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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 Taunton,   pp. 319-331

Page 327

labor, deserved particular notice.  The only manufactory of tacks
alluded to in that report was one in Bristol county, probably at Taun-
ton, that produced eleven millions of tacks annually.
Among the early inventions for cutting brads and small nails was a
machine patented in 1807, by Jonathan Ellis, of Massachusetts, a part-
nor of Perkins; one by Seth Boyden, now of Newark, New Jersey,
patented in 1815; a brad and sprig machine, by G. Jenkins, of Ply-
mouth county, Massachusetts, in 1817 ; and the most valuable of all,
the brad and tack machine patented by Samuel Rogers, of Plymouth,
and Thomas Blanchard, of Boston, in the same year as the last men-
tioned. This machine, which is one of the most valuable now em-
ployed, was devised by Blanchard, at quite an early age, to relieve the
tedium of the old process of cutting tacks from metal plates, and after-
wards heading them one by one by the aid of a heading tool or clamp,
attached to a lever and moved by the foot, while the head was flattened
by one or more blows of a hammer. The ingenious inventor had pre-
viously sought to abridge the labor of counting and weighing, as he
was required to do the quantity assigned him as his daily task. This
he effected by a very ingenious counting machine, consisting of a rat-
chet wheel, moving one tooth every time the heading tool grasped a
tack, and by a bell to indicate the completion of the allotted number.
The tack machine was commenced about 1806, when he was eighteen
years of age, and, under the greatest discouragements, was steadily
kept in view and often remodelled, during a period of six years, when
it was produced in such a state of perfection that, the iron being sup-
plied through a tube or hopper, and the power applied, five hundred
tacks were made in a minute with more finished points and heads than
were ever made by hand, and weighing only half an ounce per thou-
sand. The right to this machine was purchased by a company for five
thousand dollars.
The following description is applicable to the machine now most ex-
tensively used in this country for cutting nails of all sizes. It consists
of a main shaft for carrying the cams, driven by a belt over a pulley,
and provided with a metal tube, through which passes the nail rod,
holding the nail rod by means of pincers. In order to give the brad or
nail its wedge shape, the cutter is set oblique 4o the direction of the
nail plate, which is reversed after each cut, by which means every nail
has a uniform taper. The reversing of the nail plate is effected by
means of a rocking shaft, which receives its motion from the shaft
through a gearing and crank, producing an alternate motion to the
segments, which is communicated to the guide tube by a, belt and pul-
ley, the nail plate being fed to the cutter by means of a weight, the

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