Eugene V. Connett and his Hat Factory
Passage on Eugene V. Connett and his hat factory from Pierson's History of the Oranges to 1921
Eugene V. Connett, who settled in South Orange in 1865, was the founder of the hat manufacturing plant know as the E. V. Connett Company in 1920. For half a century and more this well known firm has manufactured the fine line of felt hats so prominently associated with the name of Connett. The factory is located on the west side of South Jefferson Street, in the orange Valley district, and operatives can always depend on full time employment if there is any movement worth while in the trade. The building is familiar to all who have any association, permanent or temporary, with this section of Orange. Mr. Connett introduced at the very beginning, sterling principles for the conduct of the plant, and there has been no deviation from them in the long and excellent career of that organization. At the time of the factory's beginning there were a large number of factories in the locality, all situated along the course known as the east branch of the Rahway river, the water of which was especially adapted for he washing of the hats during the process of making into a perfect article for the market. The founder was possessed of a strong personality and enjoyed the confidence of those with whom he was associated and also the operatives in his plant. During the years when differences over the bill of prices with them required skill and tact in settlement, Mr. Connett succeeded in several instances in avoiding lockouts and strikes. The labor situation was very keen at times, but the workmen in the Connett factory took a pardonable pride in the goods turned out by them. Today the high standing of the E. V. Connett Company is due in very large measure to the splendid ability of the founder in steering the concern clear of friction, as far as it was possible to attain, with his employees. While the factory is one of the five survivors of those of the latter part of the Nineteenth Century, it is third oldest in the district, being led by the No Name and the Berg factories.