An inventor, manufacturer from an inquisitive mind into optics, chemistry, metalurgy, astronomy, electricity, geology, and natural philosphy. He was born on Oak Street in Foxborough in November, 1788 and lived here until July 1815. He was the son of Seth (a blacksmith and farmer) and Susan Boyden. As a teenager Seth learned from his father Seth and grandfather Uriah who operated an Iron Foundry. At age 15 he was repairing watches, made his own telescope, microscope and an airgun of ingenious construction. At 22 he invented a machine for making wrought iron nails, at 25 a machine for cutting files and brads and another for cutting and heading tacks.
He married at 27 and moved to Newark, New Jersey with his wife where he was to be held in high regard.
He opened a small harness shop and manufactured silver plated articles. He invented a machine for splitting leather, later applied to splitting hides. He discovered the making of patent leather which was ranked as Newark's leading industry for many years.A tribute to Seth Boyden, the inventor, is located in the Senate Chamber of New Jersey. Thomas Edison said, "Seth Boyden was one of America's greatest inventors, and one who has never received proper credit for his many great and practical inventions. They have been the basis of great industries have spread over the entire world and give employment to millions of people"
The casting of malleable iron was a significant discovery on July 4, 1826. He sold his iron business in 1837 and turned his attention to steam engines. He built an engine that would outperform previous Orange and Essex steam engines. He built a fire engine for the City of Newark.
A bronze statue of Seth Boyden was erected with statues of Christopher Columbus and George Washington and shows this blacksmith-inventor standing beside his anvil. in 1890 in Washington Park
The plaque at the base of the Seth Boyden Memorial reads:
Born Nov 17, 1788 Foxborough, Mass.
Died March 31, 1870 Hilton, N.J.
Pioneer in Mechanics: Benefactor of Industry: Loved work that his Fellow Man might be Benefited: A Mechanical Genius: A Philospher: A Modest Helpful Citizen of Newark: An Inspiring Example For Young and Old: His Inventive Faculty Led Him Far Afield into Art, Physics, Chemistry, Horticulture and Botany.
On November 10, 1988, a newspaper article in the Star - Ledger of Newark, NJ by William Gordon provides an excellent study of Seth Boyden by a student of Boyden's work, Charles Dzuba.
On February 10, 1989 Seth Boyten along with Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and others was made the Inaugral Members of the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame. Maplewood New Jersey declared a "Seth Boyden Day" on the 200th annivarsary of his birth.In South Orange and Maplewood, NJ the Seth Boyden Elementary School is located on 274 Boyden Avenue in Maplewood, NJ. He is recognized in the ASME - American Society of Mechanical Engineers along with his brother Uriah.
Additional information is available at the Foxborough Historical Commission and at the New Jersey State Historical Society.
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