Shoe Factory of Cutler, Lyons & Field, Greenfield MA

Shoe Factory - Cutler, Lyons & Field - Greenfield MA

Shoe Factory – Cutler, Lyons & Field – Greenfield MA

(Adapted from “Picturesque Franklin” , Wade, Warner & Co. , Northampton MA 1891
This publication was a “snap shot” of Franklin County businesses and industries as of 1891. This original article will not include the history which occurred afterwards, unless noted by the museum editor.)

Greenfield was fortunate when it secured the establishment of a first-class shoe factory in town, and this correctly describes the business conducted there by Messrs. Cutler, Lyons & Field. Mr. Cutler has the advantage of a long experience in the business and came to Greenfield, from Bernardston, where he had been some time established. In 1880, when Mr. Cutler came, the daily output of the factory in the busy season would reach 200 pairs of shoes; in the duller months it would fall to ninety pairs. Now it ranges from 600 pairs in the quietest of the year to an average of 1000 in the moderately active time, and reaches sometimes 1200 or 1300 pairs. The hands employed have doubled several times, but not proportionately increased because of improved processes that are labor-saving. Some 150 are now on the permanent roll, 60 of these being girls.


The steady growth of the business taxed the walls of the old factory which they occupied until last June. The result is the convenient and capacious building illustrated above. The new factory building stands on Hope street, and the tracks of the Connecticut and Fitchburg roads are at the rear on a lower level. The picture tells the story of its well proportioned outlines. Its length is 176 feet on the street front, with the boiler house extending 19 feet further, and the uniform width is 38 feet. The capacity for work in the new building is 2000 pairs of shoes a day.


Cutler, Lyons & Field have been associated since the year 1883. N. S. Cutler, the senior member, had been a manufacturer of shoes for several years previous to his coming to Greenfield, in July, 1880. His service of two terms in the legislature and his present responsibility as chairman of the Greenfield board of selectmen have not interfered with his personal supervision of the business. A. F. S. Lyons had been foreman of the shop at Bernardston and came to Greenfield in the same capacity, entering into parnership with Mr. Cutler in 1882. He is now the superintendent of the factory, with oversight of the entire mechanical operations of the concern. D. C. G. Field joined the firm in 1883, and while his connection is chiefly financial, he is closely informed; as to the details of the business, and relieves, at times, Mr. Cutler in its active management.


The territory of the factory’s sales is wide-spread and constantly extending. The western states furnish the bulk of the trade, with a considerable support in nearer-by and New England business. Recently shipments have begun to the Pacific coast, where there is promise of a fruitful field, and some custom has come from the south, although business has not been much sought in that direction.


The goods made are chiefly medium-priced wear for women, misses and children, in sewed and standard screw-fastened shoes. A specialty is made of the solid grain goods which have won a reputation with the trade for their durable quality, and a large addition to the bulk is in the dongola and goat boots of medium and some fine grades. None but entire leather goods are made, and neither the reputation nor the product of the concern is cheapened by shoddy soles or counters. Only retailers are supplied, and the repeated offers of jobbing and wholesale houses are steadily declined. The prosperity of the business, whatever it may be, is due to the determination to put out only honest goods, the avoidance of middlemen, and make the continuous enterprise that is alive to every improved method of manufacture and every advance in the style of the product.


The new factory affords, as the description suggests, room for an expansion of the business, and the ample size of the lot where it stands will make additions easy when they shall be needed.