The ABCs of Lowell History: C is for Cutter

The Lowell Area Historical Museum is offering a weekly feature to explore local history. The ABCs of Lowell History continues with the Lowell Cutter Company, a major employer in the city at the turn of  the 20th Century. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.


The Lowell Cutter Company was founded by Robert Flanagan and A. J. Peckham in 1886. The large two story wooden factory was located south of Main Street facing South Monroe. Lowell Cutter Company buildings stretched from South Monroe to the River. All buildings were painted red with white trim. Waterpower was delivered through a race (channel) which diverted water from the Flat River to the factory.

They made horse drawn sleighs, buggies, delivery wagons and surreys-up to 200 per day. This factory became Lowell’s largest industry and the country’s largest manufacturer of cutter and sleigh woods, producing thirty thousand bodies annually in hundreds of styles by 1909. Wheels, runners, upholstery and paint were added at other locations. Then came the invention of the horseless carriage. Henry Ford came to Lowell and offered to purchase the factory. The owners turned him down. They didn’t know then but the day of automobiles had arrived. The buildings were demolished in 1983.

The photo shows employees in 1904. The cutter factory employed 90 people who worked from 6:30am to 5:30pm six days a week. Swiss craftsmen were employed to create inlaid pieces of basswood. Owner Robert Flanagan is shown looking out the window.

Featured image courtesy of the Lowell Area Historical Museum.

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