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HISTOEY 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 



BY 
H. G. KITTREDGE 

AND 

A. C. GOULD. 



PUBLISHED BY 

THE T. K. EARLE MANUF'G COMPANY, 
WORCESTER, MASS. 

1886. 






Copyright, 1885, 
BT A. C. GOULD. 



PRESS OF 

ROCKWELL AND CHURCHILL, 
BOSTON. 



T 



PREFACE. 



PORTIONS of the matter contained in the following 
chapters have previously appeared in papers devoted 
to the textile industry. Recognizing the value of 
this, and knowing its perishable nature if recorded 
only in a newspaper, the publishers have corrected 
certain errors in what has heretofore appeared in 
print, have made many additions, and by printing 
and circulating it in book form among their friends 
and customers they wish to commemorate the cen- 
tennial anniversary of the existence of their Vusiness. 

As the late TIMOTHY K. EARLE contributed so 
much to bring the Card-Clothing Industry to its 
present condition in this country, the publishers 
deem it only fitting that his portrait and a slight 
memoir of his life should appear in these pages. 

T. K. EARLE M'F'G COMPANY. 

WORCESTER, MASS., January, 1886. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 
Its Early History and Inventions .... 7 

CHAPTER II. 

Pliny Earle and his Successors. Record of a Cen- 
tury. The T. K. Earle Manufacturing Com- 
pany 18 

CHAPTER III. 

Eleazer Smith. His Efforts to Perfect the Card- 
setting Machine 24 

CHAPTER IV. 

Amos Whittemore. His Contribution to the Card- 
Clothing Industry. Perfection of the Card-setting 
Machine . 34 



6 AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER V. 

Growth of the Card-Clothing Industry, and Sketches 

of Parties Engaged in its Manufacture . . 55 

CHAPTER VI. 

Later Inventions and Improvements in the Manu- 
facture of Card-Clothing. Varieties made . 70 

CHAPTER VII. 

Description of Various Processes in the Manufact- 
ure of Card-Clothing. Preservation of the first 
Card-setting Machines 77 

APPENDIX 85 

INDEX 95 



HISTOET 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 



CHAPTER I. 

ITS EARLY HISTORY AND INVENTIONS. 

THE importance the card-clothing industry bears to 
the textile industry of this country is manifested in the 
fact that it directly contributes to the successful em- 
ployment of $350,000,000 of capital which is invested 
in cotton and woolen manufactures. With only three 
exceptions, the industry is confined to six towns in 
the State of Massachusetts ; and, although no large 
foi'tunes have been amassed by those engaged in this 
industry, they have in most cases been prosperous, 
largely due to the fact that American card-clothing 
manufacturers are, as a class, men of thrifty and 
correct habits, their business requiring the greatest 



8 HISTORY OF THE 

care and constant personal supervision, and neces- 
sitating employe's possessing the same qualifica- 
tions. 

The use of some instrument for carding, or pre- 
paring wool to facilitate its being spun into thi-ead, has 
been among the devices of man from the earliest eras 
of historical record. It is doubtful if carding was 
contemporaneous with spinning, for it is quite possi- 
ble to spin the raw material into yarn without the 
intervention of any mechanical contrivance. The 
history of card clothing as we know it to-day, in its 
manufacture by machinery, is scarcely a century old. 
Immediately before this the making of card clothing 
was the work purely of manual labor, and the substi- 
tution of mechanical means did not affect the princi- 
ple of construction. With the inventions in textile 
machinery that rapidly followed each other in the 
latter part of the eighteenth century, the necessity of 
some expedient by which card clothing could be more 
rapidly and uniformly made, was imperative ; without 
it the ingenuity of man would have been seriously 
impeded in bringing his schemes to a satisfactory 
fruition. The manufacture of card clothing by ma- 
chinery, before the latter part of the last century, 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 9 

would not have been a necessity, and therefore it 
lacked an incentive. 

The fabrication of cloth by machinery which led to 
our present system of manufacture, had its com- 
mencement in 1738 with John Wyatt's patent of a 
cotton-spinning machine. 

An era of inventions now seemed to be intuitively 
felt, and new appliances steadily followed one another 
in progressive strides toward enlarged operations in 
commercial and manufacturing enterprises. In 1743 
John Kaye brought forth his fly-shuttle, which re- 
ceived a new value by his son's invention of the 
rising-box on the loom, in 1769. The most interest- 
ing invention connected with our subject was that of 
Lewis Paul, who patented, in 1748, a cylinder-card 
for carding cotton, the cylinder being covered with 
sheet card clothing, and this obliged further inven- 
tions to dispose of the more rapid accumulation of 
carded stock. The Spinning-Jenny, Throstle-Frame, 
and Mule, soon succeeded, to be followed by the 
Power-Loom. Inventions for converting stock into 
cloth had now-assumed a practicability that demanded 
some mechanical method by which the cotton used 
could be more readily prepared for manufacture. 



10 HISTORY OF THE 

This was happily consummated by Eli Whitney in 
1792, in his invention of the Saw Cotton-Gin. 

The rotary card of Lewis Paul, is, in principle, the 
same as used to-day in cotton-mills. 

Like many others, whose creative powers have con- 
tributed to the industrial progress of mankind, Paul 
was not successful in his operations, and his machines 
passed into the hands of a hat manufacturer of 
Leominster, England, who applied them to the card- 
ing of wool. The conception, the invention of Paul, 
however, did not lie dormant, for in 1 760 the cylinder- 
card was introduced into Lancashire, near Wigan, for 
the carding of cotton. Ten years after this Sir 
Richard Arkwright greatly improved the machine by 
making it more automatic, in the application of a con- 
tinuous feed-table, and of an additional but smaller 
cylinder, known as the doffer, from which the cotton 
was continuously discharged by the operation of a 
vibrating comb. The practicability of this new sys- 
tem was immediately appreciated, was patented in 
1775, and became an important factor in the growth of 
English manufacture. 

The objects of carding are to detach the fibres of 
the stock and la} T them parallel, and the accomplish- 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. \\ 

inent of these rests in the reciprocal motion of two 
surfaces which are covered with short, pointed teeth, 
and between which the stock is placed. It is to these 
pointed teeth that we propose to devote this series of 
articles. 

During our Revolutionary "War communication 
with foreign nations was practically at a stand-still, 
and this serious interruption greatly affected our in- 
dustries by making all machinery and implements 
very expensive, even if it were possible to obtain 
them at all. Realizing the urgency of the situation, 
several of the colonies passed resolutions " recom- 
mending and encouraging bounties to manufacturers 
of wool and cotton cards, iron wire, etc." The making 
of cards for carding cotton and wool was as much a 
part of the economy of a community, as the spinning- 
wheel and hand-loom. The garments of a household 
were dependent on the first process which the hand- 
cards gave to the raw material ; without them the 
wool of the sheep and the cotton of the fields would 
have remained unwrought. The significance of en- 
couraging their manufacture was too apparent to the 
isolated colonists ; the few small shops then existing 
were inadequate to the demand, and the high cost of 



12 HISTORY OF THE 

materials prevented their continuance without colonial 
or public assistance. 

There are records of the existence of several estab- 
lishments for the manufacture of cards during the 
Revolutionary War. There was one at Providence, 
R.I., which was conducted by Daniel Anthony. The 
colony of Connecticut, fully recognizing the importance 
of sustaining the card industry, and the subsidiary in- 
dustry of wire-drawing, gave a substantial assistance 
in the form of a loan of $1,500, in 1775, to one Nathan- 
iel Niles, of Norwich, to enable him to prosecute the 
manufacture of fine iron wire for card-teeth. Mr. 
Niles erected buildings for the purpose, and kept his 
works running till sometime after the close of the war. 
The high cost of manufactured iron, as well as the 
difficulty of procuring it, was particularly felt in the 
supply of tacks used in the card business, and this led 
Jeremiah Wilkinson, of Cumberland, II. I., a hand- 
card-manufacturer, to undertake the making of tacks by 
cutting them out from sheet -iron with a pair of shears, 
and hammering heads on them in a vice. Among 
the earliest inventions for the making of card-teeth 
by machinery was that of Oliver Evans, in 1778, 
a young man of Philadelphia, who was employed in 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY, 13 

manufacturing card-teeth by hand. His machine 
was capable of making 1,500 teeth a minute, 
which was a great advance over anything ever 
done before. Not meeting with the patronage and 
support which he anticipated he disposed of his 
machine and plans to other parties. He afterwards 
devised plans for pricking the leather, and for 
cutting, bending, and setting the teeth ; but these he 
abandoned because of the disheartening results of 
his former efforts. Others, however, took them up, 
and they furnished the foundation of subsequent 
patents. 

The inventions of Evans are thought to have been 
applied to machines used by Giles Richards, of Boston, 
in 1788, who had established the hand-card business, 
and erected a factory near Windmill Bridge. The 
power of the mill was derived from a wind-wheel. A 
machine tended by one man was capable of cutting 
and bending wire in twelve hours sufficient for 240 
cards, at a great reduction in cost of labor. The 
factory was considered a valuable acquisition to the 
industries of Boston, and was referred to with pride 
by the local inhabitants. Strangers visited it, when 
permitted, with more than ordinary interest, and it 



14 HISTORY OF THE 

was opened to the inspection of President Washington 
during one of his Eastern tours, who intently watched 
the mechanical operations that furnished, in the mill 
and at home, employment for 900 persons in the 
manufacture of 63,000 pairs of cards per annum. 
Washington wrote, in 1789, of these machines as 
" executing every part of the work in a new and 
expeditious manner, especially in cutting and bending 
teeth, which are done at one stroke." 

Rude and imperfect as the machines "would be con- 
sidered now, they were then the wonder of the com- 
munity, in that the}' had carried the manufacture of 
cards far in advance of anything ever accomplished 
in England, cheapening production in the face of dis- 
advantages to the extent of allowing exportation at 
a profit. Mr. Richards had at one time associated 
with him, Amos and William Whittemore. Mr. Giles 
Richards' brother Mark carried on an extensive 
business in the manufacture of cards in 1794, near 
Faneuil Hall. The factories of Giles and Mark Rich- 
ards and one operated by Amos Whittemore sup- 
plied four-fifths of the number of cards made in the 
State, sending a large portion of the production to 
the Southern States. These three establishments 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 15 

made 12,000 dozens of wool and cotton cards, con- 
suming 35,000 tanned sheep and calf-skins, and $26,- 
000 worth of iron wire, which gave employment to 
over 2,000 men, women, and children. The wire was 
obtained from a wire-mill at Dedham, Mass., which 
was erected specially for the manufacture of wire for 
cards and fish-hooks. The usual process of making 
cards at this time was to take a strip of leather fifteen 
to twenty inches long, by four inches wide, and rule ' 
it off into small quadrilateral sections. Two holes 
were made at a time by a double-needled pricker, at 
the intersections of the lines, and the two-pronged 
staples, which had been previously bent in a machine, 
were inserted into the holes, one at a time, by hand. 
The second bend on the staple then being made, the 
card was tacked on a board ready to be used for 
carding either wool or cotton. 

About the year 1784 a Mr. Chittenden, of New 
Haven, Conn., devised a machine for taking the wire 
from the coil, cutting it into teeth and giving them 
the first or double bend. It was capable of making 
86,000 teeth in an hour. It is possible Mr. Giles Rich- 
ards took advantage of this machine as well as of 
the plans of Mr. Evans. 



16 HISTORY OF THE 

In 1785 the town of Leicester, Mass., received the 
foundation of its prosperity in the manufacture of 
card clothing, through the enterprise of Edmond 
Snow, who then commenced the making of hand- 
cards which were mostly used for wool by the spinsters 
of the neighborhood. 

