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Manufacturers Index - Halladay, Litchfield & Co.
Last Modified: Oct 12 2018 7:45PM by Jeff_Joslin
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William Hawkins Halladay, who had owned Halladay's Iron Works in upstate New York, moved to Chicago by 1871. In 1881 or '82 he partnered with Clinton Litchfield and Edwin Benjamin to establish Halladay, Litchfield & Co. Halladay developed and patented a saw-sharpening machine, which they sold as the "Triumph automatic saw sharpeners... for circular, gang & band saws".

Halladay, Litchfield & Co.'s "Triumph" automatic saw sharpener

They were sued by a Chicago-based competitor, Milo Covel of Covel Manufacturing Co., for infringing on Covel's patents. The details are murky but it appears the original lawsuit was settled with a cross-licensing agreement, which ended in more acrimony. In about 1886 Halladay left the partnership and the partnership company went into receivership, both of which happened in or about 1886. Meanwhile, Covel entered into an agreement with Litchfield and Benjamin, which ended up in another lawsuit and an appeal. Meanwhile, by 1888 Halladay established William H. Halladay Manufacturing Co. to continue manufacturing Halladay, Litchfield's & Co.'s product line. Covel sued him, again, and it appears that that new business disappeared in 1890 or '91.

Information Sources

  • Patent records provided names and dates.
  • Seen on eBay: a sales brochure, "Halladay's patent Triumph automatic saw sharpeners / Patented Jan. 11, 1876; Dec. 9, 1879; Much. 14, 1882. / Halladay, Litchfield & Co. / No. 26 South Canal Street, Chicago, Ill. / Builders of automatic saw sharpeners for circular, gang & band saws."
  • September 1888 The Wood-Worker contained the following text ad. "NOTICE TO SAW MILL MEN—An order was heretofore entered in a certain suit in the Superior Court, Cook County, Illinois, on the chancery side, in which MILO COVEL was complainant. Edwin Benjamin and Clinton Litchfield and William H. Halladay, defendants, appointing Patrick McGrath receiver of all the property and effects of the co-partnership of Halladay, Litchfield & Co., composed of said defendants, and under an order of said Court, an assignment was executed to said receiver, in which assignment the following described patents for saw-sharpening machines were mentioned and enumerated. Re-issue letters patent No. 10,252, also letters patent No. 222,386, also letters patent No. 254,869. Afterwards a certain other order was duly made and entered in said Court, allowing and authorizing said receiver to bring suit in the United States Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois, against the said defendants and J. F. Glidden and E. B. Rich, the William H. Halladay Manufacturing Co., and J. C. Halladay, for infringement of said patents, which suit has been commenced in said United States Court and is there pending. Said authority to the receiver, also permits suits against all infringers upon said patents.
    M. COVEL,
    GEO. T. BELLOWS, Atty for Plaintlff. Dated at Chicago, Cook Co., Ill., June 9th, 1888."
  • The 1889 case heard by the First District Illinois Appellate Court, Milo Covel v. Edwin Benjamin et. al., "relates to their respective rights and interests in certain letters patent for improvements in machines for sharpening saws." The linked ruling is an affirmation by the Appeals Court of the original decision, and it does not describe the details of the case, and so we are making some assumptions in the following description. Covel had complained that the saw sharpeners made by Halladay, Litchfield & Co. infringed on Covel's patents. On 1886-05-17 contracts were signed between Covel, Litchfield and Benjamin; in November a second agreement was signed between the same parties. Afterwards Covel claimed that the written agreements "do not contain or fully express the arrangement between the parties". Specifically, Covel understood that certain claims held by Litchfield and Benjamin against Halladay, Litchfield & Co. were to be assigned to Covel, which was apparently the subject of the November agreement. The court found that while Litchfield and Benjamin assigned their interest to Covel, they could only sign over their own interests and they did not, and could not, sign over the entirety of the interest owned by the partnership. The preceding is my tenuous understanding of the events. I welcome clarifications, additions or corrections.
  • 1889-10-23 The American Engineer has a news item about William H. Halladay Mfg. Co.'s exhibit of band saw sharpeners at the Inter-State Industrial Exposition of Chicago.
  • 1890 Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopaedia of the Manufactures and Products of the United States lists "Wm. H. Halladay Mfg. Co., 138 W. Lake St., Chicago, Ill., as a maker of saw gummers and swages.
  • March 1890 The Wood Worker. "The Wm. H. Halladay Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill., makes a fine line of machines and tools for taking proper care of all kinds of mill saws—band, circular or gang. These machines ave a great deal of valuable time in handling saws, and at the same time keep the saws in better shape than can be done by hand. Read the company's advertisement on page 30."
  • 1890-09-13 Inter Ocean mentions a court proceeding, William H. Halladay Mfg Co vs Chicago Trust and Saving Bank.
  • 1891-05-23 The National Corporation Reporter lists Chicago corporations, including William H. Hallady Mfg. Co., 138 W. Lake st.