A Museum that Tells the History of Manufacturing @mfgday #MFGDay20
The American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont, was once the Robbins & Lawrence factory, which is considered to be the first U.S. factory to manufacture interchangeable parts.
The factory was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In the 1960s, in response to a proposed razing of the building, Windsor resident Edwin A. Battison instead helped to transform the factory into a museum dedicated to telling the story of manufacturing in the United States.
The museum, housed in an old brick factory building that served at various times as a textile mill, armory, sewing-machine factory, and machine tool shop, is perched atop the rushing Mill Brook and celebrates Windsor’s important role in the history of American manufacturing and technological innovation.
One of the first places where machine tools were created and used, Windsor is an important part of the origin story for what came to be known as the American system of manufacturing. This was a new way of manufacturing using precisely engineered and produced parts that could be easily interchanged. The technology spread out from Windsor to the rest of New England, the United States, and across the world.
A permanent exhibition at the American Precision Museum called “Shaping America”guides visitors through the development of American manufacturing, beginning with this iconic building. On the cavernous shop floor the early history of the Windsor factory is related. The United States Army required large quantities of rifles, helping to give rise to the initial spark of ingenuity in Windsor. Gunmakers Richard Lawrence and Nicanor Kendall partnered to produce high-quality firearms and, with the help of a businessman named Samuel Robbins, in 1844 signed a government contract to produce ten thousand service rifles.
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