Q I found an old stencil machine that has a metal plaque listing ten patent dates from 1893 to 1899. The plaque says ”Manufactured by Bradley Stencil Machine Co., St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.” What can you tell me about the company?

A Andrew Jackson Bradley was looking for an efficient way to make shipping and mailing labels when he invented a stencil cutting machine in 1893. He founded the Bradley Stencil Machine Co. that same year. Bradley’s stencil machine had a fixed frame and a movable carriage with dies to stamp or punch out letters and numbers. The company merged with the Diagraph Company in 1936 and became Diagraph-Bradley. The company is still in business, now as Diagraph Marking and Stenciling Products (Diagraph MSP).

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