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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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LAFLIN AND RAND POWDER COMPANY. Matthew Laflin manufactured potassium nitrate for the Massachusetts militia during the American Revolutionary War, and built a gunpowder mill in Southwick, Massachusetts after the war. After Laflin's death in 1810, his grandchildren expanded the family business with two mills in New York and one in Wisconsin. These mills produced gunpowder for the Union forces through the CIVIL WAR.

Laflin Powder Company was incorporated in 1866 to consolidate operations to compete successfully for the reduced gunpowder demand after the war. Laflin Powder Company further consolidated gunpowder manufacturing around the Orange Mill Historic District near Newburgh, New York by merger with the competing Smith & Rand Powder Company on August 24, 1869 to form the Laflin & Rand Powder Company of New York City, with Albert Rand as president. (1)

As early as September 1861, LAFLIN, SMITH AND COMPANY was a local agent in Dubuque for Chadbourne and Forster, the chief rival of Dubuque's SHOT TOWER. The image of the Shot Tower, which Chadbourne and Foster purchased, was used on order forms of the company after 1871 when the tower was lost to the company because of failure to pay back taxes. (2)

The 1878-79 through 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory listed 330 Main.



1. Wikipedia, Laflin and Rand

2. National Register of Historic Places," Online: http://weblink.cityofdubuque.org/WebLink8/1/doc/16333/Page66.aspx,