On May 22, the Historical Society of Bloomfield will present “The International Arms & Fuze Company” with lifetime Bloomfield resident Dean Cole.
Many of us can still remember the Charms candy factory at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Grove Street, but what is mostly forgotten today is that from the summer of 1915 to the end of 1918, the factory was home to of one of the largest arms manufacturers in the United States—The International Arms & Fuze Company.
At its peak, it employed 10,000 workers, including over 4,000 women working night and day to produce millions of artillery shells and fuses for the allied war effort against Germany in World War One.
The plant had its own railroad siding and water supply, as well as medical facilities, a laboratory and a cafeteria. The workers had their own band, baseball team, bowling league and women’s basketball team.
Initially, its presence in town aroused fears of explosions, fiery catastrophe and plummeting property values. In reality it brought tax revenue, employment, town improvements and the expansion of public transportation.
Join us on May 22 as we return to the Bloomfield of 1915–1918 and explore The International Arms & Fuze Company and Bloomfield’s contribution to the allied war effort during World War One.