As successful a businessman and politician as H.B. Smith was, he was, at heart, an inventor and a mechanic. By building Smithville into a 'model village' he was successful in attracting and keeping a highly skilled workforce to not only build his machinery, but to participate in the continual process of refining existing machines and inventing new ones. Symbolic of the atmosphere that Smith tried to nurture in his company, a trade publication was created to develop the intellectual horizons of the woodworking artisan. Nationally distributed and edited by Agnes, The New Jersey Mechanic contained an array of stories in addition to those on the trade, including travel, philosophy and literature. Smith's strategy paid off. Woodworking machines were constantly improved, and other machines invented, like the steam powered tricycle, steam-powered boat, and an early helicopter. Smith also partnered with other inventors, manufacturing George Pressey's Star high-wheeled bicycle and Arthur Hotchkiss' Smithville-Mt. Holly bicycle railroad. In both cases, Smith Co. mechanics engineered the products well beyond the original designs. It was Smith's woodworking machinery, though, which carried the company (and town) from its beginnings in 1865 to the closing of the machine shop some hundred years later.
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Photo taken in Eastampton Township, NJ 08060, USA
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