Sewell's hat factory

harford history

January 07, 2007

On Jan. 4, 1821, the hat factory owned by Col. Charles S. Sewell at Old Philadelphia Road and Abingdon Road began operation.

From 1821 to 1824, Sewell's establishment turned out hats made of beaver, straw and wool for prices ranging from $1.25 to $6. Raw materials - including hat bands, linings, buckles, muslin, velvet and finishing blocks - were obtained from Baltimore.

Hats were sold locally and shipped to Charlestown and North East from Otter Point aboard Sewell's schooner, which also transported flour, wheat, salt, iron ore and iron bar.

The factory was destroyed by fire in 1822, but Sewell rebuilt and resumed operations within two months. In 1821, the plant produced 1,689 hats with a total retail value of $2,822. By 1824, it produced 40 hats every other month and was closed.

Sewell went on to represent Harford County in the state legislature and Congress. He died in 1848.

[ Source -- Harford Historical Bulletin, Spring 1990 . Research by Harford County Public Library.]

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