Academic journal article The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc.

A Millstone Pickmaker

Academic journal article The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc.

A Millstone Pickmaker

Article excerpt

During the nineteenth century, the United States had a remarkable number of specialized factories turning out tools of every description. Today it is often difficult to learn anything about them. One such manufacturer was John C. Higgins of Chicago, who began the manufacture of millstone picks in 1865. The Directory of American Toolmakers includes him, referencing but one secondary source without date or location. The chance discovery of his annual circular for 1883 provides some interesting information about the business (Figure 1).

In this his nineteenth annual circular, he respectfully called the attention of his numerous friends and patrons to, "the following conspicuous points in my extensive business." His business had so increased that he had to add substantially to his factory, producing, "the largest capacity and finest facilities for the manufacture of Mill Picks in this country...." He reported his picks had earned a gold medal in the international exposition in Melbourne, Australia, which showed his picks to be not only the finest in the country but the "Champion Mill Pick of the World! …

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