Long interested in the production of bog iron in New England, John Winthrop, Jr. (metallurgist & physician) visited the New Haven Colony on a prospecting tour in the spring of 1655.
Discovering a convenient place for an ironworks and a furnace between New Haven and Branford, he succeeded in interesting John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton and Stephen Goodyear of New Haven and Jasper Crane of Branford in the project. On February 13, 1656, John Winthrop, Jr., Stephen Goodyear, undertakers of New Haven with John Cooper as their agent, and undertakers of Branford with Jasper Crane as their agent, organized an ironworks company. New Haven and Branford granted the undertakers permission to procure wood, water, ironstone, ore, shells for lime, and other neccessaries within their limits, five-eighths from New Haven and three-eighths from Branford. New Haven had long tried to induce John Winthrop, Jr. to settled there. In order to direct the ironworks from a nearby location, Winthrop bought the Malbon house and paid for it in "goats". By spring of 1657 the ironworks were in operation, but Winthrop left to become Governor of the Connecticut colony. Interest in the ironworks lagged. Winthrop leased his interest in the undertaking to Thomas Clarke and William Paine of Boston.
After more than six years of endeavor, the founder of the New Haven Colony was able to inform Winthrop that they were finally ready to manufacture pots. The colony suffered more than it gained from the enterprise, however, for not only were the neighboring lands, highways and fences injured by the dam at the works, but a group of turbulent, disorderly, non-assimilable workers was introduced into the colony and remained there long after the jurisdiction of New Haven had come to an end.