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This photograph was taken inside the mill at Monson-Maine Slate Company located on Chapin Avenue in Monson. The machine shown in this image was used to plane the slate once it had been cut into slabs.
Slate was used for a variety of purposes from roofing to classroom chalkboards, to refrigeration trays. The Monson Slate Company capitalized on the diverse uses of slate by creating several retail companies to sell the slate products created in their mills.
Two of these companies were the Monson Refrigerator Company and the Paragon Noiseless School Slate Company. The Monson Refrigerator Company was incorporated in 1886 and manufactured slate butter boxes and butter boards. The Paragon Noiseless School Slate Company was incorporated in 1887 and made slates for schools. In the background of this photograph are thinner smaller sheets of slate which might have been used as blackboards in schools, inserts into the slate butter boxes or perhaps shingles.
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