A HISTORY of the BAKER COMPANY

The Baker Uni-flow Cylinder

The Baker Uni-flow Cylinder

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The increased capitalization enabled them to greatly increase the production of Baker steam traction engines, expanding the line to include additional sizes over the original sixteen horse.

Sales seemed to be readily made from either the factory or by the jobbers in various sections of the country. Some of the jobbers were small builders of threshing machines who lacked a traction engine of their own manufacture. They found that sales came easier when they could furnish the entire rig. The company was able to dispose of their entire output each year in spite of a yearly increase in the number made. By the year 1907 they had built nearly four hundred.

The features which enabled the BAKER engines to sell so readily were the steam jacketed cylinder, the counterbalanced clutch and their new improved reverse gear which was one of the- radial type. The engines were built of the rear geared type which was growing in popularity at that time. Baker's years of experience rebuilding threshing machinery had stood him in good stead for his engines proved to be successful and popular in the field.

The great improvements made in threshing machines at the turn of the century, such as the addition of self-feeders and band cutters, windstackers, as well as grain handling equipment, made the replacement of the older types a necessity. This created - a great demand for new threshing machinery. To drive these new threshing machines with all their accessories required more power, hence more powerful engines were required. To come at a time when there was such demand for new and larger engines was a lucky coincident for the Baker Company.

By 1905 Baker engines were built in sizes 16, 18, 20, and 25 horse power. This was a range of sizes which covered the needs of most threshermen. The 25 horse size was also built as a special Straw-Burner for use in the Northwest regions where the threshing engines used were mostly of the larger sizes. The greatest percentage of Baker engines were sold in sections requiring coal and wood burning engines.

In 1908 a threshing machine bearing the name 'Baker was introduced. The company had been experimenting with them for a few years back. They were a radical departure as far as the straw rack design was concerned. Described in their catalog as a train of seven alternating, oscillating, agitating racks; counter-balancing each other by moving upward and downward in alternating motion in opposite directions, breaking the straw flow eight times in the length of the machine as it passes rearward through.

The threshing machines made of the usual wood construction, were painted red with green framing and neatly striped in yellow.

The Baker steam traction engine now had a worthy companion in the threshing field.

Abner D. Baker did not limit his liking for steam to the agricultural field but his fondness for locomotives led to adapting the reverse valve gear for their use also. For this he was granted a patent in 1907. In a short space of two years the demand for these 'Baker' valve gears from railroads was so great that it was decided to separate it from the threshing machine business. A new firm called the Pilliod Company was formed to handle the railroad valve gear business.

In about 1910 the A. D. Baker Company entered a new field, that of building road rollers. This they did by adding a front roller attachment and cast rear rollers to their sixteen horse traction engine.

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