Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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SARGENT, James, inventor, born in Chester, Vermont, 1 December, 1824. He was educated in district schools and worked on a farm until he was eighteen years old. During the ensuing four years he was engaged in a woollen-factory, where he had special charge of the machinery. In 1848, having acquired proficiency in the art of making daguerreotypes, he travelled through the country engaged in that pursuit, but in 1852 he returned to New England and devoted himself to the manufacture and sale of an automatic apple-parer. The financial difficulties of 1857 compelled him to give up that business, and he became a partner in the Yale and Greenleaf lock company. Having a natural fondness for mechanics, he devoted himself at first to the study of the mechanism of locks, and acquired expertness as a lock-picker. Further investigation of the subject led him to invent a lock that was: proof against professional skill, for which, in 1865, he received a patent. He then established himself in Rochester, New York, where he began its manufacture. One of the features of this lock was the introduction of a powerful magnet that held the parts sufficiently under control to prevent the use of a micrometer to measure motion or determine the relative positions of the unlocking devices. Subsequently he improved this loc'k by the introduction of an automatic mechanical device in lieu of the magnet. In 1873 he invented the time-locks that bear his name, which were the first ever successfully used in this country, and are now largely used in banking establishments. Mr. Sargent has devised various styles of his locks for special uses, and from time to time has added improvements to the original patterns.
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