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Manufacturers Index - Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co.
Last Modified: Feb 1 2016 8:49PM by joelr4
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Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co., Factory

Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. is one of the oldest and probably one of the most significant machine tool and precision tool builders. The firm was founded in 1833 by David Brown and his son Joseph R. Brown. In 1853 the company to Lucian Sharpe as a partner and became J. R. Brown & Sharpe. Early work consisted of making and repairing clocks and other mathmatical devices. Their first machine was a dividing engine built in 1850 which could automatically lay out the graduations to make a rule. Improved machines were built in 1854 and 1859 and were still in use as late as 1916. Brown and Sharpe is credited with many inventions including Standard Wire Gages, the B & S taper, 20 degree pressure angle gearing, The formed milling cutter,vernier caliper, and the universal milling machine. They primarily build turret lathes, automatic screw machines, grinders and milling machines. The firm also had a complete line of precision machinist tools.

Bourn & Koch, Inc. is now the OEM for the Brown & Sharpe grinders and milling machines. They did not purchase the inspection equipment, turret lathes, or automatic screw machine lines. You can link to their website at the Bourn & Koch web site.

Information Sources

  • English and American Tool Builders, Joseph Wickham Roe, 1916
  • The American Precision Museum website has biographies of Joseph R. Brown and Lucian Sharpe.
  • American Milling Machine Builders: 1820-1920 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2007, pages 41-58
  • Machine serial numbers from 1919 to 1977 may found at the Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. serial number page.