The Russell Jennings Manufacturing Company was created by Russell Jennings (1800-1888), a Reverend from Deep River who later invented (and patented) the first extension drill bit in America. Seeing the opportunity for wealth and a future for his family, he began a company which manufactured the tools. He quit the church and became an inventor, quickly growing his family business from the ground up.
The auger bits were manufactured in a facility in Deep River and shipped all over the world, with the Connecticut River and rail lines providing easy transportation of their product. The business continued after Jennings’ death in 1888 and began to evolve, creating new tools. The business continued and grew, requiring a new facility.
The company moved north to Chester, CT and had a brick office building made in the Federal Revival style in 1906, shortly after their new tool handle was patented and production began. The 30’x50′ building is two stories and appears much like when it was built over a century ago. The first floor housed the company offices, shipping, and stock rooms and on the second floor, the director’s office and packing rooms.
The company was bought by Stanley Works by 1944, and the building was sold. It was occupied by a couple industrial companies, including Old Town Corporation until a fire gutted the building in 1976. It was vacant for years after. It appears that the building has been converted to residential use.