James Hartness patented his fIat-turret lathe in 1891, replacing the then popular barrel arrangement with a circular flat revolving plate mounted on a low carriage. Hartness began his career in Clevland and then moved east when he received a job through the mail from Stasker Bolt Co. in Winsted, Conn. After three years he moved to Union Hardware Co. in Torrington.
In 1888 Hartness was hired as superintendent for Jones & Lamson, which had recently moved to Springfield, Vt. There he soon angered associates by focusing production on turret lathes. Protected by a three-year employment contract, he ignored the conflict and redeemed himself with the invention of his flat-turret lathe. In later years, Hartness also received patents for a roller feed, the Lo-Swing lathe (which he sold), the Comparator, and other designs for a total of 120 US and 48 foreign patents. He is also noted as a catalyst, spurring the formation of two companies: Edwin Fellow's gear-shaper company and William Bryant's internal-grinder manufacturing firm. Hartness had hired both men and later helped them set up their companies.