After attending school at irregular intervals until he was fourteen years old, Bogardus became an apprentice to a watchmaker, specializing from the very beginning in engraving and die-sinking.
After completing his apprenticeship Bogardus left Catskill and went to New York City where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. The earliest record of Bogardus's inventive powers and mechanical skill is the award to him of the gold medal of the American Institute of New York at its first Fair in 1828, for an eight-day, three-wheeled chronometer clock. Two years later on March 2, 1830, he received a patent for a clock which was a most complicated timepiece. The same year he perfected his first generally useful invention, patented May 25, 1830. It was a "ring flyer" and was largely used for fifty years or more thereafter in cotton-spinning machinery. This was followed the next year by another successful invention, namely, an eccentric sugar-grinding mill. From these two inventions Bogardus received sufficient remuneration to permit him to resume work in die-sinking and engraving and in 1831 he made an engraving machine capable of turning imitation filigree work, rays radiating from a common point, and figures in relief, all in one operation. Its special use was for making engraved metal watch dials. About this time, too, he perfected a so-called transfer machine with which he introduced the production of banknote plates from separate dies.
On May 18, 1832, Bogardus received a patent for an improvement in the striking parts of clocks. By this time Bogardus was being recognized as an unusual technician, and besides his own work he was often called upon to develop the ideas of others. Thus on March 19, 1833, Miles Berry received a patent for a dry gas meter which was devised by Bogardus. The latter improved the meter during the next two years. On September 17, 1833, he received a patent for a metal-cased pencil, the lead of which was "forever pointed. "
In 1836 Bogardus went to England and almost immediately accepted a public challenge to construct an engraving machine. This machine made not only an accurate facsimile of the head of Ariadne on a medal but from the medal engraved comic facial expressions. With the machine Bogardus, at her own request, engraved a portrait of Queen Victoria. In 1839 he won the award of $2, 000 offered by the English Government for the best engraving machine and plan for making postage stamps.
Upon returning to New York in 1840, Bogardus continued his inventive work and during the next seven years perfected a number of devices. These included a white lead paint grinding-mill, a rice grinder, a new eccentric mill, a dynamometer, and a portable horse power. Of his last inventions the more important were a machine for pressing glass, a machine for cutting India rubber threads for the production of shirred goods, a pyrometer of great accuracy, and a deep-sea sounding device.
Bogardus married Margaret Maclay, the eldest daughter of Rev. Archibald Maclay, D. D. , of New York, on February 12, 1831. None of their children having lived to maturity, they adopted a niece, Harriet Hogg.