Historic, but not famous

Isaac Leopold Rice, founder Forum Publishing and Battery Company

Isaac Leopold Rice (1850 – 1915) was a  businessman, investor, musicologist, author, and noted chess patron. He was born in Bavaria and emigrated to the United States with his mother in 1856. They initially lived in Philadelphia where he attended school, but upon graduation he went to Paris to study music for 3 years. He returned and worked at a newspaper then moved to England  in 1868 to be a music and language teacher. A year later he moved to New York City and practiced music before going back to school to become a lawyer. After graduating from Columbia College of Law in 1880 he practiced law for the rest of the decade.

He became a specialist in railroad law in the United States, and held large investments in several lines, including the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. While a lawyer he was invited to join a music publishing company and decided to do that as well as diversify his railroad holdings. He eventually bailed out the bankrupt Electro-Dynamic Company in 1892 with a partner and became the first president of The Forum magazine, and later the Electric Storage Battery Co. (later Exide) in 1897.

He bought out a company that made the first successful electric submarine and named the company  the Electric Boat Company in 1899. He contracted with the US Navy and delivered a fleet of submarines to them. Electric Boat was a founding company of General Dynamics Corporation. During World War I, Rice’s new company (Electric Boat) and its subsidiaries (notably Elco) built 85 Navy submarines and 722 submarine chasers, along with 580 motor launches for the British Royal Navy.

He also wrote and published books on music and music theory as well as becoming an accomplished chess master and president of the Manhattan Chess Club.

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Historic, but not famous

Richard M. Hoe, inventor, rotary printing press

Richard March Hoe  (September 12, 1812 – June 7, 1886) was an American inventor from New York City who designed a rotary printing press and related advancements, including the “Hoe web perfecting press” in 1871; it used a continuous roll of paper and revolutionized newspaper publishing.

Mr. Hoe was born in New York City. His father and uncles established a steam-powered manufacturing plant for printing presses and at the age of fifteen, Richard joined the company. He led the company after his father’s death in 1833. He is most well known for his invention in 1843 of a rotary printing press: type was placed on a revolving cylinder, a design that could print much faster than the old flatbed printing press. It received a patent  in 1847, and was placed in commercial use the same year by the Sun newspaper in Baltimore.

In 1870 Hoe developed a rotary press that printed both sides of a page at once, called the “Hoe web perfecting press.” The press used a continuous roll of paper five miles long, fed through the machine at 800 feet (240 m) a minute. It then passed over a knife cutting pages apart.

Play structure designed to look like paper going over the rollers in a printing press.

It then passed to the next machine which folded the pages for easy delivery. The press produced 18,000 papers an hour and was used the first time by the New York Tribune. He continued to improve the press, eventually creating the Hoe Lightning press, the fastest printing press of its time.

The Hoe family lived in the Bronx  in what is now known as Printer’s Park. The Park is located at the former site of his mansion, at the corner on Aldus Street and Hoe Avenue and contains  a jungle gym that looks like an old printing press.

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