Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 141

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.

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and was employed there about a year in stone work by contract. Returning in 1823 to Gardner, he entered into partnership with his brother Benjamin, in the very miscellaneous business of a country store. This relation he continued till the year 1829. In 1826 he commenced in Gardner, the manufacture of wood-seated chairs. In 1831 he went to Boston and opened a store for the sale of chairs, in which business he continued till 1836. He also, in connection with William R. CARNES and his brother William, under the firm style of Heywood & Carnes, started a mill for sawing veneers from mahogany, etc., in Charlestown. This mill was burned in 1835. He then returned to Gardner and entered into partnership with his brother Walter, who, with others, had been for some years engaged in the manufacture of chairs, on part of the premises now occupied by Heywood Bros. & Co. The veneer mill in Charlestown was rebuilt and Mr. Levi HEYWOOD retained his interest in it until 1849. The business of the new firm in Gardner was conducted with success, the manufac- ture being mainly by hand, the only machinery being the ordi- nary turning lathe and circular saws, which were operated by water power obtained from the pond now known as Crystal Lake. In 1841 it occurred to Levi HEYWOOD that machinery specially adapted to the various processes of manufacture might be introduced to advantage. His brother, of a more con- servative disposition, hesitated to leave the well worn paths in which they were achieving reasonable success. This difference of opinion led to a dissolution of partnership, Levi purchasing his brother's interest. He at once gave his thoughts and labor to the devising and construction of special machinery, as well as to the introduction of different kinds of wood-working ma- chinery, which were already in use for other purposes, and were also adapted to his purpose. In the successful carrying out of this idea, he inaugurated a new era in the chair manufacture, and herein manifested much enterprise, together with the fertility of resource, mechanical skill and inventiveness, and the purpose to introduce constantly new and valuable features, both in methods of manufacture and in style of product, which have always characterized him and have been large elements of his success. As an instance of his originality in the matter of mechanical devices, it may be said that as early as 1835 he con- ceived the idea of the new band saw, now universally adopted as one of the most valuable tools in wood-work. The idea was original with him, though not really novel, for as early as 1808, Wm. NEWBERRY, of London, Eng., had conceived the same idea and made a crude model of a band sawing machine but did nothing more with it. So thoroughly were its advantages antici- pated by Mr. HEYWOOD that he consulted with B.D. WHITNEY, of Winchendon, and with Charles GRIFFITHS, of Welch & Griffiths, of Boston, as to the feasibility of constructing a machine of the kind. Both of these gentlemen, experts in such matters, agreed that with the quality of saw blades then made, or any known methods of uniting them so as to make an endless band, the idea could not be successfully carried out. As is well known, M. PURIN, of Paris, France, has since that time accom- plished what Mr. HEYWOOD so many years before conceived to be both desirable and feasible. In 1844, on the first day of July, he received into partnership Gen. Moses WOOD, then of Provi- dence, and afterward president of the Rollstone Bank of Fitch- burg, and his brother Seth, the style of the firm being Heywood & Wood. This partnership continued till July 1, 1849. At that date Gen. WOOD retired from the firm and Messrs. Calvin HEYWOOD and Henry C. HILL were admitted, the style of the firm being changed to L. Heywood & Co. Mr. HEYWOOD, in addition to his business relations as the head of the firm of Heywood Bros. & Co. has since 1847 been a partner with Hon. W. B. WASHBURN, of Greenfield, Mass, in the manufacture of chairs

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