The young Republic of the United States was fully 
alive to the necessity of an industrial independence 
as well as a political one. The States had incorpo- 
rated many of their prerogatives into a general con- 
stitution governing the whole, which gave a mutual 
dependence on one another. Each and every State 
became sensible of the importance of inviting to our 
country the skill of the Old World, and encouraging 
the ingenuity of native talent. The field was open to 
usefulness. 

In 1789 Samuel Slater left England, and landed in 
New York ; in the year following he was induced to 
begin the manufacture of cotton goods by machinery, 
which he did in the State of Rhode Island, thereby 
originating in this country the manufacture of cotton- 
cloth by mechanical power. One of his most annoy- 
ing obstacles was the difficulty of procuring a supply 
of properly constructed card clothing, and it was not 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 17 

overcome until 1790, when he fortunateh* made the 
acquaintance of Pliny Earle, of Leicester, Mass., who 
had been in the hand-card business since 1786. It 
was a new, untried undertaking, but Mr. Earle agreed 
to make for Mr. Slater the clothing for his machines ; 
and this decision gave to Mr. Earle the honor of being 
the first to engage in the manufacture of machine 
card clothing in the United States. The cards made 
for Mr. Slater were from sheets of calf-skins, cut into 
strips 18 inches by 4 inches. The teeth were made 
by machinery, but the holes were pricked by hand 
with a couple of needles fastened in a handle. One 
hundred thousand holes were thus pricked. Mr. 
Slater put the clothing on his machine, but was not 
successful in making it do good work, much to his 
vexation of mind and body. With his natural deter- 
mination he mounted his horse and rode a distance 
of forty miles to Leicester, Mass., where he found Mr. 
Earle, who accompanied him back to his mill to set 
things right, if possible. Mr. Earle found that the 
teeth had been pressed down by too severe grinding 
and hard usage ; but these he soon raised and placed 
in position, which rectified the difficulty to the satis- 
faction of Mr. Slater. 



18 HISTORY OF THE 



CHAPTER II. 

PUNY EARLE AND HIS SUCCESSORS. RECORD OF A 

CENTURY. THE T. K. EARLE MANUFACTURING 

COMPANY. 

PLINY EARLE was born Dec. 17, 1762. He was a 
man of sound common-sense, cultivation, and great 
hospitality, and lived in a large mansion in the out- 
skirts of the town of Leicester, Mass. 

He was one of the first to engage in the manufact- 
ure of hand-cards, commencing his business in 1786, 
and in 1790, as previously stated, he produced for 
Samuel Slater the first machine card clothing made 
in America ; thus he largely contributed towards suc- 
cessfully planting this now great manufacturing 
industry. The business which Mr. Earle began 
in a small way has ever since been kept in the Earle 
family, descending from generation to generation. 

The leather first used by Mr. Earle was calf -skin, 
but in time he adopted cowhide, which was tanned 
especially for the purpose. For hand-cards sheep- 
skin was in general use. The teeth in the clothing 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 19 

for Mr. Slater's cards were set diagonally, which led 
Mr. Earle to the invention of a machine for pricking 
twilled cards, for which he obtained a patent, Dec. 6, 
1803. The letters-patent were destroyed in the fire 
of 1836, and have not been restored. In 1791 his 
brothers, Jonathan and Silas, became associated with 
him in business, under the firm-name of Pliny Earle 
& Brothers. In 1815 Silas Earle commenced busi- 
ness in his own name, and SD continued till his death 
in 1842. He accumulated a liberal fortune and built 
a large mansion not far from his brother Pliny's. Mr. 
Pliny Earle died in 1832, and left a reputable name 
and business, which had a beginning in 178G, to suc- 
cessors, who are now represented in the well-known 
concern of T. K. Earle Manufactui'ing Company, of 
Worcester, Mass., which was formed Jan. 1, 1880. 

Timothy Keese Earle, whose portrait occupies the 
fir.^t page of this woi'k, was born Jan. 11, 1823. He 
was a son of Henry and Ruth Keese Earle, of Leices- 
ter, Mass. 

At sixteen years of age he commenced the business 
of card-making with his uncle, Silas Earle, and in a 
few years purchased his business. He subsequently, 
in 1842, moved his business to Worcester and associ 



20 HISTORY OF THE 

ated his brother Edward Earle with him, under the 
firm name of T. K. Earle & Co. In 1857 they built the 
largest factory in America for the manufacture of card 
clothing, and, with the many additions made since it 
was first constructed, it is still much larger than any 
other American establishment for this business. 

Edward Earle retired from the business in 1869 and 
died May 19, 1877, and his interest in the business was 
purchased by T. K. Earle's twin brother, Thomas, who 
died in 1871. In 1872 Edwin Brown, of Worcester, a 
son-in-law of T. K. Earle, became a partner in the busi- 
ness. In 1880 a company, underthe name of the T. K. 
Earle Manufacturing Company, was formed with T. K. 
Earle as president, and Edwin Brown as agent and treas- 
urer. T. K. Earle died Oct. 1, 1881, at the age of fifty- 
eight years. He was the acknowledged head of the card- 
clothing business in America. Quick to recognize 
ability in others, and to appreciate what was needed 
in his business, he always associated with himself 
employe's and mechanics of only the highest ability, 
and most of the important improvements in the manu- 
facture of card clothing originated in his factory. 
The T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company abate no 
part of their predecessor's energy or determination to 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHIXG INDUSTRY. 21 

make the best goods that can be produced. The most 
recent and improved card-setting machine has been in- 
vented in their shop by Oliver Arnold, who inherits the 
inventive genius of his father, Addison Arnold, who 
was one of the early card-makers and inventors. T. 
K. Earle and Co. were the first to publish a book of 
estimates of the number of square feet of card cloth- 
ing required to cover any size cylinder. They printed 
five large editions of this most useful work to carders, 
and distributed them gratuitously among their cus- 
tomers. Before this book of estimates was issued 
bills for card clothing could not be verified without 
long calculations being made. It was during a visit 
to the card-setting machine-room of the T. K. Earle 
Manufacturing Company that a well-known English 
card-maker, after examining the fine work of the ma- 
chines, said, " If I were going to start another card 
factory in England, I should order American machines, 
as they are much superior to the English, and turn out 
finer work." The T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company 
own a number of patents on their improvements in the 
method of producing card clothing. Pliny Earle made 
one kind of card clothing, viz., iron wire teeth set by 
hand in leather. To show the difference in the demand 



22 HISTORY OF THE 

for card clothing between that time and the present, 
the T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company now make 
all kinds of leather card clothing, using both hemlock 
and oak tanned leather, over ten varieties of rubber- 
faced card clothing, over ten varieties of cloth card 
clothing, and use eighteen or more sizes of soft steel 
wire, eleven or more sizes of hardened and tempered 
steel wire, besides tinned wire and brass wire of vari- 
ous shapes and sizes They curry their own leather, 
manufacture card cloths and rubber-faced card cloths 
for themselves, and for other card-makers. They have 
built almost all their card-setting machines in their 
own machine-shop, and are constantly making im- 
provements in the quality and the methods of making 
card clothing. 

The T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company, of 
Worcester, Mass., have manufactured double and 
single cover cloth for foundation for card clothing 
for the past fifteen years, having special and improved 
machinery for the purpose, and in 1883 they built a 
factory on their premises for the manufacture of all 
kinds of card cloths, including vulcanized rubber fac- 
ings. With the very best American and English 
machinery, and the most improved process of vul- 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 23 

canizing rubber for this purpose, they are now pre- 
pared to furnish not only their own large card-cloth- 
ing factory with card cloths, but have sufficient 
capacity to make them for all the card-makers in 
America. 

Since they first commenced the manufacture of 
card cloth, which was formerly all imported from 
England, the price of rubber card cloth (one of their 
specialties) has decreased over fifty per cent., 
thereby reducing the cost of card clothing of this kind, 
to manufacturers, from ten to thirty-five per cent. At 
a recent industrial exhibition at the Crystal Palace, 
England, this company exhibited their products, 
being, we believe, the first and only American exhibit 
of card clothing. A medal was awarded them for 
excellence of the goods. 

We have here the history of an honorable and suc- 
cessful business, a century old, that began with 
limited facilities, in a room of a few feet square, and 
which has developed into one of national import, con- 
tributing largely to the healthy growth of an im- 
portant industry, which now requires a floor space of 
over an acre in extent to do its work and meet the 
demands upon it. 



24 HISTORY OF THE 



CHAPTER III. 

ELEAZER SMITH. HIS EFFORTS TO PERFECT THE CARD- 
SETTING MACHINE. 

ABOUT the time the rotary carding-machiue of 
Lewis Paul was struggling for a recognition in Eng- 
land there was born in Medfield, Mass., in 17;j4, a 
youth, of humble parentage, by the name of Eleazer 
Smith. His education partook of the best that the 
schools of his neighborhood furnished in arithmetic, 
grammar, geography, reading and writing. A nat- 
ural student, fond of reading, and blessed with a 
retentive memory, he secured what books he could 
on astronomy, botany and chemistry, and became 
well versed in these subjects. His mechanical turn 
of mind and studious habits seemed to fit him for 
certain branches of surgery, in which he was con- 
sidered quite skilful. In early life he moved to the 
adjoining town of "Walpole, where he afterwards 
lived. His house and shop occupied one of the most 
eligible locations in the place, on a high elevation, 
from which an extended view was to be had of fields 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 25 

and scattered woodlands. The buildings disappeared 
long ago, and all trace of the spot is found only in a 
cellar-hole, a few old bricks that once answered for a 
chimney fireplace, and some old poplar trees that 
stand like monumental shafts. 

That he was regarded as a man of erudition is 
noted in the visits he was accustomed to receive from 
acknowledged scientific and professional men, for 
consultation and information. Dr. Jackson, of Bos- 
ton, was a frequent visitor. His favorite occupation 
was in mechanics, and many devices attest his 
ingenuity. In his boyhood he made a wooden spring 
trap for catching rabbits, that became a coveted 
instrument for sport, and which has not yet outlived 
its usefulness. At the age of fifteen or sixteen he 
constructed a complete watch, and encased it in a 
white-oak knot, which he fashioned with his jack- 
knife. It kept good time. He presented it to Mr. 
Aaron Wight, of Medway, who was so well pleased 
with it and with Smith's ingenuity, that he gave him 
his board for four months, and aided him in making a 
complement of tools for the manufacture of watches 
and clocks. One of his products was a clock, with 
wheels of apple-tree wood and a bell made from a 



26 HISTORY OF THE 

wineglass, which attracted the notice of Simon 
Pettee, a clock-maker of Wrentham, who endeavored 
to secure his services ; but his father was not disposed 
to let him turn his attention to such things, which he 
considered as of no profit. A clock of his, nearly 
one hundred years old, is still running in Walpole, 
and is in possession of Mr. Lewis Bowker. It is a 
curious and simple piece of mechanism, with only 
three wheels, and a pendulum which beats seconds. 
The face is seven inches in diameter, and made of 
brass with the name of Eleazer Smith engraved on 
it. 

