The Wonalancet Company of Nashua New Hampshire and its founder Harry Harmon Blunt (1875-1923)

wonalancet co logo

Wonalancet Company of Nashua NH logo

The Wonalancet Company was founded in Nashua New Hampshire, incorporated in 1905 by Harry Harmon Blunt (not the Henry H. Blount as is printed in some sources). This company was an important cotton importing house in its day, specializing in Peruvian cotton. Eventually the company expanded with a presence not only in Nashua, but also in Boston MA, Piura and Lima, Peru. They also began to import Chinese cotton.

Wonalancet advertising featuring Peruvian man

Wonalancet advertising featuring Peruvian man

In 1910 the Printer’s Ink magazine touted the company’s dramatic increase in sales as being directly connected with their use of more dramatic and detailed advertising, not the “old series of graven tomb-stones” ads more commonly seen. The “determination was to show how Wonalancet carded cotton might be used to gain novel and durable effects in weaves. The pictorial illustration was found in the display of pictures of the finest imported woolens. These were shown through the medium of the finest half-tones that could be made, the weave itself being shown and silhouetted into the outlines of women’s skirts, gowns, and coats. Interesting effects were further gained, in some instances, by the illustration of living figures draped with the woolens, and the weaves were again used well as borders for the ads. Combined with this display each ad contained a short, snappy, quality talk about Wonalancet carded cotton and the beauty of weaves in which it was used. It was so calculated as to be a good, strong selling argument.”

Gibbs Mason of Boston and John G. Bliss, both talented Boston artists, were among those who designed the “covers” for Wonalancet. The lithographs of their advertising sell today for fairly good prices.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry H. Blunt, from their passport in 1923.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry H. (Irene Bradbury) Blunt, from their passport in 1923.

Harry Harmon Blunt was a native of Nashua, born there in 1875, the son of Edward O. & Lucette (Harmon) Blunt [this is correct, findagrave is gravely wrong]. Harry attended local schools, graduating from Nashua High school, and Dartmouth College. He lived at 110 Concord Street in Nashua NH. When he died in 1923, the reins of the Wonalancet company were passed on.

About 1960 the company began to sell off its Nashua properties. The Wonalancet Co. was located on 128 Burke Street (and 10 W. Burke Street). On 9 November 1960 the Nashua Telegraph announced that Bemis Bros Bag Co. of St. Louise Missouri, major stockholder of Air-Formed Products Corp., bought the Wonalanacet company mill building off Burke Street. In 1963 the Wonalancet Co. sold another part of their Burke Street property to Improved Machinery Inc.–a stucco, slate roof, office building and three car garage. The Wonalancet Company was in existence in 1968 (when the newspaper announced raises to their employees), but was closed by 1978. In 1971 then Wonalancet Co. president James R. Everett died at the age of 81, so I suspect the company closed around this time. [Read a detailed History of the Wonalancet Company].

Harry Harmon Blunt was a descendant of William & Grace Blount of Massachusetts, as follows:

1912 Wonalancet Co. Santa and New Year advertising

1912 Wonalancet Co. Santa and New Year advertising

——GENEALOGY AND ORIGIN OF THE BLUNT FAMILY OF NASHUA NH—–

William Blount & Grace —

William Blunt & Elizabeth Ballard
William Blunt & Sarah Foster

Isaac Blunt, son of William & Sarah (Foster) Blunt b. 5 Nov 1712 in Andover MA and d. 6 Jan 1798 in Andover MA. He m1) 8 Apr 1746 to Mary Abbott, daughter of Ebenezer & Mary (Dane) Abbott. She was b. 13 Apr 1725 in Andover MA and d. 20 Apr 1760 in Andover MA. She had married 1) 4 Oct 1742 to Joseph Chandler who was b. 23 Nov 1720 in Andover MA and d. 31 March 1745 in Andover MA. He m2) 27 Nov 1760 (bans) to Mary Kimball. She was b. 26 Nov 1721 in Wenham MA and d. 27 March 1801 in Andover MA.
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Children of Isaac & Mary (Abbott) Blunt:
1. Mary Blunt, b 1746
2. Hannah Blunt, b. 1748
3. Sarah Blunt, b. 1750
4. Elizabeth Blunt, b. 1752
5. +John Blunt, b. 31 January 1756 Andover MA
6. male Blunt, b. and d. 1757
Children of Isaac & Mary (Kimball) Blunt:
7. Abigail Blunt, b. 1762, d. 1825
8. Anna Blunt, b. 1763
9. Tabbatha Blunt, b. 1765, d. 1840
10. Isaac Blunt, b. 1766, d. 1833
11. Mehetable Blunt, b. 1769, d. 1802

