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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Nortons
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Description
The Norton Company dates back to 1873 when the F.B. Norton Pottery Shop on Water Street made the first grinding wheel. Six years later the wheels were manufactured commercially. The Norton Emery Wheel Company was incorporated just after Frank Norton's death in 1885. By 1906, The Norton Company was considered Worcester's largest manufacturing company.
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The Norton Company dates back to 1873 when the F.B. Norton Pottery Shop on Water Street made the first grinding wheel. Six years later the wheels were manufactured commercially. The Norton Emery Wheel Company was incorporated just after Frank Norton's death in 1885. By 1906, The Norton Company was considered Worcester's largest manufacturing company.
Diane Mohieldin - Report this comment
The aerial photograph of Nortons looks similar to the way I remember it as a child (late 1960's). The postmark appears over the baseball fields where my father played pickup games from time to time. The ball fields were destroyed when I-190 was built. The locals refer to Norton Company (now Saint-Gobain Abrasives) as Nortons the same way people in Dearborn, Michigan refer to Ford Motor Company as "Fords". It is the possessive used in the way a person familiar with the original owners might use it.
Bruce Edward Hedquist - Report this comment
My Dad Eddie, his brother Wally and their Dad all worked for Norton Company, as it is presently known per The Thomas Register. My Dad was there from the '30's through the '70's, working mostly as a production foreman in their Diamond Wheel Department. He retired in the mid '70's, after a 2 year stint over in one of their new Japanese factories, working as a "manufacturing engineering consultant". Wally, if I recall had a B.Sc. degree in engineering from WPI and worked there in some kind of engineering and/or management capacity. My Grand Pa, with his prior pottery kiln experience, came over from Sweden around the turn of the century, with the clear intent of working at Nortons. He was immediately hired by "Old Man Jeppson", one of the early pioneers there on New Bond Street. Is there any one out there who remembers Eddie or Wally?
Chuck Hintlian - Report this comment
My mother worked at Norton's during WWII. They had some land near Indian Lake where the employees grew vegetables. They called them the Victory Gardens.
My father worked for Norton's in the 1930's. My father was a guard on the Norton sponsored Basketball team that won the State Championship in 1936-37.
Richard Card - Report this comment
I remember going to my dad's shop Heald Machinery right across the street from Norton's and asking what is that big shop there and dad would just say "Oh, thats Nortons." I also remember how to get there because we would go to dad's shop every friday and stop at the AW Root Beer stand down the street Dad - Large Mug, Mom The Ladies Mug and 6 baby mugs (free) for the kids.
christina paulson hogan - Report this comment
Most of my family members worked for Nortons in the early 1900's after arriving here from Sweden. My great-grandfather Ossian Paulson worked here somewhere from 1903-1940. He started as a machinist, became a head foreman and was an elevator operator prior to his death. His siblings, relatives from Sweden and his children and grandchildren even spent time at Nortons.
Bruce Hedquist - Report this comment
I came upon this Worcester/Nortons website quite by accident. The later aerial photo of the factory complex is quite interesting and certainly very nostalgic. Yes, I recently returned from Fresno, CA to Worcester in order to visit some friends. I drove the I-190 stretch along there with some sad feelings. I also had forgotten about my prior submission. Evidently at the time, I could not remember my paternal grandpa's name (Per) nor his wife's too (Elvira). They lived for many years on a street (name escapes me right now) that crossed Brooks Ave (the one that runs along the old ball field near the postmark). Their home was located a few miles northwest from the ball fields where I played LL baseball. I think their neighborhood was still considered to be in "Greendale". The main north-south B&M RR line (right name?) is located in the lower right corner with a big curving spur that runs across the center of the photo. The main street for Nortons is called New Bond Street. It runs almost horizontally along the far side of the group of large buidlings in the central area of the photo. Across this street is located the Healds Machine Company, who made abrasive grinding machines if I recall correctly. Nortons made primarily the abrasive wheels (and otjher porducts), many of which probably were used on Healds machines. Yes, eventually Nortons was bought out by Saint-Gobains of France. The other day I came across a Saint-Gobains facility in Granville, NY, home of my niece #3. Slate was the main commodity in Granville years ago. Perhaps that is why this company (and maybe Nortons too) had a plant there. Finally to the lady whose maiden name is Paulson, that name seems to ring a bell for me. My Dad may have known her Dad.
