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Manufacturers Index - Lucius W. Pond

Lucius W. Pond
Worcester, MA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Oct 27 2019 5:10PM by Jeff_Joslin
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In 1847 Lucius W. Pond was a junior partner in the newly minted machine-tool manufacturer Samuel Flagg & Co. Sometime betweeen 1855 and '59 Pond bought out the other partners and operated the business as Lucius W. Pond.

From 1866 Gazetteer of the Manufactures and Manufacturing Towns of the United States

By 1867 Pond was making iron planers, engine lathes, and punching and shearing machines. Lucius' son David W. Pond trained under his father as a machinist, and when he completed his apprenticeship in 1871, he struck out on his own, making a product lineup similar to his father's. In 1873, when father in son were each running their own business, Lucius W. Pond was making engine lathes, planers, boring mills, drilling machines, gear and bolt cutting machines, indexing machines, and hand punches and shears; David W. Pond was making hand and engine lathes, drilling machines, index milling machines, hand punches and shears, and four-jaw chucks.

Lucius made a specialty of large machines and became well known and respected for the high quality of his machines. In 1875, during a period of economic depression, Lucius disappeared, and initial evidence suggested that he had committed suicide by drowning. At that point it was discovered that he had been forging promissory notes that were used as loan collateral. Banks, business associates, members of his church, and even elderly ladies were among the victims of his fraud. He was then reported to be living and working in Hamilton, Ontario, and was pursued and then captured in San Francisco as he was about to board a ship leaving for Australia. He was brought back to Worcester, where he was tried and convicted for forgery, and sentenced to 15 years of prison. In 1882 the governor pardoned him, and Lucius returned to Worcester, and with the help of friends—some of whom he had previously defrauded—he was re-established in business, at the helm of the L. W. Pond Machine Co. He died in 1889 of natural causes.

Meanwhile, in 1875 David W. Pond took over his father's failed business, merging it with his own, the merged business continuing to operated under the David W. Pond name. See the entry for Pond Machine Tool Co. for the rest of the history of that firm.

Information Sources

  • The Massachusetts corporate registry database lists L. W. Pond Machine Co.'s first registration as 1886-07-12.
  • 1855 Worcester Directory lists "Pond Lucius W. (S. Flagg & Co.) h 19 Carroll".
  • 1860 Worcester Directory lists "Pond Lucius W. manuf'r machinists' tools, Union, h 13 Laurel".
  • 1865 Worcester Directory lists "Pond Lucius W. manufacturer machinists' tools, Exchange, h 13 Laurel".
  • 1867 Worcester Directory lists "Pond Lucius W. manuf'r machinists tools, Exchange, h. 13 Laurel".
  • 1873 Worcester Directory lists "Pond David W. manuf'r machinists' tools, 112 Exchange, bds. Laurel, c. Edward.", and "Pond Lucius W. manuf'r machinists' tools, 161 Union, cor Exchange, h. Laurel, cor. Edward."
  • 1889 book, History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, by D. Hamilton Hurd.

    Machinists' Tools.—The manufacture of machinists' tools has, for many years, had a most prominent place among the industries of Worcester. To Samuel Flagg, or as he was more familiarly known, "Uncle Sammy Flagg," belongs the distinction of having first engaged in this business in Worcester, whether he came, from West Boylston, in 1839, to secure better facilities and to save cartage of castings which he used in his machine-shop in West Boylston, where he built tools and cotton machinery from patterns made by William A. Wheeler. He made a turning-lathe, which was the first one Mr. Wheeler had when he started his machine-shop. The ways and frame of his machine were of wood, the had and tail-box of iron.

    Mr. Flagg hired room and power of Samuel Davis, the lessee of Court Mills, and there made hand and engine lathes. He had no planer when he commenced, and at this time the planing of iron was looked upon as a remarkable accomplishment. The work was done by hand-chipping and filing, which was of necessity tedious and unsatisfactory.

    The old Court Mills, located on Mill Brook, at the junction of Lincoln Square and what is now Union Street, was the cradle of the machinists' tools industry in Worcester, as it was of many others.

    Mr. Flagg started with eight or ten men, and every one thought that he was visionary to expect to keep them occupied in building machinists' tools. He was the first man in Worcester to use a planer in this business. He commenced in Court Mills. Ruggles, Nourse & Mason, and Thomas Daniels, the inventor of the Daniels planer, were also tenants. Deacon Richard Ball was at this time Mr. Daniels' foreman.

    In 1845 Thomson, Skinner & Co. succeeded to Mr. Flagg's business. They moved to Merrifield's building, and, shortly before the fire of 1854, were absorbed by the New Haven Manufacturing Company, and removed from the city. Mr. Flagg continued without a competitor until Pierson Cowie started in the old Red Mill, the present location of the Crompton Loom Works. From there he removed to the then new building of Howe & Goddard, now Rice, Barton & Fales, in Foster Street, and thence into the building where W. T. Merrifield's engine is now located...

