Worcester Historical Museum

Plant Closings
Between 1950 and 1992, many Worcester companies closed their doors, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. The number included old mainstays of the local economy like American Steel & Wire, Crompton & Knowles, the Royal Worcester Corset Company, Heywood Boot & Shoe, Pullman Standard (formerly Osgood Bradley Car Company), Reed & Prince, and Heald Machine. As ex-metal worker and union president Eli Mitchell commented ruefully in 1985, "It's a devastating thing to find out you're going to be shut down."

Loss of Select Manufacturing Firms, 1950-1992
Year
Closes or Moves
Product
1950
Royal Worcester Corset Co.
Whittall Carpet Company
corsets
carpets
1953
Heywood Boot & Shoe
men's shoes
1955
Bell Company
woolens & worsteds
1958
Reed-Prentice Corporation
American Steel & Wire
machine tools
steel
1960
Pullman Standard
railroad passenger cars
1962
Graton & Knight
industrial belting
1969
Worcester Stamped Metals
metal machine parts
1971
American Steel & Wire
wire
1973
Harrington & Richardson
firearms
1974
U.S. Envelope
envelopes
1977
American Steel & Wire
electrical cable
1978
Worcester Molded Plastics
plastic household goods
1980
Crompton & Knowles
looms
1983
Curtis & Marble
textile machines
1984
Rexnord (Baldwin Chain)
industrial chainbelts
1986
Johnson Steel & Wire
wire
1987
Reed & Prince
screws and fasteners
1991
Coes Knife
industrial knife blades
1992
Heald Machine
grinding machines

 

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