John Blunt, son of Isaac & Mary (Abbott) Blunt b. 31 January 1756 Andover MA, d. 27 November 1836 Amherst NH; He m. 26 Oct 1780 to Sarah Eames, daughter of Caleb & Mary (Harvell) Eames. She b. 16 June 1765 in Wilmington MA, d. 25 January 1858 in Milford NH. He served as a private in Capt. John Abbot’s company, under Major Gage, 1777, Massachusetts troops. They settled in Amherst NH about 1789.  [History of Amherst NH] [See Ghost of the past [the colorful Ames] vol 1 and 2 p. 198]
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Children of John & Sarah (Eames) Blunt:
1. Sally Blunt, b. 1 Jan 1782 in Dover NH, d. 27 Sep 1870 Foxborough MA; m. Daniel Howe
2. Mary K. Blunt, b. 22 March 1784
3. John Blunt, b. 3 June 1786 Andover MA; m. Mary Estey
4. Anna Blunt, b. 5 Aug 1788 in Andover MA
5. Isaac Blunt, b. 22 Sep 1790 in Amherst NH, d. 3 Nov 1791
6. Elizabeth Blunt b. 11 June 1793, d. 5 Feb 1873; m. 11 Sep 1815 to James Blanchard. He was b. 8 Oct 1786, d. 7 Sep 1854. Their children [BLANCHARD]: Rebecca K., Elizabeth, Edwin, son, Harriet E.
7. David W. Blunt, b. 25 July 1795, d. 30 Apr 1868; m. 14 Dec 1837 to Hannah Burnham. She was b. 25 March 1804, d. 15 Jan 1882. Children: Taylor W. (who m. Laura E. Mooar) and Hannah E. (who m. George E. Washer).
8 Asenath Blunt, b. 13 Jan 1798, d. 20 March 1877; m. Jacob Sargent
9. Ainsworth E. Blunt, b. 22 Feb 1800
10. Alvah Blunt, b. 3 March 1802; d. 6 March 1802
11. and 12. twin sons b an d 15 Oct 1803
12. Sophia Blunt, b 2 May 1805, d. 28 Aug 1868 Indianapolis Indiana; m. Thurlow Haskell
13. Aleah Blunt b 19 Feb 1808, d. 7 March 1808
14. Rebecca K. Blunt, b 28 July 1809, d. 28 January 1814

