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HARVEY, Hayward Augustus [1824-1893] -- American inventor (tempered sheet steel)

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Inventor of the Harvey Process of tempering sheet steel for armor plate. Also involved with his father in developing improvements in wood screws and the machinery for their production.

"Engineering and Mining Journal," Sept. 2, 1893:--

Hayward Augustus Harvey, who died at his home in Orange, N. J., August 28th, 1893, after a painful illness of several months, was one of the few examples of the distinguished son of a distinguished father. He was born in Jamestown, N. Y., January 17th, 1824, and was thus in his 70th year. His father was General Thomas W. Harvey and his mother was Matilda Hayward, both of Vermont.

General Harvey moved from Jamestown to Ramapo in 1833, and to Poughkeepsie in 1836. Here young Harvey spent his boyhood, attending the Academy; later he studied at the Academy of New Paltz, N. Y. From this school he went into his father's shop in Poughkeepsie, where he learned drafting and various branches of mechanical engineering.

The names of the Harveys, father and son, are very closely connected with the manufacture of wood screws in this country. General Harvey had carried on the manufacture of wood screws in a small way at Ramapo and Montgomery, N. Y. This was continued in Poughkeepsie, the first patents being granted to General Harvey in 1836, in which year the Poughkeepsie Screw Company was organized. Before General Harvey's inventions the operation of screw making was very crude, the blanks being put in and taken out one by one, and the cutting tool operated by hand. By General Harvey's first improvement the operation was made partially automatic. The blanks were still supplied one by one, but the operation of the cutting tools was regulated and adjusted by the machine itself.

Although the gimlet-pointed screw is generally supposed to be a comparatively modern invention, yet the first screws offered by General Harvey in the market in New York were gimlet-pointed and were so named by him. They were, however, superseded by tapered screws, which held the market for many years. General Harvey also first introduced machines for shaving screwheads, and the chaser tool in place of the cutting dies--previously employed.

In 1839 the Poughkeepsie company sold out to a company organized at Somerville, N. J., and screws were made first in Providence about 1840. In 1842 General Harvey began the experiments which made the screw machines entirely automatic, introducing self-feeding of blanks, etc. Patents on this machinery were taken out in 1846. In 1844 the New York Screw Company was organized, with General Harvey as president. Young Harvey was connected for a time with this company, and in 1850 he took charge of the wire department of the screw company at Somerville. In 1849 the Somerville company was reorganized, buying the machinery of Thomas W. Harvey and of a small concern at Schenectady, and taking the name of the Union Screw Company.

The patents of 1846 had been carefully studied by parties in Providence and New York, and they produced another automatic machine. From this time on the competion was severe, being entirely among home manufacturers, the foreign makers being ruled out of the market by the low prices. In 1854 the Somerville company was obliged to close on account of the competition.

Mr. Harvey was interested with his father in what was known as the Harvey Steel and Iron Company, of Mott Haven, New York; and in 1854, upon the breaking up of this company and after his father's death, he conducted for a time a steel works, chiefly experimental, at Norfolk, Conn. During the following ten years his attention was directed to developing many of his father's unfinished projects, and during these years he was at times closely connected with the American Screw Company, of Providence. In 1865 he founded the Continental Screw Company in Jersey City, which became the owner of Mr. Harvey's first patents on screw machinery, covering the entire process of wood-screw making. After a short existence these works were bought out by the American Screw Company. From 1870 to 1890 Mr. Harvey was constantly at work designing new machinery for making screws, bolts, wire nails, washers, spiral springs and many other articles of that kind. The most notable of his inventions during this period is what is known as the "rolled thread" screw. Instead of cutting the screw thread into the wire, Mr. Harvey rolled or cold-forged the thread partly into, partly upon the surface of the wire itself. He gave to these screws a sharp central point, which, with the large thread and small neck, with incidental saving in the weight of wire, necessarily gave to the Harvey rolled screw such an immense advantage over all other screws that the great screw manufacturers of the world, the American Screw Company, of Providence, and the Nettlefolds, of England, were practically obliged to purchase the Harvey patents, which they did in 1886.

Among other inventions of Mr. Harvey should be mentioned the so-called grip-bolt, which has been and is very largely used as a fish-plate bolt on many of the principal railroads of this country, doing away with nut locks. The bolt once being screwed into the nut, forms a "perfect fit," and cannot be shaken off by the jar of passing trains.

