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Manufacturers Index - W. W. Carey / Carey & Harris
Last Modified: Oct 27 2012 3:35PM by Jeff_Joslin
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This firm was established in 1866 by Wilson Wellman Carey, operating as W. W. Carey. The following year, George W. Harris joined him and they operated as Carey & Harris. In 1879, Harris retired from the business and the business continued under the original name of W. W. Carey. In 1907 the business incorporated as W. W. Carey Co., and survived until 1918 and possibly for a bit longer.

Wilson W. Carey was an ingenious inventor who was an early innovator in jointers and bandsaws. Over the years, this company made a fairly wide variety of woodworking machinery and related products such as pulleys and lineshaft systems.

Information Sources

  • The 1868 book, History of the City of Lawrence, by Jonathan F. C. Hayes, has an ad for Carey & Harris, "Manufacturers of Patent Wood Turning and Wood Working Machinery".
  • Listed in the EAIA Directory of American Toolmakers, with a single primary source (probably an ad or catalog) dated 1872.
  • Listed in 1873 New England Business Directory: "CAREY & HARRIS Lowell Mass. Corner of Broadway and Mount Vernon Streets. ADDENDUM—Manufacturers of Patent wood working machinery. Bedstead, chair, shuttle, & bobbin machinery. Surface planers, Jig saws, band saws, cut off saws, mortising & tennoning machines." Thanks to Ben Campbell for providing this data.
  • Listed in the 1874 work, Wiley's American iron trade manual of the leading iron industries of the United States: "Wood-working machinery, water wheels."
  • Several patents were granted and/or assigned to Messrs. Carey and Harris; these patents span 1868 through 1875.
  • A genealogy page has an entry for Wilson Wellman Carey, born 24 August 1831, (died 4 July 1917) with a comment: "He was a manufacturer of wood-working machinery, was an inventor, having taken out a dozen patents of various kinds; a man greatly respected, and a long-time resident of Lowell, Mass."
  • We have many confirmed sightings of W. W. Carey machines in the wild; check out the entries in our Photo Index. A planer labeled "W. W. Carey" is in the inventory of Ben Thresher's mill at Barnet Center, VT. A 20" jointer observed in the wild was labeled, "W. W. Carey Co., Lowell, Mass." Other Carey machines did not have the "Co." in the appelation.
  • The Henry Ford Museum has the following ephemera:
    • "Price list of Carey wood rim pulleys with iron hubs and arms", ca. 1918
    • "The Carey round safety cylinder", ca. 1918
    • "Improved buzz or hand planers", ca. 1918
    • "Wood turning lathes", ca. 1918
    • "Adjustable circular saw benches : nos. 1 and 2", ca 1918.
    • "Carey's self oiling bushings", ca. 1918
  • The September 1915 issue of The Granite Monthly Monthlyhas an article, "Wilson W. Carey", by Henry Harrison Metcalf.

    The state of New Hampshire is noted no more for the natural attractions which make it the favorite vacation resort of thousands of people from all parts of the country, than for its remarkable contribution to the ranks of those who, in the fields of professional, commercial and industrial effort, have developed the forces of national progress and prosperity. No town in the state, in proportion to its population, has been more extensively or effectively represented in this contribution than the little town of Lempster, in Sullivan County, which in its palmiest days never numbered 1,000 inhabitants, and for many years past has had less than 400. Clergymen, teachers, lawyers, physicians, dentists, manufacturers, merchants,business men generally, have gone out from this town in goodly numbers, won success and credit for themselves, honored the occupations of their choice, and advanced the welfare of the communities in which they dwelt; and yet it is but fair to say that those who have remained at home have "kept the faith," maintained the old patriotic spirit, and performed their full duty as citizens to the extent of their ability, as is evidenced, among other ways, by their faithful and uninterrupted observance of "Old Home Day" ever since the institution of the festival sixteen years ago.

    Among the men who have achieved success in industrial life, and contributed to the growth and prosperity of the city of Lowell, long at the front among the manufacturing communities of the old Bay State, is WILSON WELLMAN CAREY, a native of Lempster, born August 24, 1831, son of Alden and Hanna B. (Wellman) Carey.

