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page 90 -- President Garfield and Cabinet, Weed Sewing Machine Company

updated 7 December 2015
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l-r: James Blaine, Thomas L. James, Samuel J. Kirkwood, William H. Hunt (shaking hands),
Pres. James A. Garfield, I. Wayne McVeagh,  Robert Todd Lincoln
seated: William Windom
"Presented by the Weed Sewing Machine Company of Hartford CT, manufacturers of the 'Hartford' and 'Favorite' sewing machines."

Weed directly benefited from a system of manufacture pioneered by John Hancock Hall, as related by YouTube:
"The Man Who Changed the World - You Never Heard Of..."
(part 3 of a series: see also part 1 and part 2)
Musicians: Nick Blanton - hammered dulcimer
Ralph Gordon - cello, bass
Shana Aisenberg - guitar (

Researched, written, and produced by Jim Surkamp
with Eric Johnson

From Hog River Journal, Summer 2004:

"The first new industry to emerge on Rifle Avenue after the Civil War was Weed Sewing Machine Company. It obtained the patent rights of the late Theodore. E. Weed of Fairfield, Connecticut, inventor of a sewing machine prized for its simple construction and ease of operation, making it competitive with the designs of Elias Howe (1846), Allen B. Wilson, and Isaac Singer. The Weed Sewing Machine Company took over empty space in the now-struggling Sharps Rifle factory before taking over the entire factory when Sharps failed in 1870. Its most popular model was designed by George A. Fairfield, the superintendent of the company.

"The invention of the sewing machine was the third stage in the evolution of mass production after the principles of interchangeability were applied to clocks and guns. The Weed Company played a major role in making Hartford one of three machine tool centers in New England and even outranked the Colt Armory in size if not fame. Weed eventually was the birthplace of both the bicycle and automobile industries." [emphasis added]
It could be argued that the adoption of the principles introduced by John H. Hall was the reason the Weed Sewing Machine Company made the transition to bicycles, then cars (Google Books):

Additional information on theWeed Sewing Machine Company is found on page 45 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection - 1885.

Nathan Rosenberg's concept of technical convergence is very helpful in understanding the evolution ongoing among the companies featured in the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection - 1885. Prepared for the Economic History Association meetings in September of 2010, Ross Thomson's paper, Eras of Technological Convergence: Machine Tools and Mechanization in the United States, 1820-1929 expands on Rosenberg's comments as outlined in its abstract:
"Following up on the seminal insights of Nathan Rosenberg, this paper explores how, and how widely, technology converged among U.S. machine-tool using industries from 1815 through 1930. Convergence involved the invention and spread of machine tools, and both occurred in a variety of ways. Through the study of Brown and Sharpe company records, census data, and patenting by metalworking lathe inventors and machine tool firms, I argue that machine tools evolved through three stages of progressively wider convergence and different organizational forms. Through 1865, firms often made their own machine tools and used inventions in their own firms. Convergence was narrow, occurring through diversification by machinery firms, incipient sale of general purpose machine tools, and some worker mobility. From 1865 through the 1890s, machine tool firms became more central to the invention and dissemination of machine tools among industries. Widening mobility and new firm formation by workers trained by machine tool firms, along with some diversification, added to the convergence. After 1900, machine tool firms and their workers remained central to invention and diffusion for established industries and autos and other new sectors. But major innovations also emerged and spread from new sources making complements to machine tools, notably the steel and electrical industries, so that materials science and electrification had come to contribute to metalworking industries."
The Rosenberg concept of technological convergence was introduced (Google Books) in his book (first published 1963):

Technological convergence is further explained and discussed in Google Books:


For President Garfield's cabinet, we have the following portraits and references:

James G. Blaine - Brady-Handy.jpg
Secretary of State
James G. Blaine (1881)
photographer: Mathew Brady

William Windom, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880.jpg
Secretary of the Treasury
William Windom (1881)

"William Windom, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880" by Mathew Brady - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Wayne MacVeagh - Brady-Handy.jpg
Attorney General
I. Wayne McVeagh (1881)

photographer: Mathew Brady
Thomas L. James cph.3a02198.jpg
Postmaster General
Thomas L. James (1881)

photographer: unknown

Secretary of War

Robert Todd Lincoln (1881)
photographer: unknown

Secretary of the Navy
William H. Hunt (1881)

photographer: most likely Mathew Brady
Samuel Jordan Kirkwood.jpg
Secretary of the Interior
Samuel J. Kirkwood (1881)
photographer: unknown

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