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We have in a previous issue announced the death of Edward Payson Bullard, president of the Bullard Machine Tool Company, which occurred December 22, at Braidentown, Florida. For some years Mr. Bullard had been in poor health, and had laid the burdens of his large busi ness upon the shoulders of younger men— chiefly his sons and a nephew; but when a few days before his death he left Bridgeport for Florida, he seemed as well as usual, and his death, which was due to heart trouble, was unexpected.
Mr. Bullard was born August 18, 1841, in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. After the completion of his apprenticeship to the machinists' trade at the Whitin Machine Works, Whitinsville, Mass., he went to work at Colt's Armory, in Hartford, Conn., where he remained until the latter part of 1863. He then entered the employ of Pratt & Whitney, working for them as a machinist until April, 1865.
At this time he formed the partnership of Bullard & Prest, carrying on a general machinists' business in the old county jail building, Hartford, on which site the Case. Lockwood & Brainard Company is now located.
In March, 1865, William Parsons was admitted to the partnership and the name changed to Bullard, Prest & Parsons. Mr. Prest withdrew early in 1866, and the firm became Bullard & Parsons. Vertical drill presses (one of which is now in use at the Bullard works) and pumps were the chief product of the firm.
With the idea of moving the business to Norwalk, Conn., Mr. Bullard, in September, 1866, went to that city and interested a number of men in the project. The Norwalk Iron Works Co. was organized for that purpose on October 5, 1866, with Mr. Bullard and Mr. Parsons as members of the board of directors. Changes in the plans were subsequently made, Messrs. Bullard and Parsons withdrawing and continuing their business at Hartford.
The depression of 1868 and lack of capital caused trouble for the firm. A reorganization was effected and they removed to Bristol, Conn., where Gray's foundry (established some years previously by Elisha N. Welch, later more famously known as a great clock-maker), now the site of the Sessions Foundry Company, was purchased by them and operated for a year, when the firm dissolved, and Mr. Bullard secured the position of superintendent of a large machine shop at Athens, Georgia.
There was at that time much bitterness of feeling against all Northerners, and on that account Mr. Bullard resigned his position and went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he soon became known as a dealer in second-hand machinery. His first sale was of a large number of Lincoln milling machines, which he had found in an abandoned Confederate arsenal in Georgia.
He then connected himself with the Cincinnati branch of Post & Co., organizing their machine-tool department, which has since become the firm of E. A. Kinsey & Co.
Early in 1872 he went to Columbus, Ohio, to assume the position of general superintendent of the Gill car works, in that city. He left there in 1874, when the plant was closed down as a result of the panic of 1873; and for a short time he was superintendent of the Cooper Engine Works, at Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
Leaving there he established himself in the machinery business on Beekman street, New York City, in 1875, organizing Allis, Bullard & Co., at 14 Dey street, one year later. Mr. Allis withdrew in 1877 and the Bullard Machine Company was organized, continuing the business at the same address until 1880, when Mr. Bullard secured entire control and continued as E. P. Bullard, dealer.
Recognizing the demand for a high grade lathe; in 1880 he went to Bridgeport, Conn., and engaged A. D. Laws to manufacture lathes of his design, agreeing to take the entire output of the plant. Owing to certain unsatisfactory features of the arrangement, Mr. Bullard, in the latter part of the same year, took over the business and styled it the Bridgeport Machine Tool Works, he being the sole owner.
In 1883 he designed his first vertical boring and turning mill, a single-head, belt-feed machine having a capacity of 37 inches. This was later sold to George A. Young, a manufacturer of paint-making machinery in Brooklyn, N. Y. This is believed to be the first machine of this type having such small capacity; boring and turning work of this size, having been done previously on the face-plate of a lathe.
In 1889 business in Bridgeport had increased to such an extent that he discontinued his New York connections and devoted his entire time to the development of the Bridgeport plant; J. J. McCabe, a member of Mr. Bullard's New York staff, establishing himself in the old ware-rooms.
The Bridgeport Machine Tool Works was incorporated in 1894 under the name of the Bullard Machine Tool Company, the ownership of stock being entirely in the hands of Mr. Bullard and his sons.
Though Mr. Bullard was a hard worker —had his full share of nervous energy, and did not spare himself—he yet got much enjoyment out of life chiefly because he was a practical philosopher, and able to apply his philosophy to his daily work. He did his own thinking, and was never afraid to take an advance step because no other had taken it.
Though possessed of great ability and good judgment as a designer of machine tools, and as a business man, he was unassuming, quiet in manner, always courteous and mindful of the rights of others, well read and intelligent about matters in general, as well as business affairs, and thoroughly to be relied upon.
He traveled much in Europe in the interest of his foreign trade, and had many friends there; and in whatever foreign country he traveled or sojourned, he was always the same quiet, unpretentious, thorough gentleman he was at home. Though a keen and energetic business man, he prized his honor above everything else. The world has too few men like him.
- American Machinist, 17 Jan 1907, pg. 97