Universal Winding Company







Although built for the Atlantic Rubber Shoe Company, this vast three story brick building was soon acquired after its construction by the Maxwell Briscoe Motor Company, which moved here from Pawtucket; their well known car, the Maxwell, was produced here for less than five years. The cars were test run back and forth on Elmwood Avenue with a box seat on the chassis, the test drivers were paid $10 a week which was considered good pay a the time. Later the Maxwell motor car was taken over by Chrysler.

In 1914 Universal Winding Company, which specialized in making winding machines for the textile and electrical coil industries, took ever the building. The Universal Winder, one of which is on display at the Slater Mill Historical site, operated without a revolving drum, winding instead on a tube places on a positively driven spindle. At its peak the company employed 1,200 to 1,500 workers and was said to be the largest firm in the world exclusively devoted to building winding machinery. In 1959 the company changed its name to Leesona, after its founder and long time owner, Joseph Leeson. The firm moved to Warwick in 1962. The building below, was the foundry of the Universal Winding Company and is now home to Scott Brass, Inc. The three-story brick pier building with windows running pier to pier, remains a handsome example of 20th-century corbeled brink industrial architecture.


During the early years of World War two, Universal Winding Company, along with many other Rhode Island Industries, including the Taft Peirce Manufacturing Company in Woonsocket, devoted some of their employees and machinery to the war effort.

In this photograph employees of the Cranston Arms Company, are assembling the Johnson Automatic Rifle.

guns


For more information about this phrase of the Universal Winding Company's History you might want to try the following link:
Jim Pullen's Johnson Automatic Rifle Website


This photograph is from the Cranston History Collection. The text is quoted from a report published the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, Cranston, Rhode Island, 1st Edition, which was issued in 1970. The photograph of employees of the Cranston Arms Company is from "Universal Winding, 50 Years of Progress", copyright 1943, page 11. Available for viewing at the Cranston Historical Society.

Moody, Jay Rice, "Here comes the horseless carriage" Rhode Island Yearbook, 1969 page H 137.


I would like to acknowledge the personal interest and continued encouragement for this page shown by James Pullen. I am fortunate indeed to have such outstanding support for the research of this project.


THE CRANSTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY IS SEEKING EMPLOYEES OF THE UNIVERSAL WINDING COMPANY TO CONTINUE RESEARCH UPON THE WAR EFFORT OF THE COMPANY IN WORLD WAR II.




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