For generations the Waterbury family has been continuously identified with the rope manufacturing industry^ now conducted under the name of Waterbury Company. Noah Waterbury, the great-grandfather of the present generation, began it in 1816, in what was then a remote suburb of Brooklyn, but is now in the heart of that borough. In 1840 Noah Waterbury turned the business over to his son, Lawrence Waterbury, who in 1844 became associated with William Marshall as L. Waterbury & Company. The factory was located on Ten Eyck Street, Brooklyn, and later on the big factory was built on that site. In 1893 the National Cordage Company absorbed the interest of L. Waterbury & Company in conjunction with thirteen other mills, ten of which were acquired by lease during the latter part of 1899 or the early part of 1900. After the dissolution of the National Cordage Company, James M. Waterbury operated the Waterbury plant under the name of the Waterbury Rope Company, later securing possession of the Tucker & Carter Mill.
In 1904 Waterbury Company was incorporated, with offices at 69 South Street, later at 80 South Street, until July, 1915, when the general office was removed to a suite of rooms in the Pulitzer Building, 63 Park Row. The company is still operating as Waterbury Company, incor-porated under the laws of New Jersey, manufacturing hard fibre goods, i.e., manila and sisal rope and cordage, binder twine, wire rope, both standard and special construction, marline-covered wire rope known as "Fibreclad," "Gore Patent," "Armored Wire Rope," and music wire.
The company's plant occupies a large area in Brooklyn Borough, bounded by Flushing and Myrtle Avenues, Classon Avenue, and Taffe Place, and is modern in every respect.
The officers of the company are James M. Waterbury, Sr., chairman of the Executive Board; James M. Waterbury, Jr., president; and J. C. Waterbury, secretary and treasurer. Branches are maintained in San Francisco, at 151 Main Street; in Chicago, at 1315 West Congress Street; New Orleans, 1018 Maison Blanche Building; and the company also maintains an extensive stock in warehouse at Houston, Texas, controlled through their local agents, the A. T. Powell Company, Dallas, Texas. Among the specialties of the company is "Fibreclad" rope, which is a marline-covered wire rope used exten-sively for marine purposes. The Federal Government was a very large purchaser of this type of rope, not only in connection with the torpedo department of the Coast Artillery branch of the Government, but other branches as well, also for ship use. Each strand of this rope is served with the best grade of tarred Russian hemp marline. This fibre covering prevents the chafing and wear of the wire strands during flexing movements, and after being in service a short time this fibre covering packs into the interstices of the strands, resulting in a rope having a smooth cylindrical surface. This tarred marline covering also protects the wire strands of the rope from moisture or water, eliminating the possibility of rust and also preventing foreign matter, such as coal or cement, dust, gases and fumes, etc., from working through to the wire strands. Unlike manila rope, "Fi-breclad" is unaffected by changes in atmospheric conditions, will not stretch in dry weather nor contract in wet weather, will not swell and jam the blocks. It has far greater strength than manila rope, "Fibreclad" being about one-third the diameter of manila rope of the same strength, permitting the use of smaller blocks, reducing expense, and improving appearance. It weighs fifty per cent less than manila of the same strength; will coil down as readily as manila rope; will not rust or rot out in service; will outwear either bare wire or manila rope under all working conditions; is less cumbersome and is more easily handled than wire rope of standard con-struction; is made in all grades of iron steel; and because it wears longer is lower in ultimate cost than either plain wire or manila rope. "Fibreclad" is unaffected by changes in atmospheric conditions, will not stretch in dry weather nor contract in wet weather, will not swell and jam the blocks. It has far greater strength than manila rope, "Fibreclad" being about one-third the diameter of manila rope of the same strength, permitting the use of smaller blocks, reducing expense, and improving appearance. It weighs fifty per cent less than manila of the same strength; will coil down as readily as manila rope; will not rust or rot out in service; will outwear either bare wire or manila rope under all working conditions; is less cumbersome and is more easily handled than wire rope of standard construction; is made in all grades of iron steel; and because it wears longer is lower in ultimate cost than either plain wire or manila rope.
