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Orrin C. Burdict

Modified on 2017/12/26 19:47 by Joel Havens Categorized as Biographies

Mr. Orrin C. Burdict, of Buffalo, N. Y., not only stands prominent among the pioneer bolt and nut manufacturers of America, but his ingenuity and mechanical skill have richly contributed to many of the improvements in the machinery and appliances used in this important branch of industry. In the year 1860 Mr. Burdict began working for Mr. Chandler Cowles, who was making bolts by hand in New Haven, Conn. The work so strongly appealed to Mr. Burdict's inventive genius, that he devoted a large share of his time to devising improved appliances and methods that he believed would greatly facilitate the various processes. Following his own ideas, he had constructed models and made drawings when the opening of the war of the rebellion aroused his patriotism and he enlisted as a private in the 27th Regiment of Connecticut volunteers. At the expiration of his term of service, July 22, 1863, Mr. Burdict resumed his position with Mr. Cowles, and proceeded with renewed energy to perfect his machine for making bolts and nuts, which he accomplished before the end of the year, having secured a patent and built a perfect nut machine before December 31. Mr. Burdict sold the entire rights in this patent to the Lindsay Fire Arms Co. of New Haven, who manufactured them for the trade, and for several years he traveled for the company, selling the machine that he had invented. In 1865-66 Mr. Burdict brought out his first bolt head forging machine, which was also assembled by the Lindsay Fire Arms Co. It was tested on I inch bolts and seemed to work to perfection; but it developed defects that rendered it a failure at the beginning. In 1867 Mr. Burdict removed to Providence, R. I., where he contracted with Mr. Gardner of The Providence Steam Engine Co., to build the machine on new lines that would overcome the imperfections. Assisted by an expert mechanical engineer, Mr. Burdict brought his invention to such perfection that he sold them the right to manufacture the machines to the United States government, reserving all other rights. A number of the machines were sold to the government as were also his nut machines. The arrangement with the Providence company continued until Mr. Burdict removed to Buffalo, N. Y., in 1869, where he sold his rights to Messrs. Bell & Plumb of that city, accepting stock in part payment, thus becoming a member of the firm, the style of which was changed to Plumb, Burdict & Barnard. The manufacture of the machines was continued in Providence a number of years, Mr. Burdict having control of their manufacture and sale. During this period Mr. Burdict made several specific improvements on the original construction, among which was a time attachment, by which the machine was automatically stopped after the requisite number of blows to complete the forgings, and an advance attachment, which gripped the bolts, carried them forward, completed the forging and delivered the work completed, automatically. This device was designed especially for the smaller sizes of bolts. Mr. Burdict also invented steady motion carriage bolt forging machines, which were afterwards improved for rod headers. This improvement rendered them the most rapid rod heading machines ever placed on the market. Mr. Burdict's first invention, the square head bolt forging machine, was the first successful machine of the kind ever manufactured. It was also the first to be introduced to the American and foreign markets. The value and practicability of these admirable machines were promptly recognized and they were sold in large numbers in every section of the world. In 1897 the firm of Plumb, Burdict & Barnard became financially embarrassed and were obliged to retire from business. After the affairs of the company were adjusted, Mr. Burdict established a business by himself, locating his office in the White Building on Main Street, and making a specialty of various kinds of bolt and nut machinery of his own invention and construction. Since inaugurating this enterprise Mr. Burdict has enjoyed deserved and uninterrupted success. Mr. Burdict was born in Burlington, Conn., April 19, 1822. He was a natural mechanic and inherited Yankee ingenuity which he energetically cultivated and has always successfully employed to notable advantage.

Information Sources

  • History of the Bolt and Nut Industry of America,1905, pgs. 228-230

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