Inductees in Industry - General

  1. Joseph Banigan (1839-1898)

    Inducted in 2005

    Joseph Banigan (1839-1898) and his parents were part of a wave of Irish Catholic refugees who fled the Potato Famine in Ireland. Arriving in Rhode Island in 1847, he attended school for one year before becoming a full-time worker at age nine. Over the next fifty years he employed the "pluck and luck" characteristics of Yankee entrepreneurs to build a local footwear empire before assuming the presidency of the United States Rubber Company in 1893.

    Banigan was a youthful apprentice in the jewelry industry before tinkering with rubber products. Read more >

  2. Amos Chafee Barstow

    Amos Chafee Barstow (1813-1892)

    Inducted in 2004

    Mayor Amos Chafee Barstow (1813-1892) was one of the most accomplished and versatile men in the history of Rhode Island.  A Providence native, Barstow made his fortune by the manufacture of stoves.  His firm, the Barstow Stove Company, located at Point and Richmond Streets covered two and one-half acres and employed 200 workers.  Barstow won the Grand Medal of Merit at the 1873 Vienna World's Fair for the best cooking stoves and ranges. Read more >

  3. W. Russell Boss (1909-1988)

    Inducted in 1980

    W. Russell Boss, 1909-1988, was former Treasurer, Sales Manager, President and Chairman of the Board at A.T. Cross Company from 1927 to 1979. Read more >

  4. Russell A. "Ron" Boss

    Inducted in 1980

    Russell Boss became President of the A.T. Cross Company, and served as Director and Vice President of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America. He is also a well-known yachtsman and sailing champion. Read more >

  5. Bradford P. Boss

    Inducted in 1980

    Bradford P. Boss, whose career at A.T. Cross was primarily in sales and marketing, served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Costa Inc (Formerly Known As A. Read more >

  6. Governor Augustus Osborn Bourn

    Governor Augustus Osborn Bourn (1834-1925)

    Inducted in 2005

    Governor Augustus O. Bourn (1834-1925) was born in Providence in 1834 to a distinguished old-line Rhode Island family whose earliest ancestor Jared Bourn served as a Portsmouth representative to the colonial assembly in 1654-55. After graduation from Brown University in 1855, Bourn joined his father in the business of manufacturing India-rubber goods.

    In 1864, Bourn founded the National Rubber Company in Bristol which had a workforce of over 1100 within twenty years of its establishment and became, by far, Bristol's largest industry. Read more >

  7. Joseph R. Brown

    Joseph R. Brown (1810-1876)

    Inducted in 1973

    Joseph R. Brown, 1810-1876,  was a mechanical genius who co-founded Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. which became one of the leading manufacturers of machine tools. Read more >

  8. Joseph Davol

    Joseph Davol (1837-1909)

    Inducted in 1967

    Joseph Davol, 1837-1909, was a pioneer in the rubber industry who, prior to incorporating the Davol Rubber Company in 1881, devoted much of his time to experimentation and invention in the processing of rubber. He was among the first to see the potential for rubber products in the fields of medicine and dentistry. He remained the President, Treasurer, and general manager of this major business enterprise until his death in 1909.

    By Engraving from Memorial Encyclopedia of the State of Rhode Island, 1916. Read more >

  9. Joseph Davol

    Joseph Davol (1837-1909)

    Inducted in 2007

    Joseph Davol, a native of Warren, traced his ancestry to William Davol who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1640. After early schooling in Warren, Joseph moved with his parents to Brooklyn, New York where he attended high school. At the age of sixteen he entered the employ of a wholesale dry goods business in New York City where he received successive promotions by exhibiting a talent for business. In 1862 Davol married Mary E. Read more >

  10. Thomas Gilbane (1911-1981)

    Inducted in 1977

    Thomas Gilbane, 1911-1981, was a third generation Gilbane of Gilbane construction and President of Gilbane Construction Company. Thomas and his brother Bill built the company from a local firm to one of the top ten in the nation.

    Thomas Gilbane was also a former star athlete at Brown University, prominent in Boy Scouts circles and active in United Fund drives, Heart Fund and other community projects. Read more >

  11. William Gilbane (1909-1996)

    Inducted in 1977

    William Gilbane, 1909-1996, was Vice-President of Gilbane Construction, one of the largest firms in the country. He was known for being the Captain of Brown University's great 1932 football team, and was named "Big Brother of the Year" in 1956. William was General Chairman of the United Fund, and active in Boy Scouts and other civic endeavors. Read more >

  12. Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff

    Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff (1840-1927)

    Inducted in 1997


    Goff, Darius L. (Darius Lee) and Goff, Lyman Bullock

    The Goff Brothers, formerly of Pawtucket, were the sons of the Honorable Darius Goff, and members of one of the most prominent industrialist families in New England. They were partners in D. Goff & Sons, which occupied a foremost position among regional industrial concerns. Read more >

  13. John Gorham

    John Gorham (1820-1898)

    Inducted in 2009

    Gorham, John, 1820-1898

    John Gorham was born in Providence on November 18, 1820. He was the eldest son of Jabez Gorham who had established himself as a leading manufacturer of silverware and jewelry in Providence in the 1830s.