" Its superiority has been proved in many years of serv-ice, for cargo falls, boom lifts, topping lifts, boat falls, whips, pennants, breast lines, tiller ropes, anchor ropes, hawsers, vangs, slings, towing lines, guys and rigging in general, coal breakers, coal- washing machinery, pile drivers, oyster dredges, crane falls on wrecking cars, hoisting and power transmission. It is used extensively by the United States Government, shipbuilders, power plants and stevedoring, towing, and transportation com-panies.
Another important specialty is Waterbury Armored Rope (Gore Patent), which embodies the most radical and important improvement in wire rope construction in many years. Each strand is wound with flat steel wire, having convex edges, thus forming a protective armor, which relieves the tensile strength of wires of all abrasive wear and retains intact the strength of the rope until after these flat wires have been worn completely through. The life of this rope ranges from 50 to 150 per cent, according to conditions, longer than the standard wire rope of the same diameter. It is especially useful for heavy work in hoisting, haulage, lugging, dredging, shovel work, pile drivers, and many other kinds of heavy work, and especially in river and harbor work, swamp lands, reclamation, excavating, and the like.
In standard wire ropes the Waterbury Company makes many types of iron or steel wire rope, not galvanized, iron or steel wire rope, made galvanized, besides the specialties before mentioned, and a very prominent feature is made of Waterbury green strand giant plow steel wire rope, a rope made of improved plow steel, the toughest and strongest material ever produced. Among the various uses of wire rope as made by the Waterbury Company are ropes intended for ele-vators, mining ropes, coal-hoisting ropes, ore hoists, conveyors, excavators, derricks, cranes, stump pullers, steam shovels, casing lines, dredges, logging ropes, towing hawsers, mooring lines, tiller ropes, ship rigging ropes, power transmission, non-spinning rope (ail coils), pile driving, ballast unloading ropes, tubing lines, haulage ropes (underground and surface), armored rope for dredge and heavy service, quarry ropes, sawmill carriage rope, and hand rope for elevators, steering cable, drilling cables, pumping lines, sand lines, special rope to order; also music wire, white label grade for springs, red label for cutting wires, blue for musical instruments, and green label, a mild-tempered wire.
In fibre rope, the Waterbury Company products include, in manila ropes, Waterbury Brand, first quality; Rex Brand, second quality B. Grade, mixed Manila, Bolt Rope, Rope-Hawser Laid, Drilling Cable, Drilling Cable-Bolt Yarns. Sand Lines, Bull Ropes, Towing Lines, Hoisting Rope. Transmission Rope, Lariat Rope, Tallow Laid Rope, Hay, Hide and Bale Rope, and Lariat Rope. In Sisal ropes the products are Waterbury Brand, pure; Commercial Brand, mixed stock, Hay, Hide and Bale Rope, Lariat Rope, Lath Yarn, Fodder Yarn, Binder Twine. The company is among the largest manufacturers of Drilling Cables (both fibre and wire) for oil and water wells.
The present chairman of the Board, James M. Waterbury, Sr., has been for years prominent in business, society, and sports. The first of his family in America, one John Waterbury, came from England in 1633 and settled at Watertown, Massachusetts. John Waterbury died in 1658, leaving descendants who became leaders in Colonial affairs. One member of the family, General Waterbury, served with distinction in the Revolution and was a member of Washington's staff. A descendant of General Waterbury, Lawrence Waterbury, was one of the foremost merchants of his day in New York, and with his brother, James M. Waterbury, founded in 1844 the New York Yacht Club.
James M. Waterbury, the only son of Lawrence and Caroline Antoinette Waterbury, was born in New York City and educated at Columbia University, from which he was graduated in the class of 1873. On leaving college he entered his father's office, soon becoming a member of the firm, and upon his father's death became head of the company. He has long been a prominent figure in the club world, and is member of the Union, Knickerbocker, New York Yacht Club, and the Country Club of Westchester.
His two sons are at present connected with the company, James M. Waterbury, Jr., being president, and J. C. Waterbury, secretary and treasurer, both college men and at present active in the business, having studied and worked in the mill and profited by the experience of their predecessors.