University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

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 Taunton,   pp. 319-331


Page 323

MASON'S MACHINE WORKS.
can produce an elegant design, will be constitutionally sensitive in the
matter of workmanship, with all its mechanical refinements of fit and
finish. No one, we are sure, will deny that even a Locomotive may
possess beauty, and we pity any one who, having once sccn an engine
of the Rogers or Mason style, has failed to discover that quality in its
outline, arrangement and detail. The forms of art may be as beautiful
as those of nature, although the effect of the former may be due to
certain outward analogies which they bear to the latter."
When the Locomotive branch of his business had become established,
Mr. Mason made a step forward by equipping a foundry for the manu-
facture of Car Wheels. In these, as in every thing else that he attempts,
he aims at improvement. His wheels are what are called " spoke," or
tubular, in contradistinction to " plate" wheels, a shape which it is said
experiment has proved to insure the greatest strength, besides securing
uniformity with the driving wheels.
When the Government was called upon to defend its existence against
the attacks of traitors, and it was found that there were but seventy
thousand efficient muskets at the command of the authorities, Mr Mason,
in common with many others, set about providing the necessary facilities
for the manufacture of Firearms. He erected an Armory, and equipped
it with the best machinery that could be obtained, some of which he
further i.mproved by original inventions.  For a time he produced
six hundred Springfield Rifled Muskets per week.
It will thus be seen that Mr. Mason's business comprises the manu-
facture of Cotton and Woollen Machinery, Locomotives, Car Wheels,
and Firearms-each of which is usually carried on as a distinct busi-
ness, in separate establishments, and considered sufficient to task the
ability of a single individual ; while, to conduct them all successfully,
requires the talents and powers of a master mind. This is one of the
few really remarkable Manufactories of America, exhibiting in all its
details so much system, combined with fertility of invention, that if its
founder and proprietor were not living, we should feel called upon to
speak of it t terms of enthusiasm.
About seven hundred men are generally employed in Mason's Ma-
chine Works, and the annual product exceeds a million of dollars.
323


Go up to Top of Page