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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:49 1833-1960 S642

Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Company records


Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Co. was a papermaking machinery manufacturer based in South Windham, Connecticut. The collection includes records, photographs, and memorabilia documenting the financial, manufacturing, administrative, corporate, and commercial history of the company, its predecessors, and firms it acquired.


  • 1833-1960


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.

Five volumes in Series VI. Employment records contain personal information and are restricted for 80 years from the date of their creation. They are v.269, v.270, and v.271 (payroll books) and v.288 and v.289 (time books).


157 linear feet (345 volumes, 29 boxes, 17 cartons, 51 flat boxes)
This collection documents the financial, manufacturing, corporate and legal, and commercial history of Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Co., its predecessor Phelps & Spafford, and companies it acquired. The records date from 1833 to 1960, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1870 to 1940. The bulk of the collection is comprised of bound volumes, including ledgers, journals, cost books, shipping books, order books, price books, cash books, letterbooks, and payroll books, dating from 1833 to 1960. Also included is correspondence between Smith & Winchester and its customers and affiliated businesses and persons. The collection also contains extensive information about Smith & Winchester's products, including machine patents, machine and equipment specifications, repairs records, and customer agreements and contracts. A notable series of photographs, glass plate negatives, and drawings are included. The images depict Smith & Winchester's papermaking machinery products and its manufacturing operations. The collection also contains numerous three-dimensional objects, including wooden foundry patterns.

Historical Note:

Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Co. of South Windham, Connecticut, was a manufacturer of paper making machinery. The company, which traced its roots to the 1820s, made significant contributions and advancements in the papermaking industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1827, George Spafford, a machinist, was hired to install a Fourdrinier papermaking machine imported from England by Joseph Pickering, a paper maker in North Windham. The Fourdrinier machine was the first to successfully mechanize the production of paper in endless rolls, rather than single sheets. Pickering's Fourdrinier was the first installed in the United States. Spafford recognized the technological innovation of the Fourdrinier machine, and understood the cost and difficulty of importing it. He joined with James Phelps, an experienced mill builder, to begin manufacturing Fourdrinier machines in the United States. Phelps & Spafford was founded, and established a small factory in South Windham, Connecticut. The firm sold and installed its first, improved version of the Fourdrinier in 1829.

Phelps & Spafford flourished until the financial crash of 1837, when the company's losses forced it to close. The partners sold the business to Charles Smith and Harvey Winchester, two employees who were also Spafford's brothers-in-law. Re-organized as Smith, Winchester & Company, the firm continued to grow and sold its papermaking and related machines to mills in the U. S. market—including to California's first paper company in 1856—and global markets such as Canada, Mexico, India, Japan, China, Europe, and South America. Through the 19th century, Smith, Winchester developed and produced innovative papermaking equipment, such as paper cutting and paper-bag-making machines. The company was incorporated in 1905 as the Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Company. It continued as an independent business until 1965, when it was purchased by Cameron Machines. The company was sold to H. L. Diehl in 1969, and its manufacturing operations ceased soon after.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series I. Financial records, 1833-1960
  2. Series II. Manufacturing records, 1877-1953
  3. Series III. Shipping records, 1875-1950
  4. Series IV. Orders and salesrecords, 1879-c. 1950s
  5. Series V. Correspondence, 1845-1934
  6. Series VI. Employment records, 1879-1960
  7. Series VII. Corporation and legal documents, 1860-1908
  8. Series VIII. Advertisements, 1888-c. 1940
  9. Series IX. Affiliated business records and personal papers, 1840-1959
  10. Series X. Drawings, c. 1870s-1944
  11. Series XI. Photographs, undated, 1923, 1945
  12. Series XII. Memorabilia, undated, c. 1934

Physical Location



Purchase, 2006.


The following items have been removed from the collection:
Transferred to Baker Old Class Collection:
  1. Pray, Thomas, Jr. Twenty years with the indicator. (Boston: American Steam Gauge and Valve Mfg. Co., 1909, c1908)QSRC.05 P921 1909 (call number)
  2. Post's paper mill directory (New York: L. D. Post)ENV :49 P851904/05-1905/06, 1910, 1914-1915, 1919, 1922-1923, 1926, 1928-1929 (call number)
  3. Lockwood's directory of the paper and allied trades (New York, Vance Pub. Corp.) ENV :49 L811903/1904, 1906-1907, 1910, 1913-1920, 1922-1929, 1931-1934, 1938-1944, 1946, 1949-1950(call number)
  4. Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Co. collection of ephemera. Baker Business Historical Collections -- Baker Old Class RBK S642
Transferred to Trade Catalog Collection:
  1. Paper and pulp mill catalogue (Chicago, Ill.: Edward B. Fritz, [c1923]-) RIAV.62 P214 1924-1930, 1932-1934(call number)
  2. Smith, Winchester & Co. Descriptive catalogue of Paper machinery (Hartford, Conn.: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., 1876) RIAV.62 S642 2 copies (call number)

Processing Information

Processed: December 2008

By: Laura Morris, Gena Pliakas, and Tim Mahoney
Link to catalog
Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Co. Smith & Winchester Manufacturing Co. Records, 1833-1960 (inclusive): A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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