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University of Connecticut University Libraries Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

All in a Day's Work:
Photographs of Women in Connecticut Industry from
Archives & Special Collections of the
University of Connecticut Libraries


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American Brass Company

Cheney Brother Silk Manufacturing Company

Farrel Company

New Britain Machine Company

New Haven Railroad

Thermos Company

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Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company, Manchester

The Cheney Company was established in 1838 and grew into the country's most profitable silk manufacturer by the 1880s. The company employed many immigrant workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly those from Northern Ireland. The company reached its peak in the 1920s but soon declined due to competition from the introduction of synthetic fibers and overproduction. In 1978 the mills and surrounding neighborhood were declared a National Historical Landmark District. The mill was permanently closed in 1984.

These photographs were taken in the mid-1920s for a Hiring Specifications manual. The specification sheets show the type of worker who was sought for particular jobs, and provided specifications down to such details as preferred or essential characteristics for mental activity and how slender were ones hands.

For more information about the Cheney Silk Manufacturing Company Records, see the finding aid to the materials.

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This page is maintained by L. Smith.