1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Allen & Reed Records

 Industrial heating and plumbing supplies, Providence, R.I.

 Records, 1902-1978

 Size: 4.75 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 95

 Processed by: Cindy Bendroth, August 1989

 Slightly revised by Rick Stattler, October 1998

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Allen and Reed, Inc. began in 1902 as a wholesale corporation of industrial supplies, especially pipe, valves, fittings, heating equipment, and pumps. Under the management of Philip Allen (1869-1951) and W. Gordon Reed, the corporation installed sprinkler systems, heating systems, process piping systems and oil lines throughout Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts and Connecticut. The company was first located at 125 Eddy St. in Providence, then moved to 178 Dorrance Street and later at 124 Narragansett Ave.

            In 1947 W. Gordon Reed died and Philip Allen, treasurer of the company, was near retirement. The company had little inventory and was faltering, therefore it was reorganized as A, Inc., a company that was started to provide Philip Allen with income and employment. The property and inventory would be purchased by a new company, Allen and Reed Company with Philip Allen's son, William Slater Allen (1904-1991) as president.

            The Company flourished after World War II and enjoyed the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s. The company expanded to Manchester, Connecticut and formed Allen and Reed, Inc. of Connecticut. By the 1970s, inflation and recession hurt the business and Mr. Allen was near retirement. In 1978, Robert J. Sirhal bought the inventory of the company and leased the land owned by the Allen and Reed Company. Mr. Allen formed Corliss Enterprises to take care of the leasing and selling of the Company's property. According to the 1980 city directory, Allen and Reed was bought by Reardon and Lynch, a plumbing and heating company located in Attleboro. Allen and Reed is still at 124 Narragansett as of August 1989.

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Scope and content:

            The papers are divided into two sections: those dealing with the Allen and Reed business and the personal papers of William Slater Allen and his father Philip Allen. The business papers are primarily correspondence with clients, tax information, directors' meetings minutes and annual meetings. Personal papers include insurance information, correspondence between friends and Philip Allen and his grandchildren, notes on family antiques and history, a personal journal, correspondence from William Slater Allen's personal business ventures such as Tropical Tool Company (1947) and Franklin Machine and Foundry Company (1941). Some Allen and Reed material might be mixed with the personal since Mr. Allen often used his secretary for personal matters. The whole collection dates from 1869 to 1979, the bulk of the material dates from 1948 to 1969. Important names are: William Slater Allen, Philip Allen, Elizabeth G. Allen, William Slater Allen, Jr. and Zachariah Allen. Important subjects are: I-95 construction, Tropical Tool Company, Providence taxes, preservation of Benevolent Street and a Cumberland land dispute.             Of particular interest is a diary dated 1920 which was apparently written as evidence in a divorce trial. The author is concerned exclusively with his wife's cruel behavior and morphine abuse. The volume bears no signature or location, but judging by the frequent visits to Pawtucket and Woonsocket, it seems to have been written in northern Rhode Island. Only one entry provides a truly useful clue, a description of a major fire at the author's house on the morning of November 10, 1920. The newspapers from Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket report only one such fire, at the home of James McLaughlin of Cumberland Hill. Going back to the Allen & Reed Papers, we find extensive documentation of a "Cumberland dispute" in which Philip Allen acquired property from James McLaughlin. As there is nothing in the diary to disprove the connection, we can only assume that Allen acquired the diary along with the property, or perhaps through some other personal connection. According to McLaughlin's obituary in the Pawtucket Times, 7/23/1930, he was born to a poor Woonsocket family, became a millionaire as a lumber dealer, but died with an estate of only $75,000. The obituary lists his nieces, but conspicuously avoids the topic of his marital status. All of this is consistent with the content of the diary. McLaughlin apparently married late in life, divorced, and lost a large portion of his savings.

Series description

Series I: Business, 1868-1978 (3 lin. ft)

            This series contains minutes to director's meetings, and correspondence to and from clients, tax information and financial records. Arranged alphabetically with oversize material in Box 4.

Series II: Personal, 1907-1979 (1.75 lin. ft.)

            Includes correspondence between friends and family, insurance and tax information, Correspondence dealing with the renovation of 12 Benevolent Street. Arranged alphabetically with oversize material in Box 4.

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The Allen & Reed Records were given by Mr. William Slater Allen in 1973, 1981, 1982 and 1987.

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Processing note:

            The Allen papers were put in acid-free folders and boxes and paper clips, staples and pins were taken out if they were rusting or damaging the papers. The papers were divided between personal and business. A finding aid was written.

