Saugus Iron Works - Lynn, MA

  The First American Iron Casting - The Stevens Indicator, Vol. 10, 1893, (Hoboken, NJ: Stevens Institute of Technology).  

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.

"When 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 country.

"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."


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