William Hamlin, born 15 Oct 1772, died 22 Nov 1869
American Silversmiths

Charles Hamlin
Ann Hosmer
Samuel Hamlin
Thankful Ely
William Hamlin


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Elizabeth Bowen

William Hamlin

  • Born: 15 Oct 1772, Providence RI
  • Marriage: Elizabeth Bowen on 2 Apr 1810 in Providence RI
  • Died: 22 Nov 1869, Providence RI

  General notes:

Silversmith, engraver, and instrument maker

  Events in his life were:

  • Alternate Mark attributed given by Winterthur

  • Alternate Mark
    It is not known if this mark was used by William or John or both.
  • Providence RI: well-known as a manufacturer of sextants, quadrants and other nautical and mathematical instruments and as an engraver. General Washington was a favorite subject, including one based on the Houdon bust, completed in his ninety-first year. 3
  • Advertised in the Silversmith and instrument maker (Providence RI), 1792-1809, with a shop on North Main Street, next north of St. John's Church (pre-1806), at 11 Cheapside, next door north of Messrs. Blodget and Powers (1806), and opposite the Baptist Meeting House (1809).

  • Surveyor's compass, abt 1805
    Private Collection
  • Advertised in the Providence Gazette (Providence RI), 18 Oct 1806, indicating removal of his stand and "continues business as an engraver and offers Gold and Silver goods." 3
  • Advertised in the Providence Gazette (Providence RI), 17 Jan 1807, a general assortment of gold and silver. 4
  • He was a partner from 1809 to 1819 with John Hosmer Hamlin in Providence RI as W. & J. H. HAMLIN, first with a shop opposite the Baptist Meeting House and later at the Sign of the Quadrant, 131 South Water Street, in the store of Benjamin Clifford. 4

  • Tradecard, c 1809-1819
    American Antiquarian Society 20
  • Advertised in the Providence Gazette (Providence RI), 20 May 1809, reporting move to shop lately occupied by William Greene opposite the Baptist Meetinghouse. 4
  • Advertised in the Providence Gazette (Providence RI), 15 Jul 1809, formation of firm W. & J. H. HAMLIN. 4
  • He worked after 1820 as a silversmith and instrument maker in Providence RI with a shop at the Sign of the Quadrant, 135 South Main Street and later at 131 South Water.
    He built a reflecting telescope in 1826 and allowed public use, admission by tickets, examples of which survive. Telescope depicted on the ticket is signed 'Hamlin' and appears to be a Gregorian, alt / az mounted. This might be the first reflector fabricated in the U.S.
  • He appeared on the 1850 census taken at Providence RI, listed as a mathmatical instrument maker.

William married Elizabeth Bowen on 2 Apr 1810 in Providence RI. (Elizabeth Bowen was born on 20 May 1787 in Providence RI and died on 28 Dec 1852 in Providence RI.)

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