Cyrus Alger

Cyrus Alger
Born (1781-11-11)November 11, 1781
West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Died February 4, 1856(1856-02-04) (aged 74)
Nationality American
Occupation metallurgist
Known forColumbiad

Cyrus Alger (born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, 11 November 1781; died in Boston, 4 February 1856) was a United States arms manufacturer and inventor.


Early in life he became an iron founder, and established his business in Easton, Massachusetts. In 1809, he moved to South Boston, where he founded the works that since 1817 were known as the South Boston Iron Company. He supplied the government with large numbers of cannon balls during the War of 1812, and his works became famed for the excellent ordnance there manufactured.

Cyrus Alger & Co. No. 20 mortar

He was one of the best practical metallurgists of his time, and his numerous patents of improved processes show continued advance in the art practised by him. The first gun ever rifled in America was made at his works in 1834, and the first perfect bronze cannon was made at his foundry for the U. S. ordnance department, The mortar “Columbiad,” the largest gun of cast iron that had then been made in the United States, was cast under his personal supervision.

Alger also devised numerous improvements in the construction of time fuses for bomb shells and grenades. In 1811 he patented a method of making cast-iron chilled rolls, and in 1822 first designed cylinder stoves. Alger served as a member of the city council during the first year of its existence, and was elected alderman in 1824 and 1827.

He was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery.



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