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In 1848, Simeon Brooks begins manufacturing wood screws and screw eyes in Chester factory – the first to do this in America. Chester's population was less than one thousand, electric energy did not yet exist, and transportation was by stage coach and river boat. The factory was powered by water turbine located beside Great Brook.
With his son Merritt, the business prospered and continued to be operated by various members of the Brooks family until sometime in the 1980’s. Merritt’s sons Hilton and Simeon, then Hilton alone, then Hilton’s sons Louis and Malcolm followed their family members into the business.