I just took delivery on a milling machine, that I bought for my next 6 week frame building class [where I provide all the tools to start a new shop]. I found this really nice Brown & Sharpe mill and I am so impressed with it I wish I could keep it for myself 😉
New England was the hotbed of the Industrial Revolution and Rhode Island played a big part in that. One of the many major innovators and machine tool makers was Brown & Sharpe.
Here is a short history:
Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. is one of the oldest and probably one of the most significant machine tool and precision tool builders. The firm was founded in 1833 by David Brown and his son Joseph R. Brown. In 1853 the company to Lucian Sharpe as a partner and became J. R. Brown & Sharpe. Early work consisted of making and repairing clocks and other mathmatical devices. Their first machine was a dividing engine built in 1850 which could automatically lay out the graduations to make a rule. Improved machines were built in 1854 and 1859 and were still in use as late as 1916. Brown and Sharpe is credited with many inventions including Standard Wire Gages, the B & S taper, 20 degree pressure angle gearing, The formed milling cutter,vernier caliper, and the universal milling machine. They primarily build turret lathes, automatic screw machines, grinders and milling machines. The firm also had a complete line of precision machinist tools.
Here is a more detailed history on Wikipedia.
If this sort of history inspires you, then I would suggest a trip to New England. You could spends weeks traveling around, visiting museums or even just exploring around finding old mill buildings.