With many other compatriots he enlisted in the 
army, in 1776, and marched to the taking of Ticon- 
deroga ; but his military career was not one congenial 
to his taste, and after several adventures he returned 
home and busied himself in inventing machines for 
making cards, needles, tacks, nails, pins, and other 
contrivances, so as " to do without England," as he 
expressed himself. His machine for the manufacture 
of solid-headed pins, and drawing the wire for them, 
was well devised for making 1,500 pins a day; but 
they had to be pointed on a grindstone. The clever- 
ness with which he c&uld turn his hand in mechanism 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 27 

gained for him quite an extended reputation. Mr. 
Jeremiah Wilkinson, a card-maker, of Cumberland, 
R.I., set him to work in the planning and construc- 
tion of a machine for making card-teeth, which he 
did in one month. The operation of this machine 
proved very satisfactory, and when known, was the 
means of opening engagements to him from three 
parties who wished him to build like machines for 
them. A pair of hand-cards was valued at this time 
at sixteen shillings. The erection of his house and 
shop involved him in debt, and his financial embar- 
rassments forced him to the harder labor of wood- 
chopping and general farm-work for his neighbors, 
which brought him in the small income of about sev- 
enty-five cents a day. 

His conception of a machine for making cards, 
which would combine the operations of bending the 
teetfy and pricking the holes into the leather, was being 
evolved at this period of his life, but his straitened 
circumstances too frequently required him to turn to 
diverting engagements. Mr. Jonathan Hale, a card- 
manufacturer, of Framingham, having heard of Smith's 
capabilities, bargained for his services in doing all 
such work that required the aptitude of an ingenious 



28 HISTORY OF THE 

hand, such as mending cart-wheels and improving 
machines for making card-teeth and tacks. His 
plans for what he termed the " Grand Machine to Stick 
Cards," were communicated to Mr. Hale, who sympa- 
thized with his efforts and became interested in their 
promotion. His creditors so worried him with their 
importunities, that he was obliged to seclude himself 
in a room under lock and key, so as to conduct his 
work uninterruptedly. His plans were probably of 
slow development, as Mr. Hale became discouraged, 
and on the payment of $150 released himself from 
further obligations. His mind bent on accomplish- 
ing his purpose, with a nature hopeful and earnest, 
he conquered all disposition to disappointment, and 
dispelled every apparition that prophesied failure. 
Of an ingenuous temperament, suspecting none, he 
willingly unfolded his schemes to all who would 
favor him with a listening ear. Many did he enter- 
tain with the revelation of his designs, as he depicted 
here and there the mutual working of his little de- 
vices, and portrayed the revolution thev would occa- 
sion when they became a reality. Few, however, be- 
lieved ; and the apathetic had no word to express, 
aside from pronouncing his notions ridiculous. Ad- 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 29 

verse opinions had no weight with him ; they did not 
diminish the confidence he had in his ideas. He 
would often say, " I can see right through it ; I can 
see how every part will move." His whole nature 
was concentrated on his machine ; he would devote 
days and nights, without intermission, to his work, 
scarcely allowing himself time to eat, and paying no 
attention to those who might venture near him. 
With a mind overtaxed and exhausted he would 
occasionally leave his shop and roam about the village, 
as if demented. 

In 1784 he left the employment of Mr. Hale. At 
the solicitation of Giles Richards, of Boston, he sub- 
sequently went to work in the card-factory of that 
gentleman, who had formed a company, consisting of 
himself, William and Amos Whittemore, and others. 
He remained here twenty-one months, effecting 
several improvements in card-setting machinery. It 
was during his engagement with this company that 
President Washington visited the factory in 1789, 
when the machines were under Mr. Smith's super- 
vision. They elicited praise from the President, 
although they were not working satisfactorily and 
showed signs of having been tampered with. Leaving 



30 HISTORY OF THE 

Boston he spent a whole year in improving a nail- 
cutting machine, which he got to be self-feeding and 
to cut nails with the fibre of the iron. This machine 
came into general use. The idea of it largely origi- 
nated from a former invention of his for cutting and 
heading card-tacks. While at work completing a 
machine for making card teeth, he was visited by Col. 
Thomas Denny, Jr., of Leicester, who paid him $93 
for it. In 1795 he went to Newburyport to work 
for Jacob Perkins in his brad-mill ; but because of a 
disagreement in regard to a claim of originality in a 
nail-cutting machine, he soon returned home. Passing 
through Boston he called on William Whittemore, who 
asked him if he thought it possible to construct a 
machine to stick cards. He answered affirmatively, 
and expressed an intention to accomplish it as 
soon as his finances would admit of it. He had 
not long been at his home before his shop was the 
scene of busy preparations for serious labor on his 
" Grand Machine." 

While his heart and mind were thus engrossed he 
was visited from time to time by those interested in 
the manufacture of card clothing, and especially by 
Amos Whittemore, and one or more of his associates. 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 31 

Not doubting the honest purpose of his visitors he 
candidly explained his work, and made known his 
ideas, little dreaming that his frankness could possi- 
bly operate to his disadvantage. It appears that he 
mistrusted the object of Amos Whittemore's comings, 
whom he knew to be a skilful mechanic, quick to 
turn new ideas to account, and one fully alive to all 
improvements iu the card industry. He questioned 
Whittemore acutely if he was not also engaged on a 
similnr machine ; but his inquisitiveness brought none 
other than evasive replies. His machine was grad- 
ually nearing completion. It consisted of an iron bed- 
plate, twenty-four inches square, with wrought-irou 
posts for the centre and working parts, lie had suc- 
ceeded in making it prick the leather, make the teeth 
and set them in straight, and was about to apply his 
ideas in putting on the second bend to the teeth, 
when he heard of the patent granted to Amos Whitte- 
more, in 1797, who had forestalled him in this last 
contrivance and given the machine an automatic com- 
pleteness. Mr. Smith was inclined to contest the 
validity of the patent, but his limited means and 
inability to secure pecuniary assistance, together with 
the imperfect knowledge then had of the patent-laws, 



32 HISTORY OF THE 

prevented him from doing so. Notwithstanding this, 
he perfected his machine by a device for making the 
second bend, but he never derived any benefit from 
it. It is evident that the achievement of Mr. Wliitte- 
more had a very depressing effect on Mr. Smith, and 
the disappointment was so overwhelming that he 
never fully recovered from it. His hopeful prospects 
vanished in a moment, as if they were but visions 
come to beguile him to deeper poverty and wretched- 
ness. Hours, days, years, and a life had been spent 
in solving a problem which, when near consumma- 
tion, was wrested from him by a more artful hand 
than his. 

In 1812 he built for Pliny Earle & Bros., 
of Leicester, a machine for making card-teeth, to 
be set into the leather by hand. This machine is 
still in existence, and one who has seen it says : 
" The permanency of construction and beauty of 
finish would do credit to a machinist with a set of 
tools of the latest improvements." The Whitte- 
more patent being confined to the exclusive use of 
a few, kept the old practice of setting the teeth in 
leather by hand in vogue till 1828. Mr. Smith 
died in Walpole, March 9, 1836, aged eighty-two 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 33 

years. He was buried in the country graveyard, 
now Rural Cemetery, where a plain marble slab marks 
the spot of his last resting-place. In 1854 the select- 
men of the town made an effort to erect a monument 
to his memory, but without success. 



34 HISTORY OF THE 



CHAPTER IV. 

AMOS WHITTEMORE, HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE CARD- 
CLOTHING INDUSTRY. PERFECTION OF THE CARD- 
SETTING MACHINE. 

AMONG the articles subject to payment of duties in 
the first tariff act of 1789 were hand-cards used for 
wool and cotton. For every dozen imported there 
was levied a duty of fifty cents, and this was con- 
tinued till 1812, when a duty of one dollar was im- 
posed. The tariff of 1816, and subsequent ones, 
make no mention of them, as they had outlived the 
necessity of special protection. The last decade of 
the eighteenth century was developing an independ- 
ence in our industries, in sympathy with the politi- 
cal stability which we were establishing among the 
nations of the earth. Several woolen and cotton 
mills were started in embryo, to meet certain local 
wants of thrifty housewives. The first cotton mill, 
and the first woolen mill, showing a complete system 
of manufacture, were then organized as the beginning 
of two branches of a vast industry. To supply the 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 35 

demands of these new and growing enterprises the 
inventive skill of the American mechanic was taxed 
to the utmost ; and to encourage and protect such in 
the benefits and emoluments to which it was entitled, 
the United States Government enacted certain patent- 
laws, which were early called into requisition. Very 
few great inventions are patented in any country 5 that 
are allowed to stand unmolested as being the exclu- 
sive conception, or having priority in conception, in 
whole or in part, in the mind of the patentee. The 
greater the usefulness of the invention the greater will 
be the number of persistent claimants, often with just 
cause, but more often with immature pretensions of 
fancies that have not got beyond the realm of 
thought, and lack the existence of a reality. Patents 
do not depend on conception, but on execution ; and 
the two are not always the property of the same 
person. He who conceives has a right to share in 
the honors of him who executes, and he who executes 
should not be divested of the glory attending the con- 
version of an idea into a fact, of transforming a cru- 
dity into a success. To determine the origin of an 
invention is a difficult, if not an impossible, task. 
The most beautiful and useful mechanical devices 



36 HISTORY OF THE 

with which we are familiar are simply the imitation 
of the action of the human hand. Intercourse with 
our fellow-men not only furnishes an incentive, but 
serves to create ideas to be matured into practical 
application. 

Eleazer Smith is entitled to all the encomiums 
which have been connected with the products of his 
consummate skill as a mechanic. There is no ques- 
tion of his ingenuity, and that its free plav was 
greatly fettered by his financial embarrassments and 
poverty. There is no doubt that he devised contriv- 
ances that gave great promise of success in facilitating 
the manufacture of card clothing ; and that he should 
not have reaped the full benefit of them is no discredit 
to him ; it was one of those unfortunate fates that not 
infrequently befall the greatest of men. Let not 
one jot be taken from whatever is due to the inge- 
nuity of Mr. Smith ; it is deserving of laurels ; let 
them there remain. In dealing with the history of an 
invention we are apt to be involved in a series of 
deductions ; and though history, pure and simple, is 
a chronicle of facts, it is not always easy to ascertain 
what are the facts. Let us review for a moment. 
As near as we can determine, about the year 1780, 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 37 

Mr. Smith conceived the idea of one machine for 
combining the operations of bending the teeth and 
pricking the holes into the leather, and he no doubt 
experimented upon it during his connection with Mr. 
Giles Richards, of Boston. We have, also, mention 
of a plan of one Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, for 
pricking the leather, and for cutting, bending and 
setting the teeth, which, it has been thought, was 
applied, in some form, to the machines of Giles 
Richards. Again, in 1784, it seems that a Mr. Chit- 
tenden, of New Haven, Conn., devised a machine for 
taking the wire from the coil, cutting it into teeth and 
giving them the first or double bend ; and this device, 
it has been thought, was also taken advantage of by 
Mr. Richards, who, it is needless to say, was ac- 
tive in all things necessary to promote the profitable 
growth of his business. Not presuming to say but 
that Smith's conceptions were formed independent of 
and even earlier than either of the above, is it not 
reasonable to suppose that he derived some helpful 
aid from the contrivances in operation on Mr. Rich- 
ard's machines while he was in that gentleman's 
employ? During his engagement in Boston he was 
well acquainted with Amos Whittemore, and knew 



38 HISTORY OF THE 

him as a very skilful mechanic, and, so far as is 
known, was on friendly terms with him. It is nat- 
ural to believe that these two men, who were mutually 
interested in the same vocation, working side by 
side, would talk on matters that absorbed their at- 
tention in common, and become more or less familiar 
with each other's plans. Whittemore, having a 
stronger nature, was probablv more discreet in im- 
parting his schemes than Smith, whose ingenuous and 
communicative nature would not allow him to with- 
hold from others what he knew and what he was 
doing. It is not at all unlikely that Whittemore got 
from Smith more than what Smith got from Whitte- 
more, but it does not necessarily follow that Whittemore 
did not have other than well-laid plans of his own 
for his machine ; for it is not disputed that he was an 
intelligent and proficient workman. It is impossible 
to determine where to divide the honors. Two things, 
however, are fixed : Whittemore gave the machine an 
automatic completeness, and secured a patent for it. 

