Industry – General

Joseph R. Brown

Joseph R. Brown, 1810-1876,  was a mechanical genius who co-founded Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. which became one of the leading manufacturers of machine tools.

Manuel Gorriaran

Manuel Gorriaran, 1938-2012, was a sportsman, philanthropist, industrialist, and a Pan-American-World Olympic Wrestling Team manager. He was a member of the Helms Hall of Fame, won the International Amateur Wrestling Federation’s highest award and was Chairman of People to People Rhode Island. ce President, President and then Chairman of Hook-Fast Specialties, Inc., a family-owned jewelry …

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Charles C. Tillinghast Jr.

Legal mind, industrialist, and investment banker, Charles C. Tillinghast served as the chairman of Trans World Airlines (T.W.A.). Born in 1911 in Saxtons River, Vermont, he was the son of Charles C. and Adelaide (Shaw) Tillinghast. He graduated from the Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of Bronx, New York in 1928, and then …

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Felix Mirando

Felix Mirando is a Povidence business and civic leader who co-founded the Imperial Knife Co., one of the largest cutlery firms in the United States. He was many times for his work in civic, charitable and religious enterprises.

Amos Chafee Barstow

Mayor Amos Chafee Barstow (1813-1892) was one of the most accomplished and versatile men in the history of Rhode Island.  A Providence native, Barstow made his fortune by the manufacture of stoves.  His firm, the Barstow Stove Company, located at Point and Richmond Streets covered two and one-half acres and employed 200 workers.  Barstow won …

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Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff

  Goff, Darius L. (Darius Lee) and Goff, Lyman Bullock The Goff Brothers, formerly of Pawtucket, were the sons of the Honorable Darius Goff, and members of one of the most prominent industrialist families in New England. They were partners in D. Goff & Sons, which occupied a foremost position among regional industrial concerns. They …

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Lucian Sharpe

Lucien Sharpe, 1830-1899 was a business leader who was co-founder of Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Company. Cited for his efforts in seeking improved working conditions, he served as President of the Providence Journal Company for 13 years.

Sylvia K. Hassenfeld

Mrs. Hassenfeld, formerly of Providence, lived in both New York City and Palm Beach, FL.  She was been widely recognized as an outstanding civic, cultural, and philanthropic leader of international communal services for more than 40 years.  Mrs. Hassenfeld has been described as "one of the most significant leaders in the American Jewish community of …

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William T. Nicholson

Nicholson, William Thomas, 1834-1893 William T. Nicholson was the founder of the Nicholson File Company of Providence, the originator of machine-made files in America, the largest company of its kind in the world, and one of Providence’s “five industrial wonders” of the nineteenth century. Nicholson was born on March 22, 1834 in the village of …

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Senator William Sprague Jr.

Senator William Sprague, Jr. (1799-1856) was one of the most prominent members of a family that ranked as one of Rhode Island’s richest and most powerful during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century.   He was the son and namesake of William Sprague, founder of the great textile empire, the younger brother of Amasa, whose …

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Joseph Banigan

Joseph Banigan (1839-1898) and his parents were part of a wave of Irish Catholic refugees who fled the Potato Famine in Ireland. Arriving in Rhode Island in 1847, he attended school for one year before becoming a full-time worker at age nine. Over the next fifty years he employed the “pluck and luck” characteristics of …

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Governor Augustus Osborn Bourn

Governor Augustus O. Bourn (1834-1925) was born in Providence in 1834 to a distinguished old-line Rhode Island family whose earliest ancestor Jared Bourn served as a Portsmouth representative to the colonial assembly in 1654-55. After graduation from Brown University in 1855, Bourn joined his father in the business of manufacturing India-rubber goods. In 1864, Bourn …

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Henry M. Leland

Henry Leland approached his boss at Brown & Sharpe with a preposterous proposal: He planned to quit his job and move west to begin a business, and he wanted to take one of his best co-workers with him. To start his new business he would need to borrow $2,000, the current equivalent of $50,000; he …

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Joseph Whalen

Joseph Whalen, a former president of Bostich, Inc., developed a small stapling-machine plant into one of the state’s major industries. His corporation became one of the world leaders in its field.

Rudolph Frederick Haffenreffer Jr.

