A sketch of the lives of the celebrated men whose portraits, engraved in Sartain's best style, after the original painting by Schussele, are offered this year among our subscription prizes, will ]:>e read with interest by all our readers. Their inventions, and the wonderful energy with which they prosecuted their labors against discouragements and trials of no ordinary character, stamp them as men of superior genius; and we defy the world to produce the ssme number of men whose countenances give more unmistakable marks of intellectual strength than these. - The artist has chosen to represent the group as surrounding a table on which rests a Morse telegraph instrument, which is a subject of animated discussion among those immediately suITounding the stand, to which those standing a short distance away are listening with absorbed attention. At the extreme left stands Mr. JAMES BOGARDUS. This prolific inventor was born in Catskill, New York, March 14, 1800. He was a descendant of Dominee Bogardus, one of the early settlers, and engaged in farming. At the age of fourteen, James was apprenticed to a watchmaker, 'and subsequently became a skillful workman. By close application he became a good die sinker and engraver. Desiring to see something of the world, in 1820 he went to Savannah, Ga., and there worked at engraving. He afterward returned to New York, engaged in watchmaking, and invented a three-wheeled chronometer clock, for which he received the highest' premium at the first Fair held by the American Institute. One of these clocks has been in good running order for more than thirty years without needing cleaning. In 1838 he invented the ring flyer for cotton spinning, now in general use. In 1829 he invented the eccentric mills, which differ from all other mills ; the grinding-stones or plates running the same way with nearly equal speed, but eccentric to each other. In 1833 he invented and patented a dry gas meter ; this received the gold medal from the American Institute. He also invented a machine for transferring bank note plates for Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, and Co. , which invention is in universal use for that purpose, In 1836 he invented an improved dry gas meter, overcoming difficulties which had appeared in the meter patented in 1832, and this meter has been extensively used. In September, 1836, he visited. England, and, in competition with English and French engravers, made a machine that excelled all others in engraving the head of Ariadne in relief, and which would also from the same medal twist the face in a variety of comic shapes. This same machine engraved a portrait of the Queen, Sir Robert Peel, and others. While in England he contracted with a company in London to build a machine for transferring bank note plates and other work, and also a machine for engine-turning, which machine was to copy engine-engraving. A reward being offered in England for the best plan of carrying out the penny post system, Mr. Bogardus' plan was adopted over 2,600 applicants, and is now universally used. Returning to New York in 1840, he invented machines for pressing glass tumblers, etc., now in common use, and also a machine for cutting india-rubber into fine threads. He also made im provements in drilling machines, and important improvements in the eccentric mills, adapting them to almost every purpose. In 1847 he put into execution his long cheri shed ideas of iron buildings ; constructing a large factory in New York city entirely of iron, five stories high, ninety feet long, and the first cast-iron building in the world. Since then iron buildings have been erected in nearly all the principal cities of the United States and elsewhere. This invention formed a new branch of business for mechanbs, benefited nearly every foundery in the country, and gave an immense impetus to the manufacture of iron. The likeness of Mr. Bogardus given in our prize engraving admirably portrays the peculiar reflective cast ofcountenance characteristic of great inventors. In the middle background, listening to the discourse of Professor Morse, but as though he was familiar with its details, not looking directly at the apparatus, stands JOSEPH SAXTON, who was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, in the year 1799. His early educational advantages were slight. At thirteen years of age he was apprenticed to a watch and clock maker, John McKennon, who died in about a year after. Mr. Saxton continued the business till 1818 ; when he went to Philadelphia and worked at his business for a short time. He next worked for M. W. Baldwin and Co., at machine.ry. In 1823 he worked again at watchmaking, and invented the machine for givmg the epicycloidal fni to the teeth of wheels. In 1825 he made an astronomical clock for Mr. J. Gamery, of Burlingten ; in which was an improved escapement and tubular compensation pendulum rod. For adjusting the compensation rod he invented the reflecting pyrometer and com-parater. This was applied to the State House clock in Pl'ila-delphia. In 1829 he went to London, remaining there until 1837, and inventing the magneto-electric machine, and was there associated with Wheatstone in experiments for measuring the velocity of electricity. On his return to Philadelphia he was