Manchester Print Works Explosion – 1858

     At the time of this incident, the Manchester Print Works was located on Great Road in Smithfield, but after the town division in 1871, the area became part of the town of Lincoln.  

     This was actually the second deadly boiler explosion to occur at this facility.  An earlier boiler explosion occurred on October 25, 1853, killing Patrick McGuire and Mathew McCabe, and injuring several others. 

       Click on article to enlarge. 

The Daily Exchange – Baltimore, MD.
July 13, 1858


    The site of the Manchester Print Works had been plagued by misfortune since the beginning.  According to Thomas Steere’s book, History of the Town of Smithfield, published in 1881, the “Butterfly Factory”, as it was originally known, was built by Stephen Smith as a cotton mill.  The name of the building came from two identical stones set in the masonry that resembled the wings of a butterfly.

     According to Mr. Steere, “The building was used for various purposes, but never with any permanent success.”  Around 1826, the building was purchased by Samuel and Lemuel Arnold and became a print works under the name of the Arnoldville Printing Company.  The partnership later dissolved. 

     At some point thereafter the building suffered a catastrophic fire, but was rebuilt, only to suffer another fire about 1844, and was again rebuilt.    In 1846 Theodore Schroeder  took over the business and renamed it the Manchester Print Works.  The business suffered two devastating explosions and went out of business in 1858. 

     The property was once again rebuilt and taken over by new owners who subsequently went out of business in 1862.  The building was once again destroyed by fire in 1867, and no further manufacturing was done on this site.

     At some point the building was once again rebuilt, and is today a private home. 


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