Thursday, March 14, 2013

Olmstead - Quaboag Corset Company

West Brookfield had a corset industry from the early 1860's until the early 1920's.  The Olmstead-Quaboag Corset Company operated for over 25 years (1894 - 1922) at the end of Pleasant St. The modern three story factory was well lit, with 135 windows, and for night work, dozens of oil lamps, suspended from the ceiling.  Electric lighting was installed in 1903 improving working conditions by eliminating the heat from the oil lamps.  The factory, powered at first by steam, was capable of producing 200 corsets per day, and employed 250 workers.  During World War I, the factory experienced difficulty in finding workers for the West Brookfield factory, and that was the reason cited for its closure in 1922.

Google Books has digitized the Corset and Underwear Review, Vol. 18 published in Oct. of 1921. .  Originally published by Haire Publishing Company, 1921, this publication features advertisements and industry news.  Pages 19 contains  a Silver Seal, which a letter on the following page explains was "the mark of a quality, not necessarily a brand," associated wih the Olmstead- Quaboag Corset Company of West Brookfield.  Melodye Shore posted these on her Blog, JOYFUL NOISE.  Photos of the factory, as it appears today are also on the blog.

Source: A History of West Brookfield, 1675 -1990; by Jeffrey H. Fiske; West Brookfield Historical Commission, 2009; pp.91-97

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