Norton, Charles Hotchkiss

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b. 23 November 1851 Plainville, Connecticut, USA
d. 27 October 1942 Plainville, Connecticut, USA
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American mechanical engineer and machine-tool designer.
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After an elementary education at the public schools of Plainville and Thomaston, Connecticut, Charles H.Norton started work in 1866 at the Seth Thomas Clock Company in Thomaston. He was soon promoted to machinist, and further progress led to his successive appointments as Foreman, Superintendent of Machinery and Manager of the department making tower clocks. He designed many public clocks.
In 1886 he obtained a position as Assistant Engineer with the Brown \& Sharpe Manufacturing Company at Providence, Rhode Island, and was engaged in redesigning their universal grinding machine to give it more rigidity and make it more suitable for use as a production machine. In 1890 he left to become a partner in a newly established firm, Leland, Faulconer \& Norton Company at Detroit, Michigan, designing and building machine tools. He withdrew from this firm in 1895 and practised as a consulting mechanical engineer for a short time before returning to Brown \& Sharpe in 1896. There he designed a grinding machine incorporating larger and wider grinding wheels so that heavier cuts could be made to meet the needs of the mass-production industries, especially the automobile industry. This required a heavier and more rigid machine and greater power, but these ideas were not welcomed at Brown \& Sharpe and in 1900 Norton left to found the Norton Grinding Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. Here he was able to develop heavy-production grinding machines, including special machines for grinding crank-shafts and camshafts for the automobile industry.
In setting up the Norton Grinding Company, Charles H.Norton received financial support from members of the Norton Emery Wheel Company (also of Worcester and known after 1906 as the Norton Company), but he was not related to the founder of that company. The two firms were completely independent until 1919 when they were merged. From that time Charles H.Norton served as Chief Engineer of the machinery division of the Norton Company, until 1934 when he became their Consulting Engineer.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
City of Philadelphia, John Scott Medal 1925.
Bibliography
Norton was granted more than one hundred patents and was author of Principles of Cylindrical Grinding, 1917, 1921, Worcester, Mass.
Further Reading
Robert S.Woodbury, 1959, History of the Grinding Machine, Cambridge, Mass, (contains biographical information and details of the machines designed by Norton).
RTS

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

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