Capewell Horse Nail Company | Now & Then
Capewell has been in Hartford for centuries, and now it’s back in the saddle again. It is no exaggeration when we say the idea of thinking openly has been reflected again and again right here in this very building.
The innovation began in 1881 as the Capewell Horse Nail Company, which manufactured horseshoe nails. George Capewell invented a ‘cold roll’ production system that made very pure, strong steel, which started a new standard in the industry.
Capewell nails quickly became a dominant brand, hugely popular across the globe: the king of England, czar of Russia, and leading Japanese veterinarians all relied on Capewell nails for their horses. In 1903, after a fire burned down the original building, the current structure was built. It was reportedly the first fireproof building in the US. It was also designed by a bridge engineer using the most modern construction techniques at the time, known as the curtain wall system.
In 1981, nail production ceased and the building sat waiting for a revival. The Corporation for Independent Living (CIL) acquired the property April 1, 2014 with the plan to turn the old factory into the Capewell Lofts, and now it represents a new era for residential living in Downtown Hartford and the historic Sheldon Charter Oak neighborhood.