Here and There With the Employees of the Draper Corporation
A Column Dealing With Their Activities
Draper company. While he is not the oldest employee in years of service, only a very few have a record
equal to his. Mr. Gaffney enjoys good health and appears much younger than his shop record would
indicate. He is looking forward to many more years of pleasant relations with his shop friends.
Mr. Gaffney started working in the Screw department about the time the late Charles F. Roper invented
the first automatic screw machine. Following the introduction of this machine the screw business
boomed for several years. He remained in this department for 38 years and then transferred to the
Pattern Safe department where he is now located. Only six men were employed in the screw business
at the start but this number was increased to several hundred within a few years.
When Mr. Gaffney was a boy he passed the home of Adin Ballou every day on his way to school. Mr.
Ballou greeted the school boys and often gave them apples. Mr. Gaffney recalls distinctly the time that
the Ballou house was moved to its present location on Dutcher street. The house is now occupied by
Alfred Howarth of the Foundry.
Thomas Gaffney was one of the six charter members of Hose 2, which was formed about 40 years ago.
These hose houses located in different sections of the town made up the only fire protection. When a fire
occurred at night it was necessary to arouse the late John French in order to secure his horse to haul the
When Almon Thwing, brother-in-law of George Draper, lived at the corner of Hopedale and Hope streets
he had a large clock on the front of his barn. It was the only clock of its size in town and everybody
referred to it as the Town Clock. It was built and maintained by Mr. Thwing with a great deal of pride. The
house in which Mr. Thwing lived is now located on Union Street. (The link goes to a page about the
possibility that it was an Underground Railroad house.) (In Frank Dutcher's memories of Christmas in
early Hopedale, he mentioned that Thwing had made a clock that was on the roof of the Community
chapel/school. It seems likely that after that building was no longer used for its original purpose, Thwing
moved the clock to his barn.)
Mr. Gaffney's father, Michael F. Gaffney, was employed in Worcester. He worked nights and came to
Hopedale on week-ends. After finishing work on Saturday night he would take a train to Northbridge and
then walk to his home here.
Mr. Gaffney says the Old Red shop, which now stands on the south end of Hopedale pond, opposite the
Freedom street side of the shop, is the original Sheet Metal department. It was then located near where
the Screw shop now stands. Later it was moved to the east side of Freedom street [???], south of the
dam, where it was still used for the sheet metal work. It was moved from there to its present location.
[When this article was written in 1934, the Little Red Shop was north of Freedom Street and west of the
pond, near Progress Street. It was moved to its present location on the east side of the pond in 1951.]
Mr. Gaffney's memory of what happened in Hopedale goes back vividly for 60 years. He can recall the
many changes in both the plant and the layout of the town. From conversations which he had as a boy
with his parents and also his grandparents he knows considerable about the history which covers the
doings of the Hopedale community and the days before Hopedale was set apart from Milford. One thing
which is seldom mentioned is the old Eight-rod road. This was an old stage coach route from Worcester
to Providence which went through this section. It is now grown up to woods but in many places a stone
wall which lined either side of the road is still standing. The boundary line between Hopedale and
Mendon follows this old road, Mr. Gaffney says. The Milford Daily News.