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Manufacturers Index - J. P. Grosvenor
History
Last Modified: Sep 23 2018 2:57PM by Jeff_Joslin
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This almost-forgotten maker produced the first commercially successful tilting-arbor tablesaw, made notable improvements to the early spindle shapers, and invented the wedge-bed jointer design that is now ubiquitous.

His first patent was granted in 1856, for an improvement to Nathaniel Gear's molding machine—that is, the spindle shaper. It was likely that Grosvenor was already manufacturing by then. Grosvenor was granted a lengthy series of patents for improvements to the "variety molding machine". An 1869 Grosvenor ad reads, "...I am prepared to furnish these machines, to be used in any and all parts of the United States, (and the Right to Use goes with them,) at my list prices." But the immediately following ad reads, "CAUTION: No person will be permitted to use Grosvenor's elliptical universal variety molding machines outside of the States of New York and Mass. Machines and deeds of rights to use them elsewhere are furnished only by the lawful owners and manufacturers, A. S. & J. Gear & Co."

In 1868 Grosvenor patented a design for a tilting-arbor saw. His was not the first such patent, but he was very likely the first to successfully bring such a saw to market. Grosvenor's ads gave prominence to his line of tablesaws, and they seem to have been a commercial success.


Engraving of one of Grosvenor's tablesaw designs, from an 1868 article in Scientific American.

In 1874 Grosvenor invented the wedge-bed jointer design. Climer and Riley's 1866 patent for the jointer used four small wedges for each table rather than sloping the entire bed and underside of the table, which was a Grosvenor's wedge-bed design. Grosvenor's design is used on the great majority of all jointers made today. However, we have not seen Grosvenor ads featuring his design, and it is possible he was unable to produce them because of the Climer and Riley patent, which was owned by Bentel, Margedant & Co.

It appears that Grosvenor's line of machinery was acquired by one George L. Richardson in 1883, who then sold out to Joel Knapp a couple of years later.

Information Sources

  • The 1868-07-15 issue of Scientific American has a front-page article on Grosvenor's tilting-arbor tablesaws.
  • Ad in 1869-05-29 issue of Scientific American: J. P. GROSVENOR, of Lowell, Mass., Patentee of the Older, and also of the more Recent Improvements in Variety Molding Machines, consisting of Variety Elliptical, Universal and Double Serpentine Molding and Planing Machines, and my Adjustable Circular Saw Benches. I am prepared to furnish these machines, to be used in any and all parts of the Unites States, (and the Right to Use goes with them.) at my list prices. Also, the various kinds of Wood-working Machinery. Address, for information and Machines, J. P. Grosvenor, 81 Liberty st., New York city, or at Lowell, Mass. Send for Descriptive Circular." This ad appeared in subsequent issues also. The 1869-09-11 issue carried the following ad: "GROSVENOR'S ADJUSTABLE CIRCULAR Saw Benches and Variety Molding Machinery. For Information, Machines, Circulars, and Price List, address J. P. Grosvenor, Lowell, Mass. Machine for sale at 91, and at 107, and at 109 Liberty st., New York."
  • The 1869-08-07 issue of Scientific American carried this ad: "CAUTION: No Person will be permitted to use Grosvenor's Elliptical Universal Variety Moulding Machines outside of the States of New York and Mass. Machines and deeds of right to use them elsewhere are furnished only by the lawful owners and manufacturers. A. S. & J. GEAR & CO., 91 Liberty st., N. Y., and New Haven, Conn. Send for pamphlet of particulars."
  • The 1869-10-16 issue of Scientific American has a lengthy writeup of displays at the American Institute Exhibition, including, "A large variety of CIRCULAR, SCROLL, GIG, AND ENDLESS BAND SAWS ARE EXHIBITED, among which we notice Grosvenor's adjustable saw bench, with both cross-cut and slitting circular saws, exhibited by J. P. Grosvenor, of Lowell, Mass. ...
  • The October 1871 issue of Manufacturer & Builder had a lengthy article on Grosvenor's tablesaw. The article included four engravings.
  • The 1871 and 1872 issues of Manufacturer & Builder carried ads for this maker: "Combined variety moulding machinery manufactured at Lowell, Mass. GROSVENOR'S (patent) Recently Improved Machinery adapted for moulding and planing / all varieties of circular, elliptical, serpentine, double serpentine, straight, wave, and irregular work in wood, both upon the face and edge. Grosvenor's adjustable circular saw-benches, for squaring, splitting, mitreing, and grooving. Patented May 5, 1868, and October 26, 1869. Manufactory at Lowell, Mass. For machines and information address J. P. Grosvenor, Lowell, Mass."
  • Listed in the 1874 work, Wiley's American iron trade manual of the leading iron industries of the United States: "J. P. Grosvenor - Wood-working machinery."
  • The presumed succession to Richardson and Knapp is inferred from the Knapp entry in the 1891 book, Inland Massachusetts Illustrated.