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Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

By the aid of these machines...

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

 
 
By the aid of these machines... Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
1. By the aid of these machines... Marker
Inscription.  Beneath your feet lie the foundations of the Smith and Forging Shop. The largest building in the armory, it reflected changing methods of manufacturing. In the armory's early days, gun making was slow and labor intensive. Armorers worked in small workshops handcrafting one gun at a time. Then in 1819, while working in Harpers Ferry, inventor John Hall developed machine-made weapons with interchangeable parts. He boasted that "one boy by the aid of these machines can perform more work than ten men." Hall's new machines began the industrial revolution and inspired countless innovations in machinery and industry.
 
Erected 2009 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1819.
 
Location. 39° 19.447′ N, 77° 43.832′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Potomac Street, on the right when traveling west. Located on the old armory grounds in Harpers Ferry National Historical Site.
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Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mere Machines of Labor (here, next to this marker); Railroad Embankment (a few steps from this marker); Found Underground (within shouting distance of this marker); Tailrace (within shouting distance of this marker); Power of the Potomac (within shouting distance of this marker); Smith and Forging Shop (within shouting distance of this marker); Chimney (within shouting distance of this marker); Racing West (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left are drawings of machines used in the Armory. Master Armorer James Burton continued innovations at Harpers Ferry by improving the drilling machine and belt hammer machine in the 1850s. In the center is a photo of The Smith and Forging Ship, a two-story high building with a 90-foot chimney, once housed massive trip hammer machines and coal-fired forges.

On the right is a replica of a lock plate made at Harpers Ferry. Machine made parts including this hammer and lock plate were assembled together to make rifles such as the 1855 Harpers Ferry Precussion rifle.

In the lower
Tactile Object on Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
2. Tactile Object on Marker
The marker features a replica of a lock plate produced at Harpers Ferry.
right corner is a drawing of the rifle action. This 1850 mechanical drawing shows the assembly of interchangeable rifle hammer, trigger, and lock parts.
 
Marker and the Foundation Trace of the Shop image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
3. Marker and the Foundation Trace of the Shop
Chimney image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
4. Chimney
A small interpretive marker indicates the location of the chimney mentioned in the caption. The 90-foot chimney that once stood here towered over the Smith and Forging Shop, dominating the scenery from 1846 until it was torn down in the 1890s.
Location of the Chimney image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
5. Location of the Chimney
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 818 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 18, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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May. 27, 2024