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Chubbuck, Samuel Winchester (1799-1875), Inventor, Silversmith and Metal Worker, Mechanic, and Numismatist.

He was born on December 24, 1799 in Weston, Vermont, the second of three children of Samuel and Cata Chubbuck. Early on he moved to Eaton, Madison County, New York. He then moved seven miles northwest to Morrisville, Madison County, New York, where from 1817 to 1819 he worked as a silversmith and goldsmith making jewelry. In 1823 at Morrisville he married Nancy Mary Gates (1804-1862). They had six children : Sarah L. (November 22, 1824-), C. L. (1829-), Arinaldo S. (1835-1878), J. (1836-), Josephine (1842-), Emily (1845-). About 1844 he moved to Utica, New York into a residence in Whitesboro Street. He opened a shop at the foot of Genesee Street where he manufactured scientific instruments with a business partner Henry S. Storrs, in the firm of Storrs & Chubbuck. He immediately developed the prototype of the Morse telegraph transmitter in 1844. Sometime in 1860 he moved his shop to Hotel Street, just below the Post Office, and issued a trade token. In 1863 he issued a business script or advertising note valued at three cents postage at his store. (not in Vlack)

Around 1844 the New York and Buffalo Telegraph was scheduled to run lines into Utica, New York. Mr. Fargo and Hon. T. S. Faxton were the key citizens of Utica instrumental in the installation of the telegraphic lines. Chubbuck received four orders to manufacture telegraphic instruments at the behest of Morse who preferred Chubbuck’s invention over his own. He made the first telegraphic instrument ever manufactured, and subsequently made thousands of them. He furnished all the instruments for the Washington and Baltimore telegraph lines, and most of the instruments for the Montreal Telegraph Company. Although Chubbuck designed the prototype models of telegraphic instruments and made improvements on them he never filed any patent on them wishing them to be free for the public good. About 1865 his son Arinaldo S. Chubbuck purchased the telegraphic instruments department of his father’s company. After turning over the telegraphic industry to his son he devoted his remaining years to developing other scientific instruments in the field of optics, mathematics, and the so-called philosophical field.

Numismatic Career :

He purchased many pieces from Dr. J. E. Barratt, of Jefferson, New York, mentioned by Dr. C. E. Fraser, MD, of Rome, New York in the introduction to his coin auction catalog dated March 27, 1879, held at Bangs & Co.

His first collection sale was of 348 lots sold through Thomas Birch & Co., on February 18, 1873. His second sale was conducted by John W. Haseltine, also at T. Birch & Son on February 25-28, 1873. The catalog features one plate with large cents 1793-1833. Only fifty plated catalogs were issued and they are considered a rarity.

He died of pneumonia on Monday, June 28, 1875. His son Arinaldo S. Chubbuck and Ezra P. Hodges were the executors of his estate.

Bibliography :

John Walsh, Vignettes of Old Utica

Durst, Lorraine S., United States Numismatic Auction Catalogs: A Bibliography, see Nos. 536, 537

Gengerke, Martin, American Numismatic Auctions, 8th edition (1990) : 17

Russ Rulau, United States Tokens 1700-1900 (1997) : 270, see New York 1055 through 1063

Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 287

Attinelli, Emmanuel Joseph, A Bibliography of American Numismatic Auction Catalogues 1828-1875

Adams, John Weston, American Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1, 48, 49

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: The E-Sylum, Volume 16, Number 20, MAY 19, 2013: Morse Code on S.W. Chubbuck Tokens

MORE ON S. W. CHUBBUCK The E-Sylum, Volume 16, Number 21, May 26, 2013