R Hoe and Company

R Hoe Timeline                                                                                                    

Peter Smith, Mathew Smith, and Robert Hoe begin Smith, Hoe & Company in 1805. When Mathew smith dies in 1922, Robert Hoe takes over and begins R Hoe & Company. In 1833, sons Richard and Robert Hoe are in control followed by Robert Hoe III in 1886 and Robert Hoe IV in 1909. Incorporation is in 1924 and bankruptcy in 1969.

The primary business of R Hoe is the manufacture of large cylinder printing machinery with saw mills and blades becoming important later in their history. The company operates as a custom machine shop, designing and building unique machinery in addition to their core business. Much of this work is done in secrecy to protect patents so few details are available. A great deal of the work brought to R Hoe is of great difficulty as well as experimental, only possible due to the exceptional skill of their workforce. The experimental nature of the custom work provides many significant advances and a few dismal failures such as a perpetual motion machine.

Until the 1840s, machine parts were hand fit with individual shops having their own system of measure. There was no standard for diameter or number of threads for screws between manufacturers. Joseph Whitworth of England is responsible for introducing industry standards and R Hoe was one of the first American shops to use Whitworth thread cutting machinery. Items from Whitworth included a lead screw to build a screw cutting lathe using Whitworth standards. Later, lathes, planers, and drills were purchased. Around 1850, American A M Freeland began producing better quality machinery and Hoe switched to Freeland’s machines.

Some of the items produced by R Hoe include: Automatic Wood Lathe, Barrel Stave Saw and Jointer, Brick Making Machine, Bullet Presses for Parrott, Coin Press, Compressing Gun Powder for DuPont and Hazard, Cotton Gin, Engravers Transfer Press, Grinding Mills, Howitzer with 3 inch bore in 1838, Oil Well Drill, Paper Cutter, Pill Press, Planer, Portable Saw Mill, Rifle Machinery, Rifles, Saw Blades and   Large Saws, Smith Hand Press pat. 1822, Steam Engines, Street Sweeper, Veneer Shaver, Washington Hand Press pat. 1829, Wire Twister for Telegraph Wire, Working Models for large projects including bridges and steamships, and a printing-press the width of a cigarette paper for “Old Judge”

Morgan Wing, John O’Day, and Frederick Robert began the Robert Wrench Company acquiring patent number 1,407,578 for their pipe wrench. Their wrench was marked “Robert Wrench” and pat. pending. Sales were handled by the Arnold Sales Corporation which marketed the wrench with the slogan “The wrench with the bulldog grip”. The wrench was also promoted by the Frank Kiernan advertising agency. The Robert wrench was available in 8, 12, and 18 inches. When Hoe began selling the wrench with their name the patent date Feb 21, 1922 was added. Available sizes for the Hoe wrench increased to 6, 8, 10, 14, 18, and 24 inches. The 6 inch wood handle has the same information as the larger steel wrench except marking is in the jaw rather than the handle.

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