Howe designed numerous innovations for historically important manufacturers. Howe was apprenticed to the famous Gay, Silver shop in North Chelmsford, Mass. Between 1847 and 1856, he and Richard Lawrence jointy developed numerous innovations for Robbins & Lawrence in Windsor, Vt. ---the location of the American Precision Museum today. Among Howe's designs were several for milling machines. Then he built milling machines for a Newark firm and worked for the Simeon North company in Middletown, Conn. Next, while at the Providence Tool Company's armory, he interested Joseph R. Brown in machine tools. The first Brown & Sharpe machine was an improved version of a turret screw machine that Howe had designed while at Robbins and Lawrence. Howe also inspired Brown to invent the universal milling machine. Next he organized quantity production of Elias Howe's sewing machines and finally returned to Brown & Sharpe as President.