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British Industrial History

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Collins Brothers (USA)

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'COLLINS BROTHERS, Manufacturers of Cotton and Woolen Twisters, Cotton and Woolen Spinning Frames, Patent Stop Motion Drum Doubling Machines, Patent Filling Winding Frames; also Drum Winders to wind from skeins, North Main Street. -- This house was founded twenty-seven years ago by Messrs. W. W. and J. W. Collins, under the firm-name of Collins Brothers. In 1885 it became Collins & Son, J. W. Collins retiring, and Mr. W. W. Collins admitting to partnership his son, Mr. Henry Collins. Later on in the same year Mr. W. W. Collins retired, Mr. J. W. Collins re-entering the firm, and the trade title of Collins Brothers was resumed. The works are comprised in a four-story building, 38 x 200 feet in dimensions, and fully equipped with a 40-horse power engine, planers, lathes, drills, and all requisite mechanical appliances. Sixty hands are given employment, and the firm manufacture a general line of cotton and woolen twisters, cotton and woolen spinning frames, patent stop motion drum doubling machines, patent filling winding frames; also, drum winders to wind from skeins. All the products of the house are of the most durable and servable character. Special attention is paid to repairing, work being executed in a first-class manner at reasonable charges. The trade extends to all parts of the United States. The Messrs. Collins are natives of England, but have resided in the United States since 1859 and are practical machinists of thorough skill and experience.'[1]

Biographies of the family members in the business[2]:-

William Wright Collins 'was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, England, Oct. 19, 1824, and died at Pawtucket, Feb. 14, 1895. His maternal grand-uncle, William Wright, was one of the first cotton manufacturers in Lancashire. His wife's family, the Hibberts, is one of the oldest in Lancashire, and one of its members, Sir John Hibbert, is a member of Parliament. Mr. Collins came to America in 1859, and in company with his brother, Joseph Wright Collins, started in 1864 a machine shop from which the present large business of his sons, the Collins Bros., was developed. He was married in 1844 to Selina Hibbert, who was born Nov. 24, 1824, and died Aug. 4, 1878. They had five children: Sarah Ann, Henry, Louisa, Esther, and Joseph Wright. Mr. Collins was a member of the Pawtucket city council for two years.'

Henry Collins 'was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, March 9, 1847, and received his education in private schools in his native city and also in the Pawtucket public schools. He served a three years' apprenticeship with Fales & Jenks, after which he went to work for his father and was admitted to a partnership in 1882. He is a Republican, attends the Congregational church, and belongs to Jenks Lodge, No. 24, A. F. and A. M., Central Falls; Good Samaritan Lodge, No. 8, I. O. O. F.; Pawtucket Royal Arch Chapter; and Holy Sepulchre Commandery, Knights Templars. He was married Nov. 25, 1868, at Lonsdale, to Elizabeth Hollingworth, of Ashton-under-Lyne. They have four children all born in Pawtucket: Charles Everett, b. Sep. 22, 1869; Elijah William, b. April 16, 1873; Alice Selina, b. June 24, 1877; William Wright, b. May 26, 1880.'

Joseph Wright Collins 'was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, March 24, 1856. He attended the public schools of Pawtucket until he was thirteen years old, when he went to work in his father's shop, and in 1884 became a member of the present firm of Collins Bros. He is a Republican in politics and is a member of the Jenks Lodge, No. 24, A. F. and A. M., Central Falls; Good Samaritan Lodge, No. 8, I. O. O. F.; Pawtucket Royal Arch Chapter; and Holy Sepulchre Commandery, Knights Templars. He was married Oct. 17, 1883, to Eva E. Buffum of Millbury, Mass., and they have three children: Harry Wright, b. July 13, 1884; Benjamin Fletcher, b. Feb. 24, 1886; and Elizabeth Selina, b. Sept. 19, 1888.'


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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'Industries and Wealth of the Principal Points in Rhode Island, being the city of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket, Newport, Narragansett Pier, Bristol & Westerly.' New York: A. F. Parsons Publishing Co., 1892: Extracts transcribed by Beth Hurd, 2001, for Rhode Island USGenWeb Project
  2. [2] 'Illustrated History of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Vicinity: Biographies of Prominent Citizens' by Robert Grieve, 1897. Extracts transcribed by Beth Hurd, 2001, for Rhode Island USGenWeb Project