more about The Wind-Stacher

Content Tools

'This company engaged in the manufacture of pneumatic straw stackers, having acquired the patents from James Buchanan and others.' Finally, 'this company recognizing the importance of the invention began manufacturing the 'wind stachers', an adjunct to the separator.'(7)

The writer has exercised extreme care and caution in documenting the fact that the Indiana Manufacturing Company did indeed engage in manufacturing Wind Stackers and threshing machines. There is every reason to believe that the primary sources consulted are impeccable. In the interest of historical accuracy, it is only fair that the record be set straight since wide credence has been given to the statement, 'that the Indiana Manufacturing Company which owned the patents, but which manufactured nothing, fought several court battles over infringement charges and won.'(8) A pursuit of the details of these and other inventions as well as the lawsuits involved is beyond the limitations of this article. It is enough to say that Mr. Buchanan's inventions made significant contributions to the improvement of the threshing machine.

After introducing their machine the Indiana Manufacturing Company licensed every manufacturer of threshing machines in the United States and Canada to build the Wind-Stacker on a royalty in connection with their machinery. In 1892, the first license was granted and the first machine was built under this license in 1893. The almost phenominal growth in the use of the Wind Stacker is evidenced by the fact that while one machine was built under this license in 1893, in 1894, there were three hundred fifty licenses issued, in 1895 seven hundred and in 1896 it was estimated that three-fourths of the separators built were equipped with Wind Stackers.(9)

The price of the license for the 'Farmers Friend' was $250.00 'payable in two falls or $235.00 cash.' According to an announcement of the Heilman Machine Works there were in the early nineties three kinds of Wind Stackers on the market. They were the 'Uncle Tom's Farmers' Friend', the 'Landis' and 'Nethry's'. The three were very similar differing chiefly in the location of the fan. Because of the strong demand, the Heilman Company in 1898 built exclusively the 'Uncle Tom'. As may be observed from the cuts of the Heilman Company, the 'Uncle Tom' was located at the rear of the separator in an upright position. Of course, many of the other companies placed the fan at the side and rear of the separator. Eventually this became the more common practice of manufacturers.(10)

It has been said frequently that institutions or organizations are but the lengthened shadows of men. It is usually true that any business or industrial enterprise which has enjoyed a reasonable measure of success owes that success to virile dynamic leadership. No more fitting example of this statement can be found than in the instance of the Indiana Manufacturing Company. For this reason a brief biographical statement concerning its president, Arthur Albert McKain is appropriate at this point. Many pages would be required to do justice to this man for merely to list the business and industrial enterprises with which he was actively concerned staggers one's comprehension.

He was the son of a farmer who lived near Troy, Ohio. He left home at the age of twelve years to make his way in the world. He worked on farms and at any other work which was available. His early life experiences taught him the value of hard work. He was married to Mary P. McClure at West Sonora, Ohio, at the age of twenty.

When he was seventeen, he traveled for a New York nursery firm selling fruit trees. In 1876, he became engaged in the marble and granite business in Wabash County, Indiana. In 1880, he established a wholesale marble and granite yard in Chicago and the same year migrated to Indianapolis and continued in the monument business for nine years. During this period, he was also instrumental in organizing the Consumer's Gas Trust. In fact, he was considered to be a connoisseur in business.

As previously suggested, he became associated with James Buchanan in the manufacturing of threshing machines and Wind Stackers. It was McKain who conceived the idea of introducing the Wind Stacker to the public and also attaching it to any and all threshing machines. For this purpose, he secured from Mr. Buchanan all of the territory east of the Mississippi River. As already pointed out, it was during this period of experimentation with the Wind Stacker, that he organized a company and erected a shop so he might supply new appliances and parts as needed during this stage of experimentation. After the expenditure of a large sum of money and patience in perfecting the stacker, McKain was satisfied with the results obtained and immediately purchased all of the rest of the territory from Mr. Buchanan. It was at this time that he proceeded to organize the Indiana Manufacturing Company, the story of which has already been sketched.

