First Cheshire Historic Preservation Award Goes to Ball & Socket Arts

Ball & Socket Arts was awarded yesterday the first ever Historic Preservation Award from the Cheshire Historical Society. We are honored and humbled that the Society chose our project as their inaugural honoree. We have a lot of work to do before these beautiful buildings are restored. Many thanks to the Society for supporting our vision!IMG_2371


This is a Ball & Socket Arts call to action!

We need some hard data to back up our vision. To that end, we have partnered with the CT Trust for Historic Preservation and AMS Planning & Research to conduct a market study. This study will inform the development of a strategic plan for our start-up in 2017.

Let your voice be heard!
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by participating in this quick and easy online survey:


Thank you for giving us a few minutes of your time to register your thoughts.
Every vote counts!



Ball & Socket Sign to be Restored


Co-Founder Kevin Day on ladder by front door

Co-Founder Kevin Daly prepares to remove the sign from the building

We have removed iconic sign bearing the name Ball & Socket Manufacturing Co. in preparation for another hard winter. The sign was taken to the shop of Gary LeClerc of [RE]new Furniture Gallery, right across West Main Street from the factory, for refurbishment. Not only is Gary a local business owner, but also second generation furniture restorer and a true artisan. We love that he’s young and making his living in the field of preserving old things. Sound familiar?


Two little boys behind the lowered sign

The Ball & Socket mascots behind the sign

The sign was in pretty bad shape. When we originally started scouting the site in 2011 the first A in Manufacturing was still in place, hanging crooked, but still there. When we finally bought the building in 2014, the loose A was long gone and the B in Ball was starting to loosen and pivot out of position.  Despite searching for the lost A in all the bushes and brambles, it was not to be found. We figure it has found a new home as someone’s souvenir. This didn’t worry us too much as there was a second A in Manufacturing and that could serve as a template to recreate a new one.  Naturally, if the original A returned to us somehow, we’d be very happy.


Removing the sign revealed a few surprises. We learned that the background is a rectangle of sheet metal painted matte black. The frame around the sign is wood and was painted over in the same matte black which had almost completely peeled away. However vestiges of gold leaf remained on the wood. As can be seen in some old photographs the sign was originally framed in gold. That will most likely be recreated for the restoration.

The letters are wooden, in two different sizes and are covered in gold leaf.  It appears that some of the letters are hand-carved and others were carved with the assistance of a router, signifying a few different generations of sign-makers involved.

Gary LeClerc holding sign outside his workshop

Gary LeClerc, owner of [RE]new Furniture takes sign into his refinishing workshop

What was most surprising to discover was that the back of the sign had been used as a surface on which the letters were spray painted in preparation for gilding.  All the letters and symbols used on the front of the sign are jumbled on the back making a truly cool graphic and fun puzzle.  It is not yet clear to us whether this was left by the original sign-maker or by the person who had refurbished the sign somewhere along the way.

The sign will spend the winter indoors being restored and will be rehung in the spring.

Back view of sign showing accidentally preserved stenciled letters

The backside of the central portion of the sign. It reveals a large C,S,A and the & from the top line, and a smaller M,C,N and O from the lower line!

In 2011, the B was still on straight and the A was tipped but still there.

In 2011, the B was still on straight. The A was tipped but still there.

Cafe 9 Event in New Haven

Violist Isabella Mensz performing live

Isabella Mensz impressed all with virtuoso baroque viola playing

We promised an afternoon of cool music. That is exactly what you got.

Robert Messore playing guitar

Robert Messore opened our afternoon with a beautiful guitar set

Thank you to the incredibly talented musicians who performed last Sunday on a beautiful sunny afternoon.  We had a warm and engaged house who really enjoyed the music and the message of bringing our historic factory back to life.

The three founders of Ball & Socket Arts were all present and spoke about the great potential of the site and the challenges of the project. The line-up presented a variety of genres because we want to appeal to many generations and tastes. We like good music and all  musicians presented were incredibly talented.


Close-up photo of Hannah Fair singing live

Hannah Fair’s soulful singing blew the crowd away.

Joel Abbott and Brian Hickey at work

Joel Abbot (L) and Brian Hickey (R) at work. The duo sampled the room live and created improvised compositions throughout the afternoon.


Thank you to Paul Mayer, the owner of Cafe 9 and Tom Hearn for organizing this even.

And thank you to the Gourmet Lady for parking her North Carolina Barbecue Truck out front.       (vinegar style!)



Thank you to our performers, Robert Messore, Hannah Fair, Isabella Mensz (check out her exciting project,) and Brian Hickey and Joel Abbott electronic music magicians from the Sound Design department at the Yale School of Drama.

Thank you most of all to our Socketeers who came out to help the afternoon run smoothly. And to all the friends, old and new who showed up in support of Ball & Socket Arts.