While the rumored consolidation never took place, Hathaway, Soule & Harrington did enlarge the Middleborough facility, prompting the Middleboro News to urge residents to be “up and doing and secure the benefits likely to result from a factory employing 100 to 150 hands.” To facilitate its expansion, in December, 1889, the company purchased the manufactory building from Soule and acquired two adjoining lots in order to construct an addition which was likely raised at that time.
Hathaway, Soule & Harrington, advertisement,
The firm marketed its product aggressively, and shoes were sold as far away as Australia, an accomplishment which led the Middleboro Gazette to remark, “the people at the antipodes take kindly to the Middleboro shoe.”
Production was increasingly mechanized during this period, and in January, 1895, the firm was testing lasting machines at Middleborough. The test must have proved successful, for in 1897, at least one lasting machine was installed in the factory and by 1898 there were six of them operating in the plant. The use of mechanical lasters, however, created problems when unionized lasters at Brockton struck against the lasting machine companies. Lasters at both Hathaway, Soule & Harrington as well as Leonard, Shaw & Dean at Middleborough were ordered out by the union, though the action had little impact as lasting was resumed by hand.
By 1895, the firm’s three plants were producing some 500,000 shoes annually for $1.5 million in sales. Of the 650 hands employed, about 200 were located at the Middleborough plant. The firm was noted for the high caliber workmen which it employed, “and many men have gone out of their factories to accept responsible positions elsewhere.” Hathaway, Soule & Harrington salesmen and managers also achieved important positions in other firms, as well. Henry Dean who had been employed 12 years by Hathaway, Soule & Harrington in 1897 became a partner in the Middleborough shoe firm of Leonard & Shaw which subsequently became Leonard, Shaw & Dean. Overseeing management of Hathaway, Soule & Harrington's Middleborough manufactory was superintendent Andrew Alden. The Alden family was deeply connected with the business, and Alden's three sons - James Gardner Alden, Arthur Harris Alden and Frederic Lawton Alden - each held positions in the Middleborough operation. Arthur and fellow Hathaway, Soule & Harrington associates George W. Walker and William H. Wilde would later co-found Alden, Walker & Wilde in Middleborough in 1900.
Production throughout the late 1890s remained high at Middleborough, and the plant appears to have operated at full capacity with 40 cases of shoes being produced daily. In fact, additional workers were hired in September, 1895, due to the pressures of “brisk” business.
“Middleboro, Plymouth County, Mass.” NY: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Limited. April, 1901.
Old Colony Memorial, August 5, 1886:1; “County and Elsewhere”, August 26, 1886:4; ibid., September 2, 1886:4; ibid., June 9, 1887:5; ibid., December 29, 1887:1; ibid., March 22, 1888:4; ibid., July 19, 1888:4; ibid., November 9, 1889: 5; ibid., December 14, 1889:4; March 31, 1900:3