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Manufacturers Index - Buffalo Bolt Co.

Buffalo Bolt Co.
Buffalo, NY; North Tonawanda, NY, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Metal Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Dec 31 2017 1:17PM by joelr4
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

      "The business to which this prosperous company succeeded was established in Amsterdam, N. Y., by George C. Bell, in the year 1855. Subsequently Mr. Bell formed a co-partnership with Mr. James P. Marcellus, and, under the style of Bell & Marcellus, they removed to Buffalo, N. Y., in 1863. Later on Mr. Marcellus sold his interest to Mr. Sherwood, and the style of Bell & Sherwood was adopted. In 1868 Mr. Ralph H. Plumb purchased Mr. Sherwood's interest, and the firm became Bell & Plumb. Up to this time the factory had made a specialty of square iron carriage bolts, with turned and polished heads, but they now added to their list pinched neck bolts of all diameters, up to one-half inch.

      About a year later, Mr. Orrin C. Burdict became a member of the firm, a circumstance that proved highly advantageous. Mr. Burdict was called a nutmeg Yankee, and he proved that he was as familiar with the construction of iron bolts and nuts as he was with wooden nutmegs. He was a man of genius, a skilled mechanic and he became the inventor and builder of many practical machines. The firm soon began manufacturing bolts of all sizes up to one inch in diameter. Mr. Burdict fairly revolutionized the machinery, improving old, inventing and building new, among others his famous “Advance" square head bolt forging machine, which has never met a rival; his steady motion heading machine and others that have rewarded him with fame and fortune. In his “Advance " header Mr. Burdict made a marked improvement on his square head forging machine by which the holding dies were made to grip the bolt blank in carrying it forward, holding it while the hammers forged the head, then receding and delivering a finished bolt automatically, and increased the output from one to two thousand per day over any other similar machine in use. After Mr. Burdict had been connected with the firm two years he and Mr. Plumb purchased the interest of Mr. Bell, and the style was changed to Plumb & Burdict. In 1873 Mr. Barnard became a partner in the business and the name of the firm was changed to Plumb, Burdict & Barnard. After perfecting his Advance header, Mr. Burdict was slow in appreciating its true value. A number of machines were placed on the market and found a ready sale. As soon as the superiority of the machine became recognized, however, the company, which controlled the entire rights, decided to discontinue the sale of machines and by this means they succeeded in virtually controlling the entire market for square head machine bolts, until the patent rights expired in 1893. During this period, many other firms had endeavored, but to little purpose, to compete for this trade. The market had been flooded with inferior bolts; machines were built to compete with the Advance, that made a good quality of bolts, but they could not begin to equal the speed of the several Burdict machines. When the Burdict patents finally expired there was quite a host of competitors who were anxious to take advantage of the event, and the competition, with other complications, became so powerful that it ultimately resulted in forcing Plumb, Burdict & Barnard into financial difficulties that resulted in their suspension, which occurred in 1897. When the original company, Bell & Marcellus, later Bell & Plumb, and still later, Plumb, Burdict & Barnard, located in Buffalo, they occupied a small two-story brick building on the corner of Clinton and Adams Streets, near the N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R. tracks. Up to the time that Mr. Burdict became a partner with Bell & Plumb, their equipment enabled them to produce a daily average of 15,OOO carriage bolts. After Mr. Burdict became a member of the firm of Bell, Plumb & Burdict, they increased their plant and machinery from time to time until their buildings extended to Eagle Street, which enabled them to increase their daily output to 350,000, mostly machine and carriage bolts. In the meantime, Mr. Burdict invented and patented a diamond neck carriage bolt which the firm introduced to the trade and which commanded an extensive sale, especially with the manufacturers of agricultural machinery, but their popularity continued but a few years. Soon after the failure of the firm, Mr. R. H. Plumb, the senior partner, perfected the organization of the present Buffalo Bolt Co., with the following officers and board of directors: Ralph H. Plumb, president, and Robert C. Board, treasurer; directors, Robert C. Board, John J. Albright, Edmund Hayes, Herbert H. Hewett and R. H. Plumb. The machinery was at once removed to a large and admirably appointed factory building at North Tonawanda, N. Y., near Buffalo. Steam power was used for a few years, but the entire machinery of the factory is now harnessed to the electric power furnished by the Falls of Niagara. The daily output of this model factory is over half a million finished staple bolts and nuts of every size and variety. The remarkable success of this widely known company is entirely due to the business tact and energetic management of President Plumb and his staff of able assistants." (Quote from 1905.)

Information Sources

  • History of the Bolt and Nut Industry of America,1905, pgs. 225-227