The life of Amos Whittemore runs in the same 
channel of many other inventors, with its hopes and 
despondencies. He was born in Cambridge, Mass., 
April 19, 1759, and was the second of five brothers, 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 39 

and third in a family of ten children. His birthplace 
is still standing near the dividing line between Cam- 
bridge and Arlington. His father was a farmer in 
moderate circumstances, whose bodily strength and 
labors were actively and daily needed to supply the 
necessaries for his large family. He could give his 
children none other than the elementary education 
which the schools of his neighborhood furnished, and 
when their strength was sufficient to be helpful 
to him in the occupations of a farm, he required it of 
them ; and the youthful days of Amos were employed 
in assisting his father in general out-door labors. 
Amos was of a meditative and philosophical turn of 
mind, preferring the solitude of his own reflections to 
the genial companionship of his associates, which, 
with a mechanical aptitude, seemed naturally to 
direct him to the abstruse in the science of invention. 
He was early made to feel the necessity of choosing 
an employment for his maintenance ; and, as he was 
left free to make a choice, he selected the trade of a 
gunsmith, as having an immediate future of more 
profit than anything else at hand. Serving as an 
apprentice, he assiduously applied himself to his task 
and invented a number of serviceable implements, 



40 HISTORY OF THE 

which his employer recognized as the manifestation 
of a talent far above the mediocrity of a common 
workman. Among the many ingenious productions 
of his was a clock, made without a model, which long 
remained in the possession of his family. A Dr. 
Putnam, of Charlestown, becoming interested and in- 
timate in his work, and noticing the dexterity with 
which he could turn his inventive talent, suggested 
to him the invention of a self-acting loom for weav- 
ing duck. The suggestion was at once acted upon 
and resulted in the construction of a loom, which, 
according to some information, embraced the same 
principle as evolved in the power-loom of the present 
day. The times were not propitious at this period of 
his life ; he found but little inducement to be zealous 
in securing the adoption of his devices ; for none 
seemed to care to improve the methods then in use ; 
matters of more general interest were then engross- 
ing the thoughts of his fellow-men. 

During the war he was much of the time out of 
employment, and was obliged to scrupulously husband 
his limited resources. Some time subsequent to 1788 
he and his brother William, together with five others, 
became associated under the firm-name of Giles 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 41 

Richards & Co., for the manufacture of card clothing, 
and their success gave them a wide reputation. Amos 
devoted himself to the mechanical wants of the 
factory, and its prosperity was largely dependent 
on his management. The production of the factory 
was in ready demand, but the expense of manufact- 
ure was a serious encumbrance, the same as that 
connected with the making of wool and cotton cards 
everywhere, because of the imperfect and rude 
machines in use, and the large amount of manual 
labor required. Amos quickly realized the situation 
and saw the opportunity for a grand and substan- 
tial success for a machine that would unite all the 
operations in one harmonious whole. The occa- 
sion was one that appealed most happily to his 
nature, as a favorable time to exercise his inventive 
ingenuity with a hope of a lucrative return. His 
mind became involved in a series of evolutions, 
and he applied himself sedulously to experimental 
tasks that offered any promise of solving the question. 
He kept no account of time ; day and night had no 
distinction to him, and physical and mental exhaus- 
tion only determined the time for rest. He unfolded 
his plans to his brother William, in whom he had 



42 HISTORY OF THE 

implicit confidence, and received from him encourage- 
ment and excellent advice. His incessant toil threat- 
ened the complete undermining of his constitution ; but 
to him this was of momentary consideration. His in- 
genuity was taxed to the utmost, and device after 
device was attempted and rejected, all seeming to baffle 
and militate against the accomplishment of his pur- 
pose. 

The laws of physics appeared to work by contraries. 
At length parts began to work in more harmony with 
each other, and he realized a machine to draw the 
wire from the reel, cut and shape it, pierce the holes 
in the leather, and place the staples in the sheet ; but 
the forming of the second and final bend in the 
teeth was a problem that vexed his very soul as one 
of insurmountable difficulty. Hope was followed by 
despair, and the most glorious prize of all that would 
crown his machine with perfection, hovered around 
him like a phantom, enticing him on to further exer- 
tion, yet eluding his grasp. He did not lack, however, 
the support of encouraging friends, who believed in 
his ultimate success if he would only persevere be- 
lievingly and courageously. To the cheerful assur- 
ances of his friends may be attributed much of his 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 43 

resolution and unremitting ardor in forcing his scheme 
to a successful finality. 

While in this maze of doubt, his brain hot with 
feverish uncertainty, his thoughts dwelling vaguely 
on a theory of possibilities, his exhausted strength 
permitted the solution to come to him in a dream. 
Such is the testimony of some, and, whether it be true 
or not, it is not outside a common experience of 
many, to retire at night with a mind confused and 
mj'stified by unabated application to a single idea, and 
wake up in the morning with it fresh and clear with 
the mj-stery revealed and elucidated, as if it were the 
work of a vision. He arose at early dawn with a 
heart full of emotion, and a face beaming with joy, 
and eagerly sought his workshop to place on his ma- 
chine the last piece of mechanism that was to trans- 
form it into a magnificent consummation. The com- 
mencement and the achievement covered a space of 
three months, as stated in a memoir of him ; but it is 
hardly consistent with his nature and that of the sub- 
ject to confine it to so limited a period. The need of 
such a machine had been long recognized and dis- 
cussed, and it is to be presumed that so earnest and 
observant a mechanic as Whittemore would not 



44 HISTORY OF THE 

have allowed the time to have passed without prac- 
tically exercising his inventive skill in accomplishing 
the object. The invention was a splendid specimen 
of " construction, precision of movement, rapidity of 
performance and perfection of execution. It must 
be studiously examined to be justly appreciated, and 
its complicated performance can be compared with 
nothing more nearly than the machinery of the human 
system." 

The Whittemore brothers took with them to Wash- 
ington a full sized and complete machine, as a model, 
to be shown to members of Congress, from which 
they could form a better and more correct judgment 
than from an}- verbal or written description that 
could be given of it. It excited much curiosity and 
admiration at the astonishing facility with which it 
performed its work ; and especially was its advantage 
to the woolen and cotton industries reckoned upon 
as incalculable. The petition for a renewal of the 
patent came before Congress for action, and, after 
a little deliberation, it was favorably considered and 
granted, March 3, 1809. The vote on the final 
passage of the renewing act was fifty-five in the 
affirmative and eighteen in the negative, and as 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 45 

there is no record of the speeches made on this 
occasion, we have no means of knowing the nature 
of the objections raised against the extension, or 
the animosity that may have been instigated in 
opposition. It is a consistent presumption, how- 
ever, to say that with the above vote there was some 
discussion made on the merits of the invention, or 
advisability of renewing the patent. Unanimity 
would have been anomalous ; blessings and great in- 
ventions do not find appreciation without exciting 
hostility and antagonistic elements, though they may 
arise from the perversity of human nature, when 
disturbed from its conservatism. It is related of 
John Randolph, of Roanoke, that, when the question 
of extending the patent was before Congress, he 
expressed himself with that emphatic eloquence, for 
which he was noted: "Yes, I would renew it to all 
eternity ! for it is the only machine which ever had a 
soul!!" 

The act of renewal was as follows : 



An Act to extend to Amos Whittemore and Wm. Whitte- 
more, Jr., the patent-right to a machine for manufacturing 
Cotton and Wool Cards. 



46 HISTORY OF THE 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that 
all the privileges and benefits granted to Amos^Whittemore, 
of the State of Massachusetts, in consideration of a machine 
invented by him for the manufacture of Cotton and Wool 
Cards, within the United States, by a patent issued from the 
Department of State, and bearing date the fifth day of June, 
one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, be, and the 
same are hereby extended to Amos Whittemore and William 
Whittemore, Jr., as joint proprietors of the said machine, for 
and during the term of fourteen years, to commence on the 
fifth day of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eleven ; 
anything in the Act entitled, " An Act to promote the prog- 
ress of useful arts ; and to repeal the Act heretofore made for 
that purpose," to the contrary notwithstanding. 

J. B. VARNUM, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

J. N. MILBRIDGE, 
President of the Senate, pro tern. 

March 3, 1809, approved. TH. JEFFERSON. 
(Passed the House Feb. 28, 1809.) 



In the year 1803 Samuel Whittemore, a younger 
brother, started the manufacture of cards for cotton 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 47 

and wool in the city of New York, as a branch of the 
business established in Cambridge ; and the novelty 
of the machine attracted no little attention. The 
success of this branch is not given us, but it probably 
moved along slowly and inconsequentially till its 
reanimation by the renewal of the patent, when 
efforts were soon made to place it on a flourishing 
basis, by the addition of capital, to secure the antici- 
pated demand and profit resulting from the practical 
monopoly which the exclusive control of the ma- 
chine would give. It was not long in waiting 
before it elicited the serious consideration of men 
of money. 

An act was passed by the Legislature of New 
York, June 15, 1812, incorporating Anthony Post, 
John Van Kleeck, Samuel Whitternore, Isaac Mar- 
quand and others, as the New York Manufacturing 
Companv, for the manufacture of iron and brass wire, 
and of cotton and wool cards, with a capital of 
$1,200,000. The ninth section of the act provided 
that " the corporation shall, as soon as the same shall 
be dul} 1 organized, contract for and purchase of A. & 
W. Whittemore, of Boston, the machinery owned by 
them for cutting and sticking card-teeth, together 



48 HISTORY OF THE 

with the exclusive right, secured to them by letters- 
patent from the United States, of using that and 
such machinery for the term of thirteen years." The 
corporation was required to expend by the 1st of 
November, 1813, in the purchase of patent-right and 
in the erection of manufacturing houses, machinery 
and hydraulic works, $250,000, and $50,000 per year 
afterwards, till the capital so invested should 
amount to $500,000, which should be kept as a per- 
manent manufacturing capital. 'The corporation was 
also required to establish in the city of New York 
a bank of deposit and discount, and to employ 
such parts of its capital stock in it as should 
not be otherwise appropriated, not exceeding 
$700,000. 

The basis of this enterprise was the machinery for 
making cotton and wool cards, invented by Amos 
Whittemore, of Cambridge, Mass., and patented 
June 5, 1797. Samuel Whittemore was a brother 
of the inventor, and on the 20th day of July, 1812, 
$120,000 was paid for the patent-right for the term 
of thirteen years, and for the machtnerj' of the 
Messrs. Whittemore. This sale took from Amos 
Whittemore all the rights and interest he had in his 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 49 

invention, and with his share of the proceeds he 
retired to a pleasant estate which he purchased in 
West Cambridge, now Arlington, Mass., and lived a 
quiet and happy life, that seemed more congenial to 
his nature than the vicissitudes of a manufacturing 
and mercantile vocation. 

The New York Company erected extensive works 
on New York island, corresponding with the large 
capital which had been invested in the undertaking, 
and the laying of the corner-stone of the main build- 
ing was attended by elaborate ceremonies in harmony 
with the hopeful prospects that the present appeared 
to foretell. 

The calamities of war, which at this time was de- 
stroying our commerce on the seas and subverting 
our intercourse with foreign countries, threw upon us 
the necessity of supplying our wants from domestic 
manufactures, which thus became stimulated into an 
unprecedented activity that kept the wheels of trade 
in constant motion. 

