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Hood, and Hood & Rice

Company History

Early Ventures of Hood

From 1877 through 1879, William J Hood manufactured jewelry at 282 Broad St, Valley Falls, RI.

For the year of 1880, he and J. J. Chamberlain produced archery and jewelry at the same address.

In 1881, and 1882, he worked alone manufacturing jewelry. During the years '83 through '85, he identified himself as wood turner; his address was 280 Broad St, and in '86 through 88, 398 Broad St. (This is not a change of address, but a re-numbering of the street; Beers' map of 1870 and Everts' map of 1895 show the same lots owned by Wm. J. Hood.)

From 1882 to 1885, Amedee Benjamin was employed as a foreman by Hood. During this time, he was granted a design patent for a clamp with a distinctively curved back.

Early Ventures of Rice

In 1869 (according to Rice's obituary), Thomas Rice began a wood turning business with Thomas Boardman, in High Street, Central Falls. The Pawtucket City Directory lists Boardman, but does not mention Rice as a partner.

In 1869 (according to the Pawtucket City Directory) Thomas D Rice with John Salisbury were "wood turners, and fancy wood workers", at 107 Mill Street, opposite Central, in Central Falls. In 1873, the address became 9 North, in Central Falls.

In 1873, Thomas D Rice was also president of the Pawtucket Enamel Co, at 16 Dexter, Pawtucket. By 1879, this company was no longer listed, but the entry for Thomas D Rice and Co described the work as "fancy wood workers, enamelers, japaners". Ads of the years 1879 are available. By 1880, the description was shortened to "fancy wood workers".


In 1889, at 398 Broad Street, William J. Hood Mfg. Company produced hand and bench screws. Employees included Miss Annie G. Hood (same address) as bookkeeper, and Charles O. Hood (176 Central St) as foreman.

Hood clamps initially followed Benjamin's design patent of 1883; later designs were simplified, and diverged slightly from it.

Hood and Rice

Wm. J. Hood joined with Thomas D Rice and Co to form W.J. Hood and T.D. Rice Mfg. Co. in time to be listed in the 1890 Pawtucket City Directory, with an entry as "wood workers, hand and bench screws, and enamelers".

In 1890, the W. J Hood and T. D. Rice Mfg. Co did business at the rear of 398 Broad St, Valley Falls. In 1892, Tremont Street was built, and the firm's address changed from the rear of 398 Broad to 56 Tremont. Broad St was renumbered, and Hood's new address was 706. No further change occurred, except for shortening the firm's description to "woodworkers, etc.", until 1898.

In 1896, The Pawtucket Times had a story on the firm, with an illustration.

The plant of the W J Hood & T D Rice Manufacturing Company, which is located on Tremont street, Central Falls, is one of the prosperous firms of that city. It was incorporated in the year 1890 and previous to that time the two leading members of the firm were engaged in separate business, Mr. Hood doing a wood turning business and also a little jewelry manufacturing, and Mr. Rice making brush handles and toys. Neither of the concerns at that time did a very large business, but after the consolidation they began the work on quite an extensive plan. The buildings which the firm occupy are large and supplied with all kinds of the newest and most improved machinery for the work. The main building is 200 x 40 feet, with two small additions and an enamel shop 60 x 70 feet. Besides these there are two large lumber sheds. One measures 250 x 40 feet, and the other is 300 x 30 feet.

The firm manufactures all kinds of brush handles, toys, gam[e]s and thread spools, and at the present time five employment to about 70 hands. Two or three years ago there was a large demand for tennis racquets and at this time the firm did a big business in these, but or a year or more the demand for these has fallen off and now there are few made. Mr. Rice told a Times reported that the shops used up on average about 500, 000 feet of birch lumber each year and about 200, 000 feet of maple and other kinds. Pawtucket Times, 1896

In 1898, Wm. J. Hood died, but the firm continued to do business through 1902, with minor variations in the descriptions in the directory. The simplified description became "wood working".

In 1902, the firm was bought by Narragansett Machine Company [Pawtucket Past and Present, Printed for Slater Trust Company, Pawtucket RI 1917], who employed Rice as foreman.  

Narragansett used Hood and Rice work in progress to make Narragansett clamps. I have one which has Hood and Rice jaws and spindles with a circular Narragansett mark. I have seen another which has Hood and Rice jaws, Narragansett spindles, incused 813, but without any Narragansett mark. This could be explained as a lack of room on the end of the smallish jaw.

Personal Histories

William Hood and Family

In 1890, William J Hood (b ?, d 1898?) lived at 398 Broad St. (All streets are in Valley Falls, later incorporated into Central Falls.)

In '90, Miss Annie G. Hood lived with Wm. J. Hood, with the occupation of bookkeeper. In 1891, she was no longer listed in the Directory; the presumption is that she married. I have no knowledge of her continued association with the firm.

In '89, Charles O. Hood lived at 14 Ashley, working as a toolmaker, but presumably not at the firm. In '90, Charles O Hood moved to Attleboro and no longer worked for the firm.

Ellen S. Hood, wife of William J., continued to live at 706 Broad, until her death on 16 Dec. 1903.


Amedee Benjamin

The spelling of the name varies slightly in the historical record; this is probably the vagaries of handwriting in filling in forms, and of pronunciation when supplying information to clerks.

In 1854, Amedee Benjamin was born in Canada of Etinne and Adelle Benjamin.

From 1875 to 1881, the Pawtucket City Directory listed him as house carpenter, living first at the corner of Broad and Fales in Central Falls, later at 14 Foundry, and later still at 271 Broad. From 1881 to 1885, he was listed as foreman, same address.

In 1886/87, he was again listed as house carpenter, now living at 27 Cowden Central Falls. In 1888, he (with Chatel) was a contractor and builder, with a shop and yard. From 1892 through 1894, he was a lumber dealer at 123 Tremont, living at 83 Tremont, in Central Falls.

On 9 March 1896, Benjamin died in Pawtucket, aged 42 years.

Thomas Rice

On 2 Sept 1845, Thomas Dorr Rice was born in Warwick RI, the child of William and Sarah (Collins) Rice.

From his enlistment on 16 Sep 1862 to his honorable discharge on 13 July 1863, he was in a RI volunteer infantry company, and fought in several skirmishes around Richmond VA.

On 15 Oct 1868, he lived in Pawtucket, working as a mechanic, when he married Henrietta Wilmarth. (She was born in Attleboro MA.)

In the Federal Census of 1870, Thomas is described as a turner, with net worth of $800.

In 1873, Thomas D Rice lived at 244 High Street Central Falls. In 1883, he moved to 5 Nickerson, where he stayed the rest of his life.

In 1910, Rice retired. On 18 Sep 1925, he died, at an age of 80 years, after a long illness, and was buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence RI.


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