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On Winsted & Winchester - Verna Gilson

Textiles, hosiery a part of Winsted’s history

The making of clothing, textiles, and hosiery was a very profitable business in Winsted. The town’s first clothier was reportedly David Marshall, who operated a fulling mill on Lake Street opposite Rockwell. The first knitting machines used in town were manufactured locally. 

Alva Nash’s Mill

Silk thread in Winsted

The opening of Far East ports increased the availability of raw silk and America was one of the largest consumers of manufactured silk. In 1747, Jonathan Law, Connecticut’s then governor, reportedly wore the first coat and stockings made from New England silk, and three years later his daughter wore the first dress made from domestic silk.  Beginning in 1874, Winsted was widely recognized in the silk industry. 

Lighting and Machinery

By the early 19th century, Winsted had a diverse economy and many small manufacturing concerns. Over the following decade, these shops gave way to large-scale manufacturing that would make the town one of the most prosperous regions in the state and country. Lighting fixtures and machinery played an important role in this industrial history. 

Boots & Shoes

According to the early 19th century city directories, there were many small shoemaking shops and cobblers in Winsted, at a time when worn boots and shoes were repaired rather than replaced. The large-scale manufacturing of footwear, however, arrived in Winsted in the late 1800s, providing employment to numerous workers, including females. Each venture specialized in boots and shoes for women, young ladies and children.