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Manufacturers Index - Alfred Weed & Co.
History
Last Modified: Jun 11 2019 2:52PM by Mark Stansbury
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Alfred Weed & Co. was a manufactory and inventor's workshop at 1605 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, with confirmed operating dates from 1879 to 1885. Alfred Weed (1839-1907) was a machinist, self-described mechanical engineer, and prolific inventor who concentrated on file-making machinery.

Weed's first employment in this industry was chief draftsman for Whipple File Manufacturing Co. of Ballardvale, MA, the first large-scale attempt to make files by machine. Whipple failed in 1869 with a huge loss of $2 million, in part because of resistance to machine-cut files.

The following is from Hardware, Jan. 25, 1898:

While the millions of the Whipple Co. were being lost, their chief draughtsman was differing from them, and quietly working out some ideas of his own. At the first opportunity he went to Europe and studied the hand file cutting works of all lands, and the samples of files, ancient and modern, in the museums. His aim was to construct a machine that would reproduce, as perfectly as possible, the action of the human arm and hand. He perfected his apparatus and began to build machines in Philadelphia. So great was the advance made over all previous inventions of the kind that file-makers everywhere bought the machine and began to introduce the machine-cut file. Mr. Weed, then sold the right to manufacture his invention to a large Eastern manufacturer, and retired from business.

He might have been retired yet, and had more time to shoot big game on his ranch in Wyoming, where he spends his vacations, had not natural gas been struck in Indiana. The virtue of the file depends as much on the regularity of the temperature at which it is hardened as on their regularity of the teeth. The ideal fuel is one with which the heat of the furnace can be controlled to the thousandth part of a degree. Besides the temptations offered by this fuel, Mr. Weed had a few other ideas to patent, which are now incorporated in the product of the great factory of The Arcade File Works.

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