[Two 1860 Letters by New England Machinist Origen C. Crane discussing Machined Parts and the Manufacture of Patented Wheels and Steerers].
Two letters by machinist Origen C. Crane to his brother Frank discussing the fabrication of such parts as wheels, steerers, and shafts. Based in New England Village, an industrial enclave of Grafton, Massachusetts, Crane mentions his firm, O.C. Crane & Co., trade demonstrations at “the Baltimore Fair,” machine patterns and patents, and foundry work.
Crane’s brother Frank may be acting as his brother’s agent in New York or possibly in the employ of New York City machinery manufacturer and dealer, F.N. Gove. Origen C. Crane’s wife was Caroline M. Gove (1830–1876), a possible relative of F.N. Gove whose steerer patents are mentioned in the first letter:
“I understand you want the letters ‘Gove’s Steerer Patented Mch, 30th 1858 ’put on the Hub of the Wheel where ‘Gove’s Steerer NewYork’ now is. If so the letters will have to be smaller and crowded some, though I think I can do it with 3/8 inch letters. I don’t know if any Churches of Factories that are in want of Bells, just now. The only Firms I know of about here who cast Bells are Henry N. Hooper & Co. 58 Commercial St. Boston, & Geo. Holbrook, East Midway Md. I may hear of someone wanting one if I do I will let you know. I had a part application to go and observe the machine works at Wheeler’s Foundry where you went with me… He he is in want of some one very much, and asked me some questions Saturday in connection with it. If we ever settle up here, I should think seriously of it. Carrie [Crane’s wife, Caroline] is anxious I should close up and go there so as to be sure of something, and know just what we have got to live on.”
Crane’s letter of October 1860 shows him still actively engaged at New England Village, discussing business and the details of machine part designs:
“I shall have ready to send to you, the 3 remaining Steerers, on Tuesday, Oct. 2nd, and will send you the 4 ft. wheel. Mr. Milton wished me to retain one of the No. 2s, till he found out whether he could sell one after showing the No. 2, for the Baltimore Fair. I expect to hear from him tomorrow morning, before the time to send the machines away from the shop. He wished me to bush with composition the 6 holes in the end pieces for the No. 2 that was to go to Baltimore… I told him the expense of bushing the first one would be about $8.00 and if he could sell such a one to Mr. Boardman in Boston it would be better to bush it at the price in the list, than not sell at all… Mr. Milton promised to send me his pattern for Brass Hub for 3½, & 4 ft Hand Wheel, and patterns of the Felloe & arms, so that I can have the wheels made in the shop. ... I have given you my ideas of composition bushings. I was not aware that any of the gears were keyed so slight. I will make them all larger every way though I can’t see the advantage to be gained by having the key an inch longer than the thickness of the gears. ... I cannot yet see when there is more power coming on the center shaft than what two men can give. I will send you a draft or sketch of a No. 0 as soon as I can get time to make it. If I make one part now, I shall have to make all now.” [The letter continues on in a similar vein, at length.]
It appears that soon after writing these letters, Crane left Massachusetts and moved to New York City where he was employed on the Brooklyn Bridge.¹
Description: [Two 1860 Letters by New England Machinist Origen C. Crane discussing Machined Parts and the Manufacture of Patented Wheels and Steerers].
New England Village [Grafton, Massachusetts], August 21 and October 1, 1860. pp and [3¾]pp. Autograph Letters Signed. 4tos. Folds; Very Good.
Note. 1. Crane, Genealogy of the Crane Family. Volume II. (Worcester, Mass., 1900), p292.