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Box 1  

            "A" Correspondence, 1973-1978

            A, Inc., 1949

            A & R, Inc., 1949-1955

            A & R, Inc.-Taxes, 1950-1952

            Abbott, Joseph Company, 1975

            Accounts Payable & Receivable, 1949

            Advertising, 1970

            Affidavits, 1967

            Allen and Reed Annual Reports, 1961-1977

            Allen and Reed Company, 1949

            Allen and Reed City Tax, 1971-1975

            Allen and Reed Land-Historical, 1908-1946

            Allen and Reed of Connecticut, 1967-1970

            Allen, Zachariah, Re: Allen and Reed, 1968-1970

            American Insulated Wire, 1971

            Anderson Little, 1970-1974

            Annual Meetings, 1943-1946

            Ansonia Wire and Cable, 1973

            Applied Engineering, 1973

            Appraisal, 1950 

            "B" Correspondence, 1935-1977

            Biltmore Hotel, 1971-1975

            Bradford Dyeing Association, 1975-76

            Brown, Jewett and Driscoll, 1969

            Brown, Paul G. 1971

            "C" Correspondence, 1963-1978

            Carol Cable, 1975

            Census, 1963-1974

            Census of Business, 1926-1939

            Charts of Operations, 1950-1967

            Chemicals-Toxic Substance Act, 1977

            Cleaverbrooks Boilers, 1956

            Closing Papers of Purchase of Building, 1969-1971

            Corliss Enterprises, Inc.-Directors' Meetings, Nov. 18, 1977 - Dec. 17, 1979

            Crane Packing, 1979

            Cranston Print, 1963

            Credit - New Law, 10/28/1975

            Department of Commerce, 1967

            Directors' Minutes and Records of Meetings




                        January 13, 1958 - Sept. 22, 1960

                        Dec. 13, 1960 - July 2, 1963

                        Oct. l, 1963 - Feb. 10, 1966

                        May 10, 1966 - May 28, 1968

                        July 24, 1968 - Nov. 6, 1969

                        Nov. 6, 1969 - March 17, 1971

                        June 22, 1971 - Dec. 15, 1971

                        June 20, 1972 - Dec. 12, 1973

                        Mar. 18, 1974 - Dec. 11, 1974

                        Mar. 18, 1975 - August 13, 1976

                        Sept. 13, 1976 - Sept. 26, 1977

            Dividends, 1962-1974

            Dresser Industries, 1964

            Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. 1951-1952

            Emerson-Swan, Inc., 1950

            Executive Orders, Pres. of USA, 1965-1974

            "F" Correspondence, 1960-1974

            Factory Mutual, 1965-1977

            Federal Highway Administration, 1974 

            Financial and Inventory, 1911-1921

            Financial Outlook, 1919-1949

            Financial Statements, 1964-1965

            Franklin Machine and Foundry Co., 1940?

            Gifford, Clarence H., 1951

            Grinnell co. 1953-1977

            Hinkley-Allen-Allen and Reed Co., 1953-1961

            Hospital Trust Leasing Corp., 1973-1974

            "I" Correspondence, 1951-1966

            Independent Terminal, 1966

            Industrial Supply Times, 1964

            Insurance, 1972-1977

            Inventory, 1932-1941

            Jackson, D.E.,1963-1966

            "K" Correspondence, 1951-1965

            Kaye and MacDonald, Inc., 1949-1950

            "L" Correspondence, 1950-1960

            Ladish, 1953

            Laurienzo, 1972-1974

            Lawrence and Taylor, 1976

            Liberty Loan Committee, 1917-1919

Box 2

            Licht Industries, Inc. (old Nicholson File Plant), 1960-1972

            Lost Accounts, 1930-1935

            Lunkenheimer, 1959-1967

            "M" Correspondence, 1959-1966

            Machine Parts Corp., 1971-1972

            McIntosh Construction Corp., 1920-1930

            Manoog, 1968

            Mason-Neilan, 1966-1969

            Manufacturers Clearing House of IL, 1950-1951

            McElroy, Frances, 1957

            Mechanical Contractors, Inc., 1977

            Narragansett Electric, 1950-1976

            National Fire Protection Assoc., 1976-1977

            National Tube, 1917-1963

            NY, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Co., 1951-1967

            North Attleboro Gas, 1950

            Norwich, 1951

            OSHA, 1971-1977

            Otis, Charles A., 1940-1941

            "P" Correspondence, 1950-1976

            Park City Supply, 1963-1967

            Patent, 1941-1951

            Pawtucket Piping Co., Inc., 1970-1972

            Perfecting Service Company, 1953-1966

            Plastic Materials, Inc., 1959

            Posi-Seal International, 1969

            Powel, Samuel, 1966

            Providence, 1963-1973

            Providence Hydraulics, Inc., 1964

            Public Works Supply Co., 1970-1971

            Ray Company, 1950

            Release Form, 1950-1965

            Rent Income, Narragansett Ave., 1968

            Retirement Plan, 1961-76 (2f)