John Anderson - Report this comment
My mother, Marjorie (Nee:Spence) Anderson was born in Worcester in 1916. She has related stories of my grandfather, Robert James Spence and his brother John (Jack)Spence working at the Norton Company in the early twenties. My grandfather also taught at Worcester Boys Trade school and we have a Mission Table that was made for him in the 1920's. Mother's Uncle Jack (class of '03) and my uncle John Spence (class of '33)were WPI graduates. John Anderson, Tyler, Texas
Marion devine Conery - Report this comment
My aunt and uncle,Frank and Gladys Johnson,lived on West Boylston Drive outside the Norton gate. Uncle Frank worked at Nortons in the Spring Mill most of his life. I remember watching trains go by from the front yard. If I waved the engineer blew the whistle for me. Also I remember there was a pedestrain tunnel to get to street on the other side of the tracks.
Michael Smith- July 22, 2007 - Report this comment
I was wondering if anyone had any information about the old Norton sponsored baseball teams. I have a relative who worked for Nortons in the 40's and 50's and played for the company team. I'd love to see if anyone had any old pictures or stats from those games.
Dennis Foley- August 14, 2007 - Report this comment
I grew up on Poniken St. which was on Indian Hill. Nortons was right below us at the end of New Bond St. My mom worked there as the industrial nurse for years before going to work at Warner/Swasey. We used to hang out at Roosevelt Park where Teddy Roosevelt planted a tree there.
Brett Boucher- May 26, 2008 - Report this comment
Hi Dennis, Long time no see... I remember many a night at Roosevelt Park too... Hope you and the family are well... As for Norton's my dad and uncle worked there their whole lives... Probably why I didn't... I grew up living on New Bond street... The two stand out memories I have of Norton's was going there to see the freedom train in 76 and the Norton Spirit (the Indy car driven by Tom Sneva who crashed it in grand fashion that same year)...
Eric- June 23, 2008 - Report this comment
My Dad and Mom met while both working at the old Machine Tool Division on Brooks Street (now the movie theater site) and were married in 1965. Mom left to raise us and returned to Nortons as a clerk in Accounts Receivable in 1978 and has since retired. Pop remained with the Machine Tool Division even after it was sold and became Warner-Swasey and then, lastly, Pratt-Whitney. That last company ran the entire division into the ground and Pop, like many other good guys, took an early retirement. I remember visiting Pop at the shop and DO remember nurse Foley! I have about thirty years worth of the old "Spirits" given to me by a friend--really cool stuff! Even had my parents engagement and wedding picture in there as well as my Aunt and Uncle's!
Mats from Sweden- June 25, 2008 - Report this comment
I am from Sweden and I have many relatives in the USA - mainly in Minnesota but also in Massachusetts. My Dad´s aunt, Hilma Swanstrom and her husband, Alf Swanstrom, emigrated to the USA and lived on Neptune Rd in Paxton, MA. Alf Swanstrom worked for Norton & Co for many years in the 1940´s, 1950´s . Does anyone remember them ? Hilma´s sister, Anna Wahlén, Sweden visited them in 1953. They were very nice people. They had a son whose name was John-Eric Swanstrom who was a lawyer and lived in Worcester,MA. I am very interested in my family history and I think it would be so interesting to hear if anyone remembers Alf & Hilma Swanstrom and their son John-Eric Swanstrom.
Dennis Foley- August 27, 2008 - Report this comment
My family lived across from Norton company. My brother and his friends died in a horrific fire up on Indian Hill. There is a beautiful memorial set up behind the old Indian Hill School. Mom worked at both Norton Company and Warner & Swasey while we were growing up. I worked there as a janitor in my teens.
John Wagner- September 19, 2008 - Report this comment
I have some old photographs to share. My grandfather was Carl John Sundberg. Who was a first generation Swede. He was initially hired to work in the shipping department at the Norton Company in Worcester. C.J. Sundberg was eventually the director of east coast sales and retired to Florida in 1959.
Joe donovan- October 17, 2008 - Report this comment
My Grandfather Philip Inangelo worked there for many years and my Dad Joe Donovan Sr. also worked there.It was the place to work at one time.We lived in the Burncoat area.They had the best family outings when i was small,had there own beach which is now the ymca.They even had a formula one race car the Norton spirit.Times have changed
Dixie (Tucker) Lyons- July 14, 2009 - Report this comment
My Dad, Bernard Tucker, my Aunt Connie Taylor, Uncle Frank Taylor and Uncle Fred Learned all worked their entire lives for Nortons. We are all of Sweedish decent. My Aunt/Uncle Taylor lived on Poniken Road and I remember that horrific fire. Nortons was the expected place to work. My Father worked in diamond wheels in Plant 8. He always spoke highly of Nortons and what a good company it was. Does anyone remember how many people worked there, or the actual size of Nortons? Thanks
Sandi- July 19, 2009 - Report this comment
My step-father, John Brewer was foreman of the electrical dept. for many years at Norton Co. Before that his dad John Brewer, Sr. held that title. Also, his brother-in-law, Wibur Loveland worked there for years. Wil lived in a home that I believe was part of a community set up by the owners of Nortons (not sure about those facts-maybe someone can fill in those fuzzy parts). My step-father also had a very dear friend who worked for the fire department of Nortons, Sid Smith. Don't know if any of you remember any of them. Unfortunately all of them are deceased. I remember Sid's daughter, Cherie Smith and I would always go to the Norton Outings every year. We had a blast. As time went on, I decided what the heck I'll give it a try. It wasn't for me, however I promised J.B. (my step-dad) that I would give it a fair try. 6 months to the day I was out of there. I remember the tunnels we used to go into the buildings.
