On a recent visit to Connecticut, my sister suggested we explore the town of Cheshire in search of interesting doors. Along the way, we discovered a neglected factory with a series of red garage doors, broken windows, and a cracked cement driveway that once housed the Ball & Socket Manufacturing Company.
Curiously, on the left-hand side of the decaying complex, a rustic, wood-sided red building was decorated with a long row of colorful, framed paintings and an artistically transformed entry door.
As it turns out, three local artists and co-founders of an organization called Ball & Socket Arts, purchased the factory in 2011. Their mission is to transform the factory and grounds into an arts and entertainment complex, offering gallery, performance, education, retail and dining spaces. To learn more about this worthy project and see stunning photographs of the inside of the old factory check out their website BallandSocket.org.
In case you are wondering why the factory was called “Ball & Socket Manufacturing,” a “ball and socket” is what we call a “snap” fastener today – where the ball snaps into the socket. The site was a working factory for almost 150 years, from 1850 until 1992, dealing in buttons of every description. Folks in the town of Cheshire used to say, “sooner or later, everyone works at the Button Shop.” While buttons are no longer made here, it’s great to see a new life is in the works for the former factory.
Inspiration: Thursday Doors.
17 thoughts on “Ball & Socket Arts”
I love it when buildings like this find new life. I hope the artists are successful.
Sewing notions and clothing related hardware was a huge industry in CT. When I first moved here in the early 1980s, I worked as a consultant and one of my clients was Waterbury Buckle – they made thousands of buckles and fasteners.
Yes, it is great to see old factories get a new life. The Ball & Sockets Art team already hosts creative venues at the property. I hope they keep the momentum going.
I didn’t realize CT had such a big presence in the sewing notions and clothing hardware business. Very cool that one of your clients was Waterbury Buckle. Thanks for sharing this info! I love learning about the history of these old factories in CT.
Truly a worthwhile project and splendid doors and art! ❤
It sure is a worthwhile project. I was delighted to find the place. It’s wonderful to see these old places repurposed.
I just LOVE creative people! They are always able to find beauty!
Nice pictures and a well-written story,😘