W & B Douglas

Tool Makers of
Middletown, Connecticut


William and Benjamin Douglas.

Tools Made: Grinding stone frames and lathes. Also, hand & power pumps, hydrants, hydraulic rams, well fixtures, garden engines. During World War 1 they made a lathe for boring shells.

Working Dates: 1832-1925.  Founded 1832. Incorporated 1859.

     William Douglas was born in Branford, CT. on 19 April 1812. Died 21 April 1858. He worked in the foundry business with his brother John in New Haven, CT. In 1832 he moved to Middletown, CT. and with W.H. Guild formed the company of Guild & Douglas, making steam engines and other machinery. His first patent was issued in August 1835 for a pump.

     Benjamin Douglas was born in Northford, CT. on 3 April 1816. In 1832 he was apprenticed to a machinist in Middletown. In 1839 he and his brother William formed the company of W & B Douglas. From 1839 to 1842 they were a foundry and machine shop. In 1842 they invented a revolving stand pump. Then manufactured pumps and hydraulic rams.

      Joseph Douglas born in Middletown 1838, son of  William and Edward Douglas born in Middletown, 1854, son of Benjamin were both connected to the company.

Douglas21.jpg (28786 bytes)              Douglas22.jpg (27575 bytes)



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     From Ref. 55.

      "W. & B. Douglass were incorporated 1839 with a capital of $250,000, being the continuation of the firm of W. &

    B. Douglass, who commenced there the manufacture of pumps, hydraulic rams, &c., in 1832. The works are located on

    Broad corner Williams, and are the largest and oldest manufactory of pumps in the country, if not in the world, covering

    3 acres of ground and manufacturing 600 sizes and varieties. The motive power is furnished by two engines—-60

    and 30-horse power respectively—made by this company. They consume in one year 1500 tons of iron and 50 tons of

    brass, which gives one an idea of the immense amount of business done by this concern, who received the highest

    medals at the Paris Exposition for the manufacture of pumps, &c. This business of manufacturing this useful household

    necessity has been developed and brought to their present state of perfection by this company, who were the first in

    the United States to commence their manufacture ; employ 200 persons, and their warehouse is at 85 and 87 John street,

    New York."


     The link below is for the Hathi Trust Digital Library copy of their 1903 catalog.


     For more on the history of this company go to this web site below. The information is from


by Jennifer Haskell.


For picture a some Douglas hydrant see here  Firehydrant.org.

         An ad in ref. 9 stated they made castings in iron and brass, also made machines to order.  Located on the corner of Broad and William Street. I have seen one example of their product, a large grinding wheel frame.

   From the information I received from The Middlesex County Historical Society this company went into receivership in 1924 and was sold off in 1925. Thus ended what was, at one time, the largest manufacturer of pumps in the world.


         From Ref. 58:

        At the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia they had more 700 different articles on display.

        These pumps covered many different used for both liquid and air.

Below is an ad for W&B Douglas.  The business was managed by family members.

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     Patents issued  or assigned to W & B Douglas. Both William and Benjamin are patentees, also, 
William,the son of William Douglas. I have not determined the relationship between W & B and 
Joseph or Edward Douglas. See ref. 24 for additional Connecticut patents.
Name Pat. No Item Issue Date
Douglas, William 2895 Pump lift 12/31/1842
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas W.& Benjamin 19834 Portable pump 4/6/1858
Douglas,B.& W. 23649 Pump 4/12/1859
Douglas B. 30603 Pump 11/6/1860
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas B. 33299 Pump stand 9/17/1861
Douglas,  Joseph W. 35059 Pump 4/22/1862
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas B. 35802 Pump 7/1/1862
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 38444 Pump 5/5/1863
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 56671 Double acting pump 7/24/1866
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 64292 Hose coupling 4/30/1867
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
North, Henry S. 68781 Snap hook 9/10/1867
Assigned to North,  W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 74321 Pump 2/11/1868
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 81611 Grindstone frame 9/1/1868
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 93974 Knapsack fire extinguisher 08/24/1869
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 97767 Pump 12/14/1869
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 97894 Chemical fire extinguisher 12/14/1869
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 98674 Pump attachment 1/11/1870
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 102664 Pump valve 5/3/1870
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 144965 Pump 11/25/1873
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 151364 Pump gearing construction 5/26/1874
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 158786 Lining pump cylinders 1/19/1875
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 167195 Water hydrant 8/3/1875
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 173601 Vehicle wheel l2/15/1876
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 192979 Portable pump 7/10/1877
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 244384 Pump 7/19/1881
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 279360 Drill, tap & socket 6/12/1883
Douglas J. 280146 Lathe cutter & holder 6/26/1883
Douglas J. 280147 Lathe cutter & holder 6/26/1883
Douglas J. 294210 Pump 2/26/1884
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 306679 Pump 10/14/1884
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas
Douglas J. 321804 Lever shears 7/7/1885
Douglas, Edward 386115 Telescopic stop cock 7/17/1888
Assigned to W. & B. Douglas


This is from Ref. 63:

        Heavy-duty Lathe: W. & B. Douglas, Middletown, Conn. A single-purpose machine

        designed for turning and boring shells, and for similar classes of general manufacturing

        work. All parts of the machine are heavily built to stand up under severe conditions of

        service. Three changes of speed and four variations of feed are available

An ad for the Douglas Lathe. See here for more info.

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1886 Bill Head

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1887 Bill head

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Below is an ad from Ref. 63, 1867-68.

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Back and Front cover of the 1907 Pump Catalog.

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Inside pages from 1907 catalog.

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From Jan W. Jansen of The Netherlands 1872 Price Lists.

Click here for two more lists.

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Below is a Douglas Fire Engine  belonging to Newton Falls, OH.

Link to more pictures.

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Undated city directory ad.

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1874 map of the Douglas Pump Works. Map F.

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This is the Douglas mansion 11 South Main Street.Owned by Benjamin Douglas.


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    The following pictures are of a W. & B. Douglas grind stone frame. It is approximately 3 feet high and four feet long. Made from cast iron. The frame was at an antique shop in Deep River, CT. Douglas made three models of these: Model 144 hand or foot powered, model 145 belt drive and model 464 extra heavy. See their 1903 catalog, page 143.

The complete frame.

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 The shield.
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PATENTED. SEP 1. 1868.

This is patent number 18,611.

The complete leg. 
Douglas8.jpg (156636 bytes)


A close-up of the top portion of the leg. 

Douglas9.jpg (110546 bytes)

References:   3, 7,  9, 10, 14, 19, 24, 30, 53, 55, 58, 63.     Back Home

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