The card above is an example of
a postally unused Private Mailing Card,
These cards were produced from 1898 to 1901.
- Jacksonville to Providence for further
information on this type of card.
GORHAM MANUFACTURING COMPANY
During the 19th century; the
precious metals industry in Providence, Rhode Island began a period of
exceptional growth. One of the early pioneers in the jewelry and
precious metals field was Jabez Gorham who founded the
company in 1818. The business originally operated out of a one room
shop, but by 1863 when the company was incorporated; it had become a
large complex of workshops forges and furnaces.
Many other smaller jewelry and
silverware firms flourished in the area and Providence became known as
the world's leading costume jewelry manufacturing center. In recent
years most of these businesses have moved their operations south or
overseas and the industry is very much reduced.
Gorham began manufacturing works
in silver in 1831 and by the 1860s under the leadership of his son
John; the company enjoyed a world-wide reputation for the
excellence of it's gold and silver work. By 1885, the company had
separate departments to manufacture statuary and memorial works in
silver, gold, brass, bronze, stone and wood. Over twenty different
trades were carried on within the Gorham Complex located
on North Main Street.
At one time the complex even had
its own railroad station. A recreation hall and dining facility was
added to the structure in 1895 for the company's workers. Gorham was
the only large Providence firm at the turn of the century that engaged
in welfare work among its workers.
The Gorham complex,
that is depicted on the postcard was completed in 1890
at 333 Adelaide Street and was a brick 3 story structure
with segmental-arch windows and flat roofs. The structure included one
of the largest precious metals foundries in the world. Manufacturing
processes continued at the property until 1985 when the
company relocated to Smithfield, Rhode Island. Most of
the buildings and structures on the property were demolished in
1995 by the City of Providence. The Adelaide
Street property was named as a "Super Fund" site during
the mid 90s and a massive clean-up of toxic waste was begun. These
efforts are still in progress.
was taken over by Textron Incorporated in 1967 and in
1991 by Brown-Foreman,
(Jack Daniels Whiskey).
In April, 2002, Brown-Foreman closed down the
Smithfield Plant and moved machinery and operations to their
Pomona, New Jersey Factory (Lenox
Division) bringing an end to the
era and writing the closing chapter on Silversmithing in
Jabez Gorham was
born on February 18, 1792 on Benefit Street in Providence, Rhode
Island. He married Amey Thurber on December 4, 1816 in
Providence. Jabez died on March, 24, 1869.
John Gorham, the
son of Jabez and Amey, entered the business in 1841
(Gorham & Son).
John introduced modern factory production methods to the firm and it
was under John's management that the company grew into one of the
largest firms of its kind in the world.
grace many famous establishments. The White House under
both the Lincoln and Grant administrations
used tea and flatware manufactured by the company. The flatware used
on Air Force One under the Bush administration is
Gorham's Chantilly. In Rhode Island; the Stature of the
Independent Man, which stands atop the State House
is one of Gorham's best known works. Gorham also produced the famous
monument of George Washington which stands in the
Rhode Island - An
Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites - Dept. of the