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Manufacturers Index - Builders' Iron Foundry
History
Last Modified: Jan 28 2018 9:35PM by joelr4
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HISTORICAL NOTES

      “In marked contrast to the equipment are the buildings themselves. They are simply a series of additions made from time to time, to an original foundry building, as business demanded it. The original building was erected as early as 1822, and probably earlier, before the days of railroads and steamboats. This fact explains the unsatisfactory location of the works.

      In 1832 the High Street Foundry was established on the same site, and in 1853 this gave way to the Builders’ Iron Foundry, which was incorporated at that time. From this time up to 1862 the chief work of both the foundry and shops was iron work for builders‘ use, and stoves. In this year the manufacture of heavy guns was begun for use in the civil war.

      It is said that the first planer ever to run in New England was set up in these shops. It would take work about three feet square and of considerable length. It had wooden shears, hand chipped V’s and most of the iron work was imported. It was screw driven, and later the Builders’ Iron Foundry engaged in the manufacture of planers, using the same drive, one of which is still running in the shop.

      Prominent among the mechanics who were connected to these works at one time or another in its early days were George H. Corliss, Edward Bancroft, of the original firm of Bancroft & Sellers, of Philadelphia, and N. T. Greene, the inventor of the Greene engine, now made by the Providence Steam Engine Co. Corliss came here about 1840 to have a sewing machine built. It was of his own invention, for use in sewing leather, and he worked upon it himself as a mechanic. Later he went in the employ of the Hope Iron Works, Providence, and was engaged in building slide-valve engines having wooden frames and connecting-rods, and fly-wheels with rims left unturned. The latter position was the beginning of his steam-engine career. Bancroft left Providence in 1848, and with William Sellers. established the firm of Bancroft & Sellers. He died in 1855. when the firm name became William Sellers & Co.” (Quote from 1897.)

Information Sources

  • Journal of Railway Appliances, V17, Aug 1897, pg. 223-224