Republic Foil and Metal Mills, Inc. was established by John W. Douglas in 1945. Douglas was a 1929 graduate of Yale University who had established himself as a wealthy and sucessful industrialist through his involvement in a variety of large corporations. He served the United States Government’s Office of Production Management as a “Dollar-a-year-man” during World War Two and in 1945 organized Republic Foil and Metal for the purpose of manufacturing metal foils for use in electronics. Like many other companies which relocated to Danbury in the post-war period, Douglas was drawn to Danbury due to its location along the New Haven Railroad, as well as by the available pool of skilled workers that the decline of the hat industry had left without employment. In 1946, he purchased a partially-completed factory building being erected by the Danbury Industrial Corporation on Triangle Street, and by 1947 had completed the building and begun work. Through the 1950s the company turned out materials to support the United States’s military efforts during the Korean War, as well as produced a variety of civilian products such as consumer packaging and decorative items. In 1961, the company diversified its product line through the acquisition of the Consolidated Bag and Foil Corporation of Somerville, Massachusetts, the nation’s largest manufacturer of foil-insulated ice cream bags and a manufacturer of laminated foil insulation. This success fueled a substantial expansion of the company’s Danbury plant. This included construction of a research lab, engineering department, and state-of-the art rolling mill. The firm’s payroll was also dramatically increased and numbered 175 employees by 1961. Republic Foil and Metal Mills continues to operate in Danbury and remains a leading national producer of metal foils.
Roughly thirteen (13) primary blocks.
1947, ca. 1955.
The Republic Foil and Metal Mills, Inc. plant is comprised of approximately thirteen primary adjoining blocks located on the north side of Triangle Street, opposite its intersection with Starr Street. The original portion of the mill was completed in 1947 and consists of the one-story, 122’ x 180’ block with 4’-tall clerestory monitor located at the core of the plant. This is of steel-frame construction and has a concrete foundation, red brick apron walls, and a flat roof. The side (east and west) walls of the monitor are continuous spans of glass set in metal frames and with hopper-style openings. Metal lettering on the building’s west elevation reads “REPUBLIC FOIL.” The 1947 plant was substantially enlarged during the 1950s through the addition of adjoining blocks on the south, east, and north sides of the original factory. The southern addition consists of a two-story, 65’ x 136’ red brick block with rectangular window openings, metal sash with hopper-style openings, concrete windowsills, concrete coping, and a flat roof. A one-story enclosed metal and glass entry porch with a flat roof is centered on its south (front) elevation. The eastern addition consists of a two-story, 50’ x 160’ steel-frame block with a concrete block foundation, red brick and sheet metal walls, and a flat roof. Small window openings with concrete sills and hopper-style windows span the south (front) elevation. The northern addition to the original plant consists of ten adjoining steel-frame blocks with metal siding and flat or front-facing gable roofs with metal sheathing. All measure approximately 34’ wide yet vary in length from 96’ to 245’. As a group they measure roughly 172’ x 372’.
The complex is in fair condition. All portions of the plant appear reasonably well maintained, however, many of the exterior walls are in need of cleaning and some minor deterioration is visible in buildings at the rear of the complex.
One legal parcel (55 Triangle Street) totaling 8.36 acres located on the north side of Triangle Street, opposite its intersection with Starr Street.
Lucas A. Karmazinas