The Paul Revere House  
Revere's Foundry & Copper Mill

Though best-known for his "midnight" ride and his work in silver and gold, several of Revere's most significant accomplishments came later in his life. Eager to begin manufacturing other metal products, Revere built an iron and brass foundry in 1787 on the corner of Lynn and Foster Streets in Boston's North End. Revere supported the venture with income from his silversmith shop and financial assistance from his Hichborn cousins.

After several years of producing iron products -- firebacks and window weights -- he began making bolts and spikes for the shipbuilding industry, cannon and bells. The foundry proved to be a forerunner to what would be the most ambitious effort of his life, developing a mill for rolling copper. In 1800 at the age of 65, Paul Revere, motivated by patriotism and profit, and encouraged by a loan from the federal government, purchased and renovated a former gunpowder mill in Canton, Massachusetts for use as a copper rolling mill.

This venture depended on his success at learning a new technology, obtaining scarce raw materials and balancing other variables such as seasonal aspects of water power and the new and somewhat cumbersome federal government. Revere became the first American to successfully roll copper into sheets in a commercially viable manner. His customers included among others, the federal government for its naval vessels, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the dome of its new state house, and Robert Fulton who needed heavy copper sheets for boilers for his steamships.

This 900 pound bronze bell was cast in 1804 at the bell and cannon foundry of Paul Revere and Son. It was sold in 1805 to the East Parish Church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Today it is on display in the Revere House courtyard. It is only one of 23 bells known to exist which were cast during the period of Revere's personal involvement at the foundry. Revere cast his first bell in 1792, for his own church, the Second Church of Boston. He cast his last bell in 1811 when at age 76 he ended his active partnership in the family firm. Between 1792 and 1828, the Revere foundry cast 959 bells. One of those bells, cast in 1816, still rings each Sunday in Boston's King's Chapel. Paul Revere called it "the sweetest bell we ever made."

Copper sheeting manufactured at Paul Revere's copper rolling mill in Canton Massachusetts was used to cover the dome of the new state house in 1803. The Commonwealth chose to replace it in 1874 with 23-carat gold leaf. Paul Revere also produced many of the brass fittings for a ship we know today as Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution.

Paul Revere placed this ad for his bell foundry in a Worcester Massachusetts newspaper called the National AEGIS on October 28, 1807. It mentions that his foundry, in the North End of Boston, has constantly for sale "Church and Academy Bells, of all sizes, which they will warrant equal to any made in Europe or this country." Click below to view other unique ads for Revere's foundry from 1801, 1805, and 1807.

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