            Report of Special Examination, 1946

            Rewards, 1968

            Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company 1966-1977

            Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, 1965-1966

            Rhode Island Rug Works, Inc., 1964-1972

            RISD, 1975

            Rhode Island Supply and Engineering Co., 1954-1973

            Route 95 Dispute, 1953-1955

            Rudd-Murray, 1969-1970

            Rustrak Division, 1968

            "S" Correspondence, 1917-1959

            St. Luke's Hospital, 1976

            Sales Meetings, 1954, 1969

            Sales Promotion, 1966

            Saunders Valves, 1976

            Schutte and Koerting Co., 1967

            Silver, Alan, 1968-1976

            Smith Estates, l868-1970

            Specialty Pipe and Fittings Co., 1963

            Starkweather and Shepley, 1967-1969

            Star Sprinkler, 1952-1971

            Statements-Expenses and Earnings







            Statements-Special Reports, 1915-1925

            Superior Combustion Industries, Inc., 1951-1953

            TACO, Inc. 1972

            Tax Statement, 1949

            Taxes, 1917-1920

            Toledo Pipe Threading Machine Co., 1950

            Trident, 1963-1967

            Truck Drivers Union #251, 1951-1972

            Vaule Company, 1955

            Wahnquist, 1967-1969

            Wall, A.T. Co, Inc., 1970-1971

            Washburn-Garfield Co, 1955-1972

            Washburn Wire Co., 1965

            Weather All, Inc., 1965




Box 3

            Allen, Elizabeth G. and William S. - Birth certificate and baptism record, 1907

            Allen, Helen Slater-Taxes, 1917-1940

            Allen History, 1960

            Allen, Philip-China and Glass Purchases, 1912-1946

            Allen, Philip-Heirs of Philip Allen Report, 1957

            Allen, Philip-Painting and Information, 1922-1968

            Allen, Philip-Patent, 1939

            Allen, Philip-William Slater Allen Correspondence, 1916-1959

            Allen, William Slater, Jr., 1942-1971

            Allen, Zachariah (1795-1882), 1956-1973

            Allen, Zachariah III, 1956-1974

            Antiques, 1920-1952 (?)

            Appraisal-North Main and Canal St., 1956

            Certificates, Stock, etc., 1928-1945

            Contantine, Spero, 1959-1972

            "A" and "B" Correspondence, 1947-1979

            "C" Correspondence, 1959-1971

            "D" Correspondence, 1964-1974

            "E" and "F" Correspondence, 1962-1976

            "G" and "H" Correspondence, 1933-1978

            Correspondence-Insurance, 1954-1977

            "J" and "K" Correspondence, 1948-1964

            "L" Correspondence, 1961-1978

            "M" Correspondence, 1975-1977

            "N" Correspondence, 1957-1975

            "P" Correspondence, 1955-1976

            "R" Correspondence, 1951-1976

            Rhode Island Hospital Trust Correspondence, 1952-1978

            "S" Correspondence, 1957-1977

            "T" Correspondence, 1960-1964

            Correspondence-Tropical Tool Co., 1947-1969

            "U" Correspondence, 1954

            "V" Correspondence, 1949

            "W" Correspondence, 1956-1979

            Cumberland Dispute


                        Deed Search of Old Worcester Steel Works, 1949

                        Fenner Plot, 1937

                        Henry Monroe Rogers, 1916-1937

                        Land Description, 1931

                        Title Guarantee Company, 1933-1936

            Cumberland Iron Trap Co., 1926  

            Diary of James McLaughlin, 1920 - Details of morphine abuse by wife.

            Diary/memorandum book of William S. Allen 1941

            Hope Club, 1961-1977

            Land Title and Trust Company-Pennsylvania, 1925

            Leases, 1928-1931

            Loan and Mortgage Payments-Personal, 1940-1966

            Partition Suit, 1957

            Roger William's Well, 1923-1947

            67 George St., 1928-1955

            Slater Mill and Slaters, 1910-1977 

            Thayer St. House and Edward Dexter House (75 Waterman St.), 1975

            12 Benevolent St.-Repairs and Restoration, 1952-1976

            12 Benevolent St.-Tax Problems, 1961-1977

            Warren, George (Radio and accident on Souris), 1949

            Yale Club and University, 1959-1977



            Series I: Business

                        Financial Records, 1902-1907

                        Minutes, 1902-1906

                        Stock Register, 1902-1905

            Series II: Personal

                        Cumberland Dispute, 1949-1950

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Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence) (1907-1985)

Allen, Helen S. (Reed) (1872-1952)

Allen, Philip (1869-1951)

Allen, William Slater (1904-1991)

Allen, William Slater, Jr.

Allen, Zachariah

Business records - Rhode Island - Providence

Diaries - 1920

Drug abuse - Rhode Island - Cumberland

Historic preservation - Rhode island - Providence

Industrial equipment industry - Rhode Island

McLaughlin, James (1859-1930)

Plumbing equipment industry - Rhode Island

Reed, W. Gordon (d.1947)

Tropical Tool Company

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