Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Few Words about Wordless Wednesday #54

I have a confession to make - though I hope with proper attribution that I'll be forgiven. Yesterday's photo was a phone pic of a photocopy of a picture that appeared on page 33 of the January 2015 issue of the Haddam Bulletin. My punishment - so far at least - is that the photo (of a photocopy of a photo printed in a newspaper) is of lower quality than I hope you've come to expect here.

That's all the bad news. The good news is that it's the only photo I've seen that shows the old Frissel Manufacturing Company mill in Higganum, CT circa 1934. What a beautiful industrial complex and in such a bucolic setting! According to the article - "[t]he company was a leader in textile braiding and dyeing and produced a variety of textiles used for industrial belting, gun cartridges, elastic webbing and cords, and using silk from a mill in Massachusetts, even made lace products."

The article didn't go into detail, but Frank H. Frissel, who started at the Russel Manufacturing Company in Middletown, got his big break by patenting a new type of woven ammunition belt for machine guns. He branched out on his own in 1920, buying some Russel Co. facilities south of Middletown in Higganum and setting up shop as the Frissel Fabric Co. By 1937, "Frismar" was also a major manufacturer of typewriter ribbon, carbon paper and other office supply items, in addition to textiles.

Higganum is on the Valley Line - it's a village in the Town of Haddam - and, in fact, Frissel Manufacturing was on Depot Road. It was never directly served by rail - being water powered originally, the factory needed to be further upstream. But they likely shipped by rail - the depot and the team track were only a few hundred yards away.

Unfortunately, much of Frissel burned down years ago (1990s?) and the area is now a SuperFund cleanup site. Fortunately, cleanup is progressing and the remaining buildings will be preserved. But for now, we can enjoy this neat view of a typical New England mill along the Valley Line.

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