Alford, Leon Pratt
- Ellis W. Hawley
Alford, Leon Pratt (03 January 1877–02 January 1942), engineer and publicist, was born in Simsbury, Connecticut, the son of Emerson Alford, a farmer and manufacturer, and Sarah Merriam Pratt. Alford studied at Plainville (Conn.) High School and then the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1896 and, later, a master’s degree (1905). He took a position in 1896 as assistant shop foreman with the McKay Metallic Fastening Association and remained with the company through a series of mergers that eventually made it a part of the United Shoe Machinery Company. In 1900 he married Grace Agnes Hutchins. The couple had one child, a son. In 1902 he helped design United Shoe’s new plant in Beverly, Massachusetts, celebrated at the time as the world’s largest reinforced-concrete machine shop, and in 1906, after serving as production superintendent, he became head of the company’s mechanical engineering department....