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Manufacturers Index - Ezra Gould; Gould Machine Co.

Ezra Gould; Gould Machine Co.
Newark, NJ, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery, Metal Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Nov 5 2017 4:23PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

This maker of woodworking machinery, metalworking machinery and steam engines operated for over a century. The business changed names about a dozen times, and ownership changed at least as often. What follows is our reconstruction of this complex history. Because data is relatively sparse, it is likely that there are inaccuracies.

Sometime between 1833 and 1835 Samuel F. Farrand and Ezra Gould opened a machine shop and foundry, Farrand & Gould, in Newark. Their shop was a mere 12 by 16 feet. We do not know what products they may have made in their early years. In or shortly after 1840, Farrand left the partnership and the shop operated under the name of Ezra Gould. In about 1847, A. Inslee became a partner and the business became Gould & Inslee. Inslee had been a partner in W. R. & A. Inslee, which made tinsmithing tools. At the beginning of the Gould & Inslee partnership they introduced a solid-chisel mortiser. The Gould-Inslee partnership was short-lived, and afterwards Gould took his brother Stephen as partner in E. & S. D. Gould, while Inslee partnered with one John G. Dod in Dod & Inslee, which subsequently became W. R. & A. Inslee. All of those firms made mortisers, which were apparently similar but not identical.

Advertisement from the B. T. Pierson's "Directory of the City of Newark" for 1851-52

For reasons unknown, in 1852 E. & S. D. Gould became just Ezra Gould again, and then changed again in 1857 to E. Gould & Co. In 1862, Ezra handed the reins to sons Francis "Frank" H. Gould and Roscoe J. Gould, who operated as Gould Brothers. In 1865 the business incorporated as Gould Machine Co. That name seems to have disappeared in the early 1870s, perhaps during the financial panic of 1873. In any event, by 1874 Ezra Gould was operating the machinery business under his own name yet again, and his son Roscoe was building fire engines under the name R. J. Gould.

In 1877, Ezra Gould and Ulrich Eberhardt established E. Gould & Eberhardt; see that entry for the subsequent history.

In summary, here are the various incarnations of this business.

  • 1835-1840: Farrand & Gould
  • 1840-1847: Ezra Gould
  • 1847-1848: Gould & Inslee
  • 1848-1852: E. & S. D. Gould
  • 1852-1857: Ezra Gould
  • 1857-1862: E. Gould & Co.
  • 1862-1865: Gould Brothers
  • 1865-1873: Gould Machine Co.
  • 1873-1877: Ezra Gould (R. J. Gould assumed control of fire engine business)
  • 1877-1883: E. Gould & Eberhardt
  • 1883-1900: Gould & Eberhardt
  • 1900-1959: Gould & Eberhardt Co.
  • 1959: Acquired by the Norton Co.

We have scattered data points on the products made under these names. It appears that the earliest product of interest to us was a mortising machine, which first appeared in about 1847, and established a product line that continued for at least 40 years. Various other woodworking machines were also made, including sawmills, but these do not seem to have been a focus for the company.

By 1850 Ezra Gould was making gear cutting machinery and engine lathes. Planers, shapers and slotters were quickly added to the lineup, and these machine tools became the main focus of the company into the twentieth century.

By 1866 the company was also making steam engines, though we do not have much information on them. It seems likely that the steam engine product lineup, if it still existed, went with R. J. Gould when he parted ways with his father in about 1873.

The Gould Pattern Mortiser

There is a style of solid-chisel mortising machine that was made by a long list of different firms. We believe that the style originated with Ezra Gould or Gould & Inslee, and hence we call it the Gould pattern mortiser.

Left-side view of a Gould pattern mortiser. This example, which belongs to Patrick Haire, was made by E. Gould & Co.

