Disc Blades Spurred Steel Processes
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Perfecting a design
By 1920, there were many tractors on American farms and they pulled implements at faster speeds than horses had. As a result, disc blades were failing rapidly and implement manufacturers were complaining to their blade suppliers. Stephen Ingersoll’s son Roy eyed one of the beat-up discs that had been returned to the factory, bent, twisted and with torn edges. After much thought and many experiments, Roy developed a heat-treating process that made the discs tough enough to hold their shape and stay sharp under severe use.
The new disc blades were so good that sales increased dramatically. Bethlehem Steel tried to develop a similar process, but finally gave up in 1925 and got out of the disc blade business, although Crucible Steel, with its LaBelle and Fieldmaster Slow-Tempered disc blades, remained a strong competitor.
In 1929, the Galesburg Coulter-Disc Co., then under the leadership of Roy Ingersoll, joined Borg-Warner as the Ingersoll Division. Roy Ingersoll remained as head of the division and later became president of the giant Borg-Warner Corporation.
The Ingersoll Tillage Group, with factories in Canada, France and Argentina (and apparently no longer affiliated with Borg-Warner), still makes flat coulters, as well as dished discs, with either smooth or notched edges, using a proprietary boron steel of increased hardness and enhanced elasticity.Sam Moore grew up on a farm in western Pennsylvania. He now lives in Salem, Ohio, and collects antique tractors, implements and related items. Contact Sam by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ingenuity and perseverance of the early farm equipment manufacturers of this country always amazes me, as they designed complicated machines and overcame many obstacles, usually with very little (if any) engineering training. FC
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