My favorite part of being an intern at Higgins is getting to digitalize their extensive Archive Photo collection. It's given me this great window into local history, the Higgins Family, and how the museum really came to be. It also reaffirmed to me that working in archives would be something I'd like to do some day, handling these source materials and learning from them has been really fun.
So how did Higgins Armory get its start? It all started with this tyke:
John Woodman Higgins, pictured here around 1880 with his sister, who clearly blinks too much. This kid went from being your average kilt enthusiast to one of the wealthiest tycoons the city of Worcester ever built. He graduated from WPI, and became the founder of Worcester Pressed Steel at the age of 31. From there he nursed his unhealthy obsession with steel, but that's a story for another time.
What's really cool is Worcester Pressed Steel was a burgeoning company right around the turn of the century. You know what that means:
Ladies in the puffy-sleeves-plus-cameo-brooch look that just screams suffragette! Also waistcoats on dandies and a monster manual typewriter. I think it's neat though that they do seem to have some sort of electricity going, based on the haphazard wires criss-crossing the ceiling. Maybe with them being a big industrial business though, that's kind of a given. It wasn't until I wrote this that I realized I don't know much at all about the history of the electric utility.
I fell in love with this picture, there are so many neat details. This guys moustache screams "middle management". But what's up with overflowing wastebasket under the desk? And the bizarre saw in the corner. What's the deal with this guy?
So you can see, things started pretty simple for JW and company, but it didn't stay that way. Next time: WW2 takes things up a notch.