Besides the various Gould companies, the firms known to have made a Gould pattern mortiser include

Information Sources

  • There is a privately published four-volume work, History of Gould & Eberhardt Incorporated: manufacturing machine tools since 1833 : the story of a family business, by H. Ezra Eberhardt, Jr., 2000, but so far we have not been able to locate a copy. Please contact the Historian if you have a copy of this set of books.
  • Another potentially useful source we have not been able to find is a 1939 booklet, Gould & Eberhardt, that was issued by the company in 1939. This 28-page volume apparently provides a history of the company.
  • Dave Potts has posted pictures to the Photo Index of an Ezra Gould mortiser. Dave did some research, the results of which accompany the pictures.
  • 1835—The 1968 book American Copper & Brass, by Henry J. Kauffman, lists "Farrand & Gould, Newark, N.J. 1835".
  • 1838—The 1838-07-20 issue of The New Yorker carried this news item.
    The case of Thomas Brooks vs. Farrand & Gould, notwithstanding usury was proved, was decided in favor of the plaintiff. The note on which this suit was brought was hold by a citizen of N. York, and the loan was there negotiated, and tho money obtained—of course the principles of the New York law was brought to bear on the case. Mr. Brooks having obtained the note ignorant of the fact that a usurious transaction bad been connected with it, was entitled to recover by the law of that state. A part of the jury, however, being strongly prejudiced against note shaving, were inclined to resist the law laid down by the Chief Justice, and find for the defendant. Having remained out all night, they came into court about nine o'clock on Friday morning, and reported that they could not agree—they then stood six to six. The Judge made a few explanatory remarks to them, and again sent them out. About an hour after they returned with a verdict for tho plaintiff, and assessed the damages at $1064-81, and six cents costs. [Newark Eagle.
  • 1844—Documents of the Senate of the State of New York, Sixty-Seventh Session, 1844 lists the premiums awarded at the 1843 Fair of the American Institute, including to W. R. & A. Inslee of Newark, for their tinner's press for ornamental work.
  • 1847—The 1847-02-06 Scientific American carried the following brief news item
    Another Mortising Machine.
    Messrs. Gould & Inslee, of Newark, N. J., have constructed a mortising machine for the use of carpenters and carriage makers. The machine is made principally of iron; works three different kinds of chisels, and costs only fifteen dollars.
  • 1848—The 1848-10-21 Scientific American writes, of that year's Fair of the American Institute, that "E. & S. D. Gould of Newark N. J. exhibit a really good portable Morticing Machine."The official results of the Fair report that "W. R. & A. Inslee, Newark, N. J." won silver medals for their "cutting engine" and "an excellent tinner's shear", plus a diploma for the "second best hand morticing machine". We could not find any mentions of Gould in those official results.
  • 1848—Transactions of the American Institute of the City of New York lists Gould & Inslee, of Newark, N. J.
  • 1850—The 1850-11-02 Scientific American has a report on that year's Fair of the American Institute, including this:
    GEAR CUTTING ENGINE.—Messrs. E. & L. D. Gould, of Newark, N. J., exhibited a most beautiful Gear Cutting Engine. We venture to say, from their sample of work, that Messrs. Gould are among the first rate mechanicians of our country.
    The November 16 issue noted that E. & S. D. Gould's gearing cutting machine was awarded a silver medal.
  • 1850—At the 1850 Fair of the American Institute, "A. Inslee & Co., Newark, N. J., won a silver medal for the best second size engine lathe, and a diploma for their upright drill.
  • 1851—B. T. Pierson's Directory of the City of Newark, for 1851-52 has some listings of interest:
    • Dod & Inslee, machinists Inclined Plane
    • Dod John G. machinist Incl'd Plane h. 5 Bleeker
    • Farrand Samuel E. carriage dealer Lexington Kentucky h. Bloomfield, N. J.
    • Gould Ezra, machinist Hedenberg's h. 109 Washington
    • Gould E & S. machinists Hedenberg's
    • Gould Stephen D. machinist Incl'd Plane h. 127 Washington
    • Inslee William R. machinist 385 Broad h. 16 South Essex
  • 1852—The 1852-10-23 Scientific American, writing of that year's Fair of the American Institutes, mentions that "E. Gould, of Newark, N. J., ... and others, exhibit some excellent machinists' tools."
  • 1853—Official catalogue of the New York Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1853, has the following entry.
    Vertical back geared power drill.—A. Inslee & Co., manu. and prop. Newark, New Jersey.
  • 1855—An 1855 issue of Scientific American mentioned that "E. Gould of Newark, NJ. ... exhibit some excellent machinists' tools" at the Fair of the American Institute in New York City. The Annual Report of the American Institute of the City of New York for 1855 awarded a silver medal to Ezra Gould of Newark for his metal shaper.
    Small planes for planing irregular forms, with tool to move back and forth instead of bed. The bed is made so as to fasten the articles being planed. It is also rotary and self-feeding, as well as back and forth. The principle is good, and the machines are very useful for small work.
    His iron planer also won a silver medal.
    This is a first-rate machine, it is well fitted up, of good proportions, and highly finished.
    Ezra Gould also won diplomas for his bolt-cutting machine and his power mortising machine. Also mentioned is "A. Inslee, Newark, N. J., for an iron-turning lathe. Diploma."
  • 1865—Acts of the Legislature of the State of New Jersey for the Session of 1865 carried the following:

