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Manufacturers Index - McLagon & Smith
Last Modified: Dec 3 2019 2:21PM by Jeff_Joslin
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Foundry and machine shop McLagon & Stevens, a partnership of John McLagon and Hiram Stevens, was in business by 1856. Information on their early years is very sparse, but eventually they were making steam engines, line-shaft components, metal planers, lathes, and other specialties.

By the beginning of 1873 the business was in financial difficulty. Stevens sold his interest to Henry Smith who provided some additional capital to reduce the debt load. The partnership became McLagon & Smith. An additional loan was secured and, a year or so later, another mortgage. At this point they were manufacturing steam engines, iron planers, gear cutting machinery, drop presses, power and foot punching presses, grindstone frames, bolt heading machines, and foot lathes.

The company continued to struggle until 1875 when it again went into receivership. The business re-emerged in 1877 as the McLagon Foundry Co. By 1889 the business was owned by Frederick B. Farnsworth. In 1895 Farnsworth spun off the McLagon Foundry's manufacturing business as a wholly-owned subsidiary, Eastern Machinery Co., while the foundry portion continued under the existing name. By that time they specialized in brick-making machinery, cinder-crushing machinery, and elevators, although they were still making pulleys and clutches. In 1955 the Eastern Machinery Co. was renamed to the Eastern Elevator Co.

From 1874-75 Greenough, Jones & Co.'s New Directory of New Haven

Information Sources

  • 1856 Sampson & Murdock Co.'s The New England Business Directory and Gazetteer lists McLagon & Stevens of New Haven as a Foundry.
  • 1859 Price & Lee's New Haven City Directory lists "McLagon & Stevens, iron founders, Whitney Av. c Howard."
  • 1860-61 New Haven City Directory lists "McLAGON & STEVENS, iron founders, Whitney Av. c Howard." There is also an ad that we have not seen.
  • 1870-71 City Year Book for the City of New Haven mentions McLagon & Stevens as having an 1870-07-11 fire, with "slight" damages, no dollar amount given. They are also listed for receiving a payment of $40 for work related to roads and bridges ("Crusher Bill").
  • The decision in the 1876 lawsuit Beecher v. Stevens et. al. spells out the 1873 Stevens/Smith handover in considerable detail. Some relevant details are extracted here.

    On February 1, 1873, John McLagon and Hiram Stevens were, and for a long time had been, partners in New Haven in their business of foundrymen and machinists. As partners, they owned their foundry property and other real estate and machinery, which real and personal estate had been purchased with partnership funds, and was partnership property. At this time the partnership owed, in secured debts...,a total of $71,282; and their assets amounted upon book to $138,240... About $11,000 only of this amount was subsequently paid. At this time the firm was financially embarrassed, and was in need of more cash capital or of more cash funds. It was agreed between the partners and Henry Smith that Stevens should sell out his interest to said Smith, who was thereupon to form with McLagon a new firm, under the name of McLagon & Smith. Stevens sold and conveyed to said Smith his interest in said firm of McLagon & Stevens, and, by deed, conveyed his interest in said real estate and machinery, said interest being described in the deed as one undivided half part thereof, subject to mortgages to the New Haven Savings Bank for $20,000, and a mortgage to Eli Whitney for $7,500. Smith mortgaged back to Stevens the same undivided half part of said real estate and machinery, to secure several notes for the purchase price, which was to be paid to Stevens, all amounting to $17,050, which deed was duly executed and recorded. ...McLagon & Smith thereupon, on the same day, went into partnership; and, by their partnership agreement, each partner contributed to the new firm his interest in the property and assets of McLagon & Stevens, as his contributory share of the capital stock of McLagon & Smith, and said Smith agreed to pay said Stevens' share of all the liabilities of McLagon & Stevens, except as expressly excepted... The entire arrangement in regard to sale, dissolution, and formation of a new firm was made in good faith, without fraud, and in the hope that additional pecuniary advantages would be furnished thereby, so that a successful business might be done by the new firm. On June 10, 1874, McLagon & Smith mortgaged said partnership real estate and machinery to Beecher & Todd, to secure their indorsements for the benefit of the mortgagors to the amount of $30,000. In September, 1874, another mortgage on said partnership property was executed by McLagon & Smith to Beecher & Todd, to secure indorsements in all amounting to $35,000.

    In September, 1875, McLagon & Smith desired to obtain an additional savings bank loan. ...[Details are given of the complex loan arrangements]... McLagon & Smith are now in bankruptcy. Their secured debts, not including the Stevens mortgage, are $80,919; their unsecured proved debts are about $19,000,—making a total of $99,919. All the McLagon & Stevens debts have been paid, except about $300 or $400. Beecher is the real owner of the Beecher & Todd mortgage, as he has paid all the indorsements which it was given to secure.

    ...Beecher & Todd have brought their petition, claiming that the mortgage to them should be preferred to the Stevens mortgage...

    The judges ruled against Beecher and Todd, finding that everyone was aware of the agreements which were made in good faith and the mortgages should be fulfilled in first-come-first-serve order.
  • 1889 Official Report of the Annual Convention of the National Brick Manufacturers' Association lists The McLagon Foundry Co. of New Haven, and F. B. Farnsworth as their representative, from which we infer that by 1889 Farnsworth had acquired the business.
  • November 1895 Brick magazine.
    It is an encouraging sign of the times that owing to greatly increased business it has become necessary for the McLagon Foundry Company, of New Haven, Conn., to enlarge its facilities for manufacturing brick machinery. The manufacturing department of the "New Haven" machinery has been transferred to a more commodious factory, which will be still further enlarged by extensive buildings to be erected at once. The same line of machinery will be built as in the past, and it is evident that the additional facilities for manufacturing will not lessen the excellent qualities of the "New Haven" machines. In consequence of the great extension in the scope of this department, and for other reasons not necessary to enumerate, it has been found expedient to create a new corporation, which will be known as the Eastern Machinery Company. This will hereafter conduct the business while the McLagon Foundry Company will confine itself to the manufacture of castings. The change is in name only, as the ownership and also the management of the machinery business remains identically the same as heretofore. The assurance is given that the business policy will remain the same, in which case the company under the new title is certain to meet with no less favor than it has done in the past.
  • 1909 The Iron Age Directory lists Eastern Machinery Co., New Haven, Conn., as makers of brick machinery; friction clutches; friction-clutch couplings; friction winding drums; elevating machines; belt elevators; electric elevators; elevator enclosures; freight elevators; shaft pulleys; and special machinery.
  • March 1909 The Bricklayer and Mason.

    Frank J. McGee, organizer and president of the Iron Molders' district in the New England States, went to jail in New Haven last week for a violation of the court's orders. When he arrived in New Haven from his home in Worcester, Mass., ho was accorded a demonstration and parado by his fellow trade unionists and escorted to the place of confinement by thousands of his friends and sympathizers.

    The sentencing of McGee arises from a strike that was bitterly fought by the iron molders' union at the McLagon foundry. The former mayor of New Haven, Frederick B. Farnsworth, is president of the McLagon Foundry Company. In the case mentioned every effort was put forth by the legal representatives of the molders' union. The case was tried in two courts and finally appealed to the State Supreme Court, but the decision was against him.—Trades Union Advocate.

  • August 1915 List of Members of the National Metal Trades Association. "The McLagon Foundry Co., Harry B. Brown, Treas., 100 Audubon St., New Haven, Conn."
  • An article on old elevators in New Haven contains information on the company history from 1895 onward.
  • The 1877-1933 McLagon Foundry Records are at the New Haven Museum & Historical Society Library.