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"Hill Machine Works" Advertisement

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The Hill Machine Works of Florence, Massachusetts, were part of a complex of factories and companies founded in Northampton and Florence by Samuel Lapham Hill. Samuel L. Hill was born in Rhode Island in 1806 and was raised a Quaker. After early success in industry, in the late 1830s he became interested in the idea of creating a cooperative community. In 1841 he came to Florence, where he became the spiritual and financial leader of the Northampton Association. This unusual group sought to create an egalitarian society of equal ownership and equal work. Although this experimental, utopian community only lasted a few years, it attracted a number of prominent reformers of the era including Sojourner Truth and William Lloyd Garrison. After its collapse, Hill went on to found a number of companies in the area. He retired in the 1860s and became a philanthropist, endowing a number of local institutions including the Hill Institute, an educational facility that still exists. Samuel Hill's son Arthur, took over his companies and owned the Hill Machine Works. However, the deep Depression of the 1890s hit manufacturing hard and the company folded in 1893. The Norwood Engineering Company took over its site and for many years manufactured fire hydrants there.


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