Ferracute Machine Company
The Ferracute Machine Company was founded by inventor Oberlin Smith in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1863. Oberlin was an American engineer who was first noted for his work in magnetic recording. Oberlin Smith's ideas in magnetic recording were used by Valdemar Poulsen when he developed magnetic recording successfully.
Ferracute Machine Company initially started out as a machine shop but it eventually went on to produce metal forming presses. Early presses were manufactured to make tin cans but eventually the larger Ferracute presses were used extensively to produce automobile parts for Cadillac, Packard, Pierce, Chrysler and Ford. In 1910 Ferracute produced 39 presses for Ford's Highland Park plant. Ford Motor Company eventually purchased almost 500 Ferracute presses between 1914-1917 for the war effort. Ferracute produced presses for Baldwin Locomotive Works, General Electric as well as munitions plants in England and Canada.
Under Oberlin Smith's direction Ferracute Machine Company was progressive and he was always looking for the cutting edge applications for his presses. He traveled to Europe often to seek opportunities. With this goal in mind he produced presses to mint coins; one of his customers was the U.S. Mint. In 1898 Ferracute installed three presses in the Imperial Chinese mint. In 1909, Ferracute installed the first electric presses in La Casa de Moneda (the mint) of Potosi, Bolivia - one of the oldest and largest mints of the Americas, first established during the Spanish colonial period in 1572.
In 1937 Ferracute was sold to George E. Bass. With the advent of the Second World War Ferracute once again became a major supplier of presses in the form of machine tools to build munitions as well as airplane components. During World War II Franklin Arsenal became Ferracute's biggest customer. The government of Britain as well as the Soviet Union both turned to Ferracute for presses to help them in their war efforts.
After the war the business went into general decline. The company closed in 1968.
- Oberlin Smith Biography http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Oberlin_Smith
- Canning in Nineteenth Century Delaware http://www.deldot.gov/archaeology/collins_geddes/pdf/collins_geddes_3.pdf
- Imperial Chinese Mint 1898 http://digital.hagley.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p268001coll4&CISOPTR=6685&CISOBOX=1&REC=7
- Casa de Moneda, Potosi Bolivia http://www.casanacionaldemoneda.org.bo/
- New Jersey Historic Trust http://www.state.nj.us/dca/njht/funded/sitedetails/ferracute_machine_company.html
- Preservation New Jersey http://www.preservationnj.org/site/ExpEng/index.php?/ten_most/archive_by_name_detail/2000/Ferracute_Machine_Company
- New Jersey Pines and Down History http://www.njpinelandsanddownjersey.com/open/index.php?module=documents&JAS_DocumentManager_op=viewDocument&JAS_Document_id=64
- Ferracute Machine Company records at Hagley Museum and Library