Otis Avery of Honesdale, Pennsylvania


Otis Avery was born in Bridgewater, Oneida County, New York, United States in August 19, 1808.

Son of John Avery and Roxalana Avery , husband of Louisa Avery and Mary Agnes Avery, father of Charles Avery; Martin Pendergast Avery, Lt. Colonel; Louisa Avery; Eliza Avery and Otis Earl Avery , brother of Robert Bruce Avery; Silas Dort Avery; Charles Avery; Elizabeth Tracy Flint; James Bruce Avery and 4 others. Half brother of Zipporah Dort; John Franklin Avery; Anna Spoor; Gilbert M. Avery and Jabez Tracy Avery 

In 1827 Otis Avery opened a watch repair shop in Bethany, Pennsylvania. He learned the watchmaker’s trade from his father John, a silversmith and watchmaker. 

Later, he studied dentistry under a Dr. D.C. Ambler in New Berlin, New York City, and received a dental certificate of qualification in December 6,1833.

At that time, there was not a dental college on either continent, and teeth were pulled by physicians, barbers, and blacksmiths. He continued in his profession until he was recognized as the oldest practising dentist in the world. He was captain of a military company in Cochecton, N. Y..

In 1850, he settled in Honesdale, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, where he practiced dentistry until his death. He represented Wayne Co. in the Pennsylvania legislature; associate judge in 1871; twice elected to that office, serving eleven years.

In 1851 Avery  exhibited some specimens of dentistry at the London Exhibition and with Dr.Ambler some specimens of mechanical dentistry .

He was also an inventor; invented a sewing machine that he took to Europe; sold patents in London and to the Emperor Napoleon.

Avery was mechanically talented, making many of his own dental tools. He designed a self-cleaning cuspidor and devised improvements to a typesetting machine. Avery received U.S. patent  9,338 on October 19, 1852 for improvements on a sewing machine. The chain stitch he used was enlarged on his patent drawing and he described it in the specification as “two threads having a double lock with each other, and in practice almost every alternate stitch may be cut or broken, and yet the material will not . . . ‘rip out.’” A common problem with the chain stitch was that it could easily be unraveled. His patent claims were for the working combination of needle-bars, spring-holders, and adjustable guides, which regulated the length of the stitch together with a weight for moving the cloth forward.

The catalogue for the 1853 New York Exhibition noted that three sewing machines were exhibited by the Avery Sewing Machine Co. of New York City. Each machine was adapted for sewing different materials, such as wool, muslin, linen and leathers. 

He continued to improve his machine and received  U.S. patent  10,880  issued May 9, 1854,  U.S. patent 15.872  issued  October 14, 1856  and  U.S. patent  22,007 issued November 9, 1856.


In 1857,  Z. W. Avery and Otis Avery, have invented a new and useful Self-Indicating Scale or Balance by which the amount of ‘weight- placed in the dish is at once shown on the scale-beam, U.S. Patent 17.252  issued May 12, 1857.

Otis Avery died in Honesdale, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, on the 22 February 1904. Place of Burial: Moravian Cemetery, New Dorp, Richmond County, New York, United States.



http://www.geni.com (Added by: Steven Avery Kelley)

THE GROTON AVERY CLAN, Vol. I, by Elroy McKendree Avery and Catherine Hitchcock (Tilden) Avery, Cleveland, 1912. p. 555-7