A Walking Tour of Meriden, Connecticut
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
What is today the city of Meriden was in 1661 the beginnings of Jonathan Gilbert’s farm when he was granted 350 acres. Gilbert, a resident of Hartford, had been born on Meriden Farm in the English County of Surrey. It would not be until 1806 that the town would be incorporated, by which time the callow sprouts of industry had appeared in the form of pewter goods, especially buttons.
One of those pewter shops was established in 1808 by 24-year old Ashbil Griswold. Under Griswold’s leadership, Meriden soon became a leading center in the production of Britanniaware, pewter, and silverware. Because of its more durable qualities, Britannia had replaced pewter in most American homes by the 1850s and in 1852 many of the small shops banded together to organize the Meriden Britannia Company.