Biography of Norman C. Stiles
Connecticut Biographies





NORMAN C. STILES, MIDDLETOW: Manufacturer of Machinery.

The subject of this sketch, like very many other persons who have risen to prominence, and who have been largely instrumental in building up great enterprises, was a poor boy, but possessed with energy and push, and succeeded in establishing one of the most important industries in the country, from which he retired in December last, leaving his son, E. S. Stiles in his place. He was born at Feeding Hills, a village of Agawam, Mass., June 18, 1834. Through misfortunes to the father, the subject of this sketch was deprived of the educational advantages enjoyed by most boys of his age. He early developed inventive genius and remarkable mechanical ability, and various devices were constructed by him, previous to the age of sixteen, when he removed to Meriden and engaged with his brother, Doras A. Stiles, in the manufacture of tinware; but this gave him no opportunity to develop his mechanical tastes, and he soon after became connected with the American Machine Works, at Springfield, Mass., where he remained until he attained his majority. Soon after he returned to Meriden, Conn., and entered the employ of Messrs. Snow, Brooks & Co., now known as Messrs. Parker Brothers. He was employed in making dies and other small work, requiring great skill and ingenuity. He subsequently entered the employ of Messrs. Edward Miller & Co. of Meriden, where he remained until 1857, when he concluded to " paddle his own canoe," and began the manufacture of presses and dies. His business increased at a rapid rate and required additional facilities, and Mr. Stiles selected Middletown as a good place for wider operations, removed there, and has remained there ever since. Previous to removing to Middletown, Mr. Stiles made several improvements in his punching press, among others an eccentric adjustment, which was a great improvement on other punching presses then in use, and far superior to what was known as the Fowler press. This device he patented in 1864. Parker Bros. of Meriden, who were engaged in manufacturing the Fowler press, adopted Mr. Stiles' eccentric adjustment which involved a long and expensive litigation, resulting finally in a compromise and the organization of the Stiles & Parker Press Co., in which Mr. Stiles held the controlling interest. In 1873 Mr. Stiles attended the Vienna exposition, through which he obtained a foreign market for his goods. His presses are used in the armories and navy yards of the United States, as well as those of Germany, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, France, and Mexico. He has interested himself in the public affairs of Middletown, and served several years as a member of the boards of councilmen and aldermen. He married, March 23, 1864, Sarah M., daughter of Henry Smith of Middletown. They have three children, Doctor Henry R., Edmund S., secretary and superintendent of the Stiles & Parker Press Company, and Milly B. Mr. Stiles is a member of the church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal), of Middletown; of the society of Mechanical Engiineers and Engineer's Club of New York, and of the Knights Templar of Middletown. In politics he is a republican.

From:
Illustrated Popular Biography
Of Connecticut
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891


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