In connection with railroad track bolts an incident may be mentioned showing the fertility of Mr. Harvey's mind in mechanical matters. A prejudice existed among many engineers and master mechanics of railroads in favor of a washer or nut-lock of some kind. Mr. Harvey refused to entertain the idea of changing the principle of his grip bolt, but being pressed to devise a washer which could compete with the Verona washer, at that time very largely used, he invented the now well-known ribbed spiral washer, which has gone into very extensive use.

Of late years, however, Mr. Harvey's name has been best known as that of the inventor of the so-called "Harvey process for tempering steel." The history of the inception of this is interesting. During a time when the Harvey Screw and Bolt Company was in operation, Mr. Harvey conceived the idea of making a bolt and nut of cast iron, with threads partially impressed on them in the mold, and then hardening or "steelifying" the surfaces of the threads and of the bolts and nuts so as to give them the necessary toughness. The experiment was, however, a failure, but the product was so peculiar that it was remarked at that time, 1885, that Mr. Harvey had probably made a discovery in the metallurgy of steel. This peculiar product attracted the attention of Mr. B. G. Clarke, of the Thomas Iron Company, who for some years had been associated with Mr. Harvey in the screw patents. On Mr. Clarke's encouragement, Mr. Harvey pursued his experiments, and soon succeeded in producing from ordinary low-grade Bessemer steel a steel equal in every respect to the finest crucible or cast steel. He made out of this razor blades, knife blades, files, etc. The first patents on this new product and process were granted to Mr. Harvey in 1888. Works were established at Jersey City, afterward moved to Newark. Out of these experiments grew the Harvey armor plate process and product, which have made a revolution in the armoring of vessels.

The naval authorities of the United States Government were not slow in perceiving the superiority of the Harvey plate over any other form. The tests made by the United States Government have resulted in the Harvey Armor plate process being adopted for the new navy. The governments of Great Britain, France, Spain, Russia, Denmark and Japan have all tested and ordered armor made by this process, and a plant for treating armor plate by this process has been erected by every manufacturing firm in the world who are engaged in making steel armor.

Mr. Harvey lived long enough to see the fruits of his labors and to participate in the profits. He was emphatically a progressive man. When his mind was engaged in inventions it was difficult for him to stop; he always saw so much beyond. His processes of thought were entirely original. In making his inventions he usually declined to be guided by the experience of others. The fact that some one had done a certain thing in a certain way almost always made him reject that way, and look for a path of his own. He was a singularly persuasive man, as he must needs be to get the attention and the confidence and support of prominent capitalists, in which he was very successful. Although always a positive man, yet it is doubtful whether he left any enemies behind him, on account of his sympathetic and really lovable nature, which made warm friends for him among all classes of men.

He was twice married; first in 1850 to Miss Matilda Winant, of New York, who died in 1856, leaving one son, Dr. Thomas W. Harvey, of Orange. In 1865 he married Miss Emily A. Halsey, of Bridgehampton, Long Island; and their son is Hayward A. Harvey, Jr., in charge of the Harvey Steel Company's works at Newark.

Mr. Harvey was one of the founders of the New England Society of Orange, was a Blue Lodge Mason, and had taken all the degrees of Odd Fellowship.

"History of Poughkeepsie, from the Earliest Settlements, etc."; PLATT, Edmund; (1905, 1987); p. 136:--
The Poughkeepsie Screw Manufacturing Company "commenced in a small way 5th July last in the very midst of the panic [of 1837]," was now enlarging and was making "weekly 800 gross of wood screws of assorted sizes" and hoped soon to make 4,000. It was described as due to the "exertions of our ingenious and enterprising Gen. Thomas W. Harvey."
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        • Harvey process - Online Dictionary at DataSegment.com definition of the Harvey Process
        • Chapter 3 Harvey's process allows Krupp to produce much better armor for cruisers.
        • FindLaw for Legal Professionals U.S. Supreme Court: U S v. HARVEY STEEL CO, 227 U.S. 165 (1913)
          These appeals are from a judgment in favor of the Harvey Steel Company and against the United States for $123,467.23. This was the amount of royalty found to be due to the Harvey Steel Company under a contract, dated April 12, 1893, to pay royalty on all armor plate treated by the Harvey process and used by the United States.
      • Harvey, Hayward A(ugustus)
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