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P. & F. Corbin Company - New Britain, CT







The extensive hardware manufacturing business of P. & F. Corbin began with a partnership, formed by Philip Corbin, Frank Corbin, and Edward Doen.  Philip Corbin, the leading partner and head of the firm, on coming to New Britain, was first in the employ of Russell & Erwin for a few months, and then for about four years was with North & Stanley.

Becoming acquainted with the hardware business, in 1848 he and his brother, Frank Corbin, and Edward Doen, commenced the manufacture of a few small articles in metal, in a shop built for the purpose by Henry W. Whiting.  The little machinery they had was run by horse-power, the proprietors doing most of the manual work themselves.

In the autumn of 1849, Mr. Whiting bought out Mr. Doen, and the firm became Corbin, Whiting & Co.  In January, 1851, the Corbins purchased Mr. Whiting's interest, and the name was changed to P. & F. Corbin, has ever since been borne both by the firm and by the corporation.  

In 1853, the business of the firm was removed to the shop on Park Street, formerly occupied by Seth J. North Co., and was considerably extended.  In February, 1854, a joint stock company was formed under the State law.  The capital was $50,000, and from forty to fifty hands were employed in making coffin handles, shelf hardware, and bolts, principally of brass.

Andrew Corbin, after working for some time in the jewelry manufactory of Churchill & Lewis, became a stockholder in the P. & F. Corbin Company, and took an active part in the business, first as the company's agent in New York, and afterwards in cooperation with his brothers in the supervision of the business in New Britain.  John M. Spring, superintendent of the manufacturing department, and others in different positions, have also had a special interest in the growth and development of the business.

Soon after the close of the civil war, or in 1865, additional land was bought, upon which a large iron foundry was erected, and iron goods became an important branch of manufacture.  In the same year, a large four-story brick building, adjoining the factory, was purchased, and the capacity of the works was increased by the erection of additional buildings.  The company was one of the first to introduce the manufacture of brass and bronze goods in builders' hardware.  In 1868 they added the manufacture of locks, latches, and a variety of ornamental bronze goods; largely increased the size of their foundry, and extended the main building.

New shops have since been erected and new machinery added, until the works cover an area of several acres on Park and Orchard streets. In 1887, the manufactory and property of the Francis Manufacturing Company, on North Stanley and East Main streets, was purchased and soon after fitted up for the business of the company. The goods manufactured include builders' hardware in its variety, ornamental bronze door and house trimmings, iron and brass, wood, and machine screws, and a variety of hardware. The line of goods includes those needed from a palace to a peasant's cottage. The company have furnished large government buildings in Washington, and both public and private buildings in different parts of the country. It has warehouses in New York and Chicago.

Philip Corbin, the founder of the business, has been president and treasurer from the organization of the company. Oliver Stanley is secretary.

History of New Britain: With Sketches of Farmington
and Berlin, Connecticut, 1640 - 1889
by David N. Camp. A.M.

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