Cotton and woolen factories sprung up as by 
magic, as if every water-fall was to have by its side 
the busy hum of machinery. 

None felt the momentum of the stimulated con- 



50 HISTORY OF THE 

dition of affairs more than the New York Manufac- 
turing Company, which bent every energy towards 
securing and supplying the demands of the hour. 
The return of peace, in 1815, relieved the intense 
pressure of a feverish inflation, and the excess was 
everywhere diffused, weakened, and enervated. The 
bountifuluess of peace, an event sought for and 
prayed for, brought with it no consolation for the 
New York Company, but rather disappointments and 
losses, by the impairment or destruction of the 
channels through which it disposed of its products. 
The demand for its manufactures ceased almost 
wholly, there was no market, and it found itself 
suddenly with a large stock of goods on hand of un- 
certain value, and expensive machinery standing idle 
for want of work. 

No reaction coming to favor the continuation of 
the business, it was decided to dispose of the 
property, which was accomplished by a sale, in 1818, 
to Messrs. Samuel and Timothy Whittemore, 
brother and son of Amos Whittemore. Timothy 
almost immediately transferred his share to his 
uncle, who assumed the exclusive ownership of the 
property and continued the business, with varying 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 51 

success, till the time of his death, in 1835. The 
New York Manufacturing Co., after selling its 
property in 1818, dissolved its cooperate title and 
took that of the Phoenix Bank, and has pursued the 
banking business, which its charter authorized it to 
do, to the present day. The second term of the 
patent expired in 1825, and the invention was given 
to the world. In anticipation of this event, and fear- 
ful of the effect it would have on his vocation, Sam- 
uel Whittemore sold many of his machines, and very 
considerably reduced the limits of his business. 

A number of the machines that were used in 
Samuel Whittemore's factory were bought by 
Gershom and Henry Whittemore, sons of Amos 
Whittemore, and moved to West Cambridge, where 
a factory was started in 1827 for the manufacture 
of cards, and which was kept running till its de- 
struction by fire in 1862. 

As soon as the expiration of the patent released 
the monopoly on the invention orders were received 
from England and France for some of the machines ; 
but their complication was so imperfectly understood 
by the foreign mechanics that workmen had to 
be sent from America to set up and start them. 



52 HISTORY OF THE 

Returning once more to Mr. Amos Whittemore we 
find that, with his retirement to his West Cambridge 
estate in 1812, he gave himself up to the ease of life 
and the enjoyment which he could cull from scientific 
reading and reflection, which his natural inclinations 
led him to seek. Astronomical inquiries engaged 
much of his time, and his ingenuity was displayed 
in this line of study by the construction of devices 
showing the principle of planetary motions, and 
he conceived a plan of a complete orrery, a ma- 
chine that was in high repute during his time, in 
the latter part of the 18th and early part of the 
19th centuries, but which is now regarded with 
little favor. 

In the latter part of his life he felt the discomforts of 
impaired health and the infirmities of old age. He 
died March 27, 1828, at his homestead. He left but 
a small fortune. He was spoken of as a man " of 
a bland and conciliating disposition, even in temper, 
strikingly meditative in manners, conversing but 
little, and often seen in profound mental study." 
Over his tomb is placed a marble tablet bearing this 
inscription : 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 53 

Amos Whittemore, 

born 
April 19, 1779, 

died 

March 27, 1828. 

Inventor of the celebrated 

machine for making cotton 

and wool cards ; a marvelous 

conception of mechanical 

ingenuity, which gave him 

a prominent place among 

the principal inventors 

of the age. 
This tablet was erected by his descendants, A.D. 1882. 



Desiring to give our subject a consistency as well 
as continuity, we have been obliged to omit, for the 
time being, all matter not directly connected with the 
career of Amos Whittemore, whose history has such 
a vital bearing on the existence and success of the 
card-clothing industry. 

To return to earlier days, when Whittemore's in- 
vention was first generally known, but not generally 
used, because of its monopoly by the inventor and his 
brothers, the methods pursued when labor was 'almost 



54 HISTORY OF THE 

purely manual, with few or no mechanical devices to 
aid and ease the toil, called into requisition the handi- 
craft of the neighborhood anywhere within a radius 
of twelve miles. The wire teeth were the product of 
the factory, but, in order that they be inserted into 
the leather, they were distributed in bags among the 
households of the vicinity, and thus gave employment 
to women and children. Every house became a part 
of a factory system, and the community busy in some- 
thing which all could do, from the youngest to the 
oldest. Women and girls were the most dexterous 
members of the family for this kind of work. 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 55 



CHAPTER V. 

GROWTH OF THE CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY, AND 
SKETCHES OF PARTIES ENGAGED IN ITS MANUFACT- 
URE. 

/ 

IN 1802 Mr. Wintbrop Earle, an active young man 
of twenty-seven, began the manufacture of machine- 
cards, and occupied for this purpose the west end of 
Col. Denny's dwelling-house in Leicester, Mass. 
He soon after built a factory apart from his residence, 
and became extensively engaged in his business. 
His early death, in 1807, deprived the town of a 
most respected citizen. His business, however, did 
not suffer for want of a competent successor, as it 
was continued by John "Woodcock, a young and in- 
genious mechanic who had come from Rutland two 
years before. "Woodcock's inventive tact was 
manifested in many little devices for overcoming 
annoyances that afflicted the crude processes which 
were in fashion at that time. On one machine 
he secured a patent for reducing leather used in the 
manufactnre of cards to a uniform thickness, which 



56 HISTORY OF THE 

proved to be of much benefit, not only to himself, but 
to the manufacturing community in general. 

In 1808 Mr. Alpheus Smith associated himself 
with Mr. Woodcock, under the firm-name of 
Woodcock & Smith. Their factory building was 
moved near the hotel, where it stood for many 
years. In 1812 James Smith, from Rutland, 
joined the firm as an active member. Mr. 
Woodcock disposed of his interest in 1813, and 
his death is chronicled in the same year, having 
acquired a competency which he left to a family of 
five children. In 1814 Alpheus Smith sold his 
share in the business to his brothers, John A. and 
Rufus, and the style of the concern became James & 
John A. Smith & Co. The junior member, Rufus, died 
in 1818, and the business was carried on by the re- 
maining partners till 1825, when John Woodcock, 
son of the foregoing John Woodcock, Hiram Knight 
and Emorv Drury were taken in as partners. Within 
the following eight years many changes took place in 
the membership of the firm. Mr. Drury left it in 
1829, John A. Smith in 1830, and James Smith in 
1833, leaving the business in the hands of John 
Woodcock and Hiram Knight, who continued it alone 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 57 

till 1848, when they took in their sons, Theodore E. 
and Dexter. The firm of Woodcock, Knight & Co. 
remained in existence till within a few years. 

To show the state of trade in card clothing in the 
early history of this concern, we reproduce a letter 
that was written by it to a customer in want of card 

clothing : 

LEICESTER, June 27, 1812. 
MR. E. D. WALCOTT: 

SIR, Yours of the 18th inst. is just received, in which you 
observe you are in want of five or six sets of machine-cards 
for the Nassau Cotton and Woollen M. Society, and wish to 
know our terms. Our terms are cash in hand. We formerly 
gave a credit of three or six months upon our cards, and used 
to have the same credit on our stock ; but now our stock com- 
mands the cash; therefore we are obliged to sell our cards 
for ready pay. Card wire is extremely high and difficult to be 
obtained at any price. The present prices of cards are for 
those made of No. 30 wire, .$3.00; No. 31 wire, $3.20; No. 
32 wire, $3.40; No. 33 wire, $3.60 per square foot; and for 
filleting, 1J in. wide, 55 cents; 1& in., 75 cents; and 2 in., 
$1.00 per foot in length. The above are the prices that we 
and others are selling cards in this place. We will engage 
the cards at the above prices, or at the prices that others may 
be selling at in this place. . 

Yours respectfully, 

WOODCOCK, SMITH & Co. 



58 HISTORY OF THE 

A letter addressed to this firm, March 17, 1813, 
quotes the price of card wire at $1.50 per pound 
for Nos. 30, 31, and 32 ; but as it was subject to 
daily fluctuation, the quotation was guaranteed only 
for the time of its making. The war with England 
had made wire a very scarce commodity. We have 
mentioned the granting of letters-patent to Pliny 
Earle, in 1803, for a machine for pricking twilled 
cards. This patent Mr. Earle was particular in de- 
fending for his exclusive benefit, and infringers were 
warned of their infraction as soon as it came to his 
knowledge. It appears from the following document 
that Messrs. Woodcock, Smith & Co. were using the 
patent in violation of Mr. Earle's rights, which drew 
from him a most emphatic protest and a demand 
for indemnity : 

LEICESTER, llth Mo., 18, 1813. 

To John Woodcock, Alpheus Smith and James Smith, each 
of you and all of you: I hereby in the most peremptory 
terms forbid your using my inventions and improvements in 
making regular and complete twilled or nailed cards, which 
improvements are secured to me by law in the Patent-Office 
of the United States, as you will be holden to answer all such 
violations and encroachments at your peril, agreeably to the 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 59 

laws in such cases made and provided. And I do hereby re- 
quire you forthwith to settle with me, and make me just and 
honest reparation for all former violations and encroachments 
on my said improvements and inventions. Now, in order that 
you may not deceive yourselves or be deceived, I have left 
Fessenden's Law of Patents with Bradford Sumner, at Nath'l 
P. Denny's former office, where you may call and be informed 
if you wish. I have been at the expense of paying an attorney 
for advice, and a journey from Boston, and am now acting 

agreeably to his directions. 

PLINY EARLE. 

Upon Alpheus Smith's withdrawal from his partner- 
ship with James Smith, in 1814, he established a card- 
factory in his own name, and carried on a large busi- 
ness till 1823, when he disposed of it to his brother 
Horace, who remained in it till the time of his death 
in 1828. 

When Mr. John A. Smith dissolved his connection 
with Mr. James Smith and others, in 1830, he started 
a similar business on his own account, which he con- 
tinued till 1844, when he was succeeded by Samuel 
Southgate, Jr., and his son, John S. Smith, who con- 
ducted the business under the firm-name of Southgate 
& Smith till January 1, 1859, when the senior 
member retired and his interest was taken by Horace 



60 HISTORY OF THE 

Waite. The firm of Smith & Waite lasted till 
1867, when Mr. Smith's interest was bought by sons 
of Mr. Waite, E. C. and L. M. Waite, and the 
firm-name changed to E. C. & L. M. Waite & Co., 
the father giving the sons the benefit of the name. 
This remained till March 10, 1874, when the present 
firm was formed under the style of E. C. Waite 
& Co. 

A good-sized business was done by Jonathan 
Earle in his own house from 1804 to 1813. He 
was an active and successful manufacturer. His 
residence and factory was situated on Mount 
Pleasant, lying about a mile west of the village 
meeting-house. 

