HEBRON — Peggy Stires of Livermore recently briefed the Hebron Historical Society on the history of Paris Manufacturing, which was started by her great-grandfather, Henry Morton, in 1861.

Initially, he and his brother started making snow sleds in West Sumner, then Paris Hill, before establishing a permanent factory in South Paris in 1884. The logistics of obtaining supplies and shipping product were enhanced at that location.

When some of his employees (of Finnish heritage) came to work on their skis, Morton decided that it would be a worthwhile venture to produce and market skis from his factory. His motto was to make each product “the best that it can be.” This charge to his workers for unsurpassed quality was surely the key in making his company the largest ski manufacturer in the country at that time.

In 1904 the company employed around 300 people and was turning out 1,500 sleds each day, a leading producer in the country. Arctic explorer Donald McMillan asked the company to make dog sleds for his ventures and he attributed the trips’ success to the reliability and quality of the equipment. The company would also upholster some sled models at the request of the buyer.

The company made numerous other items, including quality hardwood chairs, tables and roll-top desks for adults and children. It was a renowned employer in the community for 127 years.

Several attending the presentation gave accounts of their own from having worked at the company during their childhood.

The next society program, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, will have Carolyn Lawson of the Norlands Living History Center speaking on the “History on Civil War Medicine, Myth and Mini-balls.” Members will meet at the Town Office, 351 Paris Road. The public is invited.

Peggy Stires displays a Paris Manufacturing Company sled.


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