Scovill Manufacturing Company


SKU: 6054dpor
Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique specimen stock certificate from the Scovill Manufacturing Company dating back to the early 1900's. This document, which contains the printed signatures of the company President and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 12" (w) by 8" (h).

This certificate features a pair of nice vignettes. Two distinguished gentlemen (most likely the company founders) are pictured at the top, while a view of the company's manufaturing process appears at the bottom.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    Scovill traces its history to 1802, when Abel Porter & Company began making metal buttons in a shop on South Main Street. Brothers Lamson and William Scovill bought into the business in 1811, eventually taking it over entirely while continually expanding the product line to include all things made of brass. Several different branches of the company were eventually consolidated when the Scovill brothers incorporated their business as the Scovill Manufacturing Company.

    William Scovill’s son-in-law Frederick J. Kingsbury (who created the city’s motto, Quid aere perennius) became president of Scovill Manufacturing in 1868, but the driving force of the company was soon acknowledged to be two men hired as bookkeepers in 1862: Chauncey Porter Goss and Mark Leavenworth Sperry. Like the Scovill brothers before them, Goss and Sperry worked well as a team and were described later in a company history as representing “the drive, the true entrepreneurship” of Scovill Manufacturing. They quickly proved their worth to the company and became upper management in only a few years — Goss became treasurer in 1866 and Sperry became secretary in 1869, and both joined the board of directors in 1877. Kingsbury entrusted them with the daily operations and management of the company while he occupied himself largely with outside interests. Goss eventually succeeded him as president.

    Goss and Sperry made significant changes to the company’s operations, standardizing customer-related procedures, improving the bookkeeping procedures, and improving filing systems to keep up with both the growing number of files and changes to methodology and technology (the introduction of the telegraph required a new format to messages). They instituted monthly reports from department heads to monitor production efficiency. In short, Goss and Sperry sought to use the best methods available for running one of the largest brass companies in the country.

    At the start of the twentieth century, Scovill remained a family business, but now it was the Goss and Sperry families who ran the company. Four of Goss’s sons and three of Sperry’s sons eventually joined the company, after receiving advanced training in engineering and, in some cases, apprenticing in the Scovill shops. In 1934, Time magazine reported that Scovill was “completely dominated by the sons and grandsons of the late Chauncey Porter Goss.”

    Scovill grew rapidly during the early part of the 20th century, acquiring Hamilton Beach in Wisconsin, the Oakville Company, A. Schrader’s Son in Brooklyn, the American Pin Company in Waterville, the Gilchrist Company in New Jersey, and the Morency-Van Buren Manufacturing Company in Michigan. The company embraced new products and new technologies, taking the lead in cosmetics containers (Scovill was the first to invent and manufacture a lipstick holder that could be operated with one hand), and snap fasteners for machine-washable clothing.

    Scovill made a vital upgrade to its Waterbury casting shop after learning of Siegfried Junghan’s continuous casting machine in 1936. Two years later, German technicians arrived at Scovill to install a Junghan machine, but they left before completing the installation when England and France declared war with Germany. The installation was completed by Scovill engineers, who added a few improvements. It was the first continuous casting machine to be successfully used in the United States, producing close to four tons of brass billets (cylindrical or rectangular bars) every hour.

    Scovill’s production during the mid 20th century was largely dedicated to the war effort, creating a need for a larger workforce. After the war, Scovill returned to its normal production. In 1953, Scovill produced an estimated 250,000 different items for about 6,000 customers, ranging from coin blanks for the US Mint, paper clips, lipstick holders, metal dress fasteners, dime banks, diving helmets, vacuum cleaners, ice-cream scoops, refrigerator parts, and surgical goods.