Jim Cahill- October 10, 2009 - Report this comment
My father worked at Nortons all his work life. Throughout WWII and retired in 1966. I worked there during summer break from college 1964. It holds fond memories.
Amber- January 17, 2010 - Report this comment
I bought a mug from a resale shop for $.25 and it's a F.B. Nortons mug from 1977. j. boilko?? Thought i'd look up the company to see if i could find anything interesting... and i did. Found www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Norton-Company-Company-History.html A very indepth story about F.B. Nortons Company. Very interesting that a little pottery store turned into something so large.
Amber- January 17, 2010 - Report this comment
You can go to the website for Funding Universe, Navigate to the bottom of the page to "company histories" then select "N" for Nortons. Look for "Nortons Company Company History" This is where I found a very detailed story about F.B. Nortons. I didn't need to login or share any input to navigate to the story.
Jeffrey Lind- February 22, 2010 - Report this comment
I also grew up in the shadow of Norton Company, on Hockanum Way, which is off New Bond St and Indian Hill Rd. I remeber our church, Zion Lutheran, had basketball practice at the Norton Field House. I remember the Norton Family outings, the Norton Spirit Race Car. I actually still have an autographed copy of it with Mike Hiss and Roger Penske from 1974. My father, brother and grandpaprents from both sides of my family worked there going back to the 19-teens. My friends and I often went there to play at the ballfield or get candy from the vending machines, or ride our bikes through the tunnel. Yes, I also remember the Freedom Train and lots of other memories. Good times then in the 1960's & 70's.
Chris L- July 03, 2010 - Report this comment
My father worked at "Nawtins" for 35+ years. We lived a mile or 2 away on Castine St. I remember the Norton Outings in the 60's, the employees and their families would have a day of fun, food & games. I also remember riding my bike to the loading dock and getting a couple of quarters from Dad when ever I peddled over to Norton Beach on Indian Lake to spend a summer day.
Mildred D. Sims- August 01, 2010 - Report this comment
My dad William (fatboy) Sims worked at Norton's Company for over 30 year's. He worked in plant 2. He loved his job and he hated to leave. I remember one summer just before i went off to college my dad got me a summer job at Norton's. they had just implelmented a new summer program for the worker's and their children. I enjoyed my summer there. Norton's has been good to me and my family.
Terry Lindgren- December 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Seems like most of the workers in the family worked at Nortons at one time or another. Grandfather Evald Lindgren, Dad Everett Lindgren Sr, Mom Darlene Hodges, Brother Stephen Lindgren, and me Everett "Terry" Lindgren III). I was a computer operator from 65 to 66 then joined the Air Force. Worked for Howard Hanson
JOHN JONES- February 12, 2011 - Report this comment
Sir, I am doing a history project on the history of the Norton Grinding Machines, Has anybody got photographs of the factory in Worcester? So far I have been unable to find any.I worked for Norton's in their factory in Shrewsbury. England. MR. RONALD. T. NELSON came over from Worcester to run the factory. thanks
Bruce Hedquist- February 19, 2011 - Report this comment
In regards to Edward M. Hedquist and Wallace E. Hedquist, for what it's worth, they and their parents Per Edward and Alvira (Elvira?) Erickson Hedquist, lived first on Fairview St., then moved to Ararat St. The latter home was eventually razed for the construction of the freeway which goes by Nortons. I am having great difficulty tracing my paternal grandparents back to Sweden. I recently ordered two books from Amazon, one on Worcester's history in general, and one specifically on Swedish families in Worcester since the 19th century. I hope I can find out more on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
jim irish- April 09, 2011 - Report this comment
nortons a great place too work especially plant 8 i worked there in the 90s loved to know how, where,and what of all of my fellow collegues my EMAIL deebronx2@gmail.com
Susan Strobelq- June 27, 2011 - Report this comment
My whole family on my mother's side (Svea Pearson) worked at Norton's in the 20th century. My uncles retired from there in the 1960s. My grandmother (Maria Pearson) ran the snack bar at the lake for a while. Then I worked for Norton in Brownsville, TX in the 1990s!
