1. My Dad worked at Bridgeport Brass and he talked many times of Mr Steinkraus. I think he also had something to do with the Barnum Festival parade on the Fourth of July. I know they always had a float in the parade.

  7. Question ?
    Is the Bridgeport Brass Co. closed ?
    I have a set of cookware, square in shape, copper outside, stainless inside, with brass handles on the double pot piece, and the rest have I think it’s something like bakealite long handled on the other pieces, brown colored. I received these in 1957 as a wedding gift : Engraved on the bottom of the pots and pans is : Bridgeport Copperware on one line, then it says – Bridgeport Brass co, Bridgeport, Connecticut, then on the next line – design and process patents app’d for. The long handles are splitting, and I’m trying to find new ones to replace / repair. Please help.

  8. Greetings. I was a National Distillers internal auditor ’76-’80. On occasion I was assigned to do Bridgeport Brass financial audits. I met many skilled executives there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.