    The firm of Samuel Flagg & Co. was organized in 1847. Mr. Flagg associated with him Henry Holland and two of his former apprentices,—L. W. Pond and Ephraim H. Bellows. They started in the second floor of Heywood's building, in a room twenty feet by forty. They remained there but a short time, until Allen & Thurber's building was ready for tenants, when they moved into the north end; they remained there until 1849, when Mr. William T. Merrifield put up his first brick building; they then moved into the same location now occupied by the Wheelock Steam-Engine Company. Shortly before the fire they took the whole basement, and were burned out in 1854, when they went into the lower floor of the Goddard & Rice factory in Union Street, where they remained until the Merrifield buildings were rebuilt, to which they returned, remaining until 1861.

    Prior to this time Mr. Pond had bought out the others in interest. Meantime J. B. Lawrence, in 1854, built the east end of the building lately occupied by the Pond Machine Tool Company. In 1861 L. W. Pond purchased this, and built the west end, and continued there until 1875, when the business was continued by the Pond Machine Tool Company, which in 1888 removed to Plainfield, N. J. While in Worcester, they maintained a high reputation for the quality of their work, excelling particularly in the production of large tools...

    In 1856 Samuel Flagg organized a Machinist Tool Company, composed of Samuel Flagg, Pierson Cowie, Dexter Flagg, Lemuel G. Mason and George H. Blanchard. They only continued in business a short time, but made at their shop, in Merrifield's building, the large lathe, with one exception, up to that time made in the county. It weighed about thirty-five tons; the length of the ways was thirty-five feet and width eight feet. They also engaged in the manufacture of machines for mortising iron, weighing six tons each, some of which were made for the government.

  • 1889-05-22 New York Times.

    WORCESTER, Mass., May 21.--Lucius W. Pond, who died in this city to-day, had an eventful life. He was born in Hubbardston April 20, 1826, and came to this city twenty years later. He learned the iron trade, and was one of the pioneers in the business of manufacturing machinists’ tools. He was one of the founders of the Laurel-Street Methodist Church, and for years was the chief support of that society. He dabbled in politics, and represented his ward in both branches of the City Council. He was also a member of the Legislature, and in 1866, 1867, and 1868 represented this city in the State Senate. He was a Director in the Central National Bank.

    In 1875 his prosperous business began to experience the ill effects of the prevailing depression, and his credit became somewhat impaired. All at once, in October of that year, he was missing. He had taken a Sound Steamer for New York and his effects were found in his stateroom. It was supposed he had committed suicide. Then it was discovered that he was a forger. He had taken old business notes that had been paid and washed out the writing with a chemical preparation, filling in new amounts and dates. These forged notes were negotiated to large amounts.

    Among his victims were business, church, and personal friends, and several poor women who relied upon his judgment in the matter of investments. When these notes were found the suicide theory was abandoned and active steps were taken to trace the missing man. He was heard of in Hamilton, Ontario, working at his trade, and was finally captured in San Francisco, just as he was stepping on a steamship bound for Australia. He was brought back to Worcester, tried and found guilty on three indictments for forgery and sentenced to State Prison for fifteen years.

    His old friends did not desert him, and through their efforts he was pardoned by Gov. Long in December 1882. He returned to Worcester and was soon after established in business by moneyed men who retained confidence in him.

    At the time of his death Mr. Pond was Superintendent of the L. W. Pond Machine Tool Company. He returned to his old place in the church and was made one of the Trustees and a teacher in the Sunday school. He led a quiet, industrious, and religious life after his return to this city. His death resulted from intestinal troubles. He leaves a widow and two children, a married daughter and a son who is at the head of the D. W. Pond Machine Tool Company of Plainfield, NJ.

  • 1890 The Railroad, Telegraph and Steamship Builders' Directory lists L. W. Pond Machine Co., Worcester, Mass., as makers of iron planers. Pond Machine Tool Co. of New York, Plainfield, NJ, and Worcester, is listed as makers of planers, iron planers, metal-working machinery, special tools, metal working tools, car machine shop equipment, and tools.
  • 1897-08-12 The Iron Age, in the Obituary column.
    DAVID W. POND.—David W. Pond, founder and former president of the Pond Machine Tool o of Plainfield, N.J., died by his own hand at his residence in that town on August 4. He was born in Worcester, Mass., in 1848, and was the son of Lucius W. Pond, a manufacturer of machinists' tools, who carried on a successful business in Worcester. David W. Pond served a regular apprenticeship at the trade under his father, at the expiration of which, in 1871, he began business for himself in the same line at Worcester. On the failure of Lucius W. Pond, in 1875, David merged his business in that of his father and extended it so successfully that in a few years his shops were doing more work than those of all the other tool manufacturers in Worcester. The business was continued by Mr. Pond alone until January, 1883, when he sold it out to the Pond Machine Tool Company of Worcester, a Massachusetts corporation, incorporated February 1, 1883, which continued the business. The capital stock of the company was made $100,000, and David W. Pond was elected president and Albert C. Stebbins, now identified with the business in Plainfield, treasurer. The property turned over to the new company consisted of the whole business of David W. Pond, valued at $170,000. In 1887 the valuation of the business had doubled, and the concern, finding they were outgrowing their quarters at Worcester, decided to remove the business to Plainfield, N. J., where a new company under the old name was organized under the laws of New Jersey, with a capital stock of $400,000. The company purchased land and erected extensive shops at Plainfield, where the character of their manufacture was changed in order to enable them to produce heavy railroad machinery and gun making and other tools for the Government. Mr. Pond sold out his interest in the company about three years ago, and retired from the business. Since that time he had been connected with a firm of stock brokers in New York City.
  • 1905-11-09 The Iron Age.