    John began his apprenticeship in 1837 and in 1841, at the age of 21, he became a partner in his father's business which then became known as J. Gorham & Son. Read more >

  14. Manuel Gorriaran (1938-2012)

    Inducted in 1975

    Manuel Gorriaran, 1938-2012, was a sportsman, philanthropist, industrialist, and a Pan-American-World Olympic Wrestling Team manager. He was a member of the Helms Hall of Fame, won the International Amateur Wrestling Federation's highest award and was Chairman of People to People Rhode Island.

    ce President, President and then Chairman of Hook-Fast Specialties, Inc., a family-owned jewelry manufacturing company based in Providence. Read more >
  15. Frederick Grinnell

    Frederick Grinnell (1836-1905)

    Inducted in 1984

    Frederick Grinnell was an industrialist and president of the firm that bears his name. As President of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company that later became the Grinnell Corporation, he patented the automatic sprinkler and emerged as the acknowledged world leader in automatic fire protection. He was instrumental in organizing the National Fire Protection Association, and subsequently formed the General Fire Extinguisher Company. Read more >

  16. Rudolph Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr. (1874-1954)

    Inducted in 2007

     Haffenreffer, Rudolph Frederick, 1874-1954

    Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr. (1874-1954), a native of Boston and a first generation German-American, became a successful Fall River brewer and purchased several hundred acres in Bristol from 1903 to 1912 for use as a summer retreat. His acquisitions included Mount Hope and the Bradford House. 

    After completing his basic education in the Boston school system, young Rudolph was sent to Stuttguart, Germany to study chemistry. Read more >

  17. James Hanley

    James Hanley (1841-1912)

    Inducted in 2007


    Hanley, James, 1841-1912

    James Hanley was born in Roscommon, Ireland and came to America with his parents as a child in 1846 during the Great Famine migration.  He rose from poverty to prominence as Rhode Island’s leading brewer.

    Hanley’s first important step into the world of business came in January 1862, at the age of twenty, when he opened an inn and liquor store in downtown Providence. In 1876 he began his career as a brewer in partnership with fellow-Irishman John P. Read more >

  18. Sylvia K. Hassenfeld

    Sylvia K. Hassenfeld (1920-2014)

    Inducted in 1997

    Mrs. Hassenfeld, formerly of Providence, lived in both New York City and Palm Beach, FL.  She was been widely recognized as an outstanding civic, cultural, and philanthropic leader of international communal services for more than 40 years. 

  19. Merrill Hassenfeld (1918-1979)

    Inducted in 1982

    Merill Hassenfeld, 1918-1979, was Chief Executive Officer of Hasbro Industries. He was an active leader of the Jewish people and campaign chairman of the United Way of Southern New England.He was president of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, a founder of the Jewish Community Center and a director of the Miriam Hospital. Read more >

  20. Alan G. Hassenfeld (1948-)

    Inducted in 2009

    Alan Hassenfeld is the former chairman of the board and present chairman of the executive committee of Hasbro, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international toy company. Under his leadership, Hasbro has become a worldwide leader in children's and family entertainment. Its brands and products are some of the most recognizable and respected throughout the world. Read more >

  21. Rowland Hazard (1829-1898)

    Inducted in 2013


    Hazard, Rowland, 1829-1898

    Rowland Hazard  was the son of Hall of Fame member Rowland Gibson Hazard and the father of Hall of Fame inductee Caroline Newton Hazard. Born in Newport, he moved at the age of four to his family’s mill village of Peace Dale which remained his principal residence until his death--as well as a principal object of his benefactions and generosity.
    After graduation from Brown University with distinction in 1849, he lived a life filled with business success, travel, political involvement, and civic activity. In addition to his direction of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company, a large woolen textile firm, he acquired a huge lead mine in Missouri in 1875 where he introduced improved methods of mining and smelting ore. Read more >
  22. Angus Hebb

    Inducted in 1982

    The late Angus Hebb was the President of American Steele and Aluminum Corp. who achieved an international reputation for his efforts to preserve and propagate rare and endangered waterfowl. He created a 40-acre sanctuary for the R.I. Read more >

  23. John Brown Herreshoff (1841-1915)

    Inducted in 2007


    Herreshoff, John Brown, 1841-1915

    John Brown Herreshoff  was the Bristol-born elder brother and indispensable associate of Hall of Famer Nat Herreshoff. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, which built seven America’s Cup defenders from 1893 through 1934, was founded in 1878 by “JB” and Nat Herreshoff. This firm operated under JB’s direction for thirty-seven years.

