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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Rochester,   pp. 258-265

Page 260

Along the line. of the New York Central Railroad, between Troy and
Rochester, there are several important manufactories.  At Ilion, in
Herkimer County, which is eighty-three miles west of Albany, is one
of the largest private Gun manufactories in the United States, known as
E. Remington & Sons' Armory,
remarkable alike for its extent, and for its origin. The story of its
origin has been told as follows : On Steel's Creek, about three miles
from the site of the Armory, dwelt the father of the present proprietors,
who, desiring a rifle-barrel for his own use, forged one, in 1816, with no
other tools except such as an ordinary blacksmith's shop contains, and
conveyed it to a gunmaker at Utica to have it fitted and completed.
The gunmaker was much pleased with the skilful construction of the
barrel, and Mr. Remington, perceiving the high estimation in which his
workmanship was held, dexterously applied his knowledge to a profitable
use, and commenced the manufacture of gun-barrels ; and not long after
this incident, the banks of Steel's Creek blazed with the cheery fires of
many forges, and the surrounding hills rang with the joyous music of
the anvil. The old factory, however, was found to be too distant from
the line of transit-then the Erie Canal-and in 1829 Mr. Remington
purchased a farm at Ilion, upon a portion of which, on plans supplied
by himself, the establishment is erected. For many years the business
was limited to the fabrication of barrels, but having received a large
contract from the United States Government for arms, the manufacture
of Rifles and Carbines, including all their parts, was embarked in, and
has since been very successfully prosecuted.
Many of the most important improvements which now render the
American firearm the most durable and effective in the world, have had
their origin with this firm. They are accredited with having been the
first to adopt steel as a material for the barrel of sporting guns, and we
believe they now employ it exclusively in the manufacture of arms which
they are making for the government service. For thirty years they
have been patiently testing the steel of almost every manufacturer both
in this country and abroad, and, by a long course of experiments, have as-
certained which is the best adapted for the purpose. By the application of
machinery to the manufacture of gun-locks, this firm has been largely in-
strumental in effecting a revolution in the trade in these locks. In Eng-
land, whence nearly all the locks in use were formerly imported, they are
made by hand; but in the Remington Armory every piece is made by ma-
chinery to a fixed and unvarying gauge, and the result is that not only are
American Gun Locks cheaper than the foreign, but as each piece is uni-
form with every other of the same description, a great saving of labor is

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