This is distinctively an age of machinery and one in which the ingenious and judicious inventor often reaps the rewards of his enterprise. Henry Bryan, of Modesto, Stanislaus County, California, the owner of the Modesto machine shops and planing-mill, is one of the best known inventors and machinists in California. He was born in the state of New York, July 5, 1835, and is a descendant of Quaker ancestors, who settled early in New England. His grandfather Bryan was a Connecticut Yankee and his father, H. C. Bryan, who was born in New York, married Miss Elizabeth Yates, a native of that state and a daughter of Captain Peter Yates, who participated in the battle of Bemis Heights and witnessed the surrender of General Burgoyne to General Washington. H. C. Bryan began life as a farmer, but later became a manufacturer of farm implements. He was an estimable citizen and a member of the Lutheran church, and died at the age of fifty-three years, his wife surviving him until she had passed the eighty-sixth anniversary of her birth. Of their five children only two are living.
Harry Bryan was educated in the public schools in the state of New York and has given his whole life to mechanics, having learned the machinist’s trade under the instruction of his father and elder brother. He came to California in 1884 and to Modesto in 1886, when he established the important business to the upbuilding of which he has since devoted himself. He has built a large machine shop, which is fitted up with expensive machinery so various in kind that he is able to do all kinds of iron and steel work in his line, and is the originator and patentee of six valuable inventions, the last of which is an attachment for reapers, an improvement for oiling, which does away with friction and prevents machines from setting the field on fire. Many hundred of these attachments are already in use and the sale is constantly growing and extending. Mr. Bryan has proven himself a thorough mechanic, expert in pertaining to such machinery as is in his line, and is recognized as an inventive genius of much ability. His public spirit has impelled him to assist many movements for the public good.
He is an earnest Democrat and is not without influence in the councils of his party; but he has resolutely refused every political office which has been offered him, his taste leading him to devote himself exclusively to his business. He is not married and has never joined a secret society, but his geniality and real interest in the welfare of his fellow citizens have won him many steadfast friends, not only in Stanislaus County but also throughout central California.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.