Frye's Measure Mill, Wilton

The Daniel Cragin Mill, known today as the Frye's Measure Mill, is a historic watermill established in 1858. The mill is about three miles (5 km) west of the small town of Wilton in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. For over 150 years the mill's production has been unique woodenware and wooden boxes used for dry measuring boxes. Presently the mill's main production is Shaker-style pantry boxes and furniture pieces for the various Shaker communities and their museum gift shops. The mill was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Daniel Cragin era of 1858–1909Daniel Cragin was of Scottish descent. At the age of 21 in 1856 he was renting a room in the Putnam Bobbin Factory near the present day Frye's Measure Mill. Here he made knife trays and wooden toys that he turned into a full-time business. His initial cash investment to start the business was ten dollars. He soon turned a profit and in 1858 he purchased an existing small building at this site that eventually became known as the Daniel Cragin Mill. The watermill was run on water power that came from two nearby water sources, Burton Pond and Nathan Barker's Pond. The building was originally built by Eliphalet Putman in 1817.
By 1878 Cragin had added sugar boxes and dry measure boxes and had hired six others into his normal mill operations. He soon made mostly dry measure boxes which was the main part of his millwright enterprise at this Wilton location since it was more profitable. His hand made round containers were made in five sizes. These were one quart, two quart, four quart, single peck, and one-half bushel. Because of his success in sales by 1885 Cragin began selling these in full sets, or "nests", that were bound in iron bands. The dry measure volume containers sold varnished, plain, and rough, depending on customer wants.
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Frye's Measure Mill Reviews
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  • Fascinating historic mill with large belt-driven old tools. Just as great is the gift store. It does sell Shaker boxes, but they represent just a tiny fraction of the antiques and country gifts for sa...  more »
  • Oldest wooded oval box and piggen factory that is "still" running in the country. A great self guided tour and a wonderful old factory where everything, nearly, is made the same way it was over a hund...  more »
  • Such a cool place to visit. Beautiful gift shop. The woman who works there is family to the mill. She is lovely with a wealth of stories and info. There is also a wood carver. His wood carving art is amazing. Nothing is cheap in price but anything made there is by hand. Well worth the visit. Save a little in a kitty and spend it there. Tours upon request I believe. Call ahead.
  • Short visit, will go back when water turbine is working. Nice shop with high quality wooden kitchen items , primarily the wooden boxes with tight fitting lids. Take a peek in the old garage for surprise old vehicles, and checkout the old blacksmith shop.

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