Sunday, January 31, 2016


Housatonic Museum of Art - Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport
February 10 @ 11:45, HCC Events Center

PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: When Anson Phelps, in 1845, built a well-watered canal from the Kinneytown Dam in Seymour for a mile-and-a-quarter, to bring power to mill sites in a new industrial village he called, “Ansonia,” he put his own brass and copper mill in buildings somewhere near the back of this picture. We are looking north from the south end of the extrusion mill on the southeast corner of the American Brass crossroad.

Ansonia Copper & Brass (AC&B), that until December or 2013 still had operations on this site, claimed its ancestry back to Anson Phelps original Ansonia Brass & Copper (AB&C). Shortly after 1900 it became part of American Brass with mills throughout brass valley and covering all four corners of the crossroad. We are looking down the conveyor of the last, major piece of new equipment installed in the Ansonia millworks, I’m told sometime in the 1960s or 70s when this mill went by the name, “Anaconda American Brass.” 

The ladder leads to a bridge crossing the conveyor, and the giant extruder is to the left. Ladders run up its sides and catwalks cross the top. It is like a small ship with its decks leading fore and aft; ladders lead to spaces “below deck,” where motors churn, yet it is small next to its conveyors. I never saw it in operation. I’m told it could extrude continuous lengths of metal rod which could be sent down the conveyor or wrapped on spools that rotated automatically and looked to me a bit like the amusement park ride known as, “The Whip.” When the extruder was installed, it was state of the art.

The yellow crane in the distance is the same 5-ton crane discussed in the last paragraph of the previous photograph in this series, “Picking.”