Bob Hoyt- August 16, 2011 - Report this comment
I have some old Company books and photos that my Grandfather gave me from when his Grandfather Worked at Norton around 1900 -1930 Bhoyt1965@me.com
Joe Pellegrino- October 19, 2011 - Report this comment
Aww... Good ole Norton Company where i worked from 1968-1986 before moving to Sunny Florida.How time passes us by,so fast! Now i'm collecting my Norton retirement...but so many memories there Some of my boss's were Irving Olson,Harold (Tony) Johnson,And good Friend John McCarthy from Plant7.Then later working in the main office building on 1 new bond st...with some great people Burt Limblad,Authur Johnson,Johnny Cutler,Frank Chesna,Bill Yarnian,Dave Williams,Bill Brank and Donald Segar.
Bill Allen- December 05, 2011 - Report this comment
I recently acquired a Bronze Medal struck in 1952 to honor George Nathaniel Jeppson's 60 years of employment at Norton Company, Worcester MA. The obverse of the medal is a bust of Jeppson. The reverse shows a factory and three machines. The booklet that accompanied the medal discusses construction of "Plant 7" dedicated Aug 30, 1948 as Jeppson's most memorable achievement. This leads me to suspect that the medal engraving may be “Plant 7” and equipment for making abrasives. If anyone is familiar with this medal, or the Norton factory, it would be great if someone could specifically identify the images on this medal. I uploaded a photo of the medal to Worcester.com --- perhaps the webmaster will post it.
Sue (peterson) O'Connor- August 12, 2012 - Report this comment
I too grew up on Indian Hill I'm back on Heroult Rd. The things Jeff Camuuso has done for our neighborhood is OUT STANDING i went by the memorial at Indian Hill and knew so many people who bought bricks. We are a strong neighborbhood. Those who died will always be remembered. GOD BLESS Jeff for all he's done for our neighborhood!!!
Heather- January 29, 2013 - Report this comment
I am researching my family tree. My son's grandfather, Walter Marsolais, and great grandfather, Joseph A Marsolais, worked at Nortons in the 1930's to the 1960's. They were machinists, I believe. Does anyone have pictures or company photos?
Heather- January 29, 2013 - Report this comment
If anyone has any pics can you email me at cabingoddess59@gmail.com
Heather- January 29, 2013 - Report this comment
Correct email is cabingoddess50@gmail.com
jim- September 21, 2013 - Report this comment
anyone any pictures of nortons new or old email deebronx2@gmail.comi worked in plant 8
Chris- September 28, 2013 - Report this comment
If anyone was or is related to a former Norton Company fireman or guard, please contact me at centralnewenglandsafety@gmail.com. I am writing a book about the private company fire depts and guard/special police depts that used to exist. Looking for info on Norton, Wyman Gordon, Cromptons, etc. Thank yo
David Burns- November 07, 2013 - Report this comment
I lived across the street from Norton's back in the 50s on West Boylston St and my mother and many relatives worked there. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather built and operated the Peterson House next door, where many Norton employees, mostly Swedish males, boarded. This started around the turn of the century and ended sometime in the 1970s. The house is still there.
Joe Breault- November 08, 2013 - Report this comment
My great grandparents came over here from Sweden and worked at Norton Co. They actually built the houses going up the hill on the left (before the school) on Ararat St. just for them and the other workers at Norton's... prior to 190 of course, I recall stories from my grandparents about how it was just a dirt trail to get to work. My grandfather was actually sent to WPI from Jeppson and ended up working for Warner and Swasey (Fritz Johanson). In the early 80's I recall that nortons had a yearly parade. Used to go there w/ my Uncle (Sundquist) Man, I still miss cutting through there to get from the Y to W. Boylston St.
Sharon- December 07, 2013 - Report this comment
I'm working on my family tree and my mother was born in Worcester and my grandfather worked at Norton from the late 30's until late 50's as a "mixer." Does anyone have photos and does anyone know what a mixer did? americasfrontporch @ gmail.com
Lew Willertz- March 25, 2014 - Report this comment
I have a display case of Norton products that were in the Dodge brothers automobile factory in the early 1900's. I would like to find a home for it as it is complete in showing all of the products available from Norton at that time. Let me know if anyone wants this. willertz2@charter.net

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