Some Banting BACKGROUND

Greyhound

Content Tools

William Flowers is seen here with his wife on the Edgar Flowers' family's 24 HP Greyhound at the Dover Show. The engine is No. 22135 and was built in 1922. See page 25 for some 'Banting Background' which William Flowers reports in the form of correspondence from the late C. J. Decker, a Banting employee.

Early in 1988 we published the obituary of Charles Decker of Toledo, Ohio in the Golden Roll. The information for it was submitted by William Flowers of Route 1, Box 332, Adena, OH 43901. At the same time, Mr. Flowers sent us additional material which we are now publishing, dating back to 1966 regarding Greyhound engines and their manufacturer The Banting Company. Mr. Flowers says of Mr. Decker, 'He didn't want it published while he lived, so upon his passing, I have his wife's permission to send it along with his death notice. Mr. Decker was very unselfish in sharing his knowledge of The Banting Co. and the Greyhound line of machinery.'

The first letter from Decker to Flowers:

Your letter to Mr. C. C. Banting has been referred to me by Mrs. Banting for comment. You no doubt have her acknowledgement by this time, however I do not know the contents of her reply.

Mr. Banting and an older brother (both deceased) were the principal owners of The Banting Manufacturing Company of Toledo who manufactured the Greyhound engines and threshers. The writer was an employee of that and successor company for many years and perhaps one of the few now living who were thus employed.

There are no records in existence and the engines were first built in 1916 or 1917 and the first numerals in the serial number indicates the year of manufacture. All of these engines were Ohio Standard boilers, built first by the Adam Loos Boiler Works in Toledo and later by either the John Brennan Company in Detroit, or Golley & Finley of Lima, Ohio.

If you are interested in simply having the Ohio inspection number I cannot be of assistance. If you are interested from a standpoint of this engine as a hobby or museum piece and would like further word I shall be glad to write further if requested.

Second letter: February 6, 1966

This is in reply to your letter of Jan. 22nd. I shall be happy to pass along the information regarding the Greyhound engine.

As a school boy I was employed by a firm originally known as 'The Banting Machine & Supply Co.,' in Toledo, and through a period of about forty years worked for that company and its successors.

A bit of background of the company may be of interest to you. Around the year of 1900 Mr. Charles Banting moved to Toledo from El-more, Ohio. As a young and energetic employee of the Banting Sanders Co., in Elmore he had distinguished himself as an outstanding salesman of mowers, binders etc., and as a 'spotter' salesman in the highly competitive threshing machinery field. In Toledo he obtained the agency for Buffalo-Pitts threshing machinery and some related products. At that time the Arbuckle-Ryan Co. were well established in the Russell line and a local branch house for the Geiser firm was also here. In addition several travelers of some of the better known firms either lived in Toledo or made their headquarters here. Naturally he was accorded small chance for success. Perhaps like 'Avis' he worked harder for he succeeded remarkably well. Within a couple of years, his older brother John W. Banting came from Elmore to join him and as he was a very capable and conservative business man, they enjoyed considerable success.

Sometime around 1915 the Buffalo-Pitts Co. entered into a sales agreement with International Harvester to supply their threshing machinery and the Bantings obtained the agency for Wood Bros, threshing machinery and steam engines. They did very well with those lines.

As you perhaps know, the Wood Bros., of Des Moines, Iowa, became suppliers to Ford and later were absorbed by that organization.

The Bantings theorized that they should not be obligated to others for machinery and embarked in the manufacturing of their own engines, threshers, hay balers, bean threshers etc. This change was not too difficult as they had devoted themselves to an unusual program of complete rebuilding of many makes of machinery and knew pretty well what features were good and which ones were 'not too good' in competitive makes. This was probably an unusual and perhaps unique virtue. I submit that probably no one was ever more 'opinionated' (or stubborn) than the old time machinery builders and perhaps religious fanatics. Even if proved wrong they refused to bow.

Now in regard to your comment concerning the Buffalo-Pitts. The Bantings employed as designer of the grain and bean thresher, Mr. Edward Wadleigh of Buffalo who was an employee of 'Pitts.' He came to Toledo and it might be truthful to state, copied rather freely from the Case thresher with respect to straw rack, from B-P for frame structure and the Nichols & Shepard (Red River) for cylinder design.

Likewise Mr. Herman Lundquist who came from B-P as engine designer used much of Pitts in the new Greyhound engine. Pitts had designed the 'Rear-Mounted' type of engine with the idea of using it for road building work as well as saw milling and threshing. Stone roads were being built using steam traction power and 'trains' of self dumping road wagons, for the motor truck of those days either didn't exist or was not well enough constructed. With the substitution of steel gears these engines served excellently.