John Blunt, son of John & Sarah (Eames) Blunt, b 3 June 1786 Andover MA d 25 Oct 1860 in Amherst NH; m. 2 August 1814 in Boston, Suffolk, MA to Mary Estey. She was b. 1784, and d. 21 March 1864, aged 79y 9m 21d. He was one of the early merchants of Nashua NH, moving there from Amherst NH in 1836, and building a store on Chestnut street, on the site later occupied by several generations of the family for general mercantile purposes. They are buried in Amherst NH.
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1860 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Amherst
John Blunt M 74 NH retired merchant 1000/7000
Mary Blunt F 77 MA
Lucy W. Blunt F 39 NH
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Children of John & Mary (Estey) Blunt:
1. +John Gray Blunt, b. 23 Aug 1819 in Milford NH
2. Lucy Williams Blunt, b. 27 Feb 1821 in Milford NH; d. 12 May 1886 in Amherst NH; single, of Bright’s Disease.
John Gray Blunt, son of John & Mary (Estey) Blunt, b. 23 Aug 1819 in Milford NH and d. 24 July 1883 at Marblehead MA (at his summer home). He married 18 Dec 1844 in Acworth, Sullivan Co. NH to Caroline Ball, daughter of Dea. Thomas & Elizabeth (Gould) Ball. She was b 29 Nov 1821 in Acworth NH and d. 26 Jan 1888 in Nashua NH. [see bio and photograph] His store was on the corner of Chestnut Street and Pearl Streets. They are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Nashua NH
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Re: Ball Family
Contrary to several erroneous notices, Caroline Ball’s father Deacon Thomas Ball was not a revolutionary soldier. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and a son of Samuel Ball a revolutionary soldier, who in turn was the son of Thomas Ball, a soldier in the Indian Wars. Caroline had a sister Lucy Ball who was born August 5, 1829 and d. 2 Feb 1905. Lucy Ball m1) — McClure who died leaving her a widow; She m2d) Captain Reuben Shepardson as his third wife.
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1870 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Nashua
Blunt, John G. 53 M W Grocer – ret 20800 /7400 NH
Blunt, Caroline 49 F W Keeping House NH
Blunt, Edward O. 24 M W Clerk in Store 2000 NH
Blunt, Charles E. 20 M W Clerk in store NH
Blunt, Mary E. 17 F W at school NH
Blunt, Alfred A 13 M W NH
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Monday, November 30, 1885, Boston Journal (Boston MA), p. 1
Alfred A. Blunt, son of the late Deacon John G. Blunt, died at the home of his mother on Saturday night of consumption. He was a model young man, correct in all the affairs of life.
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Children of John G. & Caroline (Ball) Blunt:
1. +Edward O. Blunt, b. 4 Aug 1847 Nashua NH
2. Charles E. Blunt, b. 15 Oct 1849 Nashua NH, d. 20 May 1903 in Nashua NH; m. Emily A. Clark
3. Mary E. Blunt, b 18 Feb 1853 Nashua NH; m. George E. Holt, who died 14 May 1894. She m2) 21 Oct 1897 in NH to John K. Hall, son of George & Rachel (Boynton) Hall. She was DAR member 64698.
4. Alfred A. Blunt, b 28 Jan 1848 Nashua NH, d. Nov 30, 1885.

