Filled one of the earliest musket contracts in America
Born—Loch winnoch, Scotland, Jan. 2, 1715
Hugh Orr was a fine mechanic with a naturally inventive turn of mind. By the time he came to America in 1740 he was already a gunsmith, lockmakcr. and an accomplished forger of edged tools. A year after his arrival, lie moved to East Bridgewater. Mass., and went to work for a manufacturer of scythes. When his employer retired a few years later, Orr becamc owner of the shop and carried out experiments in new ways of manufacturing edged tools which brought him considerable fame and fortune.
In addition to his work with tools, Orr also made good use of his early gunsmith's training. In 1748, he made 500 muskets for the Province of Massachusetts, thus completing one of the first large contracts for military arms undertaken in this country. These guns were stored in Castle William in Boston Harbor, and most of them are believed to have been taken awav when the Brit-ish evacuated the city in 1776. With the coming of the Revolution, Orr again produced muskets in quantity for the Committee of Safety, and he
also undertook the casting of both iron and brass cannon. In so doing he pioneered in the new method of casting the guns solid and boring them to the proper calibcr.
At the closc of the Revolution, Orr returned to more peaceful pursuits. He resumed the manufacture of edged tools, and vigorously pursued a more recent interest in spinning and weaving machinery and the fostering of the textile industry in Massachusetts.—Harold L. Peterson
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