One other enterprise in which Mr. McKain was active should be mentioned, again illustrating the business acumen of the man. He organized the American Buncher Manufacturing Company in 1895. This company manufactured a device which was attached to the cutter bar of a mowing machine and which was used when cutting second growth clover prior to hulling. The writer recalls that this device was designed to save the clover seeds and some labor. The usual practice was to mow the clover, permit it to dry, then rake it in windrows and stack in piles so that it could be pitched and loaded on wagons. This dry clover was then hauled to the barn and stored to await the coming of the huller. Occasionally it was hulled in the field. In the process of handling clover in this way some clover seed was lost. The buncher made possible the mowing of the clover and bunching in one operation, thus eliminating the raking of the clover and also saving some of the seed. There was a strong demand for this product over a period of years. (11)

While this article has not been concerned primarily with the trade mark 'The Farmer's Friend', since this subject has been fully explored by other writers, yet there awaits the interesting and challenging task for someone to continue the exploration of trade marks on farm machinery. Many of us are familiar with the origin and significance of the Eagle which became the symbol of the J. I. Case Company and its machinery. The Maple Wreath was the trade mark of the M. Rumley Company, a brief account and picture of which appeared in the 1959 May-June issue of the Iron-Men Album. (12) It is common knowledge that the 'Boss' was the trade mark of the Russell and Company, the starved rooster for the Aultman-Taylor Company with the caption, 'Fattened on an Aultman-Taylor Strawstack', the Star for the Aultman Company, the picture of Ruth gleaning in the fields of Boas for the Ruth feeder and the picture of the farmer with his foot on the plow beam of an Imperial plow saying to the agent, 'I tell you, Sir, the Imperial is the best plow in the world, make no mistake about it'. These are only a few examples typical of many others, which illustrate a significant and interesting aspect in the development of farm machinery. This could be a story well worth telling.

(1)Tadlock, Charles W.: 'Wanted Wind-Stacker Story', Iron-Men Album Magazine, 14:32, Sept.-Oct., 1959.

(2)St. Clair, Haston L.: 'Wind-Stacker Story', Iron-Men Album Magazine, 14:3, Nov.-Dec, 1959.

(3)Holbrook, Stewart: MACHINES OF PLENTY, pp. 105-108, Macmillan Co.

(4)Cortelyou, Hollis: 'Turning a Page of History', Iron-Men Album Magazine, 14:27, March-April, 1960.

(5) Hyman, Max R.: The Journal of Indianapolis, An Outline of History, 1902, pp. 281-282; Biographical History of Iminent and Self-Made Men of the State of Indiana. Western Biog. Publishing Co., 1880, pp. 14-15; Nowland, John H.: Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876, Tilford and Carlton, 1877, pp. 545-547.

(6)Cumback, Will and Maynard, J. P. editors, Men of Progress, Indiana. Sentinel Co. 1899, pp. 157-519; Hyman, Max R. editor, The Journal Handbook of Indianapolis, An Outline of History, pp. 281-282.

(7)Indian apolis of Today. Consolidated Ills. Company, 1896, p. 8.

(8)Holbrook, Stewart H.: Machines of Plenty, p. 107, also Wik, Reynold: Steam Power on the American Farm, pp. 89-90.

(9)Indianapolis Today. Consolidated Illus. Co., 1896, p. 108.

(10)Heilman Machine Works, Descriptive Catalogue, pp. 10-14.

(11)Nowland, Op, Cit. pp. 545-547; Cumback, Will and Maynard, J. P. editors, Men of Progress, Indiana. Sentinel Co. 1899, pp. 517-519; Reed, George Irving, Ed. Encyclopedia of Biography of Indiana. Century Co., 1899, Vol II pp. 260-262.

(12)See ton-Men Album Magazine, 13, p. 3, May-June, 1959.