About Our Building

NESIT is centrally located in Meriden, Connecticut. We are conveniently located about 2 hours from Boston, 1.5 hrs. from New York City and right between New Haven and Hartford. NESIT is located on the 3rd floor of The Meriden Enterprise Center, a large manufacturing and office building that is home to over 60 businesses, located in the center of Connecticut.

The building was the former home of companies such as the Charles Parker company, known for the manufacture of the Springfield rifle and the development of one of the early repeating rifles in the mid-nineteenth century. Charles Parker was born in 1809 and rose from poverty to become one of Connecticut’s leading industrialists. He also became the city of Meriden’s first mayor. He started his manufacturing career inventing and producing coffee mills in a small shop in 1832.

By 1860, he owned several large factories and employed hundreds of people, in and around Meriden. Parker products included hardware and house wares, flatware, clocks, lamps, piano stools and benches, vises, coffee mills, industrial machinery, and, after 1862, guns. Guns, however, never amounted to more than 10 percent of Parker’s business. Charles Parker died in 1901 and his descendants carried on his businesses until 1957. The Great Depression of the 1930s took its toll on the Parker enterprise and it never fully recovered. Parker products have now become “collector’s items,” especially the Parker shotguns. The Charles Parker Company sold its gun facility and the rights to the Parker gun to Remington Arms Company in 1934, and Remington continued the Parker shotgun line until World War II. The attraction by collectors to the Parker shotgun comes because of the gun’s inherent quality and beauty. The Parker gun is an American classic.

During World War II, the building became the home of the New Departure Manufacturing Company, which produced ball-bearings. The company was eventually owned by General Motors. At its peak, over 20,000 people were employed at the plant. During much of the building’s life, the plant was powered with an on-site power generation station which also powered other parts of the city. Stories are told about the plant during this time. It is rumored that during the war, thousands of ball bearings were stored underneath the parking lot of the plant, almost a whole year’s production worth, in case the factory was bombed! In this case, the company would recover the store of bearings until factory production was reestablished.

Articles from the Meriden Record-Journal, June 16, 1956.

From 1970 until the mid-1980s, vacuum bottle and meat chopping equipment was manufactured at the site by Union Manufacturing and The Charles Parker Co. It has since been used for mixed-use.

It is interesting to note that some of the ball bearings produced at the plant never made it to customers. Many are still lodged between the wood floor boards, too numerous to do anything about them.

More pictures of the building are here: http://290pratt.com/photos-videos/