Eli Whitney Blake

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Eli Whitney Blake
Eli Whitney Blake Sr.jpg
Eli Whitney Blake, Sr.

(1795-01-27)January 27, 1795
DiedAugust 18, 1886(1886-08-18) (aged 91)

Eli Whitney Blake, Sr. (January 27, 1795 – August 18, 1886) was an American inventor, best known for his mortise lock and stone-crushing machine, the latter of which earned him a place into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


Blake studied at Leicester Academy, and was graduated at Yale in 1816, after which he studied law with Judge Gould in Litchfield, Connecticut. But this he soon abandoned at the request of his uncle, Eli Whitney, who desired his assistance in erecting and organizing the gun factory at Whitneyville. Here he made important improvements in the machinery and in the processes of manufacturing arms.

On the death of Mr. Whitney in 1825, Blake associated with himself his brother Philos, and continued to manage the business. In 1836 they were joined by another brother, John A., and, under the firm name of Blake Brothers, established at Westville a factory for the production of door locks and latches of their own invention. The business was afterward extended so as to include casters, hinges, and other articles of hardware, most of which were covered by patents. In this branch of manufacture, Blake Brothers were among the pioneers, and long held the front rank.

In 1852, Blake was appointed to superintend the macadamizing of the city streets, and his attention was directed to the want of a proper machine for breaking stone. This problem he solved in 1857 by the invention of the Blake stone breaker, which, for originality, simplicity, and effectiveness, was justly regarded by experts as unique.

Blake was one of the founders, and for several years president, of the Connecticut Academy of Science. He contributed valuable papers to the American Journal of Science and other periodicals, the most important of which he published in a single volume as Original Solutions of Several Problems in Aërodynamics (1882).


He was a nephew of Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin. He was also the father of scientist Eli Whitney Blake, Jr..


  • Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Blake, Eli Whitney" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  • Biography at National Inventors Hall of Fame
  • U.S. Patent 20,542 Machine for crushing stone, June 15, 1858