The Harry M. Fraser Company was founded by Harry M. Fraser in 1947. He had worked for the Underwood Typewriter Co. and also the Veeder Root Co. in Hartford, CT. for many years. Because of his experience with precision devises and his interest in "all types of machinery." Fraser's former business associates and friends suggested over lunch one day that he might be interested in manufacturing a small machine for cutting strips of material for use in hooking rugs. The Model 500 was designed later with rug hooking and rug braiding in mind.
The idea appealed to Fraser and he went to work- the result was the Bliss Model A strip slitter. From there it was a short step to other equipment such as frames, hooks, lamps,bent shears and all the other items used to improve techniques and make rug hooking easier and more appealing.
Fraser and his wife Grace set up business under the Fraser Rug Making Equipment Co, title in a large duplex house on Spring St. Later they acquired one of the smaller Cheney homes on Hartford Rd. The strip slitter was then manufactured in Plainville.
Mrs. Fraser's introduction in hooking came when she was a little girl. Her family was among the early settlers in Connecticut and she was intrigued with the hooked rugs in her grandmothers home. Her first rug was hooked in 1938 with wide strips cut by hand. From that time on there was always a rug "on the frame."
Mrs. Fraser took lessons from private teachers and also courses in Willimantic State Teachers College in hooking, color, design, craft teaching and related subjects. She has instructed many in the rug hooking art. The three Fraser Daughters also hook rugs and teach the art of rug hooking. Mrs, Fraser's outstanding work, a room size rug was one of the outstanding exhibits at a show held by the Soroptimist at the community Y. This was posted in 1957 in the Manchester Herald.
In May 1977 my mom and dad Jeanette & Robert Szatkowski purchased the Harry M. Fraser Company.
Jeanette Szatkowski put this in the Guild's newsletter in January 1979.
After Mr. Fraser passed away, Mrs. Fraser carried on the business alone.I became interested in rug hooking lessons about that time and joined Mrs. Fraser's hooking class. I already had a slitter because I had seen an advertisement in a catalog from California for the slitters a couple of years before and had decided to buy it then.
I was surprised to find that the slitters were manufactured in Manchester, Connecticut, a few miles from my home. My Husband Robert Szatkowski owned a machine shop and Mrs. Fraser called on him for help from time to time. Gradually we took over the manufacturing of the slitters and then bought the business completely when Mrs. Fraser decided to retire.