Lovett Eames and Gardner T. Eames (1904)

Modified on 2017/01/03 11:30 by Jeff Joslin — Categorized as: Biographies

From the 1904 book, "Compendium of history and biography of Kalamazoo County, Mich.", found online at the University of Michigan Library Lovett Eames manufactured woodworking machinery and steam engines, and Gardner T. Eames went on to invent an arbor press that was the genesis of Atlas Press Co.


This prominent and enterprising manufacturer and mill man may almost be said to have been born to the purple in mechanics, and to have entered upon his inheritance in this useful line of productive industry in his childhood, as his father was for many years devoted to this work and made a record of great credit in it. Mr. Eames, who is the present owner of the Eames Machine Shops, on Michigan and Asylum avenues in Kalamazoo, was born in on March 9, 1851, and is the son of Lovett and Lucy C. (Morgan) Eames, both natives of Watertown, N. Y.

Lovett Eames

The father was an expert on hydraulics and built the first system in his native town, where he also owned a saw mill and machine shop. Before coming to this state he became a teacher in the Belleville Academy and continued in that useful vocation a number of years. In 1831 he moved-to Kalamazoo county and bought a tract of land on Grand Prairie on which he settled, and soon afterward erected a water power on the River road, where he put up a saw mill which he conducted some time, then moved to the city of Kalamazoo. In 1844 he built a home in the city opposite the college, which is still in the possession of his family. In 1833 he erected the Eames Mill, which was used in the manufacture of linseed oil, and he had a saw mill in connection with the plant. Later he turned the plant into a machine shop and foundry and engaged largely in the manufacture of saw-mill machinery. He built the first hydraulic water system in this part of the country in 1863, and this supplied the State Fair Grounds with water, but soon after its completion and before the end of that year he died. He was a true born mechanic or machinist, and turned the inventive genius with which he was largely endowed to the production of labor saving and producing devices, inventing among other things the square auger which is now in general use and which he perfected and placed on the market in 1862. He was extensively engaged in business, operating saw mills in various parts of the state and conducting other enterprises in collateral lines.

Lucy Eames (Morgan)

At Watertown, N. Y., in 1831, he was married to Miss Lucy Morgan, a daughter of Elder Morgan, a Baptist clergyman. She was for years a teacher in the Lowville, N. Y., Academy, and had among her pupils Hon. B. F. Taylor and other men who afterward rose to distinction. After her arrival in Michigan she taught school a year at Ann Arbor, living there with her brother, Elijah W. Morgan, a pioneer of that city. Her mind was keenly alive to the benefits of literary organizations and the means of supplying them with information and stimulus to study, and in company with Mrs. Webster, Mrs. Stone, and other ladies of breadth of view and enterprise, organized the Ladies Library Association, of which she was a valued official for a long time. The family comprised six sons and two daughters, and of these, three of the sons and the two daughters are living. Their mother died in June, 1900. One of her sons fought through the Civil war as a member of the Second Michigan Infantry.

Gardner T. Eames

Her son, Gardner T. Eames, the immediate subject of this review, was educated in the schools of Kalamazoo, and at the age of thirteen became an apprentice in the office of the Kalamazoo Telegraph. He afterward became a machinist and has followed this craft ever since. His first venture was in the manufacture of hubs and spokes in the old factory, where he started in 1868. In 1887 he began the manufacture of wooden pulleys and sometime afterward of drill grinders. He has steadfastly adhered to his chosen lines of enterprise and has made the business profitable to himself and extensively serviceable to his community, owning now one of the leading and most characteristic manufacturing establishments in the state, and ever maintaining the high standard of excellence for which its products are widely renowned. In 1881 he united in marriage with Miss Fannie Vinton, a native of Cincinnati. They have had one son, who is deceased. The Eames family came to New England in early colonial days and for many generations they lived in that section of the country, gradually moving to other portions of the country as they were opened to settlement, until their fame and prominence is recognized in many parts of the West, and their members have dignified and adorned every walk of life, bearing their part well and wisely in all the duties of citizenship in peace and war, and performing every duty with skill and fidelity.