Due to its prime location on the Charles River, Watertown has been a center of industry since its founding. The long list of businesses with operations in Watertown over the years includes Aetna Mills, Lewando’s French Dyers and Cleaners, Stanley Motor Carriage Company (birthplace of the Stanley Steamer), Gorin’s Department Store, Walker & Pratt, United-American Soda Fountain, the Barry Wright Company, Watertown Savings Bank, Star Market, Sasaki Associates, and athenahealth.
Hood Rubber Company
The library’s digital collection includes a A Brief History of the Hood Rubber Company (1938) by its founder, Alfred A. Glidden; this set of images shows the Hood factory through the years. There are many more images in the Digital Commonwealth collection called Watertown Businesses.
Local entrepreneur Sterling Elliott registered dozens of patents. His most successful invention, an automatic addressing machine, became the signature product of the Elliott Addressing Machine Company. The Story of a Father and Son, or “Unscrewing the Inscrutable” is a 1941 company brochure that doubles as a history of the Elliott family and business.
Watertown Savings Bank
Another digitized brochure comes from the Watertown Savings Bank, whose 1948 Historic Watertown’s Oldest Bank lists the officers, trustees, and statement of conditions from that year, and includes a brief history of the Coolidge Tavern.
Other good sources of information about local industry and commerce include Valuation Reports, Newspapers, and Town Directories.
To learn more about Watertown’s recent/current businesses, please see the town’s web page for Economic Development.