Greenwoods Scythe Company

The Greenwoods name is strongly associated with textiles, not unnaturally, as that was the main company’s business. However, with sufficient water-power at hand, the company experimented with some diversification. The Scythe Company was set up in 1864. It was a public company, with its stock held by forty-seven people, most from New Hartford, but some from Hartford and New York City. The company made scythes and other edged blades. The Greenwoods name was attached because it drew its power from the Greenwood’s dam and also much of the company’s infrastructure and capital was connected to either Greenwoods or its shareholders.
The factory was located at the west end of the village, directly above the dam. The second-to-last house on the north side and the last house on the south side on Route 44 westbound were connected to the company, as offices, company houses or barns.
At first the factory prospered: despite being destroyed by fire in 1869, it was immediately rebuilt. However, by 1873 the company was in trouble and closed in that same year. It may have been a combination of factors. The largest factor was that the main Greenwoods company needed all the water-power and financial capital it could get; its refusal to subsidize the Scythe company was lethal. The recession almost certainly did not help the Scythe company, either, which would have reinforced Greenwoods’ decision to withdraw support. Scythes, of course, are agricultural implements. Following the Civil War, innumerable farmers abandoned the New England countryside for the Mid-west and the west. Hayfields were abandoned throughout the region, beginning to revert to forests, fewer hayfields meant fewer scythes. And so a short chapter closed.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Greenwoods Scythe Company

  1. Very nicely done and very informative. Thank You! Maria

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