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

 Taft-Peirce Manufacturing Company Records

 Machine tool manufacturers, Woonsocket, R.I.

 Records, 1895-1982

 Size: 5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 867

 Processed by: Harold Kemble, August 1985

 Revised by Rick Stattler, May 1998

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The Taft-Peirce Manufacturing Company prospered for over a hundred years as a completely integrated engineering, tooling and manufacturing institution in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1875 as the Hautin Sewing Machine Company and became the Wardwell Sewing Machine Company in 1886 under the ownership of Samuel W. Wardwell. Wardwell continued the business of manufacturing industrial sewing machines, and with the supervision of his plant foreman Edwin J. Peirce expanded into the area of contract manufacturing of machines. In partnership with Daniel W. Taft, Peirce bought the assets of the company in 1895, at which time the present corporate name was adopted. In its early years, Taft-Peirce manufactured sewing machines, typewriters and the elements of a punched card cost system. In 1903, the company went into receivership, and was taken over by a syndicate in 1905. The syndicate, led by appointed receiver Frederick Steele Blackall, has retained ownership of the firm through recent times. As late as 1982, F. Steele Blackall III was the company's president.


Blackall, F. Steele Jr. "A History of the Taft-Peirce Manufacturing Company and its Predecessor Corporations...From April 2 1875 to the Close of World War II"

Hall, Joseph Jr., ed. Biographical History of the Manufacturers and Businessmen of Rhode Island... (Providence: J.D. Hall, 1901), 76-77.

Return to top

Scope and content:

            The bulk of the records of Taft-Peirce remain in the hands of the company. The collection donated to the library consists of catalogues, memorabilia, and other information accumulated by F.S. Blackall Jr. and F.S. Blackall III while writing and updating the corporate history.

Return to top


            This collection arrived in several gifts from Frederick Steele Blackall III from 1982 to 1998. The bulk arrived in 1985.

Return to top

Return to top


Box 1, folder 1. Sales prospectus for Woonsocket plant, undated

Box 1, folder 2. Planning guide, 1982-1987

Box 1, folder 3. Annual report, 1981

Box 1, folder 4. Annual report, 1980

Box 1, folder 5. Annual report, 1979

Box 1, folder 6. Annual report, 1978

Box 1, folder 7. Annual report, 1977

Box 1, folder 8. Annual report, 1976

Box 1, folder 9. Annual report, 1975

Box 1, folder 10. Annual report, 1974

Box 1, folder 11. Annual report, 1973

Box 1, folder 12. Annual report, 1972

Box 1, folder 13. Annual report, 1971

Box 1, folder 14. Annual report, 1970

Box 1, folder 15. Annual report, 1969

Box 1, folder 16. Annual report, 1968

Box 1, folder 17. Annual report, 1967

Box 1, folder 18. Annual report, 1966

Box 1, folder 19. Annual report, 1965

Box 1, folder 20. Annual report, 1964

Box 1, folder 21. Annual report, 1963

Box 1, folder 22. Annual report, 1982

Box 1, folder 23. "A Report on Continuance of Operation", by Frederick Steele Blackall Jr.,m 6/25/1925, with supplement, inventory and related correspondence.

Box 1, folder 24. Contents of unlabeled ring binder, dating between 1935 and 1961.

Box 2. "Catalog Files":        Dicing, gaging, machine tools


Box 3. "Catalog Files":        Magnetic chucks, manufacturing facilities, microstoning equipment, production and inspection equipment


Box 4. "Taft-Peirce History File", "A" through "O".

            Subject files, arranged in alphabetical order, circa 1895-1969.

            Director's minutes, 1954-1981 (5 folders, accn. #1995.127)

            Product literature (accn. #1995.127)

Box 5. "Taft-Peirce History File", "P" through "W".

            Subject files, arranged in alphabetical order, circa 1895-1969.


Box 6. Publications and company history

            Wardwell Sewing Machine Company payroll books, 1886-1893 (accn. #1982.133.1-2)

            Time and payroll book, 1907 (#1982.133.3)

Box 7. Publications and company history

            Annual report, 1957

Box 8. Annual reports, 1958, 1959 (accn. #1998.18)

Return to top


Blackall, Frederick Steele

Hautin Sewing Machine Company

Machine tool industry - Rhode Island - Woonsocket

Sewing-machine industry - Rhode Island - Woonsocket

Wardwell Sewing Machine Company

Woonsocket, R.I. - Business records

End of finding aid - return to top