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FREDERICK JOHN LEONARD BLANDY, one of the oldest and most prominent manufacturers and improvers of portable steam-engines and circular saw-mills in America, was born in Bristol, England. He lived with his father, Benjamin Blandy, Esq., until 1835, attending the best academies and receiving a good, sound education. He came with his father's family to New York, and from there to the then small town of Zanesville, Ohio, which his father had previously selected, after many months' travel and observation, as their future home. Henry Blandy, the brother of the subject of this sketch, went into the forge and furnace business, with a large stock of general merchandise to pay the hands with, and Frederick was the clerk and salesman, until its close. From this situation he went to New York and clerked in a large manufacturing establishment, where he accumulated some means. In 1840 his father started him, with his brother Henry, in the foundry business, which, by their united efforts and fidelity to each other, progressed rapidly, and they built up a large trade. The first heavy contracts they made were for the iron work for the Zanesville Waterworks and for the Zanesville Gas Light Company. By this time they were well into the machine business, having turned out many steam-engines and other machinery, and had now large and powerful works. They contracted to build a large number of locomotive engines for various roads. About this time, in the fall of 1851, Frederick married Miss Julia Johnson, of Philadelphia, Penn., and this marriage has been productive of six children—four sons and two daughters. The firm built one of the largest rail mills in the country, but the party in whose interest it was built failed. This, with the universal failure of most of the railroads in Ohio, in 1853, induced them to abandon this branch of their business, and, through perseverance and energy, they preserved their good name and credit untarnished. At this period they commenced to build their celebrated portable engine and saw-mill, invented by Frederick, which has proved the ne plus ultra.
In 1863, requiring greater facilities for their increasing trade, they purchased the Newark Machine Works, and in 1865 the aggregate sales reached over $1,250,000. In 1866, when in the zenith of prosperity, their Zanesville works burnt down, incurring a loss of $200,000. Rebuilding commenced before the ruins were cold, and in less than four months the finest and best equipped works in America were in successful operation upon the ruins. At this time Frederick built his present residence, which is considered the finest in the county.
Frederick has great taste for agriculture and horticulture, supervising his three farms within a few miles of the city; owns large coal interests in the Perry County fields and in Muskingum County; is a director and stockholder in various industrial interests, and Vice-President of the Union Bank. Such is prosperity and the legitimate result of well digested plans properly managed.
- Ohio, the Future Great State: Her Manufacturers, and a History of Her Commercial Cities, 1875, pages 152-153