    An Act to incorporate the Gould Machine Company.

    1. Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of new Jersey, That Ezra Gould, Francis H. Gould, Roscoe J. Gould, David Price, and Inslee A. Hopper and their associates and successors, be and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate by the name of "Gould Machine Company,"...

    And it be enacted, That the capital stock of said company shall be one hundred thousand dollars,... and as soon as a transfer and conveyance shall be made to this company, by the said Francis H. Gould and Roscoe J. Gould of the property, effects, assets, and real estate, now owned, occupied and used by the in the manufacture of machinery in Newark, which together represent their said capital of one hundred thousand dollars...

    And be it enacted, that this act shall take effect immediately. Approved March 9, 1865.

  • 1863—An 1863 Newark City Directory carries an ad for "GOULD BROTHERS, (Successors to E. Gould & Co.), Machinists and Iron Founders, Railroad Avenue..."
  • 1866—New Jersey State Business Directory for 1866 lists "Gould Machine Co., Railroad av. cor. Green, Newark", under "Machinists".
  • 1866—The 1866-09-22 Scientific American has a text ad as follows.
    Newark, N.J. Iron and wood-working machinery, steam fire engines. Send for a catalogue.
  • 1866—The 1866-11-24 Scientific American has a text ad as follows.
    Of Newark, N.J., and 102 Liberty street, New York. Iron and wood-working machinery, steam engines, boilers, saw mills, etc.
    The ad continued unchanged until May of 1867. The 1867-06-07 issue had this ad:
    Great reduction in prices of iron and wood working machinery. Gould Machine Co., Newark, N. J., and No. 102 Liberty street, New York.The above ad continued into July.
  • 1867—The 1867-08-18 Scientific American had an article on a trial of steam fire engines, including one from Gould Machine Co., which acquitted itself well.
  • 1867—From ad in 1867 issue of Scientific American.
  • 1868—Roscoe J. Gould was granted an 1868 patent for a dovetailing machine.
  • 1868—History of American Manufactures from 1608 to 1860, by Leander J. Bishop, 1868, has this entry:

    The Gould Machine Company,

    In Newark, is one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of machinery in the State of New Jersey. The Works were founded in 1835 by Ezra Gould, and his machine shop was the second established in Newark. At that time there were but two steam engines in operation in that city, where there are now several hundred; and the tools in use, compared with the improved machines of the present day, were extremely ineffective. The business remained under his supervision until 1862, when he transferred it to his two sons, who obtained from the Legislature of New Jersey, by special act, a charter of incorporation as the Gould Machine Company, with a capital of $100,000, and privilege of increasing it to $250,000.

    The Works of this Company are situated on Railroad Avenue, Green and Lafayette streets, on the line of the Camden & Amboy and New Jersey Railroads, and consist of a Machine Shop, an Iron and Brass Foundry, Boiler Shop, Pattern Shop, and other auxiliary buildings, with the necessary yard room. They possess ample accommodation for the employment of five hundred hands, if so many should be required. They are equipped with all the best tools for the prosecution of the business, and, in this respect, are probably, not surpassed by any in the country.

