TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Records

History:

Scope and Content:

Organization:

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Detailed Description/Box and Folder Listing

Series I: Annual Reports, 1928-1955

Series II: Newsletters, 1943-1987

Series III: Company History, undated, 1984

Series IV: Catalogs/Price Lists, 1918-1940

Series V: Photographs, undated, 1946-1969

Series VI: Negatives, undated, 1950-1970






Thermos Company Collection



Finding aid prepared by Tima Smith.

Finding aid encoded by Betsy Pittman in June 2002.





Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1205



© 2002 University of Connecticut



Overview of the Records

Repository: Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Creator: Thermos Company Employees.
Title: Thermos Company Collection.
Dates: 1918-1987.
Extent: 10 linear feet.
Record Series: MSS19890098
Language 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.

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:

Date Event
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 Thermos merges with Icy-Hot Bottle Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.
1933 Automation and mass production methods begun.
1942 98 percent of production tables for military usage during World War II.
1946 Taftville (Norwich, Connecticut) plant begins operation.
1952 Thermos acquires Plastene Corporation.
First character school lunch kits produced.
1955 Thermos merges with Hemp & Company which produces jug and chest lines.
1956 Name changed to "The American Thermos Products Company."
1958 Anaheim, California, plant begins operation.
1960 Thermos merges with King-Seeley Corporation and enters tent, camp stove and lantern field. Company adopts name of "Thermos Division of King-Seeley Thermos Company." (12/9/60)
1962 Thermos Division sells off Plastene Corporation.
1968 King-Seeley Thermos Company becomes part of Household Finance Corporation.
1970 Dinex insulated ware and institutional market acquired.
1971 Metallized Products Division of the Norton Company acquired by King-Seeley Thermos Company.
1977 Tent orders no longer accepted (2/1/77).
1981 Household International, Inc., became the holding company for the diversified interests of Household Finance Corporation (6/26/81).
1982 Household Manufacturing was established to consolidate the management structures of King-Seeley Thermos Company, acquired in 1968, and Wallace Murray Corporation, acquired in 1981.
1984 Anaheim plant sold (4/84).
Macomb closed (5/84).
Glass manufacturing ceased at Laurel Hill (Norwich, Connecticut) (9/28/84).
1985 Institutional Dinex business line sold to Dinex International, Inc.-B.M. Taintor (7/30/85).
1986 Announcement of merger of Thermos and Structo operations to be headquartered in Freeport, Illinois (11/18/86).

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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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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access:

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

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.

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Related Material

Archives and 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 reference desk.

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Persons:

xxx

Organizations:

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

Subjects:

Connecticut--Business, industry and trades--Thermos bottles.
Manufactures--Connecticut.
Thermos bottles.

Document Types:

Correspondence.
Ephemera.
Negatives.
News releases.
Photographs.

Occupations:

Manufacturing.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

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

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.

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Detailed Description/Box and Folder Listing

Series I: Annual Reports, 1928-1955
1:1 1928
1:2 1930
1:3 1931
1:4 1933
1:5 1934
1:6 1935
1:7 1937
1:8 1938
1:9 1940
1:10 1941
1:11 1942
1:12 1943
1:13 1945
1:14 1946
1:15 1947
1:16 1950
1:17 1951
1:18 1952
1:19 1953
1:20 1954
Series II: Newsletters, 1943-1987
The Thermos News
2:21 1943 May - 1945 March
2:22 1945 April - 1946 March
2:23 1946 April - 1950 January
2:24 1950 February - 1952 December
2:25 1953 January - 1956 December
2:26 1957 January - 1961 December
2:27 1962 January - 1965 December
2:28 1966 March - 1970 April
Thermos Reflections
2:29 1976
2:30 1977
2:31 1978
2:32 1979
2:33 1981
2:34 1982
2:35 1983
2:36 1984
2:37 1985
2:38 1986
Spotlight
2:39 1987 January
2:40-41 Newsletter layouts, undated
Series III: Company History, [undated except where indicated] undated, 1984
3:42 Blueprint
14 Carafe manufactured at Norwich, Connecticut, plant, undated
3:43 Employee notices
3:44 Equipment agreement
3:45 History of the company
3:46 Letterhead
3:47 Mailing envelopes
3:48 Map
3:49 Memorabilia
3:50 National Register of Historic Places application
3:51 Newspaper clippings, 1984
3:52 Publicity-Byrd Arctic Expedition
3:53 Quarter Century Club
3:54 Season's Greetings
3:55 Special announcement
4 Glass from last batch produced at Norwich plant
5:56 Employee service pins
5:57 Hotel nameplates
5:58 Thermos shopping bag
5:59 Visitor pins
Series IV: Catalogs/Price Lists, 1918-1940
Catalogs
6:60 1918-1920
6:61 1920
6:62 1924
6:63 1926
6:64 1927
6:65 1930
6:66 1930-1940
6:67 1933
6:68 1936
6:69 1938-1939
Price lists
6:70 1924-1940
Series V: Photographs, [undated except where indicated] undated, 1946-1969
7:71 Album
7:72 Awards/Presentations
7:73 Cafeteria
Employee activities
7:74 Bingo
7:75 Dinner dances
7:76 Military
7:77 Outings-Christmas
7:78-82 Outings-Summer
7:83 Variety shows
7:84 Employees
8:85 Employees
8:86 Executives
Facility
8:87 Exterior
8:88 Interior
8:89 Flood
8:90 Glass tank cold repair, 1964
8:91 Glass tank rebuild, 1961
8:92 Glass tank rebuild, 1969
8:93 Infirmary/Red Cross
8:94 Machinery
8:95 Meetings
8:96 Unidentified
8:97 Mounted prints
8:98 Office
8:99 Oral history project (video tape recording)
8:100-102 Production
9:103-107 Production
9:108 Production show
9:109 Products
9:110 Products
10:111 Sales conference, 1946
10:112 Show (slides)
10:113 Tours
10:114 Warehouse
Oversize items
11:115 Letter from Admiral Richard Byrd
11:116 Photographs
Series VI: Negatives, undated, 1950-1970
12 Negatives, 1950-1970
13 Negatives, undated