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Manufacturers Index - Hill, Clarke & Co.

Hill, Clarke & Co.
Boston, MA; St. Louis, MO, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Dec 29 2014 10:19AM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

The firm of Horace, McMurtrie & Co. was established in 1865. In 1872 the business changed its name to Hill, Clarke & Co. Sometime between about 1930 and 1936 the name changed to Hill-Clarke Machinery Co. They survived into the 1940s but we have not find any solid data points on them after World War II.

This firm was a maker and seller of "steam engines, pumps and boilers, iron and wood working machinery, shafting, belting supplies". It seems unlikely that they actually manufactured woodworking machinery, but theirs is often the only name appearing on the machines they sold.

Information Sources

  • The 1876 work, Official Catalogue of the United States Centennial Commission lists Hill, Clarke & Co. as the selling agents for John Abington, Jr.'s machine for making tacks and shoe nails; J. A. Sawyer & Son's hand and power iron planer; Flather & Co.'s engine lathes; American Watch Tool Co.'s watch lathes.
  • The November 1878 issue of Manufacturer & Builder lists the exhibitors at the fair of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association, including "Hill, Clarke & Co., who among a fine line of exhibits, display the 'Buckeye' engine..."
  • The September 1881 issue of Manufacturer & Builder lists the exhibitors at that year's Fair of the New England Manufacturers' and Mechanics' Institute, including the following: "Hill, Clarke & Co. of Boston exhibit the Otto silent gas engine."
  • The November 1882 issue describes the exhibits at that year's Boston Fair: "The Hartford Engineering Co., of Hartford, Conn., exhibit a high-speed automatic cut off engine, shown by their agents, Hill, Clarke & Co., of Boston. The engine is 14 by 24, and runs at 180 revolutions. It is employed in running the textile machinery. "
  • The November 1882 issue of Manufacturer & Builder lists the exhibitors lists the exhibitors at the Boston Fair: "...Hill, Clarke & Co., of Boston, have a very extensive exhibit of iron-working machinery, comprising the latest designs of the leading builders."
  • The October 1883 issue of Manufacturer & Builder lists the exhibitors at that year's Fair of the New England Manufacturers' and Mechanics' Institute, including, "Hill, Clarke & Co., of Boston, make an extensive display of tools by a number of prominent builders. They also show a Payne engine and Cummer engine."
  • 1883 and 1897 catalogs.
  • The October 1893 issue of Manufacturer & Builder has an article on the "Eighteenth Triennial Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association". Hill, Clarke & Co. of 156 Oliver St., Boston, was an exhibitor of machinists' tools and machines.
  • Thanks to Chris Bourgeois for correcting the spelling of "Clarke". Chris also pointed out a previous auction for a 16" metal-working shaper from this company.
  • Chris also pointed us to a link indicating that the Smithsonian has correspondence for this company spanning 1891 through 1901.
  • Hill, Clarke & Co. published a magazine, Shop Talk. Google Books has the 1902 issues. They shed some light on what they manufactured versus retailed. For example, a 1902 issue has an ad for Hill, Clarke & Co.'s new 10" and 12" speed lathes; The September 1902 issue describes the 12" lathe in more detail and mentions that it was made by the Chicago Machine Tool Co. The November 1902 issue has an article and full-page illustration of Oliver Machinery Co.'s new jointer, which Hill, Clarke seems to have sold under the Oliver name.
  • The 1906 Automobile Trade Journal lists Hill, Clarke & Co., as doing business at 156 Oliver St. in Boston.
  • The Massachusetts corporate registry database lists Hill, Clarke & Co, Inc.'s first registration as 1906-10-12.
  • A 1907 issue of Domestic Engineering and the Journal of Mechanical Contracting has this snippet:
    In 1866 he joined the firm of Horace, McMurtrie & Co., engineers and machinery agents, which firm was succeeded a few years later by Hill, Clarke & Co., and the character of the business was changed to buying and selling machinery, ...
  • Third Report [First Decennial,] of the Class of 1861 of Harvard College, 1871, has a writeup of one Henry Pickering, including the following:
    HENRY PICKERING. April 15, '67; entered the firm of Horace McMurtrie & Co., Manufacturers of Engines, and General Machinery, 83 and 85 North st., Boston. They have since removed to 80 Milk st., his present address...
  • Report of the Harvard Class of 1853, 1913, has a biography of Hamilton Alonzo Hill:

    ... At the breaking out of the Civil War, Mr. Hill was most desirous of enlisting, but, prevented at first by paramount duty to his family, he was later stricken with a malignant form of typhus fever, contracted in Washington, and for many weeks his life was despaired of. This permanently impaired his strength, and rendered military service impossible. Return to the practice of law was also forbidden by his physician. After a summer spent abroad, he established in 1865 a firm under the name of Horace McMurtrie & Co., which, in 1868, became Hill, Clarke & Co., machinery merchants. His specialty was the economical use of steam power.

    ... He died in Boston, March 18, 1899, leaving a widow and an only child, Mary Hamilton, the wife of J. Randolph Coolidge, Jr. ('83), son of J. Randolph and Julia (Gardner) Coolidge.

    The above-mentioned date of 1868 for the name change to Hill, Clarke & Co. seems to be incorrect because it disagrees with the biography of Henry Pickering quoted below, and in searching for references between 1868 and 1872 we find no references to Hill, Clarke & Co. and a couple of passing mentions of Horace McMurtrie & Co.
  • Report of the Harvard Class of 1861, 1915, has a biography of Henry Pickering, including the following:
    ...In 1867 he deserted law for business, and entered the firm of Horace McMurtrie & Co., dealers in engines and general machinery. After the great fire of 1872, the name of the firm was changed to Hill, Clark & Co., and located at 156162 Oliver Street. With them he was an active partner until January, 1895, when he retired, but retained an interest in the business as a silent partner for nine years and a desk in their office as a convenience until his death. ...