Rufus Lenoir Patterson Jr. (1872-1943)

Rufus L. Patterson Jr., of New York; Founder of American Machine & Foundry Co.

Associated Houses

James J. Van Alen House




He was born at Salem, North Carolina. Having apprenticed with a machine inventor and studied machinery design in England, in 1893 he invented the Patterson Packer that automatically weighed, packed, stamped, and labeled smoking tobacco. This put him on the radar of James B. Duke who on inspecting the machine was reputed to have said: "Ding it, your machines are all right, but I also must have you". In 1899, he arrived in New York in charge of all the American Tobacco Company's machinery and by 1901 he was Vice-President of the firm. He became best known as the founder of the American Machine and Foundry Company that he founded in 1900, originally as a subsidiary of American Tobacco before it became independent in 1912. Patterson was also the inventor of the automatic cigar-maker and the standard bread-wrapper and by 1935 he was one of the eight highest paid executives in the country.

He lived between his stately Regency-style townhouse at 15 East 65th Street and Lenoir (now called Linden) on Long Island. In 1930, he and his father-in-law donated the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower to the University of North Carolina. He married Margaret Morehead and they had two children: Morehead; and, Lucy, Mrs Casimir de Rham. 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 23/10/2020 and last updated on 25/07/2021.