The diary of the setting-out of the West Point foundry

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The West Point Foundry began as the brainchild of Gouverneur Kemble (1786-1875), who turned from his family's mercantile background to become an iron founder and in particular into an ordnance contractor for the US military. Kemble partnered with General Joseph Gardner Swift (1783-1865), his brother William Kemble (1795-1881), and a number of other family acquaintances in New York to raise the capital to build the foundry, though an initial start-up grant from the US Navy was fundamental to their success. The West Point Foundry Association, incorporated in 1817, built a foundry from scratch in Cold Spnng, NY, across the river from the US Military Academy at West Point. The diary recounting its initial construction and organization from 6 June to 1 July 1817 transcribed on pp. 14-23 in this issue. This article is an introduction to the context of starting an iron foundry in the early Republic. In addition, the personalities involved are explored, especially on the source of the technical know-how, financial and personal connections both locally and nationally, and the role of the US Navy in supporting its foundation.

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© Society for Industrial Archeology. Publisher's version of record:

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IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology