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Earle, Pliny, 1762-1832

Inventor; born in Leicester, Mass., Dec. 17, 1762; became connected with Edward Snow in 1785 in the manufacture of machine and hand cards for carding wool and cotton. Mr. Earle had first made them by hand, but afterwards by a machine of his own invention. Oliver Evans (q. v.)had already invented a machine for making card-teeth, which produced 300 a minute. In 1784 Mr. Crittenden, of New Haven, Conn., invented a machine which produced 86,000 cardteeth, cut and bent, in an hour. These card-teeth were put up in bags and distributed among families, in which the women and children stuck them in the leather. Leicester was the chief seat of this industry, and to that place Samuel Slater (q. v.)of Rhode Island, went for card clothing for the machines in his cotton-mill. Hearing that Pliny Earle was an expert card-maker, he went to him and told him what he wanted. Mr. Earle invented a machine for pricking the holes in the leather—a tedious process by hand —and it worked admirably. A few years afterwards Eleazer Smith (see Whittemore, Amos) made a great improvement by inventing a machine that not only pricked the holes, but set the teeth more expertly than human fingers could do. About 1843 William B. Earle, son of Pliny, improved Smith's invention, and the machine thus produced for making card clothing proved the best ever made. By Mr. Earle's first invention the labor of a man for fifteen hours could be performed in fifteen minutes. Mr. Earle possessed extensive attainments in science and literature. He died in Leicester, Nov. 19, 1832.

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