Creator: Cape Ann Anchor Works
Dates: 1880-1972
Quantity: 6.5 linear feet (1 document box, 6 cartons)
Acquisition:  Accession #: 1998.13 ; Donated by: Eric Ronnberg
Identification: A86; Archive Collection #86
Citation: [Document Title]. The Cape Ann Anchor Works Collection, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright:  Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist.
Language: English
Finding Aid: Jane W. Mead, 2017, supervised by Stephanie Buck, Librarian/Archivist

View the collection here.


The Cape Ann Anchor Works originated in a blacksmith shop owed by Benjamin Haskell in 1823 where he made hand forged anchors for the Gloucester fishing fleet. In partnership with others, Haskell opened a forge on Vincent’s Cove in 1859 where he was able to make 500- pound anchors. The company was incorporated in 1866 as the Cape Ann Anchor Works. The anchor works and its smokey forge were surrounded in Vincent’s Cove by fish processing companies and their fish flakes. In 1880, John Pew & Sons paid the Cape Ann Anchor Works to move to Whittemore Street where it enlarged its plant and engaged in general forging in addition to anchor-making. Later named Cape Anchor Works and Forging Company, the company produced axels and crankshafts for heavy industry and its products were shipped throughout the United States and to Canada. The company stopped making anchors in 1916 but expanded its operations to supply the military with marine forgings during the First and Second World Wars. Cape Ann Anchor Works merged with Standard International in 1969 and ceased operations in 1985. Its real estate has been acquired by McNiff Company.


The account books itemized in Series I were donated to Eric Ronnberg, Jr. as the last buildings on the Anchor Works property were being demolished. Ronnberg then donated the ledgers to the Cape Ann Museum to compliment its maritime history collections.

Items in Series II and IV have been collected over time by the CAM Archives as relevant to local history. Series III is reserved pending completion of a proposed donation to the collection. Series V references relevant materials that are not housed with the collection, the location noted in parentheses.


The materials in this collection include ledger books dating between 1882 and 1913 with a few gaps. The ledgers include:

  • Order books detailing customer name and location, and descriptions of the product ordered often including a sketch;
  • Sales records detailing company name, details of merchandise ordered, shipping instructions amount of sale by piece and total. Sales are totaled by month and are broken out in a Summary of Sales, Iron Forgings, Steel Forgings, Anchors, and Miscellaneous.

In addition to local interest, the materials are relevant to the study of 19th century industrial economy.

Other items include an agreement between CAAW and John Pew, advertising brochures, correspondence related to the sale of CAAW and to the decline of the business, and magazine articles. Related information located in the CAM Library, The Archives of the City of Gloucester, and the Sawyer Free Library is noted.


Series I: Account Books

Series II: Material in Box D21

Series III: Deeds, Plans & Photographs

Series IV: Vertical File references

Series V: Misc. other resources


Series I Account Books

Box 1

12 Order Books 1882-1889


Box 2

11 Order Books 1900-1908


Box 3

2 Order Books 1907-1913

3 Record Books 1902-1915

1 Account Book 1899-1900


Box 4

3 Order Books 1882-1898


Box 5

3 Order Books 1898-1905


Box 6

1 Order Book 1905-1907


Series II Box D21 


Agreement between John Pew & Sons and the Cape Ann Anchor Works, Vincent’s Point , 1880



Advertising card (photo by Spooner) Advertising Book Invoice, 1912 - J.W. Penney & sons



Industry Magazine, 1952, Eyes Right on Gloucester (Le Pages, Mighty Mac, Cape Ann Anchor, Fish Processing)



Correspondence mostly to do with sale & purchase of shares in the CAAW 

  1. With J.W. Penny Sons Co., 1902, 1907 (3)
  2. With Old Colony Trust Co., 1952 (3)
  3. With H.D. Edwards & Co., 1959, 1964 (14)
  4. With Mrs. Elizabeth W. Phillips, stockholder, 1959 (2)
  5. With Mrs. Helen Sewall, stockholder, 1959 (2)
  6. With Mr. Lawrence Jodrey, stock hled by John Story, 1961 (1)
  7. With Mr. William E. Creamer, H.C. Wainright & Co., 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966 (6)
  8. With Winslow, Cohu & Stetson, 1964 (2)
  9. With Mr. Benjamin A. Bailey, 1947, 1964, 1965 (6)
  10. With (Ruth) Mrs. Alfred M. Brooks, 1964 (2)
  11. With Mr. William J. & Robert M. MacInnes, 1964 (2)
  12. With Mrs. Ethel Daley, 1964 (3)
  13. With Mr. John N. Easterbrook, 1951, 1953, 1964 (7)
  14. With Franklin & Company, 1964 (2)
  15. With Mr. John T. Holden, 1964, 1965 (5)
  16. With Mr. W. J. Anderson, Cape Ann Bank & Trust, 1965 (2)
  17. With Mrs. Louise L. Campbell, 1959, 1964, 1965 (4)
  18. With Mr. Peter Miller, 1966 (2)
  19. With Mr. Burton Fisher, Whiteface Inn, (25)
  20. With Mr. Andrew Nutton, 1963, 1964, 1968 (6)
  21. With Norm, 1965 (2)
  22. Blank announcement of merger of CAAW with Standard International, 1969 (3)
  23. Stockholder lists: Sept. 1958, June 1964, Nov 1964, Apr 1965 (4)
  24. Advertising brochure, 1968
  25. Spring Meeting menu, 1972


Series III Deeds, Plans & Photographs



Series IV VF

Small Business Misc. G.

Guano Factory, Cape Ann Anchor Works, 1884


Small Business Misc. C.

Cape Ann Forge (Anchor Works)


Series V Misc. Other Resources

c.1882-5 Edward J. Corliss & J.F. Ryan Photographs. Whittemore Street CAHA #20424-20427. (CAM Archives)

1884 Atlas of Gloucester and Rockport Mass. G.E. Hopkins, Plate 4 showing Cape Ann Anchor Works at Vincent Street. (CAM Library)

1903-1906 Scrap Book, Assessor’s Office. 3 volumes - individual articles are not dated. (Gloucester City Archives)

Gen. Electric Buys City Land of $700 – bound by land “now or formerly of the Cape Ann Anchor Works” (Book 3)

To Build a Big Wharf. Work at Cape Ann Anchor Works to commence Monday. Will Also Dredge Way to Main Channel. (Book 1)

Will Remove to New Quarters. Perkins Box Factory Likely to Occupy Shoe Factory Building.Spur Track Will Facilitate Out-of-Town Shipments. 

1917. Sanborn Map, sheet 46. Whittemore Street and Cape Ann Anchor Works.(CAM Photo Archives)

1909 Ad – Fishing Masters’ Association. Fishermen of the Atlantic. (CAM Archives)

1920 Ad – Master Mariners’ Association of Gloucester, Mass. (CAM Archives)

1930 Stone, Orea Lavalle. Cape Ann Anchor & Forge Company. in History of Massachusetts Industries. Their Inception, Growth and Success. Volume III. pp. 121-124. Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. Past Presidents.

1937 & 1940 Richard R. Foster, Cape Ann Anchor Works and Forging Company

198? Gloucester Daily Times article re: sale to a person from NY (Sawyer Free Library archives)