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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (B)
Burden, Henry


(1791-1871) born in Dunblane, he was interested in steam navigation and organized a company to produce ships of as much as 18,000 tons to transport hundreds of passengers across the Atlantic in six to ten days. As his fortune grew, Burden became interested in philanthropy. He gave generously to many charitable enterprises and institutions. He died at Troy, New York, January 19, 1871. Burden was one of that rare breed of American immigrants who saw opportunity in American and took advantage of it. America and Burden both profited by the association. In 1834, Henry Burden invented and patented a new machine for making spikes which were used on the flat rails then being used by several railroads. Later, on a visit to England, he became convinced that the "T" and "H" rails would become more popular and on his return patented a new machine for making spikes. These would be the hook-headed spikes that are still in use today. A later version of his spike making machine was patented in 1857 and he considered it his greatest invention.

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