Who Was William Beardsley?
Born on Nov. 13, 1850, in Hamilton, Ohio, William Henry Beardsley was a holder of multiple US patents, including the patent for Keyboard Adding Machine and adjustable chairs.
William was the 8th generation heir of the early settler William Beardsley (1605-1661), a mason, one of the first settlers of Stratford, Connecticut, who brought his family (wife and three children, as after arriving in America, from 1636-1646 Beardsley and his wife had six additional children) to America on the ship “Planter,” landing at Massachusetts in April 1635.
- Full Name
- Williams Beardsley
- February 6, 2022
- Net Worth
- One, Robert Oglesby Beardsley.
- Place of Birth
- Hamilton, Ohio
- Fields of Expertise
- Hamilton Public School, Miami University, Oxford.
- Adjustable Chair, Keyboard Adding Machine.
William Beardsley was born to the family of Henry Beardsley (April 1812–Oct. 30 1888) and his second wife Laura O’Connor (died 1856).
William had two sisters: Emma (1848-1885) and Abby Jane (1852-1916), and two half-brothers from the third marriage of his father: Edward Moore (1858-1888), who became a physician in San Francisco, and George (1863-1895), a civil engineer.
The multiple US patents holder attended the public schools in Hamilton before proceeding to the Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1867.
After completing his education at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, William Beardsley started working at Niles Tool Works at Hamilton before venturing into publishing.
William quitted his publishing business in the early 1880s and ventured into the furniture business, partnering with James Edwin Campbell, an Ohio lawyer, who later served as the 38th Governor of Ohio. He also ventured into the blackboard business during this period, where he recorded remarkable success.
Around 1890, his brother George, a civil engineer, moved from Hamilton to Phoenix, Arizona, and was there called upon to investigate the practicability of irrigating sixty thousand acres of arid land in Maricopa County. The survey demonstrated the feasibility of the undertaking.
Not long after, George formed the Agua Fria Construction Company, with the financial help of his brother William and other Ohioans, to carry on the projected irrigation work.
In 1892, William Beardsley readily joined his brother in Arizona. Unfortunately, George died soon, only 32 years old on Apr. 21, 1895, and William had to continue the project alone as general manager.
In 1892-1895, the company built Dyer Diversion Dam (initially known as Beardsley Dam). Later, they also built a canal, named the Beardsley Canal, from Lake Pleasant to ranches as far as 33 miles away.
It was a mammoth undertaking, and the work was progressing slowly but satisfactorily. When completed in the 1920s, it rendered all of this vast tract of now arid land marketable and a monument to Beardsley’s energy and ability.
William managed to sustain the project through bankruptcy, federal restrictions, and legal challenges while remaining seemingly untrammeled throughout the many years of frustration.
What Is William Beardsley Known For?
Invention 1 – Keyboard Adding Machine
William Beardsley and Lewis Hosea patented the Keyboard Adding Machine invention in March 1891.
The Keyboard Adding Machine consists of multiple thumb-and-fingers-arranged keys of consecutive numbers, primarily arranged to act selectively via an engaging and transmitting mechanism.
This apparatus was designed as a compact and simple hand instrument for use by cashiers, bookkeepers, etc.
Apart from the Keyboard Adding Machine, William also held a patent for adjustable chairs.
William Beardsley: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Personal Life
William Beardsley married Ida R. Oglesby in December 1888. Born on Apr. 10, 1859, Ida, from Middleton, was the daughter of the former treasurer of Butler County, William B. Oglesby.
William Beardsley and Ida R. Oglesby had one child together, Robert Oglesby Beardsley. Born in 1889, a year after their marriage, Robert assisted his father in the Arizona project after graduating from Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1919, studying engineering.
William Beardsley battled with a terminal illness for four months before meeting his death on Dec. 15, 1925. The patent holder for adjustable chairs and keyboard adding machines died in Los Angeles, California, buried in Woodside Cemetery, Middleton, Ohio.