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Loren B. Merrill

Loren B. Merrill of Paris Hill, Maine was born February 14, 1853, the son of farmers James and Eliza Merrill of Oxford. At first he worked on the family farm, but by 1880 he had left the farm and was working in a sled factory. He began mining for minerals in the mid to late 1880's at Mount Apatite, Auburn, Maine. He became associated with Augustus Hamlin about 1888. The local newspaper indicated that Merrill had decorated the sides of his driveway on Lincoln Street in Paris Hill with rock from Mount Mica.

The actual business arrangement with Hamlin is reported in contradictory fashion and it is likely that the nature of the association changed from contractor to business partner to lessee. Merrill's lease at Mount Mica lapsed in 1913. By 1889, if not before, Merrill had been intermittently associated with Luther Kimball Stone (1854-1907) and in that year Stone was credited with cutting tourmaline using a faceting machine of his own construction. The newspaper account is believed to be incorrect, and Merrill is universally credited with the machine's design and construction. In fact, Merrill had never personally seen a faceting machine when he constructed his and he only had word of mouth, and perhaps engravings of typical machines, to guide his design. The faceting machine is believed to be the first such device intended for the use of the cottage and amateur faceter. Merrill did not sell many gemstones until he had taught himself to produce commercial-grade gems, about 1901. Merrill taught many local mineral collectors to facet tourmaline. He was a mineral dealer from the 1880's until his death. An early, if not original Merrill faceting machine is preserved at the Paris Hill Historical Society. He died March 29, 1930.

KING, V. (2006) Personal collunication.
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The Mineralogical Record - Loren B. Merrill Loren B. Merrill
The Mineralogical Record - Loren B. Merrill Loren B. Merrill holding a large tourmaline crystal (partially hand-colored)
The Mineralogical Record - Loren B. Merrill 50 x 76 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Loren B. Merrill 41 x 64 mm
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