Thermos Company Collection
1989.0098

Summary Information

Repository
Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
Creator
Thermos Company Employees.
Title
Thermos Company Collection
ID
1989.0098
Date [inclusive]
1908-1987
Extent
12.0 Linear feet
Language of Materials
English
Abstract
In 1906, William Walker, an American businessman,visiting Germany, learned of the invention of the vacuum bottle. He immediately began to import and market the new product in the United States. The following year, Walker created the American Thermos Bottle Company and began producing vacuum bottles in a Brooklyn, New York, factory. The product met with such success that the expanded New York plant proved inadequate within the first five years. Walker moved the Thermos Company to Norwich, Connecticut, in 1913. Five years later, the company had nearly doubled its size, and after World War II a second plant was opened in Norwich's Taftville section. The Thermos Company became Norwich's largest employer, with more than 1000 workers.

Preferred Citation

[Item, Folder #], Thermos Company Collection. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

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History

In 1906, William Walker, an American businessman visiting  Germany, learned of the invention of the vacuum bottle. He immediately began to import and market the new product in the United States. The following year, Walker created the  American Thermos Bottle Company and began producing vacuum bottles in a  Brooklyn, New York, factory. The product met with such success that the expanded New York plant proved inadequate within the first five years. Walker moved the  Thermos Company to  Norwich, Connecticut, in 1913. Five years later, the company had nearly doubled its size, and after World War II a second plant was opened in Norwich's Taftville section. The Thermos Company became Norwich's largest employer, with more than 1000 workers.

In 1969, the Thermos Company was sold to Household International, Inc., and in 1984, warehousing and manufacturing at the original plant in the Laurel Hill section of Norwich was consolidated into the Taftville location. In 1986, Household International announced that its Thermos division would be relocated to  Freeport, Illinois. Thermos production in Norwich ended in 1988.

Chronology
1643 First vacuum created by Italian physicist, Torricelli, while experimenting.
1892 First use of vacuum as means of temperature retention by James Dewar, English scientist who used vacuum flasks in laboratory.
1903 "Dewar Flask" idea patented for domestic use by two Germans.
1904 Contest conducted by German newspapers to name vacuum bottle. Named "Thermos" (from Greek work therme meaning heat) by Munich resident.
1906 William B. Walker secured patent rights and trademark from "Thermos" vacuum bottles, imported them from Germany and sold them in the United States.
1907 The American Thermos Bottle Company incorporated in Portland, Maine (1/31/07).
"Thermos" vacuum bottles first produced in United States in Brooklyn, New York.
1908 The American Thermos Bottle Company of New York organized (9/23/08).
National advertising begun in The Saturday Evening Post and widespread national publicity popularized "Thermos" vacuum bottles.
1912 Thermos negotiates to move to city of Norwich, Connecticut, and production begins in early 1913.
1919 King-Seeley Corporation formed.
Plants opened in Japan and Huntington, West Virginia.
1920 Thermos Limited of London purchased.
1923 Company reorganized and new era of expansion begun.
1925
1933 Automation and mass production methods begun.
1942 98 percent of production tables for military usage during World War II.
1946 Norwich, Connecticut
1952 Plastene Corporation
First character school lunch kits produced.
1955 Hemp & Company
1956 The American Thermos Products Company
1958 Anaheim, California
1960 King-Seeley Corporation
1962 Plastene Corporation
1968
1970 Dinex insulated ware and institutional market acquired.
1971
1977 Tent orders no longer accepted (2/1/77).
1981
1982
1984 Anaheim plant sold (4/84).
Macomb closed (5/84).
Glass manufacturing ceased at Laurel Hill (Norwich, Connecticut) (9/28/84).
1985 Dinex International, Inc.
1986 Freeport, Illinois

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Scope and Content

The records in the collection consist of materials gathered by former employees of the Thermos Company in an effort to document the history of the company after its closed in 1988. It consists, in large part, of employee photographs, company newsletters and annual reports, and memorabilia.

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Organization

Series I: Annual Reports (1928-1955) contains reports, with some gaps, arranged chronologically.

Series II: Newsletters (1943-1987) contains various Thermos Company publications arranged chronologically.

Series III: Company History (undated, 1984) contains materials such as a history of the company, maps, newspaper clippings, and publicity city Richard Byrd's use of Thermos Company products on his arctic expedition. Pieces of memorabilia, such as visitor pins, employee service pins, and a sample of glass from the last batch produced at the Norwich plant, are included in this series. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Series IV: Catalogs/Price Lists (1918-1940) contains catalogs and price lists arranged chronologically.

Series V: Photographs (undated, 1946-1969) consists of photographs taken by the Thermos Company photographer of the Thermos plant, its facilities, and employees, as well as informal snapshots of Thermos outings. The photographs have been arranged by subject under such headings as Awards/Presentations, Employee Outings, Employees, Machinery, Production, Products, and Tours. Also included in this series are oversize photographs of the Thermos plant and employees, a display letter from Richard Byrd, as well as a videotape of an oral history project conducted by the Thermos Company. Except for the oversize materials, the series is arranged alphabetically.

Series VI: Negatives (undated, 1950-1970) contains packages of negatives, many of them identified.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries June 2002

University of Connecticut Libraries
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs, Connecticut, 06269-1205
860.486.2524
archives@uconn.edu

Access

The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.

