Norman C. Stiles.
Tools Made: Machinery.
Working Dates: 1857-71.
Norman Stiles was born on 18 June 1834 in Feeding Hills a village of Agawam, MA. He moved to Meriden, CT. in 1850 and worked with his brother making tinware. Shortly after, he moved to Springfield, MA. While there he worked at the American Machine Works and the Holyoke Machine Company. On his return to Meriden he worked at Snow, Brooks and Company, later know as Parker Brothers and Company. He then worked for Edward Miller and Company until he decided to go in business for himself.
The company was started in West Meridian, CT in 1857. In 1867 he moved to Middletown. He was the successor to Wm. Stroud. The factory was located on Mill Street near the junction of the Pameachea and Sanseer streams. This factory also housed the Nelson and Hubbard Company. Map L & O.
Stiles joined with Charles Parker ( of Parker Brothers and Company ) to form the Stiles and Parker Press Company in 1871. He held a number of patents relating to presses.
Go to Stiles & Parker Press for his patents.
From Ref. 14 Page 172-3.
Norman C. Stiles.
"The centennial celebration of the incorporation of the city of Middletown, held on the 13th of July 1884, at
which time the leading industries and manufactures were represented in the procession, awakened a desire on the
part of the citizens of Middletown not only to learn the history of the rise and growth of these great industries,
that have contributed so much to the wealth and prosperity of the city, but to know something of the individuals
connected with them. Among the most prominent of those represented in the procession was the Stiles & Parker
Press Company; and several of the other manufactories represented on that occasion, as well as some of the largest
manufactories in the country, are dependent to a great extent on the goods made by this company, the founder of
which was Norman C. Stiles, who commenced life as a poor boy, and, by his own efforts, pushed his way from the
lowest to the top round of the ladder, and succeeded in establishing one of the most important industries in the
Mr. Stiles was born at Feeding Hills, a village of Agawam, Mass., on the 18th of June 1834. His father
was an industrious farmer, a raiser of tobacco, and also engaged in the manufacture and sale of whip lashes, an
important article of manufacture at that period. When Norman was but five years of age, his father lost his
property, and the son was thus deprived of the educational facilities and other opportunities enjoyed by most
boys of his age. The inventive genius and mechanical taste were early developed in the lad, and when but ten
years of age he had thoroughly investigated the " true inwardness " of a clock, by taking it apart and putting it
together again, leaving it in good, running order. When he was but 12 years of age he built an ell to his father's
house, doing all the work alone, including the painting. He constructed various other devices about this time,
displaying remarkable mechanical ability as well as inventive genius. He made a miniature steam engine and
a fire engine, and constructed a violin. At the age of 16, he removed to Meriden, and engaged
with his brother in the manufacture of tin ware; but this gave him no opportunity to develop his mechanical tastes,
and he soon after became connected with the American Machine Works, at Springfield, Massachusetts, where he
remained until he was of age. He subsequently engaged himself to a Mr. Osgood, who was a contractor for the
Holyoke Machine Company. He soon after returned to Meriden, Connecticut, and entered the employ of Snow,
Brooks & Company, now known as Parker Brothers & Company. He was employed in making dies, and other
small work requiring great skill and ingenuity. This experience proved of great value to him. He subsequently
entered the employ of Edward Miller & Company, Meriden, where he remained until 1857, when he concluded
to " paddle his own canoe." He at first hired bench room of B. S. Stedman, and soon after bought out the
stock and tools of his landlord. In 1860, he invented a toe and instep stretcher, which proved quite a success.
In 1862, his factory was destroyed by fire, involving a heavy loss. He soon started again, taking in, as special
partner, Alden Clark, who soon after retired in favor of George Clark, a nephew. In 1867, the partnership was
dissolved. The business having increased to such an extent as to require additional facilities, Mr. Stiles removed
to Middletown, where he has since remained. Previous to this, he made several improvements in his stamping
press, among others an eccentric adjustment, which was a great improvement on other punching presses then in
use, and far superior to what was known as the Fowler press. This device he patented in 1864. Parker Brothers,
of Meriden, who were engaged in manufacturing the Fowler press, adopted Mr. Stiles' eccentric adjustment,
which involved a long and expensive litigation, resulting finally in a compromise and the organization of the
Stiles & Parker Press Company, in which Mr. Stiles held a controlling interest. His pluck and perseverance were
finally rewarded with success, and he has built up a large and extensive business, involving the necessity of opening
a branch factory and office in New York city.