 Haffenreffer, Rudolph Frederick, 1874-1954 Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr. (1874-1954), a native of Boston and a first generation German-American, became a successful Fall River brewer and purchased several hundred acres in Bristol from 1903 to 1912 for use as a summer retreat. His acquisitions included Mount Hope and the Bradford House.  After completing his basic education …

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John Brown Herreshoff

  Herreshoff, John Brown, 1841-1915 John Brown Herreshoff  was the Bristol-born elder brother and indispensable associate of Hall of Famer Nat Herreshoff. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, which built seven America’s Cup defenders from 1893 through 1934, was founded in 1878 by “JB” and Nat Herreshoff. This firm operated under JB’s direction for thirty-seven years. JB lost one …

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Joseph Davol

Joseph Davol, a native of Warren, traced his ancestry to William Davol who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1640. After early schooling in Warren, Joseph moved with his parents to Brooklyn, New York where he attended high school. At the age of sixteen he entered the employ of a wholesale dry goods business …

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James Hanley

  Hanley, James, 1841-1912 James Hanley was born in Roscommon, Ireland and came to America with his parents as a child in 1846 during the Great Famine migration.  He rose from poverty to prominence as Rhode Island’s leading brewer. Hanley’s first important step into the world of business came in January 1862, at the age …

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Henry & Henry Fredrick Lippitt

Henry Lippitt was a native Rhode Islander who died in 1891, after becoming one of the state’s industrial and financial leaders of his time, serving two terms as governor. Henry F. Lippitt, Henry’s son, died in 1933, after following in his father’s footsteps as an industrialist, a statesman, and a United States Senator. A renowned …

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Frederick Grinnell

Frederick Grinnell was an industrialist and president of the firm that bears his name. As President of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company that later became the Grinnell Corporation, he patented the automatic sprinkler and emerged as the acknowledged world leader in automatic fire protection. He was instrumental in organizing the National Fire Protection …

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John Gorham

Gorham, John, 1820-1898 John Gorham was born in Providence on November 18, 1820. He was the eldest son of Jabez Gorham who had established himself as a leading manufacturer of silverware and jewelry in Providence in the 1830s. John began his apprenticeship in 1837 and in 1841, at the age of 21, he became a …

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Alan G. Hassenfeld

Alan Hassenfeld is the former chairman of the board and present chairman of the executive committee of Hasbro, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international toy company. Under his leadership, Hasbro has become a worldwide leader in children’s and family entertainment. Its brands and products are some of the most recognizable and respected throughout the world. Alan …

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Merrill Hassenfeld

Merill Hassenfeld, 1918-1979, was Chief Executive Officer of Hasbro Industries. He was an active leader of the Jewish people and campaign chairman of the United Way of Southern New England.He was president of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, a founder of the Jewish Community Center and a director of the Miriam Hospital.

Angus Hebb

The late Angus Hebb was the President of American Steele and Aluminum Corp. who achieved an international reputation for his efforts to preserve and propagate rare and endangered waterfowl. He created a 40-acre sanctuary for the R.I. Audubon Society, and was was elected to the Aviculture Hall of Fame.

Sol Koffler

The late Sol Koffler, was the inventor and manufacturer of the internationally famous Tourister Luggage. Although active in Jewish affairs, his philanthropy transcended all race, religion, or color.

W. Russell Boss

W. Russell Boss, 1909-1988, was former Treasurer, Sales Manager, President and Chairman of the Board at A.T. Cross Company from 1927 to 1979. He was the father of Bradford R. Boss, and Russell A. Boss, both later leaders of the company.

Russell A. “Ron” Boss

Russell Boss became President of the A.T. Cross Company, and served as Director and Vice President of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America. He is also a well-known yachtsman and sailing champion.

Bradford P. Boss

Bradford P. Boss, whose career at A.T. Cross was primarily in sales and marketing, served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Costa Inc (Formerly Known As A.T. Cross Company) from 1960 until April 1993. He continued to serve as Chairman of the Board until November 14,1999, then becoming Chairman Emeritus. He …

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Harry Kizirian

Harry Kizirian, 1925 ” 2002, was the postmaster who oversaw construction of the first automated post office in the nation, which opened in Providence in 1960. Kizirian also won the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star with Combat V, two Purple Hearts, and the Rhode Island Cross as a Marine Corps Corporal in World War II.

Thomas Gilbane

Thomas Gilbane, 1911-1981, was a third generation Gilbane of Gilbane construction and President of Gilbane Construction Company. Thomas and his brother Bill built the company from a local firm to one of the top ten in the nation. Thomas Gilbane was also a former star athlete at Brown University, prominent in Boy Scouts circles and …

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William Gilbane

William Gilbane, 1909-1996, was Vice-President of Gilbane Construction, one of the largest firms in the country. He was known for being the Captain of Brown University’s great 1932 football team, and was named “Big Brother of the Year” in 1956. William was General Chairman of the United Fund, and active in Boy Scouts and other …

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Leonard Woodcock

Leonard Woodcock, 1911-2001, was national President of the United Auto Workers Union. He headed a group of Americans in seeking final disposition of the Missing-In-Action servicemen who served in Vietnam. He was recognized as one of the more conservative leaders.

Rowland Hazard

  Hazard, Rowland, 1829-1898   Rowland Hazard  was the son of Hall of Fame member Rowland Gibson Hazard and the father of Hall of Fame inductee Caroline Newton Hazard. Born in Newport, he moved at the age of four to his family’s mill village of Peace Dale which remained his principal residence until his death–as well …

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