Derby History Quiz

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The Inventor of the Movable Ice Box!

D. K. Croffut

David Knapp Croffut is another one of the interesting, but not well known, individuals who enliven the rich history of Derby. He was actually born in Bethel and lived in Canada and New York before becoming connected with Derby in 1841 when he purchased the grist mill which was located on Water Street. Keep in mind that Water Street was aptly named back then with the canal from the Naugatuck River right next to it.

Prior to buying the mill, Croffut had managed a comb factory in Canada and ownedf a hotel in New York City. While he was in New York, he invented the first movable ice box. Prior to that, ice boxes were built directly into houses. There is still an outstanding example of the old style of ice box that you can see at the Osborne Family Homestead Museum in Derby.

In 1845, Daniel became proprietor of Croffut's Hotel on Main Street in Derby and moved to Derby in 1847. He sold the hotel in 1853, but held a variety of jobs in Derby during the course of his life. He was the business manager for a local newspaper, superintendent of the Derby Docks, and dabbled in agriculture where he was credited with a number of inventions. He occasionally wrote articles for a variety of agricultural publications.

He was also active in city life and once served on the equivalent of today's board of education for the Derby Narrows District. He lived to the age of 89 and was considered a leading authority on the history of Derby.

This quiz proved to be very difficult!! Only three correct answers were received. Gold stars go to Markanthony Izzo, Ann Searles, and Joan Driscoll who had the answer to one of the toughest quizzes that we have ever had!

To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.