In 1873, he attended the Vienna Exposition, through which means he obtained a foreign market for his goods.
The presses are now in use in the armories and navy yards of the United States, as well as those of Germany,
Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, and Mexico.
Among the various classes of manufacturers using these presses, may be mentioned the manufacturers of fire
arms, agricultural implements, builders' hardware, locks, brass goods, clocks, sewing machines, and their
attachments, tin ware, silver-plated and Britannia ware, pocket cutlery, etc.; and in fact nearly every class of metal
workers are compelled to use these goods.
During his residence abroad, Mr. Stiles became prominently connected with the manager of the Vienna Exposition,
and was nominated as one of the Advisory Committee, but his position as exhibitor precluded his
acceptance. He was a member of the Advisory Committee at the Centennial Exposition held at Philadelphia
in 1876. He is one of the seven directors of the United States Patent Association, which includes examiners of
the Patent Office, solicitors of patents, and inventors. He has interested himself to some extent in the public
affairs of Middletown, and served two years as a member of the Board of Aldermen. He is a member of Cyrene
Commandery, Knight Templars, and is also a member of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity.
On the 23d of March 1864, he married Sarah M., daughter of Henry Smith, of Middletown, by whom he
has had three children, viz.: Henry R., Edmund E., and Millie B.
From Ref. 55:
N. C. Stiles, formerly of West Meriden, manufacturer of his patent
stamping and punching presses, and iron and brass founder, and
general machinist, removed to Middletown in 1868, purchasing of
Wm. Stroud his iron foundry and machine shop and other buildings
necessary for the prosecution of a large business. The foundry is 78x40,
1 story, brick ; a machine and pattern shop 42x80, 3 stories, brick ;
blacksmith's shop, 38x26, brick ; storeroom 37x20, brick ; another
20x40, wood ; office 20x26, 2 stories, brick. He employs 50 persons,
pay-roll amounting to 83,000 per month. Melts 500 tons of iron yearly
and produce 85,000 per month of power presses per month, and 85,000
worth of boot and shoe stretchers per year, and about 835,000 worth of
special machines to order and gun machinery, ships work, &c., the
business in that line amounting to 8100,000. Mr. Stiles has been in
business over 11 years, and his predecessor, Mr. Stroud, over 30 years.
His presses are used in nearly every State and territory in the Union.
See advertising page 116.
More information can be found on Wikipedia:
I have a letter dated May 19, 1868 from N. C. Stiles to Perkins and Lines of Meriden, CT.. I have not been able to establish a link between N.C. Stiles and Stiles and Pollard. However, when he moved from MA. To CT. he lived with his brother in Meriden but no name is given. The later firm made machinist tools. N.C. Stiles had a house on South Main Street. A few blocks from his factory.
See Stiles and Parker, Stiles and Pollard, Wm. Stroud
Office of N.C. STILES
(successor to Wm. Stroud)
IRON and BRASS FOUNDER
Manufacturer of Patent Stamping and Punching
Gun Machinery, Machinists' Tools, Mill Gearing,
Shafting, Ship Work, Windlasses; Forging and
Middletown, Conn. May 19 1868
Ad in Scientific American
Below is an ad from the Gazetteer of the manufactures and manufacturing towns of the United States 1866.
Ad from the Connecticut Business Directory 1866.
The following information was provided by Bill Duffney. A letter and envelope to customer in Providence, R.I. dated 1866. All three when he was located in Meriden. The ad looks similar to the one above from Scientific American.
N. C. Stiles & CO.
Stiles Patented Presses, Dies & machinists' Tools
West Meriden, Conn. Aug 20th 1866
Providence R.I. ? Sir
Yours of the 18th is in hand and your directions will be carried out It will be at least 2 months before we should get out any no.1 power presses and probably not another lot for six months and we thought for that reason if you was going to want a no 1 you had better order now.
Yours Vy Ty
N. C. Stiles ?
Bill Duffney has added more info as follows:
L. W. Cushing was at the Mozart Watch Company,
This is an ad from Ref. 63, Page 95. 1867-68.
1868 Ad Middletown.
This is a bill head for Stiles in Middletown in 1870.
References: 3, 7, 8, 14, 21, 22, 24, 55, 63. Back Home
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