The first Greyhound engines were built in 1916 and were heavily constructed weighing from 22,000 to 24,000 pounds. They were equipped with either Baker or Gould valves, Ohio Standard boilers, fourpoint friction clutches and were usually purchased by those buyers who hoped to escape the weaknesses of some of the other makes. Certain makers featured poorly built road wheels, bad fire door ring construction, 'open-bottom' boilers etc., and their builders stoutly resisted improvements along those lines.

1/4 scale of a 24 HP Greyhound built by Ray Coualt of Fletcher, OH. His dad had owned a 24 HP Greyhound, so you can see why he built his model.

During years following the first manufacturing of their own line of machinery the company sold some of the early and popular 'gas' tractors of those days including the Avery, Flour-City, Lauson and others.

The company sold threshers in Canada through a distributing firm at Regina and through the west and northwest through Allis-Chalmers but as was the case with others in the industry the real profit was made in the 'power' field and not in the threshing machines.

In the depression days of 1929-30 the company then known as 'The Banting Manufacturing Co.', was liquidated and later The Banting Company was formed as a sales and distributing business with the well established 'Keck-Gonnerman' line built at Mount Vernon, Indiana, and with the Allis-Chalmers line of tractors.

The connection with Allis-Chalmers proved to be extremely successful and existed until the death of Mr. Carlos Banting when the company was liquidated (1954).

I do not know how many of the Greyhound engines are in existence other than the ones you mention, however a 24 HP Greyhound has been exhibited at the reunion in Montpelier, Ohio, that is owned by Harold Gay and John Brite of Decatur, Indiana. Possibly these gentlemen know of others.

You may be bored with this epistle, however I do hope you may enjoy it at least partly as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing.

Very truly yours,
C. J. Decker

Third letter, December 26, 1966

Thank you for the snap shot of your Greyhound steam engine. I shall try to supply a bit more of information to you. As I may have stated earlier, the first Greyhound engine was built in 1916 and if I can remember correctly they were first built with a 'D' slide valve, perhaps the same or similar to one used by the Buffalo-Pitts engine. Later some were built with the Baker valve (no connection with the A. D. Baker Company of Swanton, Ohio). Later the Gould Balanced valve (Kellogg, Iowa I think) and probably most of them were thus equipped.

The first engine 8 ' x 11' was called 18 HP and when the 9 ' x 11' was built it was called 22 HP and as I may have stated previously the original size 18 HP has a boiler with 49 flues and the larger boiler with 52 flues all 7 foot long. For competitive reasons and apparently in keeping with industry practice they were soon rated as 20 HP and 24 HP and never to my knowledge were officially called 26 HP. The matter of ratings for steam engines was not very helpful since the original idea came from the 'tractive' power and not belt horsepower. Probably an old country origin, as not many engines were used extensively for traction work in most areas of the country.

An attempt was made by the designers to build a completely steam jacketed cylinder but it proved to be too difficult for the average foundry to successfully produce the castings. I don't know how much if any additional efficiency would have resulted.

I recall the names of Messrs. Densmore and Hamblin but I do not recall ever meeting them however I made occasional trips in that area and Eastern Ohio and Pa. with Mr. Dunham. In regard to Mr. Dunham, he was associated with the Banting company for many years. As a young man he lived in Toledo and worked in the shop as a mechanic and later as test man in the engine erecting shop. He performed field expert service and then became a territorial representative. For a few years he lived in Ravenna, Ohio, and was well known in that area as Company traveler. He married Miss Emma Fugman of a prominent family at Mantua or Aurora Station, Ohio. The family operated a dairy farm and Wm. Fugman operated a Greyhound steam engine and probably a thresher and saw mill as well.

After the original Banting Co. discontinued the manufacturing business, Mr. Dunham along with some other employees helped in the organization of 'The Banting Company' a new firm which successfully represented Allis-Chalmers over a wide territory. Mr. Dunham moved to Fremont, Ohio, and as a Vice President of the company operated a branch store for a number of years until his final retirement. He passed away about five or six years ago.

I note that your engine appears to have the original smoke stack. As a tapered stack, they too were not too easy for most foundries to make. We also were not inclined to use an aluminum paint on the smoke box perhaps because certain other firms did so.

You'll note that the main engine frame was built with a 'boss' for installation of a cross-head pump but the Penberthy Injector was standard equipment.

I hope this letter doesn't bore you with the details but I thought best to answer promptly or my habits of delay would get the best of me. I hope you'll also overlook the errors in typing but I'm sure you would have more trouble in reading my handwriting.

Best wishes to you for 1967.

Very truly yours,
C. J. Decker

The Spencer family may be acquainted with the Fugman family and have some more information of interest.