In 1810 the firm of Southgate & Sargent com- 
menced business. The members, Capt. Isaac South- 
gate and Col. Henry Sargent, then young men, 
became identified with the progress of the town as 
successful manufacturers, and their names have been 
long known in the annals of Leicester. Col. Sargent 
remained in the firm but two years when he formed a 
new concern, and in 1814 took in his brother, Joseph 
D. Sargent, as a partner. The latter left in 1819 and 
started business for himself in the manufacture of 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 61 

" hand and machine cards," having at different times 
as partners, Silas Jones, Nathan Ainsworth and 
William Boggs. March 1, 1836, he sold his machine- 
card business and machinery to Joshua Q. Lamb and 
Alonzo White, while he continued the hand-card 
business till his death in 1849. Col. Henry Sargent 
remained alone after the withdrawal of his brother till 
1829, the year of his death. .Captain Southgate con- 
ducted his manufacturing without a partner from 
1812 to 1826, when he associated with him Joshua 
Lamb, Dwight Bisco, Joseph A. Denny and John 
Stone, under the name of Isaac Southgate & Co. 
Mr. Stone died the next year. In 1828 they erected 
a factory in the rear of the meeting-house. In 1831 
Mr. Lamb left the firm, and Capt. Southgate did the 
same in 1843, which left the business in the hands of 
Messrs. Bisco & Denny, who, in 1857, took in their 
sons, Charles A. Denny and George Bisco. Joseph 
A. Denny died in 1875, and Dwight Bisco died in 
1882. John W. Bisco was admitted to the firm in 
1882. Mr. Dwight Bisco was in continuous business 
for fifty-six years, a length of time that is allowed 
to but few men. He was born in Spencer in 1799, and 
went to Leicester, when twenty-three years old, " with 



62 HISTORY OF THE 

a strong constitution, a few articles of clothing tied 
in a bundle, and a silver dollar in his pocket, which 
was his capital for beginning his business career. He 
at once engaged himself to serve an apprenticeship 
and learn the trade of the card-clothing business with 
Cheney Hatch, and continued in his employ until 
1826." 

Mr. Cheney Hatch started a factory in 1 823 and ran 
it till 1836, when he sold out to Alden Bisco, who 
parted with it in a few months to Henry A. Denny, 
an elder brother of Joseph A. Denny. Mr. Denny 
continued the business till 1849, when he took in his 
sous, Joseph W. and William S., when the firm 
became known as Henry A. Denny & Sons, and so 
continued to 1854, when the factory, machinery and 
business was sold to White & Denny. Their factory 
was the only card-clothing factory in town at that 
time using steam-power. The manufacturing facili- 
ties of White & Denny were thus much enlarged. 
This firm was composed of Alonzo White and Chris- 
topher C. Denny, the latter a younger brother of 
Henry A. and Joseph A. Denny, who had formed a 
partnership for the manufacture of card clothing 
July 1, 1846. Mr. White, as has been seen, had an 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 63 

earlier beginning, at the time he bought with J. Q. 
Lamb, in 1836, the business, etc., from J. D. Sargent. 
At that time the formation of the firm was made 
under the style of Lamb & White, with Liberty Lamb 
and Joshua Lamb as silent partners. The two latter 
gentlemen dissolved their connection at the termina- 
tion of three years, otherwise the firm remained the 
same till July 1, 1846, when Mr. Lamb retired to 
engage in business by himself, which he did till his 
death in 1850. Mr. White continued the business 
with C. C. Denny as a partner. Mr. Denny sold 
his half interest in 1868 to H. Arthur White, when 
the firm-name was changed to A. White & Son, under 
which style it now exists. 

Mr. Josephus Woodcock, a son of John Woodcock, 
who succeeded Winthrop Earle, began the manufact- 
ure of cards, in 1828, in connection with Benjamin 
Conklin, Jr., a brother-in-law, and Austin Couklin, 
under the name of Conklin, Woodcock & Co. Two 
years after, the dissolution of the firm placed the 
business into the hands of Josephus and his brother 
Lucius, who established the firm of J. & L. Woodcock 
& Co., which continued under that name for fifty-one 
years. Danforth Rice was in the firm from 1831 tc 



64 HISTORY OF THE 

1836, and William P. White from 1848 to the time of 
his death in 1881. Upon the death of Mr. White 
the constitution of the partnership was materially 
changed, C. H. Woodcock taking the interest of his 
father, Josephus, and Henry Biscothe interest of Mr. 
White. The firm thereupon became known as L. 
Woodcock & Co., which is the existing style. 

Samuel Southgate, Jr., and Joshua Murdock, under 
the firm-name of Southgate & Murdock, started a 
new business in 1840, but after three years Mr. 
Southgate withdrew to become associated with John 
S. Smith, as previously noticed. Mr. Murdock re- 
mained alone till 1847 when he was joined by his 
brother Joseph, and the firm of J. & J. Murdock 
established, which style has been preserved to the 
present time. In 1857 John N. Murdock, a younger 
brother, was admitted as a partner, in which condition 
it continued till March, 1882, when Joshua, the senior 
member, died. In that year was formed the existing 
constitution of the firm, viz.: Joseph, John A., and 
Julius O. Murdock, and Alexander De Witt who 
sold out his interest in 1883. 

Baylies Upham and Samuel Hurd became part- 
ners in 1825, and so continued till 1833, when Mr. 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 65 

Upham took the business to himself and conducted 
it to 1850, when Erving Sprague became associated 
with him. The latter left the firm in 1855, and the 
next year Mr. Upham disposed of his business to 
J. & J. Murdock. 

In the year 1842 John H. and William Whitte- 
more formed a partnership. A younger brother, 
James, was admitted in 1845. In 1851 John H. 
Whittemore was killed on the cars on the Western 
Railroad, now the Boston & Albany. The style of 
the firm was changed at this time to W. & J. Whitte- 
more, which is the same to-day. In 1874 W. F. 
Whittemore, son of James, became a partner. In 
1882 James died. 

It would be a difficult, if not impossible, task to 
give a record of all those who have engaged in the 
card-clothing industry in the town of Leicester. In ad- 
dition to those already mentioned we notice the name 
of Reuben Meriam, as having been ten years in busi- 
ness, from 1821, with George W. Morse and Henry 
A. Denny as partners at different times. Harry 
Ward carried ona business from 1810 to 1824. Others 
can be named, as : Daniel Denny, Captain William 
Sprague & Sons, Barnard Upham, Roswell Sprague, 



66 HISTORY OF THE 

Samuel D. Watson, Aaron Morse, Guy S. Newton, 
Timothy Earle, Samuel Southgate, William H. Scott 
and Henry Earle. 

We have referred to Joseph D. Sargent as an 
active manufacturer of card clothing in Leicester. 
He had two sons, Joseph B. and Edward, who be- 
came extensively engaged in the hand-card business, 
which proved very lucrative during the war ; and 
in 1866 they organized the Sargent Card Clothing 
Co., and built a factory in Worcester, with Edward 
Sargent as manager. April 15, 1879, the factory and 
business was sold to James Smith & Co., of Phila- 
delphia. Also in Worcester is the large establish- 
ment of the T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company that 
was established by Pliny Earle in 1786, and before 
referred to. January 1, 1867, C. A. Howard and 
Clarence Farnsworth commenced business under the 
firm-name of Howard & Farnsworth. In May, 1868, 
A. H. Howard was taken into the concern, and in 
the following October Mr. Farnsworth retired, leaving 
the two brothers together under the firm-name of 
Howai'd Bros., who conducted the business till 1870, 
when thev took in their brother, J. P. Howard. Chas. 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 67 

F. Kent commenced the making of Card Clothing in 
January, 1880. 

The present Stedman & Fuller Manufacturing Co., 
former!}' of Lawrence, Mass., but now of Provi- 
dence, R.I., is a recently incorporated company. Its 
history, as a continuous concern, may be said to have 
commenced as far back as the year 1847, or about 
that time, when Smith, Walker & Co. came to Law- 
rence fromEnfield, Mass., to engage in the manufact- 
ure of card-clothing, with an established connection 
with Jones, Wood, & Co., of Enfield, one of the old- 
est card-clothing manufacturing firms in the country. 
They were succeeded in 1850 by Warren and Bryant ; 
and this firm changed its partnership in 1856, by the 
sale of Mr. Oliver Bryant's interest to S. M. Stedman 
and George A. Fuller, two employe's, which occa- 
sioned n change in the firm-name to Stedman & Fuller. 
In 1858 this new firm purchased the machinery, 
fixtures and stock of the Enfield concern, then owned 
by Rufus D. Woods, and moved the same to their 
Lawrence factory. No change was again effected till 
August 1, 1883, when the business was incorporated 
under its present style and name. 

Davis & Furber Machine Co., of North Audover, 



68 HISTORY OF THE 

Mass., added the manufacture of card clothing to 
their business about twenty years ago, and are now 
engaged in it, though it holds a subordinate position 
to their other work. In addition to the concerns 
before mentioned are the following: D. F. Robin- 
son, located at Lawrence, Mass. ; the Lowell Card 
Co., at Lowell, Mass., and E. P. Stetson, who carries 
on business at Walpole, Mass. 

We have seen that Amos Whittemore visited Eng- 
land in 1799 to secure to himself the advantage of 
his invention in that country ; but his efforts proved 
of no avail, and the first patent granted in that 
country for a card-setting machine was that given to 
J. C. Dyer, of Manchester. Nothing, however, ap- 
pears to have been done with this invention till a long 
time after, about 1830, when Mr. Dyer visited 
the United States and obtained a machine, and com- 
menced business in Manchester, on a very extensive 
scale, under the firm-name of J. C. Dyer & Co. This 
firm was the first to successfully set cards mechan- 
ically. The machine used was probably for making 
the clothing in sheets, and the adaptations for the 
making of fillet were subsequently applied, as we 
observe that Mr. James Walton, of Haughton Dale 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 69 

Mills, Dentou, near Manchester, not only greatly im- 
proved Mr. Dyer's machine, but constructed the fillet 
machine that has remained practically the same to 
this day, or for a period of over forty years. One of 
these machines was on exhibition as early as 1838, at 
a fair at Lowerby Bridge. 



70 HISTORY OF THE 



CHAPTER VI. 

LATER INVENTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS IN THE MANU- 
FACTURE OF CARD CLOTHING. VARIETIES MADE. 

THE mechanical history of the industry is repre- 
sented in the daily operations of any card-clothing 
factory ; it is a thousand times repeated in the course 
of the year, and the many devices which make up its 
parts and exhibit its condition have been, in essential 
features, familiar to the workman for a generation or 
more. Everything connected with the manufacture 
of card clothing bears the imprint of intelligence in 
the careful and exact manipulation of the materials 
that go into the final product. The machines that 
insert the teeth impress the observer with being in 
the presence of an inanimate object possessing 
a conscientious sense of duty. The empk>3*s that 
are to be met with in every department carry with 
them the character of thoughtful intelligence upon 
which society can safely depend for its moral sup- 
port. 

The first step in the manufacture of card clothing 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 71 

is the selection of the material for the foundation 
or backing into which the teeth are to be inserted. 
The selection is influenced by the purpose for which 
the clothing is to be used, the stock that it is to card, 
and its relative cost. Leather is most universally 
used, and has been employed from the earliest be- 
ginning. For some purposes its advantages are 
superseded by other materials that have been con- 
structed of cloth and rubber, though the prime con- 
sideration for substitution was occasioned by the 
matter of less cost. The kiiids of leather that are 
used are the hemlock and oak tanned. The first 
is more generally employed, as it possesses more 
pliability and greater compactness, aside from mak- 
ing a smoother and better appearing piece of work. 

Those unacquainted with the requirements for 
which leather is intended have but a slight apprecia- 
tion of the discrimination that must be exercised in 
its selection, so that it may be alike in texture and 
other essential features. This difficulty is greatly in- 
creased when assortments have to be made from prod- 
ucts of different tanneries. 

Cloth backings vary in composition, and a major- 
ity of them have rubber in combination. The value 



72 HISTORY OF THE 

of solid cotton doth is in its comparative cheapness, and 
it is exclusively applied to the cotton card. Its 
adaptation to other stock has been found insufficient 
and defective. All cloth backings have the matter 
of uniformity of thickness in their favor, which is a 
very valuable feature. 

