Paul Revere, U.S. manufacturer, saved the day--237 years ago today
Today is April 18, 2012...
On this day in 1775, Paul Revere rode to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin and set out on horseback.
On the way to Lexington, Revere "alarmed" the country-side, stopping at each house to announce that "The British are coming."
Revere's ride was made famous in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride." But Revere is also recognized as one of the nation's first great manufacturers. A metalworker and silversmith, Revere's work became highly prized, and he produced more than 5,000 products in his shop, including buckles, buttons, rings and beads.
Revere understood the need for a nation to be industrially self-sufficient. To rectify desperate shortages of gunpowder during the Revolutionary War, Revere studied the one working gunpowder mill in the colonies, located in Philadelphia. He subsequently built a new powder mill in Canton, Massachusetts that produced tons of gunpowder for the revolutionary army.
After the war, and finding the silver trade to be more difficult, Revere became a pioneer in the production of rolled copper, opening North America's first copper mill south of Boston in Canton, in 1800.
Revere had initially launched his copper works at the behest of the U.S. government. Concerned about a possible second war with the British, the U.S. Navy loaned Revere $10,000 to launch a foundry that couuld sheathe the hulls of naval vessels with protective copper layering. The early U.S. government astutely feared a potential second conflict with the British and, in recognizing the need for both greater domestic manufacturing and national secturity, funded the start-up of Revere's company.
After the initial naval work, copper from the Revere Copper Company was used to cover the original wooden dome of the Massachusetts State House in 1802. The firm also cast the first church bell made in Boston and ultimately produced more than 900 church bells. This church bell worked helped Revere to pay off his debts to the U.S. government and expand his business.
Revere's copper and brass works eventually grew into a large national corporation, Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. That company continues today as the Revere Copper Products in Rome, New York.
Revere Copper's Chairman, Brian O'Shaughnessy, says that Revere's legacy is still exceptionally relevant today, and that his spirit of craftsmanship and innovation lives on, fused with the copper industry's most advanced technologies and highest standards of excellence. Revere Copper continues to advocate for domestic U.S. manufacturers and is outspoken in its concerns about America remaining competitive in the face of "the mercantilism of China and other countries."
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