Updated: Jul 18, 2022
Welcome to January’s edition of History & Heritage. Our purpose is to acquaint you with our mission to preserve the town’s rich history, highlight the legacy of those who have gone before and show how our past has shaped our present. We are a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status.
We are located in the Summer Street School building while renovations are being made before we move to our new permanent home at 421 Summer Street. It took a community along with friends and alumni to make this dream a reality. We encourage your support in making this historic home a wonderful place for exhibiting, preserving and collecting St. Johnsbury’s history. To date, we have a new floor in the barn, wiring for the fire alarm is complete and work is coming on the back room along with drawings for cabinets to hold the exhibits on display. Check out our web site at www.stjhistory.org and our Facebook page. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 223, St. Johnsbury, Vt., 05819 and phone number is 802 – 424 – 1090.
When tangible objects from history appear for sale, it is best to have a bottomless wallet or look the other way! Drooling is about all of us can do at History & Heritage as all resources must go into our new home. There was however an interesting piece that was auctioned several months ago that I think is worth sharing. It was a framed listing of the “Regulations” for working at the E. & T. Fairbanks & Co. in 1854. This date reflects about twenty-five years of scale making on the Sleepers River. In the infancy of scale making in the 1830’s, stoves and plows were still being made but scales would soon dominate. In 1850 there were approximately 225 being employed by the scale business. By this time there were multiple buildings including a pattern shop, blacksmith, foundries, paint, finishing, coal sheds, etc. The other thing to remember is that the railroad made it to St. Johnsbury late in 1850 overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to the company, that of transportation. To complete this picture of the time period of these rules are two other facts: population of St. Johnsbury was approximately 2700 and in 1850 an annual product worth of $161,000 at the company.
As best as my computer skills will allow, this is a list of the regulations, (spellings too):
It is expected that every man in our employ will work during the hours adopted by us for labor, and will consider that any time taken to himself for the entertainment of others will be at his own expense, unless by direction of the foreman.
Tardiness or absence from the shop, unless by direction of the foreman, will be considered lost time.
No man shall leave the shop during working hours, unless the work upon which he may be engaged requires it, without first giving notice to the foreman.
It is expected that every man will attend closely to his own work, and not interrupt other workmen in the shop, unless it is in presenting their assistance when his work shall require the help of others.
Workmen will be in the shop and commence work within five minutes of the ringing of the bell for work.
Washing up at noon and night will take place after the ringing of the bell.
Lathes, engines, planing-machines, and all other tools to be well cleaned and wiped down after using.
No new tool will be made or finished without the consent of the foreman.
Workmen wanting new files are requested to return the worn out one before they call for a new one.
All orders given at the Forge Shop for the sharpening or alteration of tools, for new tools, and for irons for the doing of work, to be given by the foreman.
Workmen from other rooms shall not be allowed in this room during work hours, except on business, nor to enter or leave the shops through the windows.
Strangers will not be permitted in the shops without leave given at the Counting-Room.
Pedlers, Book or Periodical Agents not allowed in the shops during work hours.
Smoking is strictly forbidden in or about the buildings.
Workmen will not be permitted in the buildings on the Sabbath.
Workmen on piece-work are expected to observe the foregoing Regulations.
E & T. Fairbanks & Co. – St. Johnsbury, August 1, 1854
The no leaving of the shops through the windows intrigues me! It is just a little insight into the plant in the horse and buggy days.