    The original emigrant ancestor of the branch of the Carey family to which Wilson W. belongs was John Cary, born near Bristol in Somersetshire, England, about 1610, who came to America in 1634, and joined the Plymouth Colony. In 1639, in company with others, he bought a tract of land about fourteen miles square, of Masssoit, the Indian chef, which embraced what are now Brockton, Duxbury and Bridgewater. He finally became a settler in the Bridgewater section, and when that town was incorporated, in 1656, he was chosen constable, the only officer chosen the first year. The following year he was elected town clerk, and served in that office till his death in 1681. He was highly educated for his time and is reputed to have been the first teacher of Latin in Plymouth Colony. He married Elizabeth Godfrey in 1644, and they had twelve children. The line of descent is traced as follows: John1, John2, Eleazer3, William4. This William, of the fourth generation, born in Windham, Conn., October 28, 1729, and removed to Lempster, N. H., in 1772, where he engaged in farming. He became a leading citizen, was a deacon of the church, and was prominent in the patriot service in the war of the Revolution, holding a captain's commission in Colonel Fellows' regiment at Saratoga. He was a man of great physical strength as well as sterling character, and reared a family of fifteen children. Of these children three sons, Olivet, Elliott, and Windham, remained in Lempster, where they were engaged in farming and reared large families. The eldest daughter of Olivet was the wife of Benajah A. Miner and the mother of Rev. Alonzo A. Miner, D. D., a noted Universalist clergyman of Boston, long time president of Tufts College. His youngest son, Olivet Saxton, was a prominent citizen of Lempster in the middle of the last century.

    WILSON W. CAREY was the third child and second son of Alden and Hannah Carey. He was educated in the district school and at Lempster Academy. Although a farmer's son, and trained in early life to farm work, like many other similarly situated he developed no taste for agriculture, and, in his twenty-first year, left home to make his way in the world in some other calling. He went first, to Amesbury, Mass., where he engaged in the spinning department of a woolen mill. His stay there was brief, however. He next worked in a cotton mill at Nashua, N. H., for about a year, when he was induced to abandon this line of work, and learn the wood-turning business, engaging at first for eight months at fifty cents per day. He remained with the concern by which he had been employed for two years, when, in 1854, he removed to Lowell, Mass., and entered the employ of Crosby & Comins (afterwards George T. Comins), furniture manufacturers, in whose service he continued for many years. In 1866 he started in business for himself in the manufacture of wood-turning machinery, the next year taking G. W. Harris as a partner, under the firm name of Carey & Harris, which partnership continued for twelve years, when, in 1879, Mr. Carey purchased the interest of Mr. Harris, and since that time, has carried on the manufacture of wood-working machinery, hangers, shafting, pulleys, etc., with a largely increasing business. The factory is located at the corner of Broadway and Mt. Vernon Street. In 1907 the concern was incorporated as the W. W. Carey Company, with Wilson W. Carey as president, which position he still holds.

    Mr. Carey was endowed by nature with inventive genius of high order, and has taken out in his own name no less than a dozen patents upon device which he has originated in the course of his industrial career. Although closely devoted to the business in which he has made substantial success, he has taken an interest in public and financial affairs in the city of his adoption. He is a Republican in politics and served as a member of the Lowell City Council in 1885-86. He was for twenty years a director of the Lowell National Bank, and on his resignation, August 24, 1911, was presented with a beautiful charm by his fellow directors as a testimonial of their kindly regard and appreciation. His residence is at 98 Mr. Vernon Street, and although, at 84 years of age, he is retired in a measure from the activities of life, and enjoying the respite to which, after long service, he is well entitled, he retains his interest in the business which his efforts have established, and in the welfare of the community in which he has an abiding place.

    Mr. C was united in marriage, in 1854, with Lucia P. Noyes, who died, March 18, 1859. November 6, 1861, he married Ellen Augusta Hubbard. Their daughter and only child, Anna F., born March 9, 1865, married Frank J. Sherwood, now the manager of Keith's Theatre in Lowell. They have one son, Carey, Sherwood, born August 11 1890, who is the present manager of the W. W. Carey Company.