Aiken Machine Company, Franklin, New Hampshire, Manuscript Archive Including Business and Family Correspondence
Lot of 79 letters concerning the Aiken Machine Company and Aiken family correspondence. Ca 1840-1870.
The Aiken family invented the first knitting machines in 1837. The innovation in knitting technology and machinery allowed their business to thrive, which also allowed several more family members to tinker and develop additional tools to further the trade. Local Hanover, NH residences referred to them as "those inventive Aikens." The Aikens developed more quality hand tools, a carrier for 600 lbs. fire hoses, and household items. Some dabbled in aeronautics. "They were a classic Yankee inventor family," explained Dr. Richard Candee, a Boston University professor.
The onset of the Industrial Revolution and the flooding of new patents from inventors forced the United States to develop a modernized patent system in 1836. From 1837 until 1867, Herrick Aiken alone requested 60 patents. The patent office granted only a dozen. Included in the lot is a letter from William P. Elliot, an employee of the patent office and product of the new patent law. He writes to Herrick about a new design for a socket. Herrick lacked the appropriate paperwork, but once he submitted the new design he would approve it, making the socket one of his authorized inventions. The insightful collection of over 79 letters related to the Aiken family and their business offers an in-depth perspective inside the inner workings of a large manufacturing company and the foundation of the contemporary patent process during the Industrial Revolution.
Range in condition, but most are in very good condition. Letters have typical folds and the ink is dark but handwriting can be difficult to decipher.