|EARLY SETTLEMENT OF BRIDGEWATER.||57|
[Thanks to Betty White for transcribing the History section]
stand of arms were made here before the Revolution. Cannon were here cast solid and bored, at the commencement of that war, the first, perhaps, that were manufactured in this manner in the country. There were more edged tools and wrought nails formerly made here than in any other town in the State. Bar iron, anchors, cotton gins, sugar mills, shovels, edged tools, hoops, nails, tacks, and castings of every description are still made here, and some of these branches are carried on very extensively. There are here also a paper mill, cotton mills, and other manufacturing and mechanic establishments of various kinds. Chaise making has for many years been a considerable branch of business; but at present the shoe business exceeds all others; two thousand dollars a week being paid at one establishment alone to the laborers for the making only of shoes.
The Hon. Hugh Orr, himself a Scotchman, who manufactured the small arms and cannon as above stated, invited Robert Barr and Alexander Barr, brothers, from Scotland, to construct carding, spinning, and roping machines at his works in East Bridgewater. And the General Court on the 16th of November, 1786, Mr. Orr himself then being one of the Senate, by a resolve of that date allowed them two hundred pounds for their ingenuity, and afterwards granted them a further compensation of six tickets in the land lottery of that period. These machines remained in the possession of Mr. Orr for the inspection of all disposed to see them, and he was requested by the General Court to exhibit the same and give all explanation and information in his power respecting them. These were the first machines of the kind ever made in the country. Mr. Slater, with the late Mr. Moses Brown, of Providence, came to examine them on Mr. Slater's first arrival in the country, and before he had commenced any establishment of the kind. The circumstances of this visit were communicated to the writer by Mr. Brown himself, who at the same time added, that these were the first machines of the kind ever made in the United States. Thomas Somers, another Scotchman, under the direction of Mr. Orr, constructed other machines for carding, roping, and spinning cotton, and on the 8th of March, 1787, the General Court placed in Mr. Orr's hands twenty pounds to encourage the artist. Mr. Orr also about the same time employed another foreigner by the name of
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