The Andrew B. Hendryx Company

“The Great Name in Cages – SINCE 1869”

Above: A view of the Hendryx manufacturing complex in New Haven, Connecticut in 1938. (Source: 1938 Andrew B. Hendryx Company Catalogue)

Company Overview

For many Americans living in the twentieth century, the name “Hendryx” is synonymous with elegant bird cages. With the ubiquity of the Hendryx brand, it is likely that almost anyone who has owned a songbird in the United States during this era has encountered a Hendryx bird cage. At present, the most prized bird cages surviving in American antique shops today are of the Hendryx variety – a testament to the timeless success of this company.

The Man Who Invented Hendryx

The founder of the company was Andrew B. Hendryx. Not much is known about the early life of this important figure. Existent records show that he was born in Southbury in 1834. Born to a father who was a manufacturer and inventor himself, Andrew Hendryx spent his youth toiling in factories by day, and for this reason he did not attend school. Instead, he occupied his nights studying mechanical engineering by independently reading texts as early as age 11. By the time he reached his adult years, Andrew Hendryx had become adept at running factories, and he even ran his own machine shop in New York City during the 1850s.

Andrew Hendryx was a prolific inventor with many patents to his name. Most of these patents are related to bird cage equipment, but he did dream up several other interesting gadgets as well (including a machine for melting snow).

Above: A patent for a circular bird cage design filed by Andrew B. Hendryx in 1906. (Source: United States Patent Office)

Humble Beginnings

In 1874, at the age of 40, Andrew Hendryx founded his own manufacturing company with a business partner by the name of Bartholomew. The business was established in Ansonia, Connecticut under the name of Hendryx & Bartholomew. At that time, there were only twenty-five employees working in the relatively small company. Five years later, the company moved to its ultimate location at 86 Audubon Street in New Haven, Connecticut and changed its name to the Andrew B. Hendryx Company. The company was officially incorporated on 1 October 1889. Described as “copper, bronze and brass founders,” the company in its early days produced not only bird cages and bird cage equipment, but also manufactured fishing reels. Although Andrew Hendryx himself an avid fisherman, the fishing branch of the company was eventually sold off to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in October 1919.

Above: The original “HENDRYX” logo featuring heavy-cut block letters with a decisive left-leaning slant, as illustrated in company literature from the year 1934.

By the early 1900s, the Andrew B. Hendryx company workforce blossomed to over 200 employees. Under the leadership of its founder, the Andrew B. Hendryx Company became a fixture in New Haven, providing economic stability to the surrounding area known at the time as an industrial manufacturing centre. The success of the company was a function of the legendary work ethic of the man at the top. When asked asked about the secret of his success, Andrew Hendryx answered simply in a word: “Work.”

A Family Business

While building up his business, Andrew Hendryx was also invested in the training of his son, Nathan W. Hendryx. Born in 1880, Nathan was highly educated, attending several notable institutions including the New York Military Academy, St. Paul’s School, and Sheffield Scientific School of Yale. Endowed with his father’s work ethic, Nathan would spend his vacations working in his father’s factory. Under the watchful direction of his father, Nathan became acquainted with inner-workings of every department in company.

Above: a colour rendering of the Hendryx company logo, as illustrated company literature from the year 1950.

For years, the father and son team worked together to provide stylish bird cage designs which would complement the interior design trends of the time. They worked to distinguish their cages from the competition by heavily branding their products, and bird cages that survive to this day still bear the recognizable logo of “HENDRYX” hammered into the brass and emblazoned into the accompanying glass feeders.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Nathan Hendryx eventually succeeded his father as president of the company in 1907, at the age of 27. Thomas B. Oliver was named Vice President and Treasurer. Having left the company in the capable hands of his son, Andrew Hendryx passed away in 1910 at the age of 76.

Under the leadership of Nathan Hendryx, the Andrew B. Hendryx company continued to grow. By 1918, there were 250 employees working in the facility, which stretched over 100,000 square feet in an impressive eight-building complex.

A Golden Era in Industrial Manufacturing

During the first half of the twentieth century, Hendryx bird cages were seen in shops and catalogs all over the United States, and the company became a household name famous for its popular bird cages used to house ever-popular songbirds as pets.

Above: The cover of “The Feathered Philosopher”, 1950 edition.

By the 1920s, the Andrew B. Hendryx Company had become the largest birdcage manufacturer in the United States. The company advertised nationally in magazines promoting the therapeutic benefits of owning songbirds. One example of this promotion is The Feathered Philosopher, the story of a caged bird who helps a family of musicians find happiness. This story was contained in a free pamphlet which was given out as promotional material. Advertisements for the company were woven inconspicuously into the story’s illustrations.

Continued success of its advertising campaigns was reflected in ever-increasing production volumes. According to company literature, the 20-millionth Hendryx bird cage rolled out of its New Haven factory in 1938.

The Acquisition

Into the latter half of the twentieth century, production at the Andrew B. Hendryx manufacturing plant on Audubon Street began to curtail with the decline of the industrial era. There were plans to move the company to Branford, but this never did materialize. The company was sold to Prevue Metal Products, owned by a fellow named Richard Savitt.

In reverence to the Hendryx brand, a conscious decision was made to preserve the Hendryx name. As Savitt explained, “Hendryx is the oldest living faction of the pet industry and is very well recognized in the marketplace. It’s a major antique item throughout the world. There's no way we were going to lose that history.” The takeover was finalized in 1996, and the last remains of the former manufacturing empire on Audubon Street were sold at an auction, marking an end to a legendary era of bird cage manufacturing in America.

Though the remains of the Hendryx factory can no longer be seen in the rejuvenated urban landscape of New Haven, the legacy of Andrew B. Hendryx lives on in every one of the many surviving cages that left the doors of his factory before it was permanently shuttered. With its unparalleled ubiquity, Hendryx will forever be celebrated as “The Great Name in Cages.” [RetroPeacock]

Relive the Magic of Hendryx Cages

It must have been a wonderful experience to open up the mail and find the latest Hendryx catalog, to browse for the newest and most beautiful bird cage designs of the day. Retro Peacock Publishing Company has taken the painstaking labour of love to digitize a rare original copy of the 1938 Hendryx bird cage catalog for your viewing pleasure!

Bird Cages by Hendryx (Retro Peacock Edition, 1938): 1938 Catalog No. 46
Step back in time with this exclusive vintage catalogue reproduction of a genuine Hendryx bird cage catalogue from 1938! This very rare item is available exclusively through Retro Peacock Publishing Company, and is currently on sale for a very limited time.

Official Andrew B. Hendryx Company Letterhead from 1924
Pick up a pack for all your retro typewriter communications needs. This item is produced from a genuine letter that was sent from the factory of Andrew B. Hendryx 80 years ago. It is entirely free of charge, courtesy of Retro Peacock Publishing Company.


Grier, Katherine C. 2006. Pets in America. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Books.

1918. Modern History of New Haven and Eastern New Haven County, Volume II. New York: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.

2009. The Enterprise Hall of Fame. Connecticut Business News Journal.

2003. Richard Savitt of Prevue Pet Products Inc. Pet Business Magazine.

1897. Companies, New Haven 1897, by product address and CEO home. Historical New Haven Digital Collection. New Haven: Yale University.

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