    The manufactures of this Company include a great variety of Machinists' Tools, and Wood-Working Machinery, Steam Engines and Boilers, Portable Engines, Saw Mills, Steam Fire Engines, Leather Hose, and other Fire Apparatus, Castings, and Machine Shop Forge and Foundry Equipments. Their machine tools are distinguished for their simplicity and originality of construction. The first compound planer ever made in this country was designed and built at these Works; and many other machines now in extensive use owe their paternity to the mechanical and inventive genius of the founder.

    The Steam Fire Engines manufactured here possess several important improvements which have been patented, and it is claimed that by means of them, "with the same sized steam cylinder and pressure of steam, they discharge from seventy-five to one hundred per cent, more water than any other made; and are consequently that much more efficient, being able to project further and with greater force through any sized nozzle or length of hose, and have always their maximum efficiency, no matter where placed—whether near or far from the fire, whether playing through large or small nozzles, or where one or more streams are used." This is accomplished by means of the Pump, by which the discharge of water or the effective area of the pump is regulated to suit the various positions of the Engines at a fire. It is also capable of being applied to various other uses.

    Among other important inventions originated by the members of this Company is a Pump for compressing air or other gases. This consists of two cylinders of different diameters, the air being first compressed from the large to the small cylinder, and from thence to the tank or receiver. By means of this pump it is claimed that four times more air can be put to the same pressure than by any other contrivance now known, with an equal expenditure of power.

    The present officers of the Gould Machine Company are F. H. Gould, President, and Roscoe J. Gould, Treasurer. The warehouse is at 102 Liberty street, New York, where they also execute orders as supply merchants for other machinery than that manufactured at their Works.

  • 1874—From The Industrial Interests of Newark, N. J., by William F. Ford, 1874:

    EZRA GOULD, 97 to 113 N. J. R. R. Avenue. The tool and machinery manufactory now widely known under the above name was first established by the present proprietor in 1835, and at that time a shop 12x16 feet in size afforded sufficient manufacturing facilities, it being the second machine shop started in Newark. . This restricted condition of things, however, did not long continue. The business rapidly increased, and soon afterward the Gould Machine Company was organized. This company was succeeded by a series of firms, but the works are now under the sole proprietorship of the original founder, Mr. Ezra Gould, who has been closely identified with the business from its inception. The works are located on Railroad Avenue, Green and Lafayette streets, on the line of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Central Railways, thus affording first-class transportation facilities. They consist of the machine shop, iron and brass foundry, and pattern shop, with auxiliary buildings.

    The productions comprise a great variety of machinists' tools, over 200 different patterns being made; also, tools for jewelers, tinsmiths, and metal workers. The machine tools manufactured are distinguished for their simplicity and originality of construction. The first compound plane, or shaping machine, ever made in this country was designed and built at these works, and many other machines now in extensive use owe their paternity to the mechanical and inventive genius of the founder. The productions also include general machine work, wood working machinery, iron and brass castings, etc. As already indicated, Mr. Ezra Gould, through his inventive skill and rare energy, has greatly contributed to the fame of' Newark as an industrial centre. The reputation of Gould's tools and machinery and that of Newark are inseparable, each contributes to the other.

    The products of these works are sold throughout the United States, and are largely exported to England, France, Germany, Cuba and Mexico. In this is found another illustration of the aid extended to European manufacturers by the skill of American mechanics.

    The force employed in the works numbers 150 men, and their weekly wages are $1,500. The yearly production of tools and machinery amounts to $150,000.

    In the same issue was the following related biography.

    R. J. GOULD, 97 to 113 N. J. Railroad Avenue. The development of steam fire engines to the highest results at present accomplished, has been a great triumph of mechanical ingenuity and skill. Capital, although taking a prominent part in this development, has been unable to compete with inventive genius and ceaseless energy. These remarks have been suggested by an examination of the peculiar merits of the Gould steam fire engine, which is now manufactured by Mr. R. J. Gould, the successor of the Gould Machine Company. This gentleman has certainly been the pioneer in this branch of Newark's industries, and was the controlling mind of the business when directed by the above named Company.