Acquisition Information

The materials in the collection were donated to the University of Connecticut Libraries in 1989/1990 by former employees of the Thermos Company in order to insure that some of the history of the company would be preserved in Connecticut. The carafe was donated in June 2007 by Ms. Andrea Colwell of  Manistique, Michigan.

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to Connecticut businesses. See especially, Slater Company Records for Norwich area businesses. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Thermos Company.
  • American Thermos Products Company.
  • Household International, Inc.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Ephemera
  • Negatives (photographic)
  • Photographs
  • Press releases

Geographic Name(s)

  • Connecticut

Subject(s)

  • Manufactures
  • Thermos bottles

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Annual Reports, 1928-1955 

 1928 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 1

 1930 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 2

 1931 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 3

 1933 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 4

 1934 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 5

 1935 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 6

 1937 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 7

 1938 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 8

 1940 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 9

 1941 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 10

 1942 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 11

 1943 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 12

 1945 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 13

 1946 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 14

 1947 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 15

 1950 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 16

 1951 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 17

 1952 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 18

 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 19

 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 20

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Series II: Newsletters, 1943-1987 

The Thermos News 

 1943 May - 1945 March 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 21

 1945 April - 1946 March 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 22

 1946 April - 1950 January 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 23

 1950 February - 1952 December 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 24

 1953 January - 1956 December 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 25

 1957 January - 1961 December 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 26

 1962 January - 1965 December 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 27

 1966 March - 1970 April 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 28

Thermos Reflections 

 1976 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 29

 1977 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 30

 1978 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 31

 1979 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 32

 1981 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 33

 1982 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 34

 1983 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 35

 1984 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 36

 1985 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 37

 1986 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 38

Spotlight 

 1987 January 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 39

Newsletter layouts, undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 40-41

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Series III: Company History, undated, 1984 

Blueprint undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 42

Box

Carafe manufactured at Norwich, Connecticut, plant, undated 

14

Employee notices, undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 43

Equipment agreement, undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 44

History of the company, undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 45

Letterhead undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 46

Mailing envelopes undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 47

Map undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 48

Memorabilia undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 49

National Register of Historic Places application, undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 50

Newspaper clippings, 1984 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 51

Publicity-Byrd Arctic Expedition undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 52

Quarter Century Club undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 53

Season's Greetings undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 54

Special announcement undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 55

Box

Glass from last batch produced at Norwich plant undated 

4

Employee service pins undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 56

Hotel nameplates undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 57

Thermos shopping bag undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 58

Visitor pins undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 59

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Series IV: Catalogs/Price Lists, 1918-1940 

Catalogs 

 1918-1920 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 60

 1920 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 61

 1924 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 62

 1926 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 63

 1927 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 64

 1930 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 65

 1930-1940 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 66

 1933 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 67

 1936 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 68

 1938-1939 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 69

Price lists 

 1924-1940 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 70

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Series V: Photographs, undated, 1946-1969 

Album undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 71

Awards/Presentations undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 72

Cafeteria undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 73

Employee activities 

Bingo undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 74

Dinner dances undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 75

Military undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 76

Outings-Christmas undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 77

Outings-Summer undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 78-82

Variety shows undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 83

Employees undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 84

Employees undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 85

Executives undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 86

Facility 

Exterior undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 87

Interior undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 88

Flood undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 89

Glass tank cold repair, 1964 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 90

Glass tank rebuild, 1961 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 91

Box

Glass tank rebuild, 1969 

8

Infirmary/Red Cross undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 93

Machinery undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 94

Meetings undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 95

Unidentified undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 96

Mounted prints undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 97

Office undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 98

Oral history project (video tape recording) undated 


    Box Folder
Moving Images   8 99

Production undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 100-102

Production undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 103-107

Production show undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 108

Products undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 109

Products undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 110

Sales conference, 1946 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 111

Show (slides) undated 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   10 112

Tours undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 113

Warehouse undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 114

Oversize items 

Letter from Admiral Richard Byrd undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   11 115

Photographs undated 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   11 116

Volume

Specification Blueprints, 1931-1932 

Scope and Content Note

Subjects Include: [1 Gal Dispenser, 2 1/2 Gal Jar, 2 1/2 Gal Dispenser, 1 Gal Dispenser with Cup Rack, 2 1/2 Gal Dispenser Jar, 5 Gal Jar, 5 Gal Dispenser, 5 Gal Spherical Dispenser, 1 Gal Pump Assembly, 1 Gal Eskimo Jars, 1 Gal Display Jar]

15

Scrapbooks, 1951-1955 

Scope and Content Note

Subjects Include: [Norwich CT Bulletin Articles relating to Jobs, Workers, Company History, Company Advertisements]

16

Scrapbooks, 1951-1955 

Scope and Content Note

Subjects Include: [Norwich CT Bulletin Articles relating to Jobs, Workers, Company History, Company Advertisements]

17

Scrapbooks, 1908-1928 

Scope and Content Note

Subjects Include: [The Saturday Evening Post Newspaper Advertisements, Opinion Articles, and Informational Articles]

18
Folder

Photographs, undated  

19

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Series VI: Negatives, undated, 1950-1970 

Box

Negatives, 1950-1970 

12

Negatives, undated 

13

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