"James Foster, Jr. was born in
Baltimore, Maryland in 1814 and died in Hamilton County Ohio in 1873.
Cincinnati directories list as follows: 1839-40 First listed - employed at
Wells and Foster, Mathematical instrument makers. This listing continued
through 1844. Also listed as a machinist in 1839 and 1840. And in
1846 listed as James Foster, Jr. Mathematical and Philosophical instrument
maker. The James Foster, Jr. Company was last listed in 1880."
From the Cincinnati Enquirer, May 15,
James Foster, Jr. optician, who died on Tuesday, May 13, 1873 at his
residence in Linwood, was born in Baltimore in 1814, and came to
Cincinnati very young. He was apprenticed to the Cincinnati Type
Foundry and remained there until the financial crisis of 1837 when the
foundry closed. In the following year he associated himself with
William Wells, under the firm name of Wells & Foster, and commenced
the manufacture of philosophical and optical instruments in a single
room on Third Street near Sycamore. From there the firm moved to a
store-room in the old Universalist Church, on Walnut Street between
Third & Fourth, where a fine business was done for several
years. In 1852 Mr. Foster, having dissolved partnership with Mr.
Wells, removed his stock to the building on the south-west corner of
Fifth and Race streets, where he has since carried on business.
Mr. Foster was not only a hard worker at his business, but an
enthusiastic scientific student. It is thought, indeed, that
over-labor shortened his valuable life."
Reference: Smart, Charles E.
The Makers Of Surveying Instruments In America Since 1700 Troy, New
York: Regal Art Press. 1962
Instrument shown is from the collection
of the National Museum of American History, a division of the Smithsonian