    The L. W. Pond Machine & Foundry Company, Worcester, Mass., has abandoned the manufacture of metal planers, which the company and its predecessors have built for many years. The company plans to take up an entirely new line of business, concerning which no announcement is yet ready. An extensive machine shop business will be continued in connection with the foundry and the company will be prepared to furnish all repairs that may be required from time to time by the present users of the Pond planers. The foundry end of the business has grown to large proportions in the past few years, during which period several additions have been necessary, and at the present time a foundry extension is being built, which will very materially increase the capacity. These recent extensions are of the latest foundry design and equipped according to the most advanced ideas of modern foundry practice.

    The Pond planer business is an old one. It was established in Worcester years ago, the shop being located on Union street, L. W. Pond and his son, David W. Pond, conducting the business together. The two finally separated, David W. Pond went to Plainfield, N. J., where he built large shops, the business later consolidating in the Niles-Bement-Pond Company. Afterward the L. W. Pond branch of the business was reorganized, H. C. Fish, prominent for years in the machine tool business of Worcester, and Caleb Colvin, a prominent iron founder, with several other gentlemen, taking it and making L. W. Pond the manager. When Mr. Pond died Messrs. Colvin and Fish acquired full ownership, and later Mr. Colvin bought Mr. Fish's interest, and moved the business to the present location adjacent to the Colvin foundry. In 1902 the machine and foundry business were consolidated as the L. W. Pond Machine & Foundry Company, and M. T. O'Leary was made the manager, which office he will continue to hold.

  • 1905-11-30 The Iron Age.

    The Chandler Planer Company, Ayer, Mass., manufacturer of metal planers... has purchased the big planer, which has been in the shop of the L. W. Pond Machine & Foundry Company, Worcester, for a number of years. The machine is 88 inches wide, 72 inches high and has a 33-foot table. The weight is 50 tons...

    The L. W. Pond Machine & Foundry Company, Worcester, Mass., which has abandoned the manufacture of metal planers, as previously stated, is to devote its machine shop to the automobile business. The building will become a garage and repair shop, and the agency has been taken for several standard lines of motor cars. It is not improbable that the business will later on develop into the manufacture of automobiles, though there is no intention of going into this at present. The foundry will be continued in the larger quarters which will come with the completion of the large foundry addition. The company has been reorganized, following the retirement of Caleb Calvin, who has been associated in the management for a number of years. M. T. O'Leary, for some years the manager, has been elected president and treasurer, and T. P. MacDonough, secretary. Two new directors have been chosen—William F. McCarthy of Boston and George L. Wilson of New York. James W. Murphy, recently with the Prentiss Tool & Supply Company, will be associated in the sales end of the business.

  • Industrial Worcester by Charles G. Washburn 1917, Davis Press.
    The firm of Samuel Flagg & Co. was organized in 1847. Mr. Flagg associated with him Henry Holland and two of his former apprentices, L. W. Pond, and Ephraim H. Bellows. They started in the second floor of Heywood's building, in a room twenty feet by forty. They remained there for a short time, until Allen & Thurber's building was ready for tenants, when they moved into the north end; they remained there until 1849, when William T. Merrifield put up his first brick building; they then moved into the same location occupied by the Wheelock Steam Engine Company in 1889. Shortly before the fire they took the whole basement, and were burned out in 1854, when they went into the lower floor of the Goddard & Rice factory in Union Street, where they remained until the Merrifield buildings were rebuilt, to which they returned, remaining until 1861. Prior to this time Mr. Pond had bought out the others in interest. Meantime J. B. Lawrence, in 1854, built the east end of the building later occupied by the Pond Machine Tool Company. In 1861 Lucius W. Pond purchased this, and built the west end, and continued there until 1875, when the business was continued by the Pond Machine Tool Company, which in 1888 removed to Plainfield, N. J. While in Worcester, they maintained a high reputation for the quality of their work, excelling particularly in the production of large tools. The Pond Company is now incorporated in the Niles-Bement-Pond Co.
  • American Lathe Builders: 1810-1910 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2001 page 122