Wood, Henry Alexander Wise

SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
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b. 1 March 1866 New York, USA
d. 9 April 1939 USA
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American manufacturer and inventor of printing machinery, including a stereotype casting machine.
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The son of a Congressman and mayor of New York, Wood was educated at Media Academy in Pennsylvania, specializing in scientific subjects. The death of his father in 1881 prevented his going on to college and he went to work at the Campbell Printing and Manufacturing Company, of which he became President in 1896. In the meantime, he had married the daughter of J.L.Brower, the previous head of the company. Later business consolidations brought into being the Wood Newspaper Machine Corporation.
Wood was responsible for a series of inventions that brought great benefit to the newspaperprinting processes. Most notable was the Autoplate, patented first in 1900 and finally in 1903. This enabled a whole page of newspaper type to be cast in metal at once, saving much time and effort in the forming of stereotypes; this invention earned him the Elliott Cresson gold medal of the Franklin Institute in 1909. Other inventions were the Autoreel, a high-speed press-feeder device, and the Autopaster, which automatically replaced a spent paper roll with a new one in a newspaper press, without the need to stop the press. Wood's improved presses and inventions increased the speed of newspaper production from 24,000 to 60,000 copies per hour, printed and folded.
He was also much interested in aviation and was an early member of the Aero Club of America, becoming its Vice-President for six years. He helped to found the magazine Flying and was its Editor from 1911 to 1919. He had predicted the part played by aircraft and submarines during the Second World War and was invited to join a panel of consulting inventors and engineers to assist the development of the US Navy. He was soon at odds with the authorities, however, and he resigned in 1915. After the war, he spent time in vigorous campaigning against immigration, America's entry into the League of Nations and on many other issues, in all of which he was highly controversial. Nevertheless, he retained his interest in the newspaper-machinery business, remaining President of his company until 1935 and Chairman of the Board thereafter. In 1934 he became Chairman of the NRA Code Authority of the newspaper-machine industry.
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Further Reading
Obituary, 1939, New York Times (10 April). Obituary, 1939, New York Herald Tribune (10 April).
LRD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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