Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,106 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of Providence, Rhode Island, USA
The company was founded in the USA in 1853, being established by a partnership of Joseph R. Brown of Providence, Rhode Island, and Lucian Sharpe. They went on to become one of the foremost makers of small-medium machine tools and precision measuring equipment.
c.1861 Built their first machine tool - a screw machine. These machines were initially made for the Providence Tool Co, who wanted them for producing nipples for Springfield rifles. The nipples had a hole drilled using a twist drill. The helical flutes in the drills were initially made by filing, but Frederick W. Howe set about developing a way of machining the flutes, and consulted Joseph R. Brown, who saw the wider scope for a machine which could undertake that type of milling operation. The first commercial machine was sold to the Providence Tool Co on 14 March 1862. B&S patented the universal milling machine in 1865.
1868 Started producing micrometers, initially called the 'Pocket Sheet Metal Gauge', with the range 0 - 0.325". The range was subsequently expanded considerably.