") is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, on the Naugatuck River, 33 miles (53 km) southwest of Hartford. As of 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the city had a total population of 107,902 and is the fifth-largest city in Connecticut and the second largest city in New Haven County.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century Waterbury had large industrial interests, and was the leading center of the United States for the manufacture of brassware (including castings and finishings), as reflected in the nickname the "Brass City" and the city's motto
, Latin for "What Is More Lasting Than Brass". It was noted for the manufacture of watches and clocks.
The city is located along Interstate 84 and has a Metro North railroad station. It is also home to Post University and a regional campus of the University of Connecticut.
The original settlement of Waterbury was in 1674 as a Town Plot section. In 1675 King Philip's War caused it to be vacated but the land was returned to in 1677, this time west of the first settlement. Both sites are now marked. The Algonquin name for the area was "Matetacoke" meaning "place without trees." Thus the settlement was named as "Mattatock" in 1673. The name changed to Waterbury on May 15, 1686, when the settlement was admitted as the 28th town in the Connecticut colony. It then included all or parts of the later towns of Watertown, Plymouth, Wolcott, Prospect, Naugatuck, Thomaston, and Middlebury. The name Waterbury was chosen because of all the streams flowing into the Naugatuck River. Growth was slow during Waterbury's first century. The lack of arable land discouraged new settlers and the residents suffered through the great flood of 1691 and the great sickness of 1712. After a century, Waterbury's population numbered just 5,000. Waterbury hit its stride as an industrial power in the early 1800s when it began to make brass, using a technology taken from the British. Not content with exploiting the know-how, these Yankee entrepreneurs lured talented craftsmen from across the sea to set up shop in Waterbury. As the "Brass Capital of the World," the city gained a reputation for the quality and durability of its goods. Waterbury was incorporated as a city in 1853. Waterbury supplied brass and copper used in Boulder Dam in Colorado. Waterbury brass was used for many other things in the United States such as minting disks for nickels, but the brass also went into South American coins. While the brass business boomed, thousands of immigrants poured into the city seeking factory jobs, including Italians, Irish, French-Canadians, Lithuanians, Jewish, and Slavs.
Another famous Waterbury product of the mid-19th century was Robert H. Ingersoll's one-dollar pocket watch, five million of which were sold. After this, the clock industry became as important as Waterbury's famed brass industry. Evidence of these two important industries can still be seen in Waterbury, as numerous clocktowers and old brass factories have become landmarks of the city. At its peak during World War II, 10,000 people worked at the Scovill Manufacturing Co, later renamed Century Brass. The city's metal manufacturing mills (Scovill Manufacturing, Anaconda American Brass, and Chase Brass & Copper were the largest) occupied more than 2 million square feet (180,000 m²) and more than 90 buildings.
Like many other cities that boomed during the manufacturing era, Waterbury began to decline in the second half of the 20th century. With the closing of the last brass mill in the 1970s Waterbury faced a grim future. Waterbury continued to decline, but has like many other cities in Connecticut been involved in many revitalization projects. Waterbury is working to revamp many of the city's unused freight yards and warehouses in order to turn them into office space. Along with this, the city has built numerous luxury hotels. Although the brass industry has since left Waterbury, metal works are still prominent to this day.