1893 / Imperial Knife Building
2 Imperial Place, Providence, RI
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Vesta Knitting Mills (1893, 1903), later known as Imperial Knife Company: The 1893 factory is a 6-story, flat-roof brick building with rounded corners, segmental-arched windows and a corbeled cornice, that runs east along Bassett Street from the intersection of Imperial Place and Bassett. Extending south along Imperial Place and east along Elm Street, the 1903 factory is a plainer, L-shaped, 6-story, flat-roof brick building with segmental-arched windows and granite sills. Between the north and south wings formed by these two buildings there is a complex of smaller brick buildings, including a two-story, gable-roof, brick building with segmental-arched windows that dates from c. 1888. There are two brick and one concrete- block, single-story flat-roofed outbuildings attached to the east side of the complex that were added in the 1950s and l960s. The complex now houses many commercial and medical uses as well as a restaurant. (CAV) Source - National Register of Historic Places The Vesta Knitting Mills (originally Elba Woolen Mills) grew from 35 knitting, carding and spinning machines in 1888 to 175 knitting machines in 1908, producing women’s, men’s and children’s underwear. That same year, Vesta built a second L-shaped factory, as an investment, to house jewelry manufacturing. In 1916, Italian immigrants Felix and Michael Mirando founded the Imperial Knife Company to produce specialized knives for jewelers. By the 1930s, it had become one of the largest pocket knife manufacturers in the world. One of its best-sellers was the Kamp-King camping knife. Source - Dr. Dietrich Neumann, Brown for GoProvidence Imperial Knife moved into the Vesta Knitting Mills in the late 1940's. At its peak, this imperial knife building produced 150,000 knifes a day.