Mason Machine Works


FirmennameMason Machine Works
OrtssitzTaunton (Mass.)
Art des UnternehmensLokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik
AnmerkungenGegründet von William Mason (s.d.; um 1874 auch Eigentümer). Auch bezeichnet als "William Mason's Machine Works". Insgesamt 754 Lokomotiven gebaut.
Quellenangaben [Wiley: American iron trade manual (1874) 36] [Bishop: History of American manufacturers 3 (1868) 320]


Zeit Ereignis
1842 William Mason, Vorarbeiter bei "Crocker & Richmond" wird Haupteigner und Betriebsleiter
1852 Mason erweitet sein Werk zum Bau von Lokomotiven.
1853 Bau der ersten Lokomotive


Produkt ab Bem. bis Bem. Kommentar
Baumwollmaschinen 1876 Katalog 1898 Katalog "cotton machinery"
Dampflokomotiven 1853 Beginn 1890 Ende (gesamt: 754 Loks) Gegründet von William Mason (s.d.). Insgesamt 754 Lokomotiven gebaut.
Maschinenbau 1874 [Wiley: American iron trade (1874)] 1874 [Wiley: American iron trade (1874)] Vorgabe: General machinery


TEXTThe most remarkable establishment in Taunton, from whatever standpoint we may view it, whether we regard its extent, the variety of its machinery, the excellence of its manufactures, or the celebrity of its founder, is William Mason's Machine Works The founder of this splendid establishment belongs to that class of intelligent and ingenious mechanics who, in spite of early disadvantage, and by the force of native genius, leave their impress upon the age in which they live. New England has been especially fruitful in such men, and they in turn have rewarded her by making her the pride and glory of America. We however are not possessed of the facts from which to write a biography of this eminent mechanic; therefore suffice it to say, that after a boyhood spent successively in the blacksmith's shop, the cotton mill and machine shop, we find Mr. Mason, in 1829, when about twenty-one years of age, in Canterbury, Connecticut, constructing and setting-up power looms for the manufacture of diaper linen - believed to have been the first adapted to this kind of work in the world; subsequently, in Killingly, manufacturing a new article of "ring travellers", or ring frames, which still occupy a high place in "throstle" or "frame-spinning"; and, at a later period, in Taunton, Massachusetts, which, after many sad disappointments and crushing reverses, caused by the failure of others, became the theatre of his future triumphs. It was here, when foreman for Crocker & Richmond, machinists, he perfected the great invention of his life, the "Self-Acting Mule", a machine now so well known to all who use cotton machinery, that a detailed description of it would be superfluous. Here, in 1842, when his employers had failed, he through friendly assistance became the principal owner and manager of the works. The prosperous times which succeeded the Tariff of 1842, and the confidence of cotton and other manufacturers in his mechanical abilities, at once established a business which in a very few years enabled him to erect, after his own design, the noble buildings known as Mason's Machine Works - the largest, it has been- said, ever erected at one time for the manufacture of Machinery. The main shop was three hundred and fifteen feet long and three stories high, but addition after addition has been made to accommodate a constantly increasing' business, until now the buildings cover an area of six acres. His business comprised the manufacture of Cotton and Woollen Machinery, Machinists' Tools, Blowers, Cupola Furnaces, Gearing and Shafting; but the branch in which he was especially successful was the manufacture of Cotton Machinery. In this department he labored indefatiga-bly to devise and introduce those various improvements which have contributed to increase the production, extend the consumption, .and diminish the price of cotton fabrics. In Constantinople, Alexandria, and Cairo, it has been for years the practice of hawkers or pedlars of cotton goods to represent those of British manufacture as "Americanas", because from the recognized superiority of American cottons they can obtain higher prices for inferior fabrics by giving, them the American name. If unrestrained by hostile legislation, American manufacturers could monopolize the markets of the world in the sale of the lower grades of cotton goods, and for this advantage they are indebted not alone to the comparative cheapness of cotton, but to the superior machinery that has been placed at their command by American mechanics. In 1852, Mr. Mason made an addition to the Works previously erected, for the purpose of undertaking the building of Locomotives; and in 1853 he brought out his first Locomotive, which at once attracted attention for its beauty, and remarkable symmetry of design. With characteristic fertility of genius, he aimed to step aside from the beaten track and originate a new model, combining especially beauty of external appearance with excellence of workmanship, and it has been said of him that he brought nearly all the credit upon New England engines that they are likely to retain, and he is probably the only New England builder who has left his mark on the American Locomotive. In his engines the dome was placed exactly over the joint of the equalizing lever between the drivers; the smoke-box cylinder and smoke-stacks were placed in the same vertical line as the truck pintle, and the sandbox was placed nearly midway between. The chimney, which although comparatively light, has necessarily the appearance of great weight, was thus brought directly over the truck, which supported its load with the symmetry of a pedestal in architecture. Mason discarded all outward incumbrances, such as frames and their accompanying diagonal braces - resembling a ship's shrouds - thus leaving all the working parts in full view, and a clear range from end to end and under the boiler. The horizontal lines of his running board, handrail, feed pipe, etc., heighten the symmetry of the design, while the graceful forms and disposition of the details give a finished expression to the whole sufficient to raise it to the dignity of a work of genuine art. A competent authority has remarked - "An examination of American Locomotives affords abundant proof that beauty of design and accuracy of proportion are almost always accompanied by excellence of workmanship. In mechanism, elegant outlines and an agreeable disposition of details are never the result of chance - while, at the same time, a mere artist would be as incapable as a careless workman to produce them. A truly beautiful Locomotive - for extraneous ornament and skin-deep decoration do not constitute beauty - must be the work of one who thoroughly understands its mechanism; and the machinist who 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 seen an engine of the Rogers or Mason style, has failed to discover that quality in its outline, arrangement and detail. The forms of ar.t 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 manufacture 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 improved 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 manufacture of Cotton and Woollen Machinery, Locomotives, Car Wheels, and Firearms - each of which is usually carried on as a distinct business, 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 in terms of enthusiasm. About seven hundred men are generally employed in Mason's Machine Works, and the annual product exceeds a million of dollars.
QUELLE[Bishop: History of American manufacturers 3 (1868) 320]