    ...These machines are known as Gould's Variable Pump Fire Engines. As a result of careful study for years, Mr. Gould has several patents, whose great importance is unquestionable. These improvements have greatly contributed to the supremacy of his engines. The variable pump consists of two pumps on the same piston rod, with a "churn valve" to shut one off, or render it inoperative, by which means all the power of the cylinder can be exerted on one pump when a long line of hose is required, or when desired a larger quantity of water can be discharged.

    The boilers of the Gould engine are upright and tubular, and have a large capacity. Steam can be raised in from three to five minutes, and a working pressure easily maintained. The cylinders on the double engines are made in one casting, with one steam chest for both, and all parts of the engine are finished in the most perfect manner. The forward part of the engine is of the crane neck style, room being provided for the front wheels to pass under, in order that the engine may turn on its length. On some the forward axle is short or narrow tracked, thus making the fore part light, and rendering the engine more easily managed, which is a tremendous advantage, when dispatch in getting ready for action is the great desideratum. The rear is hung on substantial springs by braces secured firmly to the boiler above the centre of weight, thus preventing any tendency of the boiler to sway. The arch of the frame is sufficiently high to allow the engineer to pass through, and, when running, all parts requiring his care and attention are within easy reach from his position. The Gould machines excel in convenience, and beauty of design and lightness. All the material used is of the best quality, and no incompetent workmen are employed.

    The double cylinder variable pump engine weighs about 6,500 pounds, is capable of discharging 1,000 gallons of water per minute, and has thrown a 1½ inch stream 354 feet, which is the longest throw ever made by 34 feet. The advantage of the variable pump is seen in this: with the ordinary pump the proportion of steam to water cylinder always remains the same, although the requirements vary from a two inch stream and 50 feet of hose, to a 1⅛ inch stream and 2,000 feet of hose.

    Gould's machines are known as piston engines, and are made in four different sizes; and on account of the great satisfaction given, many of them are supplied with the variable pump.

    Of late a great rivalry has sprung up between the different fire engines in competing for the western market. This competition is so active that only competitive trial-tests will satisfy the western public and purchasing Boards of Fire Commissioners. A bitter contest has recently been made in Chicago, and as usual the Gould engine is victorious at every point. On Sept. 5th of the present year, a public test was there made, and the verdicts of the Mayor, Common Council and press alike were in favor of the Gould machine. As a result of these triumphs, Mr. Gould will undoubtedly hereafter largely supply the western demand for the most approved fire engines.

    Mr. Gould also manufactures leather and rubber hose, couplings, trucks, hose carts, and all apparatus connected with fine engines. Orders for engines are received from all parts of the country, showing how quick are buyers to appreciate genuine merit. In the works as now running, 40 of the most skillful workmen are employed, and the summary of weekly wages is $800. The production for 1873 was valued at $50,000, but it is now rapidly increasing.

