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49 Chambers Street, New York City

HBH Token HB&H Advert. Token,
sample of nickel silver
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    a brief historical profile of     
The Holmes, Booth & Haydens Company

Engraved HB&H Plaque
This engraved plaque attached to an early HB&H prong burner
is quite an unusal item.
Holmes, Booth & Haydens began in 1853 with the partnership of Hiram W. Hayden, Israel Holmes and John C. Booth in Waterbury, Connecticut. The firm was incorporated on February 2, 1853. Henry H. and James A. Hayden were also associated with the firm, hence the plural Haydens in the company name. Holmes was in charge of the rolling mill; H.W. Hayden was in charge of the manufacturing; and H.H. Hayden was in charge of marketing.

The company was engaged in casting, rolling and drawing brass and copper. They were the first to make planished copper-silver plates for daguerreotyping. They were a major "player" in the manufacture of lamps, burners and trimmings. They made brass and copper wire for electrical use. HB&H were among the largest producers of brass, German silver, sheet copper, wire jack chain and tubing. In 1880, they suffered two catastrophic losses as a result of fire: the spoon factory in February, and the rolling mill and lamp factory in October. Both plants were replaced immediately with larger capacity facilities. Holmes, Booth & Haydens operated independently until October 17, 1901, when it became part of the American Brass Company.1

Thumb Wheel Detail
Holmes, Booth & Haydens
thumb wheel detail.
Israel Holmes started with the Scovills in 1820. A consummate entrepreneur, he started more new enterprises in the working of brass than any other individual. Around 1826 he and seven other individuals formed the firm of Holmes and Hotchkiss to begin the manufacture of sheet metal and wire. Holmes and Hotchkiss became Brown & Elton in 1838. Brown & Elton was dissolved in 1856, with half of the business being purchased by Holmes, Booth & Haydens.2 Holmes had earlier sold his interest in 1834, and partnered with Israel Coe, Anson G. Phelps and John Hungerford to establish Wolcottville Brass Company in Wolcottville, Conn., now Torrington. He was president of Waterbury Brass in 1845. He severed his association from Waterbury Brass in 1853 and subsequently formed the firm of Holmes, Booth and Haydens, principally to cut into Scovill's profits from the daguerreotype business. Holmes left the firm in 1869 to form Holmes, Booth and Atwood, later named Plume & Atwood. He died in 1874.3

Early Lip Burner
Holmes, Booth & Haydens
Patented September 16, 1862,
Lewis J. Atwood's #36,493

Hiram W. Hayden was a prolific inventor. In addition to his "thirty-some" lamp and lighting patents, Hiram Hayden's other patented inventions include a breech-loading rifle, a breech-loading cannon, a magazine rifle, patents & designs for buttons, medals, and a machine for making solid metal tubing, which he sold to manufacturing concerns in Pittsburgh.4 While employed as a machinist at Scovills & Co., he inventing a method of making brass kettles by spinning disks of sheet brass through a die in 1851 . This brass-spinning process revolutionized the kettle-making industry. He subsequently sold this patent to The Waterbury Brass Company in 1852 and they dominated the manufacture of brass kettles in the country.5

Daguerreotype Case Label
Label from the inside of a daguerreotype case.

One of his greatest discoveries was the development of the daguerreotype, an early photographic process. This lead to his development of a process of taking a picture on paper. He holds the honor of being the independent discoverer of the photographic process, having produced three paper photographs of landscapes and delivering them to the Waterbury American Newspaper in 1851. His future work in the photographic area led him closer than anyone else of the era to producing a colored photograph.6

The COMET Burner by Holmes, Booth & Haydens. L.J. Atwoods's patent #73,488, January 21, 1868.
Holmes, Booth & Haydens was assigned at least fifty-six lighting-related patents between January 24, 1860 and January 30, 1894. See the patent table below for details. Noteworthy inventors include Hiram Hayden, principle of the company, assignor of thirty patents, Nicholas Jenkins, assignor of seven, and Lewis J. Atwood, assignor of six. Atwood eventually left Holmes, Booth & Haydens to form Plume & Atwood.



Patents assigned to HB&H between Jan 24, 1860 - Jan 30, 1894
RE3595 RE4541 RE9498 26952 37068 38079 38162 38163
38823 47680 71838 73488 73599 73600 78637 80111
87601 91590 94421 97772 97773 98836 102552 106363
108339 115315 115466 115955 122382 129821 132831 174524
189335 206729 225054 225929 247560 247561 262666 266470
302408 306926 320476 322183 322599 348291 348405 349501
374478 390078 390079 405032 422537 443525 445698 513638
[ additional patents will be added as they are discovered ]
D = Design Patent, RE = Reissue of an earlier Patent

To view any of the above patents, enter the number in the box below and select Query USPTO Database. This will take you to the specific patent images on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database. Learn more about the USPTO here.

Enter Patent Number ?/B> 


End Notes
  • 1 Lathrop, William G. The Brass Industry in the United States. New Haven, CT: The Wilson H. Lee Company, 1926.
  • 2 Lathrop.
  • 3 Craig's Daguerreian Registry. H Table (18 March 2003) <>
  • 4 Hayden Park. History of Hayden Homestead Park (18 March 2003) <>
  • 5 Connecticut's Heritage Gateway. Connecticut Inventors (18 March 2003) <>
  • 6 Hayden Park.
  • Connecticut's Heritage Gateway. Connecticut Inventors 18 March 2003. <>
  • Craig's Daguerreian Registry. H Table 18 March 2003. <>
  • Hayden Park. History of Hayden Homestead Park 18 March 2003. <>
  • Lathrop, William G. The Brass Industry in the United States. New Haven, CT: The Wilson H. Lee Company, 1926.
  • The Historical Lighting Society of Canada. HLSC FONT&flame. Volume Three, No. 2, Spring 2002.

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