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354 West Main Street Tilton

New Hampshire, 03276

603)286-4524

Our History

     The Black Swan Inn is located on the former Peabody Brown Estate in Tilton, NH. This Estate was home to Arthur S. Brown inventor of Tilton Woven Endless Belts which got the attention of Henry Ford and were later used in his Model T's. Friends and visitors include Harry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison. The historical significance of this property can be appreciated in the magnificent condition and ingenuity still present in this original Industrial Age home. Even the formal gardens and Arboretum are Manning Gardens which have the touch of the Olmstead brothers who were famous for creating Central Park in New York City. 

Come visit us today and go back to history as it was.


The Endless Belt Story

     In the Tilton Belt building in 1912, Arthur S. Brown commenced production of the first Seamless, continuous woven drive belt. This technological innovation powered American industry for the next century.

Arthur S. Brown was a young telegrapher for the Boston and Maine Railroad when he arrived in Tilton a few years before the turn of the century. He fell in love with a local woman, Belle Peabody, whom he married in 1898, and became associated with Tilton Woolen through his wife’s family connections. In 1912, Mr. Brown opened his own company and began the production of endless belts for use in automobiles. The fortunes of Mr. Brown and his company would be forever changed by his Yankee ingenuity and the ingenuity of his employees.

Ludovic Shiatte went to work for Mr. Brown in 1916 as a shop worker and eventually advanced to the position of overseer and plant superintendent. In 1922, Mr. Shiatte began work on the design of an endless belt that would have no stretch to it. He collaborated with Mr. Brown and the company’s bookkeeper, Gertrude Knapp, in connection with his design and the culmination of their work was the endless power transmission belt described in United States Patent No. 1,545,206, which was issued on July 7, 1925. 


     The endless power transmission belt of Patent No. 1,545,206 was manufactured by forming a loop having a desired size from a strand of twine, string, or yarn and then winding another strand of string or yarn around the loop until the body of the belt was built up to the desired size. The key to this winding operation was to maintain a constant tension on the strand being wrapped around the loop so that the entire body of the belt would be under uniform tension. Once fully wound, the body was wrapped with a tape covering and stitched together in a certain manner in order to obtain the desired shape


Our Town, Tilton

     Tilton is located at the Gateway to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and the White Mountains. Tilton is a sleepy little town full of rich history that dates back to the industrialist revolution.  Arthur Brown was instrumental in Henry Ford's visit to Tilton. Tilton not only offers a variety of outdoor activities which include a world-class mountain bike park but a live theater just a few miles headed west. We have quaint eateries, a British pub, and local diners that offer good home cooking. Area attractions include water sports, movie theaters, mini-golf, hiking and so much more! 


Ask our Innkeeper for information about local restaurants, hikes, hidden gems. and adventures!