employed at the United States Mint, where he improved the medal ruling machine, and with it engraved the plates for a book on coins published by the assayers. He afterward went to Washington, and took charge of the making of standards for adjusting the weights, measures, balances, etc., used in the United States Custom Houses. He also invented a self-registry tide-gage, a deep sea thermometer, a break circuit, and clock register used in astronomical observations, a dividing machine for dividing the scale on standard yards, and an hydraulic printing press with flexible platen. He also made other useful inventions, in connection with the Coast Survey Office at Washington. Bending over the table, and pointing to a portion of the instrument stands the form of PETER COOPER, whose fine, benevolent countenance reflects his character. He was born in the city of New York, Feb. 12, 1791. His father was a lieutenant in the war of the Revolution, after the the close of which he established a hat manufactory, in which 'his youthful son Peter aided to the extent of his strength. During his youth, his father's undertakings being attended with little success, Peter had to work very hard. Ho attended school only half of each day for more than a year. and beyond the humble knowledge thus gained, his acquisitions are all his own. At the age of seventeen he was placed with John Woodward, to learn coachmaking, and served out his apprenticeship so much to tlie satisfaction of his master, that he offered to set him up in business, which Mr. Cooper declined. He successfully followed his trade ; and subsequently the manufacture of patent machines for shearing cloth, which were in great demand during the war of 1812 ; the manufacture of cabinet ware, the grocery business in the city of New York, and finally engaged in the manufacture of glue and isinglass, which he has carried on for more than thirty years. Mr. Cooper's attention was early called to the great resources of this country for the manufacture of iron, and in 1830 he erected extensive works at Canton, near Baltimore. He erected subsequently a rolling and wire mill in the city of New York, in which he first successfully applied anthracite to the puddling of iron. In 1845, he removed the machinery to Trenton, N. J., and erected the largest rolling mill then in the United States. for the purpose of manufacturing railroad iron, and at which, subsequently, he was the first to roll wrought iron beams for fire-proof buildings. While in Baltimore, Mr. Cooper built after his own designs the first locomotive engine that was turned out on this continent, and it was operated successfully on the Baltimore and Ohio RailrOl:td, thus identifying his name with the early history of railroads. Ilving taken great interest also in the extension of the electric telegraph, he was chosen President of the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company. Mr. Cooper was one of the earliest and most persistent advocates of the present free school system, but finding that no common school system could supply a technological education, he determined to establish in his native city an institution in which the working classes could secure thq,t instruction for which he, when young and ambitious, sought in vain. Accordingly, the "Union for the Advancement of Science and Art," commonly called the Cooper Institute, was erected in New York city; which building covers an tJltire block, and cost over $500,000. This celebrated institution and its objects are familiar to our readers. As an inventor, Mr. Cooper is not generally known to the American public. Nevertheless,he possesses inventive talent of a high order. A recent summary of his inventions, published in the New York Herald, states that among his very ear.iest inventions was a self-rocking cradle. After he was married, and a cradle became one of the necessities of his household appointments, they were too poor to keep a servant, and the result was that he was called upon to rock the cradle with inconvenient frequency. He therefore invented a self-rocking cradle, and not only that but a fan attachment to fan the infant and keel) off the flies, and last, and not least, important of all, a diminutive calliopean' arrangement to soothe with its sweet harmonies the infant to repose. 'He took out a patent for this and sold it to a Yankee. One of his inventions was to demonstrate the loss of power by use of a crank in rotary motion. Ten years ago, through the medium of an endless chain three miles in length, and on the same principle now in extended use in England and France, he conveyed iron ore to one of his furnaces over rough and impassable gorges. When a boy at home he ripped up an old shoe and, discovering how it was made, soon made lasts and shoes for the family. He made a machine for grinding plate glass of any size to a perfect plane. During his apprenticeship he made a machine for making hubs of carriages similar to those now in use. Another of his inventions is a cylindrical machine for puddling iron and for reducing ore and pig metal to wrought iron, an invention somebody else has just brought out in England, and is making a fortune from. Twenty-two years ago he filed a caveat and specifications for this invention. There is, in fact, scarcely