Edward O. Blunt, son of John Gray & Caroline (Ball) Blunt, b. 4 Aug 1847 in Nashua NH, d. 14 April 1896; he m. 5 Dec 1871 in Nashua NH to Almeda Lucette “Lucetta A. Harmon, dau of Irving/Ivory & Almeda (Hobson) Harmon. She was b. 15 Jan 1850 in Limingston, Maine and d. 26 Jan 1928 in Nashua NH. Her father Ivory Harmon was superintendent of Nashua Corp and b. Buxton Maine. He was Class of 1897 Dartmouth College. Edward O. Blunt was a retail Grocer. See his extensive bio below. He was also a director and treasurer of the Masonic Building Association in Nashua and a trustee of the City Savings Bank and the Security Trust Co.
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The residence of Hon. Edward O. Blunt is one of the noted homes in Nashua. It is stationed at the corner of Kinsley and Walnut streets and presents a truly artistic appearance with its beautiful grounds and stately trees. Its owner is one of the most prominent of New Hampshire’s citizens….” from book, New Hampshire Homes: Photographic Views of the City, Village, Summer and Farm Houses of New Hampshire Men and Residents of the Granite State, by J.A. Wood 1894, page 67] ((26 Kinsley Street))
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April 15 1896, Worcester Daily Spy, Worcester MA, page 4
Nashua, N.H. April 14–Edward O. Blunt, a member of Gov. Smith’s council and a politician known throughout the state, died this afternoon, aged 49 years. He represented New Hampshire in Italy in accepting the statues of Webster and Stark, which are now at the capital in Washington.
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Wednesday, April 15, 1896, Boston Journal (Boston MA), page 2
Hon. E.O. Blunt died in Nashua, N.H. last evening at 5.10. The family of Hon. Edward O. Blunt, has been honored in Nashua for three generations. Mr. Blunt was born in Nashua in 1846. He was educated in the public schools of the city and after completing his education he became a member of the firm of J.G. Blunt & Sons In 1853 on the death of his father, he secured the exclusive management of the business.He was a member of the Board of Alderman during the administration of Mayors Williams and Holman, being with one exception the ony man that has ever served three years as Alderman from Ward 6. For many years he was a member of the Republican State Committee and has been at the head of the Nashua Republican City Committee. In 1881 he represented Ward 6 in the State Legislature. In 1886 he was elected to the State Senate serving in the session of 1887 as chairman of the Committees on Labor and Corporations and as a member of others. In 1892 Mr. Blunt was again called to office as a member of Gov. John B. Smith’s COuncil, where he sat for two years as the Representative from the Third District. In 1894 Mr. Blunt was commissioned to go to Italy and accept or reject the statues of Webster and Stark, which New Hampshire had made for the National Gallery in the Capitol at Washington. He approved the statues. In 1892 he was prominently mentioned for candidate for Governor of New Hampshire. Mr. Blunt was a member of the Prison Committee while Councilor, and had a number of important interviews with Murderer Frank C. Almy just previous to Almy’s execution.
Mr. Blunt was a prominent Mason. He was a member of St. George Commandery, Knight Templars, and had received the 33d degree of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. He was a member of the Pilgrim Church and active in the administration of its affairs. Mr Blunt leaves a widow and one son. The latter, Harry Blunt, is attending Dartmouth College.
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May 21, 1896, Worcester Daily Spy, Worcester MA, page 3
Good Man Turned out Bad. the Late Hon. E.O. Blunt of Nashua Seems to Have Been A Swindler. Nashua, N.H. May 20 — The settlement of the estate of the late Edward O. Blunt has brought to light the greatest sensation Nashua has known since the McKean affair. Mr. Blunt was a forger and had swindled many Nashua people out of thousands of dollars. Bucket shops and politics are the attributed cause of his downfall. Ex-Gov. Smith of Hillsboro presented a note for $5500 signed by Mr. Blunt and apparently indorsed by his sister, Mrs. Geo Holt, but the latter denies the indorsement. Several more notes bearing the same indorsement have been found, but except for one for $30,000, Mrs. Holt denies indorsing any of them. It is also charged that Mr. Blunt, as treasurer, over-issued the Masonic building association stock to the amount of $1000, which is held as security by Mrs. Mary G. Babcock for money loaned him. He also had charge of Mrs. Babcock’s bank books, and these reveal dishonesty. In politics he spent a small fortune. He had been in the state senate and was a member of Gov. Smith’s council. It is estimated that his liabilities will exceed his assets by $35,000.
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1880 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Nashua
Edward O. Blunt self M 33 NH NH NH Retail Grocer
Lucette Blunt wife F 30 Maine
Harry H Blunt son M 4 NH NH Maine
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Children of Edward O. & Lucette (Harmon) Blunt:
1. +Harry Harman Blunt, b. 28 August 1875 Nashua NH

Blunt House

The Harry H. Blunt House in Nashua NH.

 

