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Manufacturers Index - T. F. Taft & Co.
History
Last Modified: Oct 24 2017 3:59PM by Jeff_Joslin
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Timothy F. Taft was an inventor and machinist, born about 1809 in Uxbridge, Mass. He worked for a time as a machinist in Worcester before becoming a foreman at J. A. Fay & Co.'s Worcester operations. In 1855 he struck out on his own again and it seems likely he began making heavy punches and shears around that time, first as T. F. Taft and then as T. F. Taft & Co. In 1866 the business was acquired by Augustus Rice and Alonzo Whitcomb, who operated it as Rice & Whitcomb until Rice left the firm and merged with C. Whitcomb & Co. to become Whitcomb Manufacturing Co.

Information Sources

  • 1844 through 1846 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser have no listing for Timothy F. Taft.
  • 1847 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser lists "Taft Timothy F. machinist, 20 Salem.
  • 1848 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser lists "Taft Timothy F. machinist, h Lynn. The 1849 and 1850 directory listings were identical.
  • 1854 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser lists "Taft Timothy F. foreman at J. A. Fay & Co.'s planing machine manuf'y, h Madison, cor. Salem".
  • 1855 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser lists "Taft Timothy F. machinist, h 10 Chandler".
  • 1856 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser has no listing for Timothy F. Taft.
  • 1861 Howland's The Worcester Almanac, Directory, and Business Advertiser lists "Taft, Timothy F. machinist h. 17 School".
  • 1861 Low's Railway Directory.
    Shears and Punches—T. F. Taft & Co., Worcester, Mass. Mr. Taft has invented a variety of Shears for cutting Metal, all of which have given much satisfaction, but his Improved Shears combine every advantage over any other, as it has greater strength and compactness. The had Shears can also be run by belt power by simply removing the lever, thus making a very convenient and useful article for trimming hot iron, for instance, and all purposes where a continuous and moderately rapid motion is admissible, and only a slight power is required. The Geared Power and Hand Shear combined in one, is a valuable improvement, and gives you a hand lever for delicate cutting to a line, which can be used with perfect safety, even while the belt and gears are running, and when the lever is removed your hand Shear is converted back to power in an instant. They are also making a combined Shear and Punch, both of which are capable of being operated independent of the other, and at a large saving of expense. They make seven sizes of Hand Shears, and eight sizes of Power Shears. Prices and terms reasonable.
  • 1864 book, A History of American Manufactures from 1608 to 1860, Volume II, by J. Leander Bishop, in a section on the machinery makers of Worcester.
    ...and T. F. Taft, whose leading business is the manufacture of heavy Shears and Punches.
  • The 1865 Howland's Worcester Directory has an advertisement: "T. F. Taft / Manufacturer of / Shears, Punches & Trimmers / for Gun Work, / of the Most Improved Patterns. / Merrifield's Building, Cypress Street, Sixth Door from Exchange Street, Worcester."
  • The 1866 Howland's Worcester Directory lists "TAFT TIMOTHY F. machinist, Merrifield's building, Cypress, [h] 7 Salem".
  • The 1867 Howland's Worcester Directory has no listing for Timothy F. Taft.
  • The 1869 Howland's Worcester Directory lists "Taft T. F. machinist, h 19 Thomas".
  • The 1871 Howland's Worcester Directory lists "Taft T. F. machinist, h 4 Hudson".
  • Minutes of 1896 Annual Meeting of the Worcester Society of Antiquity, in a list of notable local events.
    Timothy F. Taft, a native of Uxbridge and resident of Worcester, completes his 88th year. A machinist and inventor.
  • The Worcester of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-eight: Fifty Years a City, edited by F. P. Rice, in a biography of one Alonzo Whitcomb.
    ...In partnership with Augustus Rice, Mr. Whitcomb succeeded to the business of Timothy F. Taft in 1866, and, as a separate firm, under the name of Rice & Whitcomb, carried on the business of making metal shears and presses, until the retirement of Mr. Rice brought about the union of the two concerns owned by Mr. Whitcomb about the year 1881.