The W.C. Vaughan Co.
A Brief History
Founded by Walter C. Vaughan, the W.C. Vaughan Co. manufactured high quality hardware from its incorporation in 1902 as successor to four renowned nineteenth-century north eastern hardware manufacturers : L.S. Hall, Enoch Robinson & Co., William Hall & Co. and John Tein Co. The W.C. Vaughan Co. produced a complete line of Early American and Georgian period hardware based on the designs of these companies, as well as its own archive of early nineteenth-century hardware patterns and drawings collected from fine homes throughout New England and the Atlantic seaboard. Recognized for its expertise, W.C. Vaughan Co. supplied hardware for the restorations of Colonial Williamsburg and of the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson near Nashville, Tennessee, among other projects.
Through the purchase of L.S. Hall’s shop, the W.C. Vaughan Co. obtained the ownership rights to Enoch Robinson & Co. L.S. Hall, a former clerk and draftsman for Enoch Robinson & Co., had eventually become the owner of Robinson’s patents, machinery and hardware items. Enoch Robinson, who designed and manufactured hardware in Boston from 1836 to 1888, is remembered for inventing one of the first mechanical glass pressing machines as well as developing several patented methods of attaching glass knobs to their sockets. Enoch Robinson & Co.’s hardware was very well respected both in Boston and across the nation: the company supplied hardware for the Boston State House and City Hall, and supplied locks and knobs for extensions to the United States Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. from 1861 to 1865. Enoch Robinson’s work remains admired, for his company achieved a delicate balance between technological innovation and traditional artistry.
William Hall (unrelated to L.S. Hall) worked briefly with Enoch Robinson; they obtained a patent together for a door latch in 1841, after which Hall established his own successful hardware business. The W.C. Vaughan Co. purchased the decorative patterns of the William Hall Co. during the 1920s and those of the John Tein Co. in 1939.
E.R. Butler & Co. was the sole agent for the W.C. Vaughan Co.; for years the two firms maintained a successful partnership, often collaborating both in manufacture and in the research of the designs, materials and methods of production and patination used by L.S. Hall, Enoch Robinson & Co., William Hall Co. and John Tein Co. E.R. Butler & Co. completed many of Vaughan’s lines by designing and engineering additional sizes for each pattern, as well as a complementary range of architectural trim (including hinges, locks, cane bolts, cylinder rings and covers, key escutcheons and covers, thumb turns, doorstops, etc.). This collaboration was formalized by the acquisition of W.C. Vaughan Co. by E.R. Butler & Co. in 2000.