any end to his inventions. He also—as long ago as when an apprentice—invented a process of utilizing condensed air as a propelling power. At one of these experiments at Fulton ferry—that is, where Fulton ferry is now— the graat Fulton who made the first steamboat was present, and expressed himself highly pleased with the result. Wfty-seven years ago he made a model of a mowing machine, embracing the principle of mowing machines now in use. It was largely owing to his perseverance, and readiness to risk his fortune that oceanic telegraphy was successfully introduced. His is, as it deserves to be, one of the most prominent figures in this group of neble men. JORDAN L. MOTT was born in New York in 1798. His ancestors came to America in 1636, and filled very important positions in the government of the colony. Mr. Mott in his youth was in too delicate health to permit of close apPIication to business, and as, fortunately, his means were too ample to necessitate his selecting any avocation, he was brought up without any profession. The revulsion of 1818, however, left him dependent on his own energies, and stimulated the exercise of his talents. Already, at the age of fifteen, he had invented a machine for weaving tape, and now a new field for his ingenuity was open to him. The anthracite coal in Pennsylvania was, about this time, exciting much interest. It was partially introduced for domestic use, but only the larger lumps were considered available in grates, the smaller coal being cast aside as refuse. Mr. Mott determined to apply his mind to invent a means of rendering this seemingly worthless fuel serviceable to the poor, and succeeded in producing a more perfect combustion than had ever before been attained. The iron founders not casting his stoves to suit him, with the assistance of a friend he started in business and manfatured them for himself. These difficulties surmounted, he had still another to overcome, the prejudice in favor of the long-cherished firewood, and opposition to the new fuel, which at first, but only for a short time, interfered with his success. A very large quantity of refuse coal had accumulated on the banks of the Schuylkill, at Philadelphia. This was bought by Mr. Mott, and the purchase first established the fixed value of small coal. Mr. Mott has had many testimonies to the merit of his inventions. A Patent Office report s'Lys : "Mott's stoves for burning refuse coal produced a distinct era in fuel saving." Gen. Harvey, in 1847, testified that " Mott's admirable arrangement for burning small coal caused its speedy introduction for domestic, mechanical, and manufacturing purposes." Mr. Mott took out more than forty patents connected with apparatus for burning coal, and the adaptation of iron to many usei'ul purposes. His portable caldron furnace has become indispensable to the farmer, while extensively used by the manufacturer. The public are indebted to Mr. Mott for the change ffrom blast furnaces to the cupola, in making stoves and other light castings. His factory and shop were destroyed by fire in 1846 ; only the engine house and cupola stack being saved, but, nothing daunted, in six days he was melting iron again in a new building erected around the stack. He was the pioneer in starting the villages of Morrlsiana and Mott Haven ; the J. L. Mott Iron Works, an incorporated company, being located at the latter place. Mr. Mott died at his residence in thiscity about two years ago. The portrait of the American physicist, PROFESSOR JOSEPH HENRY, occupies the middle background. He was bom in Albany, N.-Y., Dec. 17, 1797. He received a common school education, and for some years pursued the occupation of watchmaker in his native city. In 1826 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics in the Albany Academy. A strong taste for scientific pursuits led him in 1827 to begin a series of experiments in electricity. In 1828 he published an account of various modifications of electro-magnetic apparatus. Previous to his investigations the means of developing magnetism in soft iron were imperfectly understood ; he was the first to prove, by actual experiment, that in orderto develop magnetic power at a d.ance, a galvanic battery ofintensity must be employed to project the current through the long conductor, and that a magnet surrounded by many turns of one long . wire must be used to receive this current. He was also the first to actually magnetize a piece of iron at a distance, and he invented the first machine moved by the agency of electro-magnetism. In March, 1829, he exhibited to' the Albany Institute electromagnets which possessed magnetic power superior to that of any before known, and subsequently he constructed others on the same plan, one of which, now in the cabinet of the college at Princeton, N. J., will sustain 3,600- pounds, with a battery occupying about a cubic foot of space. In 1831f in some experiments at the Albany Academy, he transmitted signals by means of the electro-magnet through a wire more than'a mile in length, causing a bell to sound at the further end of the wire. In 1832 he was called to the chair of Natural Philosopy, in the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, where he continued his experiments and researches. In his first