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A history of MUSSON Factory — Since 1902

MUSSON Factory is a generations-old tradition of affordable housing innovation.

At the time of the American Civil War, Samuel David Robinson was one of the most prolific real estate developers, on the island of Bermuda.  He earned his fortune as a merchant and as the developer of many of the iconic real estate projects, including affordable housing, that have endured as defining landmarks of downtown Hamilton, for 150 years.  Robinson invested his wealth in social justice activism, founding the first high school open to black students, The Berkeley Institute.  Berkeley has been the incubator for economic empowerment, and Robinson’s many landmark buildings have been, and are still, home to families and businesses that make up the island’s beautiful and diverse fabric.  Robinson’s many accomplishments are historic and chronicled in the Bermuda Archives, by the Bermuda Historical Society.  He also became a member of the Bermuda Corporation as a black man, at the same time that Lincoln was signing the Emancipation Proclamation in the U.S.

Robinson’s sister, Elisa Wilson Robinson, married Thomas Driver Musson.  Their son, Horace Francis Leopold Musson, founded MUSSON Factory in 1902.  The business was officially a machine shop,; but, unofficially, Musson repaired all sorts of machines (big and small), consulted engineering solutions to international clients, and invented novel tools to solve impossible problems.  One of those tools is called the stonecutter, which is universally credited to have transformed the construction industry in Bermuda.  Prior to the stonecutter, buildings were mostly constructed of stones, hand-cut from the earth with long saws, drawn by two people.  The stonecutter mechanized the process, lowering the cost of and speeding the production of stone blocks.  Building blocks, made quickly, of consistent quality, and at lower cost, had the effect of simplifying construction supply chain management on the island and making affordable housing available to lower-income buyers and renters as a permanent correction to the fair market (FMV) housing allocations in Bermuda.

Horace Musson’s son, Cyril David Musson, worked in his father’s shop from childhood until he left the island to study physics and then mechanical engineering, building upon what he learned under his father, the master engineer.  Cyril — an inventor, like his father — passes on the Musson spirit of socially conscious innovation to his son, Dr. Brent Musson, who was born in the same year as the Fair Housing Act of 1968, embodies the legacy of his father Cyril, his grandfather Horace, and his great-granduncle Samuel.

In the 21st century, MUSSON Factory is the consulting practice that serves local, state, and federal government in the pursuit of policies that encourage modern methods of construction (modular, panelized, offsite, industrialized) as part of a strategy to address the affordable housing crisis and the need to house the unsheltered.