Saturday, March 26, 2016

Noble & Cooley History on YouTube

Here's a short YouTube playlist if you'd like to learn more about the history of the Noble & Cooley Company. Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Research Library Progress

Today was a good day at NCCHP, with 2 volunteers and NCCHP President Matt Jones putting in a full day of cleaning and organizing the archives on the 3rd and 4th floor of Building 15 at the Noble & Cooley factory complex. The goal was to make more space on the 3rd floor (thanks to Matt), and to remove objects and hardcover books from the 4th floor shelves that will be used to store archival quality containers of 100+ year old papers and documents.

The archives are a little like Cracker Jacks: "A Surprise In Every Box."
This box contained company records from the late Depression Era into World War 2.

More rolling hoop and drum parts appeared, some pressed tin party noise-makers (woo-hoo!), a huge number of small wooden buttons, some original drum artwork, and much more. But the important boxes will remain unopened until the archival containers are on site, then we will clean and transfer the contents of boxes dating back to the 1800's into their new containers. At that point the archives will start to look like real, researchable archives.

Original artwork, likely used to present new drum design concepts.
Versions of the Native American and air transportation designs went into production.
Copyright Noble & Cooley Company.

We welcome donations of sturdy ("industrial") metal shelving which is needed for storing books and objects. Maximum height 84" and should be free of rust. If you are in the Granville / Springfield /Hartford area and can help, please call NCCHP at (413) 357-6321 or email: with particulars. Thanks!

The ancient freight elevator, which was originally hoisted by a rope system, also put in a full day......

The crown block for the original rope hoist.
Imagine yo-heave-ho'ing an elevator full of freight up and down 4 floors.
The view looking up from the elevator platform.

Friday, March 18, 2016

NCCHP Donations Can Now Be Made Via the PayPal Giving Fund

Thanks to the PayPal Giving Fund for non-profit organizations, the Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation can accept donations made via your PayPal account.

Aside from being a fast and easy process, PayPal will not charge you or NCCHP a fee for the transaction so 100% of the donation goes to NCCHP's PayPal account. You can also receive a receipt for the donation for tax purposes.

CLICK HERE to go to our PayPal Giving Fund donation page. Thanks!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Massachusetts State Historic Records Advisory Board (SHRAB): Grant Success!

The Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation is very pleased to announce that the Massachusetts State Historic Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) and National Historical Publications and Records Commission awarded it a $1,000 grant. 
NCCHP will use this grant to continue the work of cleaning, organizing and preserving Noble & Cooley’s massive paper archives that date back to the late 1800’s. These records provide a rare glimpse into the Granville people who managed Noble & Cooley and the workers who manufactured everything from drums to toys and the machinery on which they were made.
While preservation of these records is just beginning, NCCHP believes these records once they are preserved and digitized for research, will tell a lot about the changes Granville was experiencing over 100 years ago when life on the farm was changing to life in the factory.
We also wish to thank Rachel Onuf, SHRAB's "roving archivist" who has guided our preservation path, and University Products of Holyoke, MA. for helping us get the most out of the grant funds.
Continue to follow this blog to track our historical preservation journey!

A recent discovery in the archives dating from the 1890's.
Currently being auctioned on eBay by NCCHP_Archives to benefit NCCHP.
Auction ends March 27, 2016.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Historical Photos: Guest Contributor

Robert Watrous is an avid collector of antique bell toys, especially those with bells made in "Belltown USA," (also known as East Hampton, Ct.) where many of his distant Watrous relations made bell toys. Bob's interest led him to purchase the 1905 Noble & Cooley Catalogue recently auctioned on eBay to benefit NCCHP and the Research Library project. Was he interested in the many pages of drums? Sort of, but his real reason for bidding was the three (out of 63) pages illustrating Noble & Cooley "rolling hoops." Why the rolling hoops? Because they have BELLS, of course!

It turned out that Bob had already corresponded with Jay Jones, president of Noble & Cooley and maker of The World's Best Drums (, about antique rolling hoops. As a historical note, the Noble & Cooley company letterhead used in 1907 refers to these toys as "rolling hooples" (see image in February 29, 2016 post). A typo, or an invented term to distinguish the Noble & Cooley product line? By contrast the 1907 N&C product catalog uses the more conventional term "rolling hoops." If it were 1970 and not 1907 one might assume Rolling Hooples are what you'd get if the Rolling Stones merged with Mott the Hoople. OK no more bad jokes, this is a classy blog with standards.

The mission of the NCCHP Research Library is to share insightful information with historians and collectors in order to preserve and understand our cultural past. That understanding has the power to help enlighten and inspire future creativity and ingenuity. Bob has been kind enough to provide two outstanding photos, the first is of his Noble & Cooley Hoop Chime 520. The second picture depicts a small child with a similar Noble & Cooley rolling chime toy. In front of the rolling hoop is a pre-1905 Watrous bell toy, along with a stick, a ball,and a small hoop toy. It's a great picture of what is probably the child's pride and joy collection of toys. Imagine what the same picture might have in it today!

We thank Bob for sharing these great images. You can find a wealth of information about antique bell toys at his site: 

Noble & Cooley Hoop Chime 520, from the collection of Robert Watrous

Child with Noble & Cooley hoop chime toy, pre-1905 Watrous bell toy, stick, ball
and small rolling hoop.
Image courtesy of Robert Watrous.