Middlefield CT: The Industrial Revolution

Pistol Shop Started:

In 1800 a bake house was set up by Stow & Casey. The bake house made hardtack sailors used as food when they were at sea. It was a half size brick made from flour and water, which was as hard as stone. It would not get moldy and the weevils (worms) could not get into it. It had to be soaked before it could be eaten

During the War of 1812 Stow and Casey started a wire factory. They made iron wire until 1816 when the war's ends made it cheaper to obtain wire from England. James Casey purchased the site from Mary Stow, Jehosphatat's widow, in 1817. He used the mill for wool carding for several years, however, it fell into disuse for several years when the operation became non-profitable. This caused the dam and building to fall into decay.

Pistol Shop Picture

George Casey, heir to the rights, sold the privilege to Henry Aston, Ira Johnson, Sylvester Bailey, John North, Nelson Aston, and Peter Ashton in 1845. They took the building down, built a huge stone dam and the pistol shop. They received two large contracts from the government and became the Henry Aston Manufacturing Company. In 1852 Ira M. Johnson who also made pistols there purchased the company at auction. Receiving a contract for 10,000 pistols, he hired all the former partners except Henry Aston. The company faced the same problems all pistol companies faced: making a profit. It was very difficult to meet government specification and finish the contract on time. Each time a new contract was given it was necessary to retool to meet the new specifications. Also, it was difficult to get pistol makers, who were used to making the entire pistol, to make just a portion of the gun.