    JB lost one eye to disease at age 13 and the other by an accident a year later. Read more >
  24. Harry Kizirian (1925-2002)

    Inducted in 1978

    Harry Kizirian, 1925 – 2002, was the postmaster who oversaw construction of the first automated post office in the nation, which opened in Providence in 1960. Kizirian also won the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star with Combat V, two Purple Hearts, and the Rhode Island Cross as a Marine Corps Corporal in World War II. Read more >

  25. Sol Koffler

    Inducted in 1981

    The late Sol Koffler, was the inventor and manufacturer of the internationally famous Tourister Luggage. Although active in Jewish affairs, his philanthropy transcended all race, religion, or color. Read more >

  26. Henry M. Leland (1843-1932)

    Inducted in 2017

    Henry Leland approached his boss at Brown & Sharpe with a preposterous proposal: He planned to quit his job and move west to begin a business, and he wanted to take one of his best co-workers with him. To start his new business he would need to borrow $2,000, the current equivalent of $50,000; he wondered: Would the boss front him the cash?

    His boss, Lucian Sharpe, the eponymous co-founder of Brown & Sharpe, was a famously frugal Yankee. Approaching his 60th birthday in early 1890, Sharpe mulled over Leland's proposal. Surprisingly, he said yes. Read more >

  27. Henry & Henry Fredrick Lippitt

    Henry & Henry Fredrick Lippitt (1818-1933)

    Inducted in 1987

    Henry Lippitt was a native Rhode Islander who died in 1891, after becoming one of the state's industrial and financial leaders of his time, serving two terms as governor.

    Henry F. Lippitt, Henry's son, died in 1933, after following in his father's footsteps as an industrialist, a statesman, and a United States Senator. A renowned yachtsman, he was instrumental in winning many prestigious events, including the Astor Cup, and took part in America's Cup racing. Read more >

  28. Felix Mirando

    Inducted in 1973

    Felix Mirando is a Povidence business and civic leader who co-founded the Imperial Knife Co., one of the largest cutlery firms in the United States. He was many times for his work in civic, charitable and religious enterprises. Read more >

  29. William T. Nicholson

    William T. Nicholson (1834-1893)

    Inducted in 2004

    Nicholson, William Thomas, 1834-1893

    William T. Nicholson was the founder of the Nicholson File Company of Providence, the originator of machine-made files in America, the largest company of its kind in the world, and one of Providence's “five industrial wonders” of the nineteenth century.

    Nicholson was born on March 22, 1834 in the village of Pawtucket, then in the town of North Providence. His father, a machinist, moved the family to Whitinsville, Massachusetts where young William was raised and educated. Read more >

  30. Lucian Sharpe

    Lucian Sharpe (1830-1899)

    Inducted in 1973

    Lucien Sharpe, 1830-1899 was a business leader who was co-founder of Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Company. Cited for his efforts in seeking improved working conditions, he served as President of the Providence Journal Company for 13 years.

    . Read more >
  31. Senator William Sprague, Jr. (1799-1856)

    Inducted in 2001

    Senator William Sprague, Jr. (1799-1856) was one of the most prominent members of a family that ranked as one of Rhode Island’s richest and most powerful during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century.   He was the son and namesake of William Sprague, founder of the great textile empire, the younger brother of Amasa, whose murder in 1843 gave rise to the infamous trial of John Gordon, and the uncle of William Sprague, Rhode Island’s Civil War Governor and later U.S. Read more >

  32. Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. (1911-1998)

    Inducted in 1975

    Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr., 1911-1998,  was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Trans World Airlines.  He also served as Chancellor and Trustee of Brown University, and was a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Business Problems. Read more >

  33. Joseph Whalen

    Inducted in 1968

    Joseph Whalen, a former president of Bostich, Inc., developed a small stapling-machine plant into one of the state's major industries. His corporation became one of the world leaders in its field. Read more >

  34. Leonard Woodcock

    Leonard Woodcock (1911-2001)

    Inducted in 1977

    Leonard Woodcock, 1911-2001, was national President of the United Auto Workers Union. He headed a group of Americans in seeking final disposition of the Missing-In-Action servicemen who served in Vietnam. He was recognized as one of the more conservative leaders. Read more >



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