Westport’s manufacturing days are long gone.
Factories no longer churn out ping pong balls. The Embalmers Supply Company has gone to that great business graveyard in the sky.*
And it’s been more than a century since the Toquet Launch Company developed mechanical equipment for automobiles and boats, including carburetors for Fords.
(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)
The Riverside Avenue business was owned by Benjamin Louis Toquet.
If the name is familiar: He also built an opera house on the Post Road. It doubled as the site of town meetings and “assemblies.” After being used in the 1960s and ’70s as storage for Schaefer’s Sporting Goods, it’s served for 2 decades as Westport’s teen center.
The Toquets had long roots in Westport. Benjamin Louis’ father, Benjamin H., was born in Paris in 1834, but settled here in the 1840s. He served in the Civil War, then returned to Westport.
Benjamin Louis Toquet died in 1913. He could never have imagined what would become of the automotive industry.
Or the traffic crawling past his former factory on Riverside Avenue.
*Yep. Both are true.
(Every Friday, “06880” offers a flashback. If you enjoy this — or any other feature — please support our work. Just click here. Thank you!)