Harry Harman Blunt [this story is about him], son of Edward O. & Lucette (Harmon) Blunt, b 28 August 1875 Nashua NH, died 29 December 1923. Buried Nashua NH. He married 21 July 1910 in Halifax, NS, Canada to Irene Marion Bradbury, daughter of Luther M. & Mary S. (McDonald) Bradbury. She was b. 15 April 1891 in Quincy, Norfolk, MA and d. 6 June 1971 in Princeton NJ. Incorporator and owner of Wonalancet Company (see above). In 1921 he was appointed a trustee of Dartmouth College. He was a member of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers and the American Cotton Waste Exchange. He is buried in Edgewood Cemetery, Nashua NH.
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January 1, 1924, Boston Herald (Boston MA)
DIED: BLUNT, Harry Harmon, suddenly, at Nashua, N.H. Dec 29; son of Lucette H. Blunt and the late Edwin O. Blunt, and husband of Irene Bradbury Blunt. Funeral services at his late home, 110 Concord St., Nashua, Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 2 PM
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September 11, 1926, Boston Herald (Boston MA)
Mrs. Irene Bradbury Blunt and her daughters, the Misses Renee and Nancy Blunt, who have been at the New Ocean House, Swampscott, have left for Nashua, N.H. Mrs. Blunt has been joined by her sister, Mrs. Marguerite Bradbury King.
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June 8, 1971, Boston Herald (Boston MA), page 14
BLUNT–Passed away in Princeton, N.J., June 6, 1971, Mrs. Irene (Bradbury) Blunt, C.S., widow of Harry H. Blunt of 110 Concord Street, Nashua NH mother of Mrs. Paul G. (Renee) Teas of Nashua and Mrs. David H. (Nancy) Burrell of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Services will be held in the Chapel of the Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua NH, Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Friends invited to attend. There will be no calling hours.
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Marguerite M. Bradbury, dau of Luther M. Bradbury and Mary S. McDonald b. abt 1880 in Quincy MA; m. 11 March 1907 in Quincy to Alexander T. King, son of James A. King & Sarah Nelson. He was b. abt 1880 in Dorchester MA.
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Children of Harry H. & Irene M. (Bradbury) Blunt:
1. Renee Lucette Blunt, b. 20 February 1913 Nashua NH, d. 6 Feb 1992 at the Mount Carmel Nursing Home in Manchester NH; She m1) John Wesley Farley; m2d) Paul G. Teas. For many years she owned and operated antique shops in Nashua, Hudson, Wolfeboro and Londonderry NH. She was a member of the Kings Daughters of America in Nashua and Church Women United, and a former member of the Nashua Historical Society. She graduated from Walnut Hill School in Natick MA and the Katherine Gibbs School in Boston MA. She also lived in Evanston IL. Children: Ann (Farley) Rebillard, Dr. Jean F. Bellows [Dr. Robert], Elizabeth “Beth” Harmon Farley, Stephen B. Farley and John W. Farley; step-children: Paula Teas, Joanna Teas.
2. Baby Boy Blunt, d. 12 Aug 1917
3. Nancy Bradbury Blunt, b 11 Aug 1917 in Nashua NH, d. 29 Aug 1977 in Sarasota FL; married August 1947 at Boston MA to David Hamlin Burrell III, son of David H. Burrell Jr. She attended May and Brimmer Schools in Boston MA, graduated from Nashua (NH) High School, Katherine Gibbs and Leland Powers schools. Was secretary to the GM of Radio Station WCOP. David H. Burrell was educated at Loomis School and Yale University (class of 1933 Sheffield), served for 3 years during WW2 in the Navy. At the time of his marriage he was employed by Cherry-Burrell corporation, Chicago, IL.

[end]

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4 Responses to The Wonalancet Company of Nashua New Hampshire and its founder Harry Harmon Blunt (1875-1923)

  1. Pam Lacy Hatton says:

    I grew up near Lowell, Mass. In the 1940s 50s and 60s; there was a Wonalancet mill on the Merrimac River in Lowell, where we would purchase fabic. I’m guessing this must have been part of the same company. The mills moved south and today there is a National Park there commemorating them. It is well worth a visit!

  2. Amy says:

    LOL—FindAGrave is gravely wrong! So this was the beginning of modern advertising. Very interesting.

  3. Clarence Alfred Fisk says:

    My grandfather Clarence Ames Fisk Sparhawk (1887-1949) was hired by Wonalancet in 1917 as it’s Commercial Representative and General Manager; In 1917 he settled in Lima Peru with this wife and two sons Charles and Ashton Fisk. Clarence was the first manager to use an airplane, for business, in Peru to expedite in 1921 a late shipment of cotton, as a ship was arriving for its transport in Piura-Peru. The article appeared in the Boston Globe (I have a copy); it says “Mr. Fisk was able to save his company a large sum of money”. He worked in Lima until the World Crash of 1929. He had to move to Chile in April of 1930 with his Mother(71), wife and three children (one born in Lima). My father Charles Fisk at that time was 17 years old. My great grandfather was Senator Charles DB Fisk Ashton; he came to visit his son’s family in 1922 upon retirement; he died in Lima in 1929; he rests in Newton Cemetery in Boston.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Clarence, thank you for sharing and commenting here. The Wonalancet Co. was large and complex with many employees. I wish I could have written about all of them. What you posted has the makings of a great blog story, that you should write 🙂

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