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Celebrating the Rich History of St. Louis

by Leslie McManus

Tags: October 2013,

Let’s take just one more jaunt before the weather gets foul back to St. Louis of the past! In this issue, we jump on the bandwagon with both feet, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Gateway to the West.

When it comes to tractors, engines and implements, other U.S. cities have larger stature as industrial giants. But situated in the middle of the country and located at the confluence of two major waterways, St. Louis held its own in the burgeoning industrial boom of the 1800s. In this issue, we take a look at the city’s role in farm mechanization.

Home to some of the best-known wagon builders in the U.S. and geographically positioned as a sort of jumping-off point, St. Louis enjoys a rich history in the story of the western migration. No one tells that story better than historian David Sneed. In this issue he focuses on six leading wagon manufacturers and digs in deep to give us a look at a highly evolved and competitive industry.

When it comes to antique tractors and engines, the most obscure companies often make the most interesting story. Regular contributor Bill Vossler has uncovered fascinating details of early, little-known manufacturers, developing a remarkably comprehensive snapshot of St. Louis’ involvement in farm mechanization in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Farm Equipment Manufacturers in St. Louis.

Longtime columnist Sam Moore completes the trifecta, giving the Dazey butter churn its 15 minutes of fame. A consummate researcher, Sam has crafted a richly detailed portrait of Nathan Dazey and traces the rise and fall of his iconic company including its role in the St. Louis business community.

Our celebration of St. Louis would not be complete without a contribution from David Schnakenberg, world-class collector of antique farm advertising. A piece from his collection brings Whitman Agricultural Co. back to life. Whitman was a major exhibitor at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (otherwise known as the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904). And that, of course, is the event that gave birth to the ice cream cone. What’s not to celebrate? Meet us in St. Louis! FC