Eli Whitney Blake

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

(1795-01-27)January 27, 1795
DiedAugust 18, 1886(1886-08-18) (aged 91)
EducationLeicester Academy
Alma materYale University
OccupationInventor
Spouse(s)
Eliza Maria O'Brien
(m. 1822; her death 1876)
Children12
Parent(s)Elihu Blake
Elizabeth Fay Whitney Blake
RelativesEli Whitney (uncle)
William Phipps Blake (nephew)

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.

Early life[edit]

Blake was born on January 27, 1795 in Westborough in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Elihu Blake and Elizabeth Fay (née Whitney) Blake. His older brother, also named Elihu Blake, was the father of William Phipps Blake.[1] His sister, Maria Georgianna Blake, was married to Archibald Burgess.[2]

He was a nephew of Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin. His maternal grandparents were Eli Whitney Sr., a prosperous farmer, and his wife Elizabeth (née Fay) Whitney. His paternal grandparents were Tamar (née Thompson) Blake and Ebenezer Blake Jr., a descendant of William Blake, who emigrated from England to Dorchester between 1630 and 1635, and later helped William Pynchon settle Springfield, Massachusetts.

Blake studied at Leicester Academy, and was graduated at Yale in 1816, after which he studied law with Judge Gould at Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut.[3]

Career[edit]

Blake soon abandoned the study of law 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.[1]

On the death of his uncle 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.[1]

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.[4]

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).[5]

Personal life[edit]

On July 8, 1822, Blake was married to Eliza Maria O'Brien (1799–1876),[3] a daughter of Edward J. O'Brien and Mary (née Pierrepont) O'Brien, a great-granddaughter of the Rev. James Pierpont, one of the founders of Yale College.[6] After the death of Eliza's father, her mother remarried to prominent lawyer Eleazer Foster and had several more children, including Eleazer Kingsbury Foster. Together, Eli and Eliza were the parents of many children,[7] including five boys who graduated from Yale:[8]

His wife died on April 15, 1876 and Blake died on August 18, 1886 in New Haven, Connecticut.[12]

Descendants[edit]

Through his daughter Mary, he was the grandfather of four, including homemaker Dotha Bushnell (1861–1921) and Mary Pierpont Bushnell (1859–1936), who married Rowland Gibson Hazard (1855–1918) (a grandson of Rowland G. Hazard), the parents of Rowland Hazard III, a founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.[15]

Through his daughter Frances, he was the grandfather of chemist Thomas Burr Osborn and Arthur Sherwood Osborn.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Collection: Blake family papers". archives.yale.edu. Yale University Archives. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Litchfield Ledger - Maria Blake Burgess". www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Litchfield Ledger - Eli Whitney Blake". www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  4. ^ U.S. Patent 20,542 Machine for crushing stone, June 15, 1858.
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Blake, Eli Whitney" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Moffat, R. Burnham (1913). Pierrepont Genealogies from Norman Times to 1913. L. Middleditch Company. pp. 87–88. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Blake Family Papers | Family, of New Haven Conn. and Peace Dale, R.I." www.rihs.org. Rhode Island Historical Society. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  8. ^ University, Yale (1921). Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale College: Deceased During the Academic Year ... Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company. p. 1326. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Dotha Bushnell Papers | Homemaker, of Beloit, Wis.; New Haven, Conn.; and Peace Dale, R.I." www.rihs.org. Rhode Island Historical Society. September 1998. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Finding Aid to the Charles Thompson Blake Letters and Miscellany, 1849-1865 MS 204A". oac.cdlib.org. California Historical Society. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  11. ^ Tuttle, Roger Walker (1911). Biographies of Graduates of the Yale Law School, 1824-1899. Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company. p. 690. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  12. ^ a b Dimond, Edwin Rodolph (1891). The Genealogy of the Dimond Or Dimon Family, of Fairfield, Conn: Together with Records of the Dimon Or Dymont Family of East Hampton, Long Island, and of the Dimond Family of New Hampshire. Higginson Book Company. p. 104. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Obituary: Thomas Burr Osborne" (PDF).
  14. ^ Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale College | Deceased from July 1859, to July 1870. New Have, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor. 1870. p. 108. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  15. ^ Robinson, Caroline; Daniel Berkely Updike (1896). The Hazard family of Rhode Island 1635-1894 : Being a genealogy and history of the descendants of Thomas Hazard, with sketches of the worthies of this family, and anecdotes illustrative of their traits and also of the times in which they lived. Boston: Merrymount Press. pp. 121, 200.

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