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Nathaniel Wheeler
Cofounder, Wheeler & Wilson
1820 - D.O.D. unknown

Nathaniel Wheeler, manufacturer and legislator, was born at Watertown, Litchfield Co., Conn., Sept. 7, 1820. During a business trip to New York Mr. Wheeler saw the recently patented sewing machine of Allen B. Wilson, and contracting with the firm controlling the patent to build 500 of these machines, he engaged the services of Mr. Wilson as superintendent. The latter was admitted to the firm of Warren, Wheeler & Woodruff, which in 1851 was reorganized as Wheeler, Wilson & Co., and in October 1853, as the Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing Co., with a capital of $160,000. For lack of adequate facilities, the business having increased largely, the firm, in 1856, moved to Bridgeport, Conn., occupying the old Jerome Clock Co. building, to which additions were made from time to time, until the works covered about eight acres. Mr. Wheeler was made general manager of the company, and in 1855 was elected president, retaining his old office. Nearly $500,000 was spent on experiments toward perfecting the machines, and more
than 2,000,000 machines were manufactured. Mr. Wheeler took an important part in forming the combination, in 1856, of the principal sewing machine companies, the Singer and the Grover & Baker having begun business about the same time as the Wheeler & Wilson. Mr. Wilson represented his district in the state legislature and state senate of Connecticut, and was one of the commissioners for the building of the state capital at Hartford. He was a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad and of the City National Bank; an incorporator of the People’s Bank; vice-president of the Board of Trade and of the Board of Education in 1885-86. He favored every project to benefit Bridgeport, and in every way was an honor to the city.

1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee