Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Beach, Moses Yale

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BEACH, Moses Yale, inventor, b. in Wallingford, Conn., 7 Jan., 1800: d. there, 19 July, 1868. In early life he displayed mechanical ability, and at the age of fourteen was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker in Hartford, and by his industry he succeeded in purchasing his freedom before the expiration of his time. He then established himself in the cabinet business in Northampton, but was unsuccessful, and removed to Springfield. There he endeavored to manufacture a gunpowder engine for propelling balloons; but this enterprise was also a failure. He next attempted to open steam navigation on Connecticut river between Hartford and Springfield, and would have succeeded if financial difficulties had not obliged him to cease operations before his steamer was completed. Mr. Beach then invented a rag-cutting machine, which has since been generally used in paper-mills, but from which he received no pecuniary benefit on account of his delay in procuring a patent. He then settled in Ulster co., N. Y., where he became interested in an extensive paper-mill, and was at first successful, but after seven years was compelled to abandon it. About 1835 he removed to New York, where he acquired an interest in the “Sun,” the pioneer of the penny press, of which he soon made himself sole proprietor. During the Mexican war, President Polk sent him to Mexico to arrange a treaty of peace; but the negotiations were broken off by a false report announcing the defeat of Gen. Taylor by Santa Anna. In 1857 he withdrew from active business. His son, Alfred Ely, b. in 1826, d. in New York city, 1 Jan., 1896, was for fifty years active in the editorial management of the “Scientific American.” He founded the Beach Institute for Freedman in Georgia.