lecture in that institution in 1833, he mentioned the pro-j'ect of the electro-magnetic telegraph, and explained how the electro-magnet might be used to produce mechanical effects at a distance adequate to making signaJ.s of various kinds. He did not, however, attempt to reduce these principles to practice. In February, 1837, he went to Europe, and in April of that year, he visited Prof. Wheatstone, of King's College, London, to whom he explained his discoveries and his method of producing great mechanical effects at a distance, such as the ringing of church bells 100 lJIiles off by means of the electro-magnet. In 1846, on the organization of the Smithsonian Institution, at Washington, Prof. Henry was appointed its Secretary, a post which he still holds, and which gives him the principal direction of the institution. Prof. Henry has published " Contributions to Electricity and Magnetism," and is the author of many scientific papers in the " American Philosophical Transactions," in Silliman's Journal, and in the Journal of the Franklin Institute. He is an assiduous student, and rallJ,s among the fir st of American ecieutists, . In the right of the picture sits ISAIAH JENNINGS, who was born in Frankford, Connecticut, 1782, and who began work at an early age as a blacksmith, in making by hand, thimbles for sailors, used in sails and rigging, which led him 'to invent a machine for making thimbles and eyelet holes, the perfection of which cost him much time and labor. He went to Liverpool in 1808 and started the business ; but war breaking out, his plans were frustrated, and he returned to the United States. Having made some money in England, he commenced business in Southport, Connecticut, taking a partner, but the partner took his money and broke him up. He next invented his cigar boat, consisting of two hollow airtight tubes, with a space of six feet between, the work framed on sleepers and worked by hand. It ran in opposition to the Brooklyn horse ferry, crossing in less than half the time. In 1810, he invented a thrashing machine, the first that did not destroy the straw, and the first one put in operation in Duchess County, New York. In 1812 he invented a steam boiler to stand the pressure of 500 pounds, which was ap-proved by Oliver Evans. During the war hit worked at Leggert's foundery on cannon. He subsequently invented a new pump and sent it to Washington. A Mr. Perkins, of London, copied it and took out a patent. Mr. JeDnings was too poor to prosecute him and the Gove'rnment refused to pro-tact him. In 1822; he made a repeating gun with twelve Charges, one barrel, sliding stock. In 1823, he invented n steam engine on the same principle as locomotive boilers now in use. He built this engine before Stevenson started his manufactory ; and it has been claimed both Stevenson and Perkins took their ideas from Mr. Jennings' invention. In 1323 and 1824, he invented instantaneous matcj.es, called afterwards " Loco Foco." He sold out three fourths of his right to Mr. Beman, of New York, and the receipt to Mr. Jpnes. of London, for $1,000, realizing in all some $11,000. He next obtained a patent for fluid for lamps. The, Mechanics' Institute, in 1837, awarded Mr. Jennings a medal for the best carbureted alcohol and burner for producing light, and in 1848, Mr. J. received two medals for portable liquid gas lamps. He died in 1862. At Mr. Jennings' left hand sits THOMAS BLANCHARD, who was born in Sutton, Worcester county, Mass.. , June 24, 1788. From a strong bias for mechanical employments, he joined his brother, who was engaged in the manufacture of tacks by hand, a very slew and tedious process, and at the age of eighteen commenced his invention of a tack machine. It was six years before he could bring it to the desired perfection. Finally, so effective was the machine, that by placing in the hopper the iron to be worked, and applying motive power, 500 tacks were made per minute, with better finished heads and points than had ever been made by hand. For this machine, Blanchard secured the patent, and sold the right to a company for $5,000. About this time various attempts were made in several of the United States armories to cum musket barrels with a uniform external finish. Mr. Blanchard undertook the construction of a lathe to turn the whole of the barrel from end to end by th. combination of one single self-directing operation. He succeeded perfectly in his invention, and this remarkable machine with modifications and improvements, is in use in the national armories as well as in England ; and in various forms is applied to many operations in making musket stocks, such as cutting in the cavity for the lock, barrel, ramrod, butt plates, and mountings, comprising, together with the turning of the stk and barrel, no less than thirteen different machines. Mr. Blanchard was also interested at an early day in the construction of railroads and locomotives, and in boats so contrived as to ascend the rapids of the Connecticut, and rivers in the Western States. He has took no less than twenty-four patents for different inventions. He died at Boston, April 17,1864.
This article was originally published with the title "Men of Progress: —Celebrated American Inventors" in Scientific American 21, 25, 394-395 (December 1869)