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W.C. Vaughan Co. records, 1880s-1980, bulk 1972-1980


The W. C. Vaughan Co. Collection contains five boxes of company records. These include financial records, purchase orders, invoices, letters, and product drawings. Many of these papers include duplicate copies, and company stamps on the papers noting billings or payments. Some of the financial records are separated between cash payments and monthly payments. Any individual notes pertaining to the bill is attached. The Vaughan Co.'s financial records were kept for a time and only date from 1972 to 1980; the records seem to be separated in between cash sales and all sales are in another folder. Purchase orders and/or invoices can be included in both folder types, most with duplicates. All orders that were completed have stamps saying when the bills were paid. Individual notes relating to the account were included.

The portfolios contain hand draftings and/ or copies of Vaughan Co. products and non Vaughan Co. products. Some are from France, Italy, and England and are drawings of floor plans, elevations, sections, details, and rendered perspectives. It is clear that some were part of a series for they were numbered. Others appear to be similar and relate to other drawings, but were not labeled. Contained within portfolio one is an apparent series of drawings of the "Abby Farm." Most are done in ink with some containing slight amounts of marker or pencil. Portfolio two is a version of a W. C. Vaughan Company catalog. All the pages are labeled as the company's and are all on 16 x 21 inch paper. Portfolio four is more Vaughan Co. products. Most are labeled as "Designed and Manufactured by WC Vaughan Co. Boston," and have E. H. Pratt's name in the bottom right corner. The copies appear to have been attached to a binder at some point, but are now loose. Portfolio five contains a series of French drawings.

Client information is included within different boxes, such as the contracts from 1980 box, and other client information is included within financial boxes. Many contain some amount order records, not many financial papers. Notes are included on sheets.

The Catalogue series is separated between European and American company catalogues. W.C. Vaughan Co. catalogues are also listed separately. The catalogues of other companies and the Vaughan Co. are from 1913 to the 1980s.

There are four boxes consisting of file folders; which contain product information, many magazine and newspaper clippings, some letters and photos. The dates found on these clippings from 1919 to the 1970s. The clippings from magazines have one of three names on them; a WC Vaughan Co. stamp, the name Pratt written on it, or Minot (whose connection may only be as an architect affiliated with several projects). The first box contains 20 folders as well as some loose items. The second small box contains nine folders; the third contains both a folder and two photo albums. The fourth box contains five folders.


Collection Name
W.C. Vaughan Co. records, 1880s-1980, bulk 1972-1980
Collection Code
1880-1980, predominant 1972-1980
The Boston based W. C. Vaughan Co. was founded in 1902, and was bought out in 2000 by the E. R. Butler Company. The Vaughan Company produced reproduction furniture hardware. Many of the pieces produced were wrought iron and were seen in places such as Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the rare books library and chapel at Harvard, and the president's house and boathouse at Wellesley College. The office and factory were originally located in Haymarket Square before moving to Washington Street by the 1970s.
Physical Description
13 boxes
7 record cartons
9 oversize folders
Finding Aid Info
Paper finding aid available in the Library and Archives.
Collection Type
Corporate Records
Description Level
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

The W. C. Vaughan Co. was incorporated in 1902 as a successor to four other hardware manufacturing companies: L. S. Hall, Enoch Robinson & Co., William Hall & Co., and the John Tein Co. The W. C. Vaughan Co. manufactured architectural, furniture and builder's hardware from archives and examples found in New England and homes along the Atlantic seaboard. Hardware referenced early American, Georgian, Colonial, and Federal styles. The founding president was Walter C. Vaughan until his son Walter S. Vaughan, took over. Walter C. Vaughan died in 1961 at the age of 93; Walter S. Vaughan died in 1967 at the age of 72. Elmer Pratt acquired the company stock in 1964, and became president. The original office and factory location was 1 Haymarket Square before moving to Washington Street by the 1970s.

The hardware was used in the Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, and of the Heritage home of President Andrew Jackson. Predecessors work is seen in the Boston State house, Boston City Hall, the Old South Meeting House, and the United States National Treasury Building. Local examples of company products can be seen in Heritage plantation in Sandwich, Museum of Fine Arts, the rare books library and chapel at Harvard, and the president's house and boathouse at Wellesley College.

The purchase of L. S. Hall by the W. C. Vaughan Co. in the 1920s meant the ownership rights to Enoch & Robinson Co. William Hall, and John Tein Co. were acquired in 1939. The E. R. Butler Co. was sole agent for the W. C. Vaughan Co. and collaborated in many designs, manufacturing, materials, and production methods. The E. R. Butler Co. added five sizes to Vaughan Co. product designs. The company acquired rights to the W. C. Vaughan Co. in 2000. As of 2010, the E. R. Butler Co. features a W. C. Vaughan Co. collection which includes Early American and Georgian period door knobs, furniture and cabinet knobs, hinges, locks, cane bolts, cylinder rings and covers, among many others.

Sources:; The Boston Globe article, "Where the Doorknob is a Work of Art".

Record details

Vaughan, W. C., Mr., ca. 1868-1961 (Manufacturer)
Vaughan, Walter S., d. 1967 (Manufacturer)
W.C. Vaughan Co. (Manufacturer)
Other People
Pratt, Elmer H.
Descriptive Terms
American Colonial
Georgian (British Renaissance-Baroque style)
finish hardware (hardware)
furniture hardware
historic houses
wrought iron (iron alloy)
Material Type
business letters
business records
clippings (information artifacts)
commercial correspondence
design drawings
details (components)
elevations (orthographic projections)
exterior perspectives
floor plans
interior perspectives
manuscripts (document genre)
photograph albums
purchase orders
renderings (drawings)
sections (orthographic projections)
trade catalogs
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
England (United Kingdom) [country]
All information taken from finding aid by Elizabeth M. Salek and Marie C. Erickson.