Simeon North

Simeon North

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Simeon North

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Simeon North (July 13, 1765–August 25, 1852) was a Middletown, Connecticut, gun manufacturer, who developed one of America's first milling machines (possibly the very first) in 1818 and played an important role in the development of interchangeable parts manufacturing.

North was born in Berlin, Connecticut, into a prosperous family able to provide all six sons with farms of their own. North was given a farm in Berlin, a gift that enabled him to marry Lucy Savage when he was only twenty-one years old; the couple would have five sons and three daughters. In 1795 the Norths purchased a sawmill located on the brook that ran beside their land. Simeon hired a man to help run it, enlarged the building to house a forge and trip-hammer, and began manufacturing scythes from imported steel. Four years later, he obtained a contract to make pistols and began to add a factory to the mill building.

North's brother-in-law Elisha Cheney was skilled clockmaker, a trade he had learned from his father Benjamin and uncle Timothy Cheney, two of the finest clockmakers in Connecticut. In 1810, Elisha Cheney moved his clock-making shop to the next waterpower site upstream from North. Although Cheney was trained as a maker of fine clocks in brass and other materials, Eli Terry, a clockmaker who had trained as a clockmaker with either Timothy or Benjamin Cheney, had just invented a method of producing the parts for wooden shelf, or pillar-and-scroll clocks that enabled them to be mass-produced...
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