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Charles Hill Morgan

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Charles Hill Morgan (1831-1911)

1880 Mechanical Engineer of Worcester, Mass, USA, stood for admission to the Iron and Steel Institute.[1]


1911 Obituary [2]

CHARLES HILL MORGAN was born at Rochester, N.Y., on 8th January 1831. His parents were of New England stock, the line of his father going back to Miles Morgan, one of the founders of Springfield, Mass., who went from Bristol to America in 1636.

His father having been a mechanic of limited means, the son Charles was obliged to work in a factory at the age of twelve, and his early education was that afforded by the Massachusetts district school of seventy years ago, and short terms in the Lancaster Academy.

At the age of fifteen he entered the machine shop of his uncle, as an apprentice. At seventeen he determined to learn mechanical drawing, and through his efforts a class for the study of this subject was formed. Those few lessons in drawing, taken at night, after twelve hours' work in the shop, were the most important factor in establishing his mechanical career.

In 1852 he was put in charge of the Clinton Mills dye-house, and he devoted himself to the study of chemistry. For a time he was draughtsman in the works of the Lawrence Machine Co.

Later, from 1855 to 1860, he was mechanical draughtsman for the distinguished inventor and manufacturer, Erastus B. Bigelow.

Forming a partnership in 1860 with his brother, Francis H. Morgan, he was for several years engaged in the manufacture of paper bags in Philadelphia, and during part of this time a paper mill was operated by the firm near Coatesville, Pa.

In 1864 he was appointed superintendent of manufacturing for the firm of I. Washburn and Moen, wire-manufacturers, of Worcester, Mass. Four years later, when the concern was converted into a company, he became general superintendent.

He made many trips to Europe for the purpose of visiting the various wire-mills and of keeping himself informed of the changes and improvements adopted. He was for eleven years one of the directors of the company.

Mr. Morgan has been most prominently identified with the development of the continuous rolling mill. The first continuous mill was designed and originally constructed by Mr. George Bedson, in Manchester, England. One of these was purchased by his firm and erected in Worcester, Mass., in 1869, and constituted a great advance over the rolling previously practised.

It soon became evident that the means of handling the product of the mill were inadequate, and the first important step in the development was the power-reel designed by Mr. Morgan. He then added a continuous train of horizontal rolls, which was followed in 1886 by the invention of automatic reels, both of the pouring and laying types.

In 1887 declining health led him to resign his position as general superintendent of the Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Co.

Some years before, in 1881, he had founded the Morgan Spring Co., and in 1891 he founded the Morgan Construction Co., of Worcester, Mass., manufacturers of rolling mill and wire-drawing machinery.

In 1893 he served on the Board of Judges of the World's Exposition in Chicago, and in 1900 the U.S. Navy Department nominated him one of a committee of three distinguished engineers to report upon the merits of special gun-lathes.

In December 1899 he was elected President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and in that capacity took part in the Joint Meeting with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. On this visit he was received in audience by three Sovereigns — Queen Victoria, King Oscar of Sweden, and King Leopold II. of Belgium. He was always an admirer of Henry Cort, the inventor of the art of puddling iron with coal and of rolling metals in grooved rolls, and in 1905 he had two bronze tablets erected in memory of Cort, one of which he presented to Lancaster, Cort's birthplace, and the other to the church at Hampstead where he was buried.

Mr. Morgan's death took place at Worcester, Mass., on 10th January 1911, at the age of eighty.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1900; he was also a Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the Iron and Steel Institute, and an Honorary Member of the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils de France.


1911 Obituary [3]

CHARLES HILL MORGAN, president of the Morgan Spring Co. and the Morgan Construction Co., of Worcester, Mass., died at his home at 28 Catharine Street, of that city, on January 10, 1911.

He was born on January 8, 1831, and at the age of fifteen entered the machine shop of his uncle, Mr. J. B. Parker, of Clinton, Mass., as an apprentice. During this time he studied mechanical drawing. When twenty-one he was put in charge of the Clinton mills dye-house, and devoted himself with great zeal to the study of chemistry and textile engineering. He was prominently identified with the development of the continuous rolling-mill and with spring making.

In 1881 he founded the Morgan Spring Co. for the manufacture of springs, and was a pioneer in this line of business. In 1891 the Morgan Construction Co., which devoted itself to the making of rolling-mills and wire-drawing machinery, was founded.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1880.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1880/08/13
  2. 1911 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  3. 1911 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries