Above – The Roper home at 50 Freedom Street. Below – The Roper factory at Northrop Street, next to the town park.

Freedom Street and Roper home. Photo from American Antiquarian Society.

Charles Francis Roper,
Master Inventor,
Dies At His Hopedale Home

Hopedale, Nov. 14 [1916] – Charles F. Roper died this morning at 10:30 o’clock at his residence, 50 Freedom Street, from hardening of the arteries.

To the inventive genius of Mr. Roper is due more than 100 different types of machines which turn out the Draper Co. product daily, chief among these being the automatic screw machines that placed their designer in the front rank of inventors throughout the country.

Mr. Roper had suffered from the disease which finally claimed his life for the past few years, but he had been active in business as the head of the C.F. Roper Co. up to a very short time ago.

Charles Francis Roper was born in Manchester, N.H., on Dec. 10, 1847. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Roper of that city. His education was received in the schools of his native city, and he lived there until about 30 years ago, when he came to Hopedale and entered the employ of the Draper Co., in whose service he remained up to 10 years ago.

In the meantime he has risen to prominence as an inventor of automatic appliances of so varied a nature that he had been placed in charge of the company’s experimental department, and was closely associated with the then head of the great plant, the late Gen. W.F. Draper. It was the discontinuance of the experimental department which led to Mr. Roper severing his connection with the Draper Co., and the later establishment of the C.F. Roper Co., for which he built a factory which is in operation now turning out the later inventions of its projector.

Many of the Roper machines are triumphs of simplicity that rank him as a genius in the designing of such devices, He invented the Roper propeller for motor boats, a very ingenious and practical appliance, besides numerous other attachments of automobiles, etc.

Mr. Roper was a member of no organizations, preferring his own home above all other attractions. Mrs. Roper died several years ago.

Mr. Roper was interested in the town of Hopedale, which was his home for so long. He was active in matters for civic betterment, and was a member of the park commission.

Two sons, Walter F. and Arthur Roper survive him, and one daughter, Mrs. Hamilton S. Conant, lives in Roxbury. There are several grandchildren.

Funeral services are not complete as yet. Milford Daily News.

Was the motorcycle invented in Hopedale? Believe it or not, it’s actually possible. Click on Sylvester Roper (father of Charles) below to read the story and see some pictures.

 Now and Then – The Roper Shop                    Hopedale Manufacturing Company 
 Sylvester Roper  – Motorcycle Inventor          Draper Menu
  Memories Menu                   HOME

The wheel (propeller) ad was printed in 1913.

Above – Drawings from the patent for the Roper propeller.

 Now and Then – The Roper Shop                    Hopedale Manufacturing Company

 Sylvester Roper  – Motorcycle Inventor          Draper Menu

  Memories Menu                   HOME