How we have grown over the years

Our Historical Timeline

  1. The First Quarry!

    It was soon after the War of 1812 that high-grade granite was utilized for a myriad of commercial purposes. Soon after the war, Robert Parker, a veteran of Bunker Hill and the War of 1812, returned to Barre and with one of his associates, Thomas Courser, opened the first quarry in the town. The quarry was later known as Wheaton's.

  2. The first shed in Barre!

    The first shed in Barre specifically for stonecutting was built (John S. Collins, bottom of Hill Street.)

  3. Water-powered Machines

    Water-powered granite sawing, grinding and polishing machines were introduced into Barre’s granite sheds. The first stone cutting and polishing lathes were installed.

  4. Railroad

    On Saturday, July 12, 1873 the Montpelier & Wells River Railroad’s first train moved into Vermont and the granite industry boom began. With the arrival of rail in Barre in 1875, the dream of efficient, cost-effective transportation of Barre’s granite was realized and the Barre granite industry exploded as national markets opened.

  5. Barre’s granite workers join the Granite Cutters’ International Association.

    Barre granite’s workers join the Granite Cutters’ International Association

  6. Steam-powered boom derrick hoists were introduced.

    Steam-powered boom derrick hoists were introduced. The first galvanic battery-powered system for quarry blasting and the first steam-driven quarry drill were used at the E.L. Smith Quarry.

  7. First Overhead Traveling Yard Crane

    The first overhead traveling yard crane was installed as well as the first non-pneumatic surfacing machine.

  8. Barre Granite Association is Established

    Barre Granite Association is Established. The BGA name together in April 1889 when a group of 14 granite firms met to plan a display for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

  9. Detachable Drill Bits

    Large circular diamond segment saws were introduced, replacing wire saws.

  10. Pneumatic Tools Introduced

    A shift from all handwork to machines began with the introduction of pneumatic tools, which varied in size from small hand tools to large surfacing machines.

  11. The Jones Brothers Company

    An inside view of one of Vermont’s oldest and largest granite manufacturing plants. The Jones Brothers Company was built in 1895 in the north end of Barre. During most of the 1900’s this plant employed more than 600 people and occupied 100,000 square feet on operational space until 1975 when it closed. It is now the site of the Vermont Granite Museum.

  12. Hope Cemetery

    Hope Cemetery was founded.

  13. Air-Driven Plug Drills

    Air-driven plug drills were introduced, and in 1905 compressed air was used whenever available.

  14. Population Growth

    The last quarter of the 19th Century witnessed the immigration of thousands of workers seeking jobs in Barre’s cavernous quarries and bustling granite sheds (factories). The population of Barre grew from 2,000 in 1880 to over 12,000 by 1910.

  15. New Saw Types

    The gang, circle and oscillating types and all used chilled shot as a cutting agent. The gang saws have greatly increased during the last decade. This equipment conserves the consumption of rough stock and does much of the work previously done by the surfacing machines.

  16. Edging Saw

    Edging or honing saw made its appearance.

  17. Exhaust Systems

    Exhaust systems were installed to remove granite dust from machine operators breathing zone.

  18. Sandblasting

    Sandblasting is introduced for lettering and carving monuments.

  19. Dust Removing Devices Required

    Barre Manufacturers and Barre Granite Cutters International require that all dust creating machines must be adequately equipped with dust removing devices.

  20. Wet Saws

    High speed carborundum saws and planes are used wet, eliminating more dust.

  21. Barre Guild Seal

    First use of Barre Guild Seal/Warranty.

  22. Wet Drilling

    Wet drilling and sawing methods were employed to suppress dust to protect the worker’s lungs from granite dust.

  23. Carbide-Tip Tools

    Carbide-tip tools were introduced, greatly decreasing the frequency of required sharpening.

  24. Trucking Started

    Flatbed trucks displaced the railroad as the primary means of granite transport.

  25. Wire Saws

    Abrasive wire saws came into general use reducing the amount of finishing formerly required. A stream of water and abrasive fed onto the wire rapidly cuts granite without producing dust and very little noise.

  26. Flame Jet Burners

    Flame jet Burners, which burned a mixture of oxygen and fuel oil and were used in the process of channeling granite, were Introduced. This advanced in technology would be used for the next three decades.

  27. Mass Production

    Modern high-efficiency machinery for mass production of standardized monuments is installed in granite sheds.

  28. New Machines and Conveyor Systems

    Semi-automatic granite-working machines and conveyor systems were introduced into manufacturing plants.

  29. Diamond Saws

    Large circular diamond segment saws were introduce, replacing wire saws.

  30. Diamond Engraving Tools

    Diamond engraving tools for surface illustrations were introduced – termed as etching.

  31. Diamond Wire Saw

    Diamond wire saw technology reemerges in manufacturing and quarrying methods.

  32. Quarry Drilling

    Quarry drilling continues to use Tamrock/Sandvik 600 slot liners and Tamrock/Sandvik 550 deep hole drills are in operation at the quarry.

  33. The Vermont Granite Museum

    The Vermont Granite Museum was established to celebrate Barre’s granite heritage. The museum is located in the old Jones Bros granite shed in Downtown Barre.

  34. Thibaut Horizontal Diamond Wire Block Saw

    Wire sawing is a revolution in primary sawing. The Thibaut horizontal diamond wire block sawing uses automatic wedge inserts to keep slaws from collapsing.

  35. New technology for Slab Polishers

    Advances in technology produces slab polishers with programmable head-changing capabilities.

  36. CNC Sawing

    CNC sawing and milling center capable of more ornate products like statue bust.

  37. Turned Column

    CNC sawing and milling center producing a turned column.