Palmer, William D


  William D. Palmer, the president of the Brown & Dowd Manufacturing Company of Meriden, was born December 24, 1852, in Griswold, Connecticut, on a farm that has been in the possession of the family since 1738. His parents were George D. and Harriet (Benjamin) Palmer. He attended the public schools and through the period of his boyhood and youth was employed upon the home farm until he reached the age of eighteen years. Thinking to find other pursuits more congenial than agricultural life, he then learned the carriage making trade under the direction of Charles Johnson at Mystic, Connecticut, spending two years there. He was afterward employed by the Brown Cotton Gin Company at New London, Connecticut, for nine years. He had a natural talent along mechanical lines and during this time he tested and inspected all kinds of machinery. On leaving New London he returned to coach work at Merrimac, Massachusetts, where he was in the employ of H. G. and H. W. Stevens for twelve years. He then came to Meriden, where he reorganized the Brown & Dowd Company, was made president, continuing to serve in that capacity to the present time. This concern manufactures household and hardware specialties. At the beginning they employed but a few men. That the trade has constantly increased is indicated by the fact that there are now thirty-two employes and their goods are sent to all parts of the world, their export business taking about two-thirds of their output. They have a well equipped plant and the excellence of their product has insured to them the liberal patronage which has come to them. Their business methods are progressive, their aims are highly commendable and the thorough reliability of the house is widely recognized.

  In 1874 Mr. Palmer was united in marriage to Miss Isabella Phillips, who passed away in 1884. One of the interests of his life is the collection of firearms, of which he possesses nearly four hundred varieties, his old guns and pistols numbering three hundred and fifty, while his modern firearms number about fifty. This is one of the greatest private collections to be seen. He has guns and pistols dating back as far as 1650, together with those which the latest science and invention have brought forth. Mr. Palmer is himself a wonderful shot, holding every record on the range. Rifle shooting has been his hobby and previous to coming to Meriden he was classed among the ten best shots in the country. He is a member of the Meriden Rifle Club. One viewing his collection can find almost everything that has been produced in the way of pistols and guns and these indicate most clearly the marvelous improvements which have been made along this line. Some of his old pistols have the most beautiful carving, while others are quaint or severely plain, according to the customs of the times or the uses to which they were to be put. Mr. Palmer is widely and favorably known in this section of the state, in which his entire life has been passed, and he is a worthy representative of one of the most honored old colonial families, whose settlement in this section dates from the earliest period of its development.

Modern History of New Haven
Eastern New Haven County


Volume II

New York Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 

pgs 626 - 627

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Elaine Kidd O'Leary &
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002