Notes on the Rivett factory



In 1884, Edward Rivett and C. A. W. Crosby founded the Faneuil Watch Tool Co.; according to Rivett's obituary "the first 'factory' was a wooden extension of his own home, at 472 (or 474?) Washington Street. The former number is listed as Rivett's business location in 1880. Early FWTCo. ads list the factory address as "Faneuil Station", with the office at 474 Washington. Later (sometime between 1893 and 1897, from ads in "The Keystone"), the mention of a separate office is dropped. Interestingly, in an 1880 Boston directory, Edward Rivett is listed as "watchmaker, 472 Washington Street., boards 7 Staniford Pl." The 1988 Universal Atlas of Metropolitan Boston does not show a Staniford Place, but Staniford Street is right downtown, only a short (5 or 6 blocks) walk from the nearest end of Washington Street.

By 1892 [ad in January issue of "The Keystone"] FWTCo. has begun building its permanent factory. The floor area is given as 9775 sq. ft., and as there are three floors, the ground "footprint" may be about 32 ft x 100 ft. The ad has a woodcut showing a horse-drawn wagon at the central door, no railway.

E. Rivett's home address in various Boston directories for the period between 1892 and 1905 is listed as "1 Crosby Street, Faneuil" -- did C. A. W. Crosby act as "developer" and create a subdivision? The 1988 Universal Atlas for Metropolitan Boston does not show a Crosby Street; there is a Crosby Place, but it is in Roxbury, off Hampden Street.
The Rivett factory in 1892
In 1908, the company, now know as Rivett Lathe Mfg. Co., announced that it had completed a new addition to its factory, which doubled their capacity. The original block built in 1892 now has been extended to the left, with the extension roughly double the width and perhaps 2/3 the length of the original building. There is also a double-width, but much shorter, extension on the right, with a rather cute bay window -- the office? For the first time, the B. & A. Railway is shown, but the delivery wagons are still horse-drawn.

The Rivett factory in 1911

Later (1910) ER's home address is given as 20 Riverview Road. At that time, the factory's street address is given as 1 Brooks Street, Brighton District. Riverview and Brooks intersect at their west and north ends, respectively; it would be interesting to know how close together those two addresses were. No wonder ER was "the first one there in the morning and the last one at night" ("Keystone" ad in 1908)

The Rivett factory in 1911
Stone's 1930 book "Massachusetts Industries" states: "In 1915 a substantial addition to the plant was completed. A further addition to the plant doubling its previous capacity was completed in 1920."

The Rivett factory in 1918

The buildings in the old Rivett location were demolished "when the Turnpike Authority decided to route its Mass. Turnpike extension from Route 128 into Boston along the Boston and Albany Railroad right of way". [A. Hunt, 1993] Four acres was purchased nearby, and a new facility constructed which was "a modern oneóstory plant with generous parking area which didnít exist before. The new plant had some 60,000 sq. ft. of factory floor and 20,000 sq. ft. for office and engineering. The new plant was without elevators, had undercover receiving and shipping, overhead cranes to all machines arranged for flow from raw material through production to finish storage and assembly. It was modern and efficient." [Hunt] Operations began at the new plant in 1961.
The Rivett factory in 1966