Muzzy Shingle Machine: A trail of mystery, loss, and success.
Beyond its lumber production, Chamberlin Mill was a significant manufacturer of wood shingles in the 19th and early 20th centuries. According to the 1850 census, the Mill produced 40,000 feet of lumber, and 400,000 shingles—the largest shingle production in Woodstock, representing one-fifth of the town’s overall shingle production.
A Muzzy Shingle Machine, dating to the mid-1800s, remained in the Mill until the late 1990s when it was sold by the Chamberlin family. Family photographs taken at this time and shared with Chamberlin Mill, Inc. helped identify the machine as a Muzzy, one of the early shingle machines, manufactured in Bangor, Maine.
For over half a decade after restoration began on Chamberlin Mill, Andy Quigley tried to track down this shingle machine, tracing it finally to a farm in North Franklin, CT, where it had unfortunately been consumed in a barn fire. Undeterred, Andy and others kept their eyes open for Muzzy Shingle Machines online. Then, about two months ago, a man from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, contacted the Mill by email. He had just acquired a Muzzy machine and wanted to know what we might know about it. Andy contacted the new owner, and told him about what we were doing at Chamberlin Mill. After visits back and forth, Andy was convinced the shingle machine was identical to the one lost from Chamberlin, and the owner was convinced that Chamberlin was where the machine belonged. He agreed to sell it to us for the price he paid. The rare Muzzy machine will be a significant artifact in telling the story of Chamberlin Mill.
Franklin Muzzy of Bangor Maine was a craftsman turned businessman and politician. He was involved in efforts to reduce the working day to 10 hours, and most importantly for our purposes, was granted patents on shingle mills in 1842 and 1851.