The rubber-cloth backings may be confined to those 
covered or having a facing on one side of either 
natural or vulcanized rubber. The body of this kind 
of clothing is made of several layers of cotton cloth, 
though in some cases linen is substituted. Its chief 
recommendations are its superior elasticity and the 
support which it gives to the teeth. It also pos- 
sesses the elements of cheapness, strength and 
durabilit}-, which stand in more than favorable com- 
parison. The employment of india-rubber in the 
manufacture of card clothing is not of recent inven- 
tion, though it is only of late years that American 
mills have given it extensive use. 

Natural rubber is successfully used only for the 
making of card clothing for carding cotton. Being 
quickly affected by changes in temperature, harden- 
ing in a cold atmosphere, softening in a warm room, 
and liable at any time to be ruined by oil carelessly 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 73 

dropped on it by some workman, or from overhanging 
shafting, it cannot be relied on for uniform work, 
and is being rapidly displaced by cloth cards, and by 
the vulcanized rubber faced card clothing, which re- 
tains all the elasticity and other advantages of the 
natural rubber with none of its disadvantages. 

Its advantages over leather are its cheapness and 
durability, and it is regarded by many as superior in 
its working qualities. The use of this kind of artifi- 
cial material has another valuable feature in the firm 
and elastic support it gives to the wire teeth. It is 
well known that the holes in leather have to be made 
larger than the wire to allow for the insertion of the 
teeth, and, as the holes close up only partially, the 
teeth are left unsupported and with a considerable 
freedom of plaj-. With an India-rubber and cloth 
foundation, the holes will contract about the teeth, 
permitting them to depend on the material for sup- 
port and elasticity, thus securing an important aid 
towards durability. The strength of the clothing 
lies in the cloth, which is especially effective if con- 
structed partly of linen, and " it would be very 
rough usage indeed in clothing cylinders with fillets 
which would cause its breakage." 



74 HISTORY OF THE 

Vulcanized rubber card clothing is used for all 
varieties of carding. It is made with several layers 
of cotton cloth, or cotton and linen cloths combined, 
covered by a thin layer of vulcanized rubber, spread 
on as paste, instead of natural rubber. 

Vulcanized rubber faced cloth of the best quality 
is now taking the place of leather almost entirely 
for foundation or backing for card clothing for 
carding worsted wools, which are worked with a 
large amount of water and oil, where leather soon 
hardens, and the splices or laps in the filleting, 
no matter how well cemented and sewed, soon give 
way. There being no laps in rubber filleting there 
are no damages to clothing caused by the break- 
ing of a piece of filleting which has come apart 
in a lap. 

Over twenty years ago Horsfall, of England, 
invented a cloth for a backing for card clothing, which 
is still one of the best in use. It is made of a woolen 
cloth woven with a linen warp and covered on one or 
both sides with cotton cloth. The cotton cloth is 
cemented to the woolen by an oil cement which is un- 
affected by oil or temperature. The T. K. Earle 
Manufacturing Company has successfully made it for 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING ISDIf&TRY* 75 

thirteen years and recommend it for all carding 
where there is no moisture. 

There are other constructions of clothing, but the 
foregoing are in most general use. Some forms have 
cotton cloth with rubber filling instead of rubber fac- 
ing. 

The wire that is now in greatest popularity is 
hardened and tempered steel, which will shortly be 
so universally used that the common iron wire will 
scarcely be known. Most of the wire that is put 
into clothing is of English importation, and some 
of the largest manufacturers have foreign corre- 
spondents, through whom they obtain a regular sup- 
ply. Tempered steel wire is made to some extent 
in this country, and considerable improvements have 
been made within the last six or eight months ; 
but up to this date general preference favors the 
English production. The cost of clothing with 
tempered steel wire teeth exceeds that with the 
common round iron wire about 75 per cent. ; but to 
make amends for this great disparity in price, the 
steel wire more than offsets it in durability, in elas- 
ticity, in allowing a better and more lasting point, 
permitting harder usage and requiring less repairs. 



76 HISTORY OF THE 

The hardness of the wire is one of the important 
points which should receive the careful attention of 
the consumer. It is more difficult to make a nice- 
looking card of the hard than of the soft-tempered 
wire. The hard-tempered wire is far more durable, 
and requires less frequent grinding than the mild or 
soft-tempered wire. 

The chief property of steel, and upon which it is 
particularly valued, is what is known as its tempera- 
bility. By heating and cooling it in different degrees 
and at different rates of rapidity, almost any degree 
of hardness or softness may be obtained. The process 
of tempering steel wire for card-clothing purposes has 
not been successfully attempted in this country un- 
til recently. It may be generally understood by 
saying that the wire is drawn through molten lead, 
and hardened by being immersed in oil, and again 
passed through molten lead, at a lower temperature 
than the first, to give it the proper temper. 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 77 



CHAPTER VH. 

DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS PROCESSES IN THE MANU- 
FACTURE OF CARD CLOTHING. PRESERVATION OF 

THE FIRST CARD-SETTING MACHINES. 

THERE are several kinds of wire used in the manu- 
facture of card clothing, which are made of either 
iron, steel or brass. The forms are either round or 
angular, the latter being cut with a diamond point. 
The round form is that most commonly met with, 
and is employed for all ordinary clothing, in both 
sheets and filleting. The angular form is generally 
given to such wire as is intended to perform heavy 
work, and is particularly adapted to covering feed- 
rolls, lickers-in, tumblers and cylinders of carding 
machines designed for carding shodcly and similar 
waste. The diamond point, which is given to the 
angular wire, is destroyed by any attempt at grind- 
ing, therefore when it has been worn off by use, the 
clothing is beyond redemption and should be replaced 
by new. It is in its best condition when it first 
comes from the maker's hands. Round wire is in an 



78 HISTORY OF THE 

imperfect condition as it comes from the maker's 
hands and has to be ground with emery before it can 
perform its duty. The brass wire has its sphere of 
usefulness in places where dampness exists, and only 
in such places is it employed, as on cloth-drying 
machines, etc. Tin-plated wire is also used in moist 
places, especially for worsted carding. 

The processes through which leather is made to pass 
in order to fit it for conversion into card clothing, are 
simple in their parts, but require much care, exact- 
ness, and discriminating judgment. The proper selec- 
tion of leather is an important item in the successful 
conduct of a factory, and no inferior talent can be 
prudently allowed in this first step towards manu- 
facture. The leather that is suitable for card cloth- 
ing is taken from the back and side of the hide. The 
best portion, that through the center of the side, is 
chosen for the sheets, the next in quality for filleting, 
and that along the back is used for coarse and heavy 
wire, such as the angular wire, etc. As none but 
clean stock can be employed, it will be readily appre- 
ciated that there must be a considerable amount of 
waste made, which increases relatively the cost of 
the stock that is selected. One-quarter to one-half 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 79 

of the hide is thus rejected as waste, so to speak, and 
sold as remnants, at a low valuation, say from one- 
third to one-half of the cost. 

The operations connected with the progress of 
manufacture of sheets and filleting are similar, vary- 
ing in certain particulars according to the nature of 
their design. The hides, having been cut up into 
proper forms, are put into water to soak till the}- be- 
come soft and pliable. The various strips of leather 
are then put through a splitting machine to bring them 
to a uniform thickness. A second wetting process is 
then gone through with, followed by an operation of 
stretching by rubbing, laterally for sheets and length- 
wise for filleting. The leather is now subjected to 
treatment with a mixt ire of neat's-foot oil and tallow, 
technically called stuffing, because the pores are 
thoroughly filled with the grease. In this condition 
it is hung up to dry, and when this is accomplished 
the sheets have their edges trimmed and straightened, 
and the fillets are trimmed to a certain uniform width. 
The sheets are now dry-stretched laterally on a 
machine, then limbered on what is termed a gridiron, 
and thus made ready to receive the teeth. The fillets, 
after trimming, are matched, that is, the ends of the 



80 HISTORY OF THE 

strips are bevelled off at a very acute angle, and then 
lapped and glued together into one long continuous 
piece. Before uniting the short strips, they are care- 
fully sorted and classified according to flexibility and 
condition, and those of a kind are put together. The 
long pieces are put up into rolls from 300 to 400 feet 
in length. After gluing, the filleting is for a second 
time passed dry through a shaving machine, to equal- 
ize thickness, and it is then trimmed to width and 
finished ready for the teeth. 

There are very few who engage in the manufacture 
of card-setting machines, and none who make it a 
special business to the exclusion of others. The ma- 
chines that are made come from the shops of the 
large card-clothing manufacturers, who supply not 
only their own wants but those of the smaller estab- 
lishments. This is explainable from the fact that a 
machine has a long life, and a factory once supplied 
has no occasion to make further purchase in the way 
of renewals, and the only bill of expense is that which 
arises from necessary repairs. Little account is taken 
of improved machinery any further than certain ac- 
cessories which can be adjusted to most every kind 
of machine. Fundamentally there has been but 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 81 

little improvement for a great many vears, and ma- 
chines that are from thirty to forty years old are in 
successful operation to-day, favorably competing with 
those of more modern construction. We do not 
mean, however, to be understood that there has been 
no progress made ; but the advance has not been so 
material as to incapacitate machines made twenty-five 
years ago from doing good work in competition with 
those of recent make. 

While we are at this point of our subject it may be 
fitting to dwell upon a little episodical history con- 
nected with the manufacture of card machines. We 
wish to state the obligation we owe to Mr. Thomas 
A. Dickinson, of Worcester, Mass., for the great as- 
sistance he has rendered in furnishing us with the 
larger portion of the material from which the follow- 
ing is composed. We desire to furthermore acknowl- 
edge the willing aid we have received from this 
gentleman in other portions of tins series. There is 
a card-tooth machine now in the possession of a 
Worcester party, manufactured by Joshua Lamb, of 
Leicester, about sixty years ago. It is in excellent 
running order, and capable of making from 500 to 
600 teeth per minute. It was made by Mr. Lamb as 



82 HISTORY OF THE 

an improvement on his upright arbor machine, which he 
patented in 1819, and which is now in the Museum 
of the Worcester Society of Antiquity, where also 
may be seen a circular card -tooth machine, that was 
made about 1810, but by whom we have been unable 
to find out. In the same place may be found a card- 
tooth machine made by Eleazer Smith about the year 
1814, and which, it is thought, was made for Pliny 
Earle of Leicester. In addition to the above 
machines Joshua Lamb obtained letters-patent on a 
card-setting machine in 1827. Reuben Merriam of 
Leicester, secured letters-patent on a card- filleting, or 
cub, prick, and set machine in 1831. 

It would seem unjust if no mention was made 
of some other prominent mechanics and inventors 
who have made valuable improvements in card- 
setting machines. There are no doubt many names 
that could be added to the list, but we have 
been able to come into possession only of the 
following : Joseph Elliott, who lived in Leicester in 
1828, was one of the first to make decided improve- 
ments in the card machine. He afterward removed 
to Enfield, Mass., and made machines for Jones, 
Woods & Co. , of whom we have spoken heretofore. 



AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 83 

The Porter Brothers were ingenious mechanics of 
Springfield, Vt., who commenced the manufacture of 
cards about the year 1830, with machinery of their own 
invention. They were the first to put stop-motions 
on the machine, and the same stop is now in use in 
some of the factories in Worcester. Rufus Sargent 
started the card-setting business in Auburn, N.Y., 
and many of his machines were of his own design 
and manufacture. He was the first to apply the 
jointed die stop, hung on centres. A Mr. Coates of 
Springfield, Mass., made the first machine for making 
endless doffer-rings, in 1852 or 1853. He took out 
letters patent for it in 1854. William B. Earle, now 
living at the age of eighty-five, commenced building 
card machines in 1828. In 1837 he received a silver 
medal from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic 
Association for a card-sticking machine. Some of 
the machines in use by the T. K. Earle Manufactur- 
ing Company, Worcester, were made by him. Great 
credit is due to the names of Addison Arnold, Na- 
than Ainsworth, David McFarland, Austin Conklin, 
Augustus B. Prouty, David O. Woodman, Charles 
Ballard and Oliver Arnold, for the progress which 
has been made in the card-clothing industry. 



