The Comb Factory, courtesy of the Newburyport Public Library Archival Center
The W.H. Noyes and Brothers Company was a large factory that occupied a full city block between the railroad and Barton Street on Chestnut Street and employed dozens of workers for over 50 years to produce millions of hair combs made from cattle horn. The company was established in 1880 and the factory closed in 1933.
The Newburyport City Railroad delivered weekly carloads of raw horns that came as far away as Texas and South America. In the 1890s the firm employed 85 workers and produced 400 dozen combs every day. Functional fine-tooth combs were made for removing dirt, oil and lice, because many people in the 1800s did not wash their hair often. Beautiful ornate woman’s hair combs were made there as well.
History is courtesy of Geordie Vining and Skip and Marge Motes, for the City of Newburyport, Clipper City Rail Trail. Please visit the Rail Trail where the plaque about the Comb Factory is located, and read even more about the Comb Factory on Chestnut Street. The history is just one part of this remarkable project for the City of Newburyport, the Clipper City Rail Trail, that so many people enjoy.
Check Out The Interactive History Map
More information about Newburyport and its history can be found on the interactive history map, “Newburyport – Keeping the Story Alive.”
Solve The Comb Factory Puzzle
Press the icon to play the puzzle on a full screen or tap here to expand the image.