James Foster

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"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, 1873:

"The late 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 Institution



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