History of

Springfield, Vermont


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Leland Block

Ellis Block

Photos by:
Bernie Lashua



Slack Shoddy   Mill 




The Fellows Gear Shaper
Springfield, Vermont

Edwin R. Fellows

Born; May 29, 1865 in Torrington Connecticut,

Died May 21, 1945 Springfield, Vermont



Edwin R. Fellows, who worked as a store clerk in Torrington, Connecticut, became acquainted with James Hartness, who roomed at his mother's home while working in that community. Hartness, after starting work in Springfield, wrote to Fellows about the opportunities of work in the town. Fellows arrived in Springfield in April 1889. First he worked as a machinist at Jones and Lamson, but soon Hartness, who realized his design abilities, had him in the drafting-room. Fellows had very little education, leaving high school after his freshman year due to the death of his father. He appeared to be more aesthetically inclined rather than leaning towards mechanical design. He became a meticulous draftsman and as chief draftsman put Hartness's ideas on the drafting board.

Fellows saw the many possibilities offered by the machine tool business and spent evenings developing his own ideas on a new method for cutting gears. He ultimately made a radically new design of a machine for shaping gear teeth by generating them using a master gear as the cutter. Through this procedure a much more accurate gear tooth could be made than by any previous method. With the urging and support of both James Hartness and W. D. Woolson, Fellows became the originator of the Fellows Gear Shaper Company in 1897. Through his initiative, enterprise and hard work, he was able to build a great and enduring business from a small beginning, and created opportunities and richer lives for a great many men and women. His influence was felt everywhere, for without the Fellows method of shaping gears, the progress of civilization would not had reached its present development nor would the course of two World Wars reached such quick decision.

The coming of the automobile was fortuitous for the machine tool industry. In 1900, Fellows developed a rack shaper, and in 1902 he developed the 24-inch gear shaper, which was principally developed to cut automobile gears. The fortunes of the company came to be interwoven with the automobile industry. For the Fellows Gear Shaper Company, the 1920s was a time of growth and product development and the early 1940s heralded the design and production of nine new kinds of machines. In 1977 Fellows introduced its new series of Hydrostroke machines and in the early 1980s introduced its computer numerical control (CNC) machines. In 1970, the company changed its name to Fellows Corporation. Four years later, Fellows was acquired by the Emhart Corporation. In 1987 Fellows was acquired by Goldman Industrial Group. Fellows was a leader and dominant figure in the manufacturing of precision gear production, gear cutting tools, and optical inspection machines. Their contribution to the industry enabled the manufacture of gears for textile, automobiles, factory machinery, and other industries.





Below are some of the modern Gear cutting equipment manufactured by Fellows Gear Shaper


# 20 Gear Shaper 4A Gear Shaper
# 10-2 Gear Shaper  
Fellows Gear Shaper Today before renovation
If you have any information you would like to share regarding the Fellows Gear Shaper,
Please contact:
Bill Lashua
1 Clement Road
Springfield, VT 05156-3001
(802) 885-4311
Copyrighted 2008 William Lashua