Cooper, Charles
as found in
HISTORY OF
BENNINGTON COUNTY, VT


WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.

EDITED BY
LEWIS CASS ALDRICH
1889



COOPER, CHARLES was born in Nottingham, England, in January, 1835. He was the fourth child, and one of the twelve children born to James and Ann (Glover) Cooper. The father, James Cooper, was a very skillful mechanic, and made the inside work of knitting machinery a specialty. He manufactured for the trade all kinds of knitting needles, and the various forms of the sinkers for the knitting frames. Into this business Charles Cooper was very early inducted, and before reaching his minority had acquired considerable skill in many of the operations that constitute the process of this manufacture. In 1847 Jarnes Cooper, the father of the subject of this sketch, came to America, first to Germantown, Pa., at that time the seat of the greatest knitting industry in the United States. After a few months he went to Thompsonville, Conn., to enter the employ of the Enfield Manufacturing Company of that place, pursuing the calling to which he had devoted his life, making needles and sinkers, and the delicate inside work of knitting frames. In 1848 the family left by him in the old English home came across the water to join the pioneer husband and father, and, being soon domiciled, began the working out of their several destinies in the new world. The Cooper family are a gifted race in the line of mechanical design and invention. A sister of Mr. Cooper, Madem Griswold, of New York City, has invented and manufactured some of the most popular designs of corsets and other articles of ladies' underwear. She has made for herself an enviable reputation and secured a competency George Cooper is known as a most skillful and ingenious machinest, and his patents are numerous, and have won for him great distinction as an inventor.

While living at Thompsonville Charles Cooper was married to Miss Annie Semple, daughter of Alexander Semple, whose brother is now the superintendent of the Broad Brook Woolen Company's Works. To Charles and Annie Cooper have been born five children, three daughters and two sons, one son and two daughters are now living; the younger son, a remarkable boy, died at the age of twelve years. The middle daughter, Mrs. Mabel E. Graves, but recently passed away. Charles Cooper, having previously purchased of his brother George all his right in the flat rib knitting machine patent in 1868, came to Bennington to put one of his machines to work in the mills of H. E. Bradford & Co., bringing with him George Dakin, an expert knitter, to run. In the fall of the same year Charles Cooper brought his whole needle plant to Bennington, and began here his extensive business in that line. He manufactures all kinds of knitting needles for all kinds of machines, also the sinkers for the same. This was his father's business, and he has been trained in it since his youth. In 1870 Mr. Cooper took his brother-in law, Mr. Eli Tiffany, into partnership with him, and the year following they commenced the manufacture of their patent fiat rib knitting machine, and so great were their sales that their output went as high as $75,000 per year. In 1886 the firm was dissolved, and Charles Cooper began the manufacture of the same machine in a shop of his own, and the outputof the new shop equals the number of machines made by the old company. His machine works are supplied with the most improved machinery and tools, and are under the superintendency of Mr. Daniel Hurley. In 1883 he started the manufacture of knit goods of a very fine quality and diversified patterns, and this branch of his business has increased to such an extent that the Cooper Manufacturing Company ranks as one of the leading industries of southern Vermont. Of this company the capital stock is $100,000, Charles Cooper, president, and his son, A. J. Cooper, is vice- president and treasurer, and Benjamin F. Ball secretary and superintendent.

Mr. Cooper is essentially a self-made man, a good example of America's opportunities and rewards of talent and energy. He began life with no capital save a thorough knowledge of his trade, and this he has utilized to exceedingly good purpose. Substantial returns are the reward of his energy, industry, and perseverance.

Devoted to his business, Mr. Cooper has not found time to enter into local or general politics to any great extent than should every prudent and patriotic citizen. He has, however, very decided political opinions, and is a thorough protectionist from conviction of the imminent disaster that must come to American industries if, by lowering the present tariff rates, American operatives and manufacturers are brought into too sharp competition with the cheaper labor and massed capital of Europe.

He knows the more favorable condition of the American operative and mechanic as compared with the same employment in Europe. He knows this from observation and experience on both sides of the Atlantic, and is therefore the more pronounced in favor of the American system of protection.

In social and society matters Mr. Cooper. takes great interest. But he finds his greatest pleasure in the relaxation from business by devotion to church work. He is an official member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is the superintendent of the Sun day-school. He is an earnest and reliable helper in all good enterprises.


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