Lamson and Goodnow
In 1834, Silas Lamson devised a curved snath that greatly improved the efficiency of the scythe, and riding the commercial success of his invention, Lamson, his sons Ebenezer and Nathaniel, and partner Abel Goodnow, founded the manufacturing firm of Lamson and Goodnow in Shelburne Falls, Mass., in 1837. Early in its history, Lamson and Goodnow recruited skilled workers from cutlery centers in England and Germany and began manufacturing the high quality knives and tableware that have remained the center of their production ever since. The firm was a major contributor to the region’s transformation from a primarily agricultural to an industrial economy, and by the time of the Civil War, they helped establish the Connecticut River Valley had emerged as the center of American cutlery production. At vartious points during their history, Lamson and Goodnow have been involved in the manufacture of arms (e.g. the Springfield Rifle), sewing machines, agricultural implements, and other tools. They remain active in the production of cutlery, trade tools, and kitchenware.
The Lamson and Goodnow records contain relatively dense documentation of a major manufacturer of cutlery and agricultural implements from roughly the time of its founding in 1837 through shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to account books, records of orders, sales, and production, and a dizzying array of canceled checks, receipts, and trade cards, the collection includes correspondence from field agents and customers that document the growth of the company during the first 75 years of its operation.
ContributorsTypes of material
- Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
- Shelburne Falls (Mass.)--History