  • 1869—The 1869-02-06 Scientific American has this advertisement:
    Machinists! Meinhard's improved iron planing machine. For machine, with improvement, inquire at Gould Machine Company, Newark, N. J., or Warehouse, 119 Liberty st., New York. Illustrated in Scientific American Vol. XVIII, No. 6, page 81.
  • 1869—Appleton's Dictionary of Machines, Mechanics, Engine-Work, and Engineering, 1869, has illustrations of the Gould pattern mortising machine.
    MORTISING MACHINE. Figs. 2847 and 2848 represent a machine manufactured by W. R. & A. Inslee, Newark, N. J., and from the simplicity of its plan it is much less liable to get out of order than others of a more complicated character.
  • 1878—The History of Newark, New Jersey, by Joseph Atkinson, 1878, has these tidbits.
    [In about 1840, at] No. 24 Market street, near Washington, Samuel F. Farrand and Ezra Gould had a sign up as "Machinists and Brass and Iron Founders."
  • 1880s—Alexander Farnham's excellent book, Early tools of New Jersey and the men who made them shows an 1880s ad for this maker: "E. Gould & Co., Machinists, Manufacturers of lathes, gear & bolt cutters, planers, vertical drills, mortise machines, &c., Railroad Avenue, Corner of Green Street, Newark, N. J."
  • 1886—The November 1886 Manufacturer & Builder has an article on that years Fair of the American Institute in New York. Among the exhibitors: "E. Gould & Eberhardt, of Newark, N. J., show a number of iron-working tools, of which they make complete outfits for shops of all kinds."
  • 1887—The November 1887 Manufacturer & Builder has an article on that years Fair of the American Institute in New York. Among the exhibitors: "E. Gould & Eberhardt, of Newark, N. J., exhibit a large line of iron-working tools, with all the improvements demanded by the latest practice."
  • 1887—The November 1887 issue of "Manufacturer & Builder" notes that E. Gould & Eberhardt of Newark were exhibiting their line of metalworking machinery at the Fair of the American Institute.
  • 1887—A Guide to American Trade Catalogs 1744-1900, by Lawrence B. Romaine, lists an 1887 catalog: "Newark, N. J. GOULD & EBERHARDT. Est. 1840. Ill. catalog of universal automatic gear cutters. 12 mo., 16 pp. Also listed are an 1897 "Ill. catalog of machine tools. 8vo., 40 pp." and an 1899 "Ill. catalog of high class machine tools, presses and machines. 8vo. 177pp."
  • 1891—The October 1891 Manufacturer & Builder has an article on that years Fair of the American Institute in New York. "Gould & Eberhardt, of Newark, N. J., come in for their share of notice with an exhibit of fine machine tools, general and specific machine work, and iron and brass castings."
  • 1912—The 1912-07-18 American Machinist has the following brief article.


    Of the machine-tool firms, probably the Gould & Eberhardt Co. can trace its ancestry farther back than any of the others. The following pedigree shows its growth since 1833:

    • 1833—E. Gould in Hedenburg (sic) Works, Newark, N. J.
    • 1857—E. Gould & Co.—Ezra and Stephen D. Gould (brothers).
    • 1862—Gould Machine Co.—Frank and Roscoe, two sons of Ezra.
    • 1877—E. Gould & Eberhardt. Ezra Gould and Ulrich Eberhardt.
    • 1883—Gould & Eberhard, who were incorporated in 1900.

  • 1959—A 1959 edition of American Machinist has the following snippet:
    Gould & Eberhardt Inc, Irvington, N J, has concluded a licensing agreement with Asquith Machine Tool Corp Ltd whereby it will manufacture and sell in ... U S selling will be done through Gould & Eberhardt distributors throughout the country.
  • 1959—A 1959 edition of Grits and Grinds, a publication of the Norton Co., has this snippet:
    Gould & Eberhardt shapers and gear cutting machines added to line of Norton machines . will be built in Worcester The ... and equipment with drawings, designs and other assets of Gould & Eberhardt, Incorporated of Irvington, New Jersey.
    A 1960 edition of the same publication said the following:
    Gould & Eberhardt Division In 1959 Norton Company acquired Gould & Eberhardt, a distinguished and experienced machine tool building company long known as a leader in the fields of shaping and hobbing. Great effort has been put into ...
  • 1959—A 1959 edition of American Machinist has the following snippet:
    Automatic transfer machines and "automatic workshops" are among the products sold for export. Norton buys Gould & Eberhardt . . . Norton Co, Worcester, Mass, has acquired the inventories, machinery and equipment, with drawings, designs ...
  • 1984—From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932, by David Hounshell, 1984, comes the following.
    [The sewing machine maker I. M. Singer & Co. occasionally] bought a lathe from Ezra Gould of Newark, New Jersey, reputed to make "the very best" lathes.
    Later in the book is a biography of Lebbeus B. Miller, a New Jersey mechanic who modernized Singer's production processes.
    Born in 1833, Miller had been an apprentice of Ezra Gould, the Newark, New Jersey, machine tool builder from whom the Singer company had purchased some of its small engine lathes during the 1850s. Yet Miller had had little experience with interchangeable manufacture. After service his apprenticeship, he apparently continued in Gould's employ until 1861...