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A Little HVAC History

brucewo1b Member Posts: 638
any chance of a pic looking down the business end of that burner??


  • Gene_3
    Gene_3 Member Posts: 289

    A while back a student bought me a pristine Branford Burner.

    I will attach the photos.

    I knew it was made by the MIF company in Branford Ct, but mot much else. Well I found some interesting things that I think may surprise some Wallies and Dan, and if any of these names sound familiar fill in the blanks please.

    Branford,CT, essentially an agricultural and shipping community until the mid to late 1800’s, was transformed forever with the coming of the industrial age.

    Malleable Iron Fittings Company (MIF), the Stony creek quarries, the Branford Lock Shop, Atlantic Wire Company, and a little later the Nutmeg Crucible Steel Company, were among the industries founded here in the 1800s, bringing about not only growth in the towns population, but a shift in its ethnic population, that until then had been almost exclusively English.

    Elizur Rogers and Benjamin H. Hoadley founded the Totoket Company (the forerunner of the MIF) on oct.2, 1854 at Page’s Point on the Branford River, the former site of a ship building industry. The founders were descendants of two of the earliest families to be engaged in other than agriculture or commerce. They reportedly produced a fine grade of malleable iron when they sold out.

    Ten years later, in 1864, the Totoket company was purchased by a group of men; James J. Walworth, Joseph Nason, and Emil and Thorvald F. Hammer, all of Boston. The name of the incorporation was changed to Malleable Iron Fittings.

    Each of the four MIF founders had his own special talents. Walworth and Nason, who were brother-in-laws, were among the pioneers in the steam heating business in the U.S. they were the first in the country to heat buildings with steam. The Hammers, Emil and Thorvald had keen management skills; Emil was considered an able policy maker and administrator; Thorvald was an inventor whose inventions enabled the production of the entire finished pipe fitting at the plant. Before that it was necessary to send the fitting to Boston to be threaded and finished.

    The company operated its own chemical control and research laboratory, the first of its kind in the country, started in 1875 by Alfred Hammer, son of founder Thorvald.

    Another Hammer, Forrester L. Hammer, grandson of th founder Thorvald, designed and developed the Branford Oil Burner in the 1930’s. The newly designed burner dispelled the public’s concern about oil burners (there had been numerous mishaps with other oil burners) and it became a standard product of the company. Burners for domestic, commercial and industrial heating were built at MIF.

    Products made by the company, in addition to pipe fittings and oil burners, included pole hardware, marine hardware, sewing machine parts, rails for subways, mortar shells, rocket warheads, ground missiles and numerous other metal parts. They sold to Bath Iron Works in Maine, Bethlehem Steel, and utility companies.

    When the Golden Gate Bridge was built across the San Francisco Bay in 1937, toggles on the vertical supporting cables were steel castings made at the MIF steel foundry.

    For more than a century MIF flourished. But as the company’s second century started so did its decline begin.

    Many factors contributed to the company’s downfall, not least of which was the decline in the use of iron as a piping material (iron fittings represented more than 50 percent of MIF’s business). Then too, the company was unable to compete with the low labor costs in Japan, which had begun in the 1950’s to flood the U.S. markets with its products.

    And so the decline had started when in 1968, the company was sold by the Hammers to the Canaan Corporation, which in turn sold it, in 1969 to Waltham Industries for $4.5 million dollars.

    In 1970 the company announced plans to layoff 375 employees and on Dec.23 that year, pink slips were given to the approximate 160 remaining workers, who were told the company was closing down all operations. The company continued to operate for a short time as a distribution center, but in 1971 it closed completely.

    The MIF property was sold at auction to the Walter E. Heller co. for $550,000 in 1971; and in 1973, BranPark Associates bought it for $1 million.

    Demolition of the company buildings, which had deteriorated substantially, was started in 1993 but was halted shortly after by the State Historical Commission, because it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and cannot be destroyed without state approval. The owners site safety concerns as a reason for their decision to raze the buildings.

    more at : http://www.branford-ct.gov/History/MIF.htm
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    I've never seen these

    Branfords in No. Va. Were they strictly regional?
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