When you first come up to the building that Get Back Inc. calls home, you might be confused and think you have traveled back to America’s Industrial heyday. That is because Get Back Inc. is located in one of the great New England mill building complexes; a sprawling industrial era landmark on Main Street on the Oakville-Waterbury line. Altogether the former factory buildings cover 52 acres with more than 280,000 square feet. With its high ceilings, exposed bricks, tall windows, wood floors, and exposed beams, it is easy to see why a vintage industrial furniture manufacturer would love this space. People appreciate its historic look and the past behind this building fosters curiosity.
The original building was built in 1729 by James Williams as a Grismill before it eventually became home to the Oakville Pin Company. The oldest section of the building still in existence today was built in 1846 while other parts started constructed in the late 1800’s and were completed in the year 1902.
In that era, Oakville Pin Company was well known to hire thousands of individuals within the area. According to some history books, a majority of the employees were women and they often brought their work to the comfort of their homes. Since there were no machines or devices to attach safety pins to the cards, the whole family helped to manually fasten each pin to the cards.
The success of the pin business eventually led the Oakville Pin Company to be acquired as a part of Scovill Manufacturing Company. Scovill Manufacturing was known as largest brass manufacturing companies based in Waterbury. For many years, it was the largest manufacturer of brass in the country. While Waterbury was the heart of Brass manufacturing, all pins were made in Oakville. Scovill Manufacturing Company stayed in Waterbury for several decades until it left in the mid-70’s abandoning the entire building complex.
The building was left empty for several years until Maurice Fabiani Sr. bought it in 1978. They renamed the complex the Old Pin Shop Factory and partitioned the building into several areas so shops and other small businesses could start to thrive. The beginning of restoring the Old Pin Shop Factory as a business community wasn’t easy at all. Many windows were broken and rooms were not fully restored, so it didn’t attract tenants, but Mr. Fabiani didn’t stop. He used his knowledge and skills as a developer and builder to improve the whole building. Together with his son, they started to clean and renovate one room after the other and soon the first tenant, John Jaran, leased an area for his small plastic wrap business. From then on, The Old Pin Shop Factory was gradually renovated yet its historical appeal didn’t change throughout the years.
- Litchfield County Times, ”Old Pin Shop has Plenty Going On” June 2011
- The Lampworks
- Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, UCONN
- Mocavo: “History of Ancient Westbury and Present Watertown From Its Settlement to 1907”
- FundingUniverse: Scovill Fasteners Inc History
- Figure 1: Courtesy of http://www.panoramio.com/photo/47297919
- Figure 2: Courtesy of http://www.watertownhistoricalsociety.org/historic_images_oakville.htm
- Figure 3: Courtesy of http://www.freewebs.com/waterbury-ct/westside.htm
Share this on: