Waterbury, Connecticut earned the nickname “Brass City” because it was the nation’s manufacturer of brass products until the 1970s. When the brass industry closed in the early 1980s, Waterbury was forced to diversify its economy in order to recover financially, but at the turn of the century it was ranked as one of the 10 Worst Places to Live in the U.S. in the Places Rated Almanac. Tragically, a city which provided thousands of manufacturing jobs during World War II and helped equip Allied forces with everything from bullets to uniform buttons was affected by its heavy use of asbestos. Many men and women who were employed in war-related industries based in Brass City later developed serious asbestos-related illnesses as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top Waterbury mesothelioma lawyers, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
“Brass City” and the Asbestos Connection
Founded in the late 17th Century during the colonial period, Waterbury started out as a small New England town with no major industries until the early 1800s. During the 19th Century, Waterbury became a major center for the manufacture of brass. Its many factories along the Naugatuck and Mad Rivers attracted workers from all over the world, making Waterbury a major source of jobs for immigrants. The area earned the nickname “Brass City” because of the wide variety of brass products made there. Everything from cocktail shakers to brass beds was made in Waterbury, which was also famous for its inexpensive watches.
According to historian Geoffrey C. Ward, who wrote Ken Burns’ documentary The War, Waterbury’s industries shifted their focus from consumer goods to military-related products. Ward notes that the Mattatuck Manufacturing Company stopped making nails for upholstery and made cartridge clips for Springfield rifles. Chase Brass and Copper produced 50 million cartridge cases and mortar shells, over a billion small caliber projectiles, and even some of the components for the world’s first nuclear weapons.
Though Waterbury provided thousands of brass-manufacturing jobs in times of peace or war, many of the workers were constantly exposed to asbestos, a family of fibrous minerals used in various industries for their desirable properties. Naturally-occurring and found in almost every region of the Earth, asbestos has been used by humans to resist flame, high heat, provide insulation, and add tensile strength to metals and other building materials. However, its fibrous nature and cancer-causing properties make asbestos toxic to humans, and many men and women who worked in Waterbury job sites later developed fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Waterbury was, until the 1970s, an industrial city. It produced about a third of the country’s brass products even before it reached its economic peak in the 1940s. As a result, there were many job sites where asbestos exposure occurred regularly. These job sites not only included factories and metal foundries, but also power plants, lumber mills, auto repair shops, and government buildings, including courthouses and public schools.
Waterbury job sites known to have had asbestos exposure issues
Brass, Manufacturing, and Power Companies
- American Brass Company
- Chase Brass and Copper Company
- Mattatuck Manufacturing Company
- Waterbury Clock (later known as Timex)
- Waterbury Brass Company
- Anaconda-American Brass Company
- Scovill Manufacturing Company
- Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P)
- Waterbury Buckle Company
- Cly-Del Manufacturing Corporation
- Somers Thin Strip Brass
- Waterbury Button Company
- Randolph Clowes Company
- Benedict & Burnham Company
- American Cyanamid
- Waterbury Trust Company
- Connecticut Railway & Lighting Company
- Anderson Grammar School
- Blessed Sacrament School
- Bunker Hill Elementary School
- Chase Collegiate Private School
- Crosby High School
- East End High School
- East Mountain Elementary School
- Holy Cross High School
- FJ Kingsbury Elementary School
- Our Lady of MT Carmel School
- North End Middle School
- St. Anne School
- Waterbury Elementary School
- Kennedy High School
- Waterbury State Technical School
- Wilby High School
- Wilson Alternative School
- Naugatuck Community College
- St. Mary’s Hospital
- Waterbury Hospital
- Sacred Heart Rectory
- Sears Roebuck
- Sealtest Dairy
- Berkeley Heights Housing
- Dimes Savings Bank
- Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center
- Elton Hotel
- Holmes Booth & Haydens Mfg. Co.
National Cancer Institute-Designated Facilities in Connecticut
- Yale Cancer Center: 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, Ct. Box 208028, 203-785-4191
Getting Legal Help in Waterbury
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you may qualify for substantial compensation. Get our free Financial Compensation Packet for info on the top mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in your area. For questions and assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.