APPENDIX. 



1738. John Wyatt's patent on Cotton-Spinning 
Machine. 

1743. John Kaye invented Fly Shuttle. 

1748. Lewis Paul patented Cylinder Card for card- 
ing cotton. 

1754. Eleazer Smith born in Medford, Mass. 

1759. Amos Whittemore born in Cambridge, 
Mass., April 19. 

1762. Dec. 17. Pliny Earle born in Leicester. 

177* Sir Richard Arkwright's improvements on 
Paul's Card. 

1775. Above improvements patented. 
Winthrop Earle born. 

1778. Oliver Evans' Machine for making Card 
Teeth introduced. 

1780. Eleazer Smith first thinks of complete Card- 
Setting Machine. 

1784. Chittenden's invention on Card Machine. 



86 AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 

1785. Edmund Snow of Leicester commenced 

making Hand Cards. 

1786. Pliny Earle commenced business, thus estab- 

lishing Card-Clothing industry now car- 
ried on by the T. K. Earle M'fg Company, 
of Worcester, Mass. 

1788. Evans' invention applied to Card Machine 
by Giles Richards. 

1789. President George Washington's visit to the 
Card-Clothing factory of Giles Richards & 
Co. in Boston (Eleazer Smith, sup't). 
Duty on Hand Cards 50 cents per dozen. 
Samuel Slater left England for the United 
States. 

170,0. Pliny Earle the first in the United States to 
make Machine-Card Clothing. 

1791. Firm of Pliny Earle & Brothers formed. 

1792. Eli Whitney invented Saw Cotton Gin. 

1794. Mark Richards manufactures Card Clothing 
near Faneuil Hall, Boston. 

1797. Patent granted Amos Whittemore for Card 
Machine. 

1800. William B. Earle born. 

1802. Winthrop Earle began the manufacture of 
Machine-Card Clothing in Leicester. 



APPENDIX. 87 

1803. Samuel Whittemore manufactures Card 

Clothing in New York City. 
Dec. 6. Patent granted to Pliny Earle on 

machine for Pricking Twilled Cards. 
1804. Jonathan Earle started in business this year 

and continued until 1813. 
1807. Winthrop Earle died. 
1808. Firm of Woodcock & Smith formed. 
1809. March 3. Renewal of patent granted to 

Amos and William Whittemore, Jr. 
1810. Southgate & Sargent commence business. 
Harry Ward in business from this year to 

1824. 
1812. June 27. Prices of Card Clothing; see 

P a g e 55- 

July 20. Amos and William Whittemore, 
Jr.'s, patent leased to the New York Manu- 
facturing Co. 

Eleazer Smith built Card Machine for Pliny 
Earle and Brothers. 

Duty on Hand-Cards $1.00 per dozen. 
1813. March 17. Prices Card Wire ; see page 56. 
1814. Henry and Joseph D. Sargent in partner- 
ship. 



88 AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 

Alpheus Smith started Card Factory in own 
name and then sold to James and John A. 
Smith & Co. 

1815. Silas Earle commenced business. 

iSiS. The New York Manufacturing Co.'s ma- 
chinery, etc., sold to Samuel and Timothy 
Whittemore, brother and son of Amos. 

1819. Joseph D. Sargent started business in own 
name. 

1823. Timothy Keese Earle born February 1 1 . 

1825. John Woodcock, Jr., Hiram Knight and 
Emory Drury partners in firm of James 
and John A. Smith & Co. 
Baylies Upham and Samuel Hurd manu- 
facture Card Clothing from 1825 to 1833. 

1826. Firm of Isaac Southgate & Co. commence 
business with Joshua Lamb, Dwight Bisco, 
Joseph A. Denny, John Stone and Isaac 
Southgate. 

1827. Gershom and Henry Whittemore, sons of 
Amos, start Card Factory at West Cam- 
bridge, Mass. 

John Stone, one of firm of Isaac South- 
gate & Co., died. 



APPENDIX. 89 

1828. William B. Earle commenced building Card 
Machines. 

March 27. Amos Whittemore died. 

Josephus Woodcock, Benjamin Conklin,Jr. 
and Austin Conkling began manufact- 
uring Cards. 

Factory erected by Isaac Southgate & Co. 

1832. Pliny Earle died. 

1833. Baylies Upham bought out Samuel Kurd's 

interest in firm of Upham & Hurd. 
1836. March i. Joseph D. Sargent sold Machine 

Card business to Joshua Q. Lamb and 

Alonzo White. 

Eleazer Smith died March 9, aged 82 years. 
Cheney Hatch sold out to Alden Bisco, who 

sold out in a few months to H. A. Denny. 
1837. William B. Earle received silver medal 

from Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic 

Association for Card-Sticking Machine. 
1839. Timothy K. Earle commenced Card business. 
1842. Timothy K. Earle moved Carcl-Clothing 

business from Leicester to Worcester and 

associated his brother Edward with him ; 

firm name T. K. Earle & Co*, 



90 AM FBI CAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 

j843. Medal awarded to T. K. Earle & Co. by 
American Institute. 

1844. John A. Smith succeeded by Smith & 
Southgate. 

1845. James Whittemore admitted to firm of John 
H. & Wm. Whittemore. 

1846. Medal awarded T. K. Earle & Co. by 
American Institute. 

1847. Joshua Murdock joined by his brother Jo- 
seph ; firm-name J. & J. Murdock. 

1848. Firm of Woodcock, Knight & Co. formed. 

William P. White with firm of J. & L. 
Woodcock & Co. 

1849. Henry A. Denny & Sons started. 

1850. Smith, Walker & Co. succeeded by Warren 

& Bryant. 

Erving Sprague associated with Baylies 
Upham to 1855. 

1851. Medal awarded T. K. Earle & Co. at Crystal 

Palace, England, for excellence of goods. 

Medal awarded to T. K. Earle & Co. by 

Worcester County Mechanics' Association. 

1852. This year or 1853 the first machine was 

built for making Endless DofFer Rings. 



APPENDIX. 91 

1853. Medal awarded T. K. Earle & Co. by Mas- 

sachusetts Charitable Mechanic Associa- 
tion. 

1854. H. A. Denny & Sons sold business to White 

, & Denny. 

Contes' Endless DofFer Ring machine 
patented. 

1856. Oliver Bryant sold out to Stedman & Fuller. 

1857. T. K. Earle & Co. built present factory in 

Worcester, Mass. 

1862. Card factory of Gershotn & Henry Whitte- 
more at West Cambridge, Mass., burned 
down. 
1867. Firm of Howard & Farnsworth started. 

E. C. & L. M. Waite buy out John S. 

Smith. 
1868. A, H. Howard admitted to firm of Howard 

& Farnsworth in May. 
C. Farnsworth retired in October. 
White & Denny changed to A. White & Son. 

1869. Edward Earle retires from business. 

1870. J. P. Howard admitted to firm of Howard 

Brothers. 

1871 . Thomas Earle died. 



92 AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 

1872. Edwin Brown admitted to firm of T. K. 

Earle & Co. 

1873. T. K. Earle & Co. commenced the manu- 

facture of Woolen Card Cloths. 
1875. Joseph A. Denny died. 
1877. Edward Earle died May 19. 

1879. Sargent Card-Clothing Co. sold out. 

1880. T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company 

formed January ist, with T. K. Earle, 
President, and Edwin Brown, Agent and 
Treasurer. 

1881. T. K. Earle died October ist, aged 58 years. 

First Hardened and Tempered Cast Steel 
Wire for Card Clothing imported from 
James Royston, Son, & Co., Halifax, 
England, and used by T. K. Earle 
Manufacturing Company. 

William P. White died. 

L. Woodcock & Co. formed. 

1882. Tablet erected to memory of Amos Whitte- 

more. 

Joshua Murdock died in March. 
James Whittemore died. 
D wight Bisco died. 



APPENDIX. 93 

1883. Factory for making Card Cloths erected by 
the T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company. 
Alex. DeWitt sold out interest in firm of 
J. & J. Murdock. 

1884. Additions made to T. K. Earle Manufact- 
uring Company's Cloth Factory. 

1886. Centennial Anniversary of establishment of 
T. K. Earle Manufacturing Company's 
Card-Clothing business. 



INDEX. 



PAGE 

Anthony, Daniel 12 

Appendix 85 

Arkwri^ht, Sir Richard 10 

Arnold, Addison 21 

Arnold, Oliver 21 

Bisco & Denny gi 

Brown, Edwin 20 

Card Cloth 22 

Vulcanized Rubber . 22 

Card Clothing Its Early History and Inventions . 7 

Varieties made 70 

Various Processes in its Manufacture 

Chittenclen, Mr 15 

Chronological Table 85 

Conklin, Woodcock & Co 63 

Denny, Col. Thomas, Jr 30 

Denny, Henry A., & Sons ........ 62 

Denny, Joseph A 61 

Drury, Emory 56 

Earle, Edward ^20 

Earle, Henry 19 

Earle, Jonathan 19 60 

Earle, Pliny 17, 18, 19, 58, 59 

Earle, Pliny, & Bros. . 19 32 

Earle, Ruth ' 19 

Earle, Silas 19 

Earle, Timothy Keese 19 20 

Earle, T. K., MTg Companv . . .19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 66, 83 

Earle, Thomas 20 

Eyrie, William B 83 

Earle, Winthrop 55, 63 

Elliott, Joseph 82 

Evans, Oliver 12, 15, 37 

Hale, Jonathan 27 

Hatch, Cheney 62 

Howard & Farnsworth ... 66 



96 AMERICAN CARD-CLOTHING INDUSTRY. 

PAGE 

Jones, Woods <fe Co 82 

Kaye, John 9 

Knight, Hiram 56 

Lamb, Joshua Q 61 

Lamb & White 63 

Murdock, J. & J 65 

New York M'f g Company 47, 48, 49, :>1 

Niles, Nathaniel 12 

Paul, Lewis 9, 10, 24 

Porter Bros 83 

Richards, Giles 13, 14. 15 

Richards, Mark 14 

Sargent Card-Clothing Company 66 

Sargent, Joseph D. 60 

Slater, Samuel 16-19 

Smith, Alpheus 56, 59 

Smith, Eleazer 24-36 

Smith, James 56, 59 

Smith, John A., & Co r>6, 59 

Smith & Waite 60 

Snow, Edmond 16 

Southgate & Murdock 64 

Southgate & Sargent 60 

Southgate & Smith 59 

Stone, John 61 

Waite, E. C. & L. M 60 

White, A., & Son . 63 

White, Alonzo 61 

White & Denny 62 

Whittemore, Amos 31,32,37-54 

Whittemore, Gershom 51 

Whittemore, Henry ... 51 

Whittemore, Samuel 46, 50, 51 

Whittemore, Timothy. . , 50 

Whittemore, William 14, 29, 30 

Whittemore, W.&J 65 

Wilkinson, Jeremiah 12, 27 

Woodcock, John 55, 56 

Woodcock, J. & L 63 

Woodcock, Knight & Co 57 

Woodcock, L., & Co 64 

Woodcock, Smith & Co 56,57 

Wyatt,John 9 



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