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Manufacturers Index - Fitchburg Machine Works, S. C. Wright & Co.

Fitchburg Machine Works, S. C. Wright & Co.
Fitchburg, MA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Sep 8 2019 11:58AM by Jeff_Joslin
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13 & 21 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA.

Fitchburg Machine Co. was a stock company reorganization in January of 1867 of the S. C. Wright & Co. The principals were Sylvester C. Wright and his son-in-law James L. Chapman. In 1877, the company reorganized again as the Fitchburg Machine Works. In 1905, the company was bought by Marcus A. Coolidge and subsequently merged with the Seneca Falls Machine Co. Patents were assigned to the Fitchburg Machine Works as late as 1917.

Information Sources

  • The Massachusetts corporate registry database lists Fitchburg Machine Co.'s first registration as 1867-02-12. Fitchburg Machine Work's first registration occurred on 1899-05-16
  • American Lathe Builders: 1810-1910 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2001
  • From the 1887 book, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Past and Present, by William Andrew Emerson.


    The works of this company are located near the foot of Main street, opposite the Brown Engine Works. Every class of iron working machinery designated as machinists' tools is manufactured by them, including engine lathes, wagon axle lathes, iron planers, drill presses, shaping machines, and so forth. Mr. J. L. Chapman is superintendent and treasurer of the company, and upon him devolves the general management of the works.

    Mr. Chapman came to Fitchburg in the spring of 1864, and commenced the manufacture of tools in Atherton's block, so called, in Newton lane, in company with S. C. Wright, under the firm name of S. C. Wright & Co. This was a most unfavorable time for the starting of such an enterprise, there being a great scarcity of machinery, while the price of labor and material was much increased by reason of the war then in progress; The outfit of the shop consisted of the following tools to start with: An old chain lathe, bought out of the Old Stone Cotton Mill, (now owned by Joseph dishing,) and of which Jonathan Gill was then superintendent; an old chain planer, from out of a country blacksmith and machine shop in Townsend; a second-hand Gould shaping machine, bought in Newark, N. J.; an old pattern maker's lathe, and a second-hand engine lathe, out of an old shop in Newton lane, which was remodelled before it could be used. This list of machinery included everything that could be purchased at that time. The firm then employed but four men. They immediately went to work and made their own patterns and tools.

    After remaining about a year in Newton lane they moved in 1865 into the building on the corner of Main and Laurel streets, now occupied by I. C. Wright as a hardware store. Here they employed thirty men, taking into partnership with them Hale W. Page and Artemas R. Smith, the firm name remaining unchanged. February 22, 1866, they removed to their present location, occupying the easterly half of the building, a little later on they bought out Sylvanus Sawyer, who occupied the westerly half of the same building, and Jan. 1, 1867, formed a stock company, under the firm name of the Fitchburg Machine Company, with the following stockholders: S. C. Wright, J. L. Chapman, A. R. Smith, Hale W. Page, Augustus Whitman, Eugene T. Miles, Lowell M. Miles, Jared Whitman, Jr.; and officered as follows— S. C. Wright, president; J. L. Chapman, secretary; Augustus Whitman, treasurer. Out of this list of stockholders but three are now living, J. L. Chapman, Lowell M. Miles and Jared Whitman, Jr.

    In 1867 Mr. Chapman became both secretary. and treasurer, remaining in that capacity until the closing up of the company's affairs in 1877, when the Fitchburg Machine Works was formed under the laws of general co-partnership, the firm consisting of S. C. Wright, superintendent; J. L. Chapman, treasurer; Walter Heywood, Harrington Sibley and Joseph S. Wilson. Since its organization, Mr. Wright and Mr. Heywood have both died, and since the death of Mr. Wright, in December, 1880, Mr. Chapman has acted as superintendent and treasurer, having the full management of the business.

  • A Practical Machinist discussion on a lathe attributed to S. C. Wright has some more information on S. C. Wright's early years and his design influences.