Two Boardman brothers arrived in Boston colony from Lancashire, England a decade after the Mayflower. One of them settled in Connecticut. The Boardman Family was the original founders of the Connecticut Silversmith industry.
Established in East Haddam CT in 1842, and utilizing the natural downward flow of East Haddam’s creeks and streams, Norman Boardman and his father built a powerful industry of mills and factories to produce his Britannia styled spoons and other cutlery.
A gem among Connecticut historic hotels, the Boardman House Inn was built in 1860 by silversmith Norman Boardman.
It is rare to find flatware manufactured by L. Boardman & Son on the market today. They produced quality merchandise and were early (1840) Connecticut River Valley manufacturers. The following was taken from the 1884 book “The History of Middlesex County, Connecticut” by J. B. Beers:
“Foremost to-day among the manufactures of nickel, silver, and silver plated flat goods, stands the firm of Luther Boardman & Son, of East Haddam, Connecticut. Mr. Luther L. Boardman was born in Rocky Hill, Conn., December 26th 1812, and at the age of 16 years, or in 1828, entered the employ of Mr. Ashbel Griswold, of Meriden, Conn., and in the spring of 1840 we find him upon his own resources, engaged in the manufacture of britannia spoons in a small building where now stands the shop of William D. Clark, of Chester.
“On the 3d of May 1842, the works were moved to East Haddam, and Mr. Boardman took possession of the ground he now occupies. In 1865 he built his new shop, a commanding structure, 100 by 40 feet, and introduced a Kilbourn & Lincoln turbine wheel, and a thirty-horse power steam engine. The plating of britannia goods commenced at this shop in 1857, and the manufacture of nickel silver goods in 1865. The visitor at these works will be astonished at the endless variety of electro plated flat goods which are here produced. Their nickel tinned goods embrace the same large and tasteful assortment. Mr. Norman Boardman was born in East Haddam, August 5th 1840, and after receiving all the advantages of an academic education was admitted into partnership with his father, January 1st 1864. When in full operation this firm employs fifty operatives, with a monthly pay roll amounting to about $3,000.”
It should be noted here that Luther married Lydia Ann Frary on Oct. 18 1838. She was the younger sister of James Ashbel Frary, one of the founding members of Meriden Britannia.
“The Old Chimney Stacks of East Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut” By Hosford Buel Nils published by Lowe & Co. 1887 adds more information:
“Luther Boardman, born in Rocky Hill (CT), commenced manufacturing britannia spoons in a small building in Chester; moved to East Haddam in 1842. Their extensive works are located at Goodspeed’s Landing. When in full operation they employ fifty operatives with a monthly pay roll of $3,000. Mr Boardman has been prominent in town and State affairs. His son, Norman L, was admitted to the firm soon after he became of age and has always been active in the management of the business. He (Norman) married the oldest daughter of Daniel B Warner and built a fine residence near his father. Both father and son and their wives are always liberal in works of practical benevolence and are widely known throughout the State.