Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DISSTON, Henry, manufacturer, born in Tewkesbury, England, 21 May 1819; died in Philadelphia, 16 March 1878. He came to the United States at the age of fourteen with his father, who died soon after landing in Philadelphia. The boy turned his attention to mechanics, and began business in Philadelphia. It is said he wheeled the coal that he required from the wharf to his place of business. He was the first manufacturer that competed successfully with the English in hand and back saws, and to him belongs the credit of effectually checking the importation of foreign saws. He invented more than twenty improvements in saw manufacture, among them the movable or inserted teeth. His business increased until his buildings covered more than 250,000 square feet of ground and contained over 400 workmen. He was the inventor and manufacturer of the Disston saw.
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