A humble prototype of the great
iron industry extending over our country," was the designation
given to the first iron casting made in America, a kettle, which
was recently presented to the municipality of Lynn, Mass., by
Mr. John E. Hudson, of Boston, a lineal descendent of Mr. Thomas
Hudson, the original owner of the kettle.
At the presentation exercises, Mr. C. J. H. Woodbury delivered
the following interesting historical address:
"A few months ago, I learned that Messrs. Arthur and Llewellyn
Lewis, the owners of the kettle well known as being the first
casting made at the Saugus Iron Works, were seriously
considering the acceptance of one of several offers recently
made for its purchase, and as it appeared to me that this
article, which was the precursor of the vast iron industry in
American, should be kept at Lynn, where it properly belonged, as
a relic most closely affiliated with the early history of our
town, I at once purchased the kettle.
"The Saugus Iron Works were such an important factor in the
inception and early development of American industries, that
their early history merits due consideration.
"This was not the first attempt at iron smelting, but the first
success. The iron works were located at Saugus, on account of
extensive deposits of bog iron in the Saugus meadows.
"The master mechanic of the works, Joseph Jenks, brought over
from England to fill the place, because he was one of the best
workmen of his day, made good his reputation in this country. In
the year 1654, he built for the town of Boston the first fire
engine made in America.
Governor John Endicott began the Oak tree and the Tine tree
coinage, in 1652, the dies were made by Joseph Jenks at the
Saugus Iron Works. It is stated by Judge James R. Newhall that
the designs were made by Elizabeth, the wife of Joseph Jenks,
the master mechanic. This coinage, bearing the stamp
'Massachusetts State, without any reference to the throne, was
probably the first fundamental act of independence to the mother
"The colonists were driven
to such a course by the lack of money, as exchanges were for the
most part carried on in barter, with bullets and wampum serving
for small coin.
"Joseph Jenks also
invented a sawmill, which received a patent for 14 years from
the General Court on June 10, 1646, being the first patent
granted in America ; and also a water engine for mills, which
was undoubtedly a form of water wheel, and not the hydraulic
engine which that term would now signify.
"He also invented the modern American scythe, long and narrow
and stiffened by a ridge along the back, a marked improvement
'for the more speedie cutting of grasse' over the broad, short
bush whacker scythe made from a thin plate of steel, and richly
deserved the patent for seven years, which was granted by the
General Court, May 23, 1655."