WATERLOO Manufacturing Company Limited

Jack C. Norbeck

Jack C. Norbeck , president of Norbeck Research

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Norbeck Research117 Ruch Street Coplay, Pennsylvania 18037

Watertloo 20 HP stream traction engine built in 1918 by the Waterloo Mfg. Co., Waterloo Ontario and owned by Hurass of Ontario.

Jacob Bricker was born in 1818 in Waterloo, Ontario, and learned the trade of blacksmith and wagon-maker in a neighboring village. Returning to Waterloo in 1850, he built a shop and began the manufacture of pioneer tools and implements. Gradually his shop and his output included threshing machines.

Bricker's machines were of the canvas or apron type and his idea of mounting them on two wheels made them quite popular. The demand soon caused him to concentrate solely on threshing machines, tread mills and horsepowers. In the early 1880's he began to experiment with steam power, and equipped his plant to build portable steam engines of the return flue type.

In 1880, E.W.B. Snider, who had been born in the nearby village of St. Jacobs and became a well-to-do miller, saw the possibilities of the fast growing threshing machine industry. He purchased the plant operated by Jacob Bricker and the close-by foundry where Sammuel Mermer had him making plows and other agricultural implements. Combining the two under the name of Waterloo Manufacturing Company, he began the almost exclusive manufacture of threshing machinery which he marketed under the trademark 'Lion Brand'. The face of a lion was cast on the smoke box door of all engines built after the turn of the century.

For a few years the new firm continued to build return flue portable engines, but public interest in the locomotive type of boiler soon caused a switch to this style. The open bottom firebox type was chosen, the popular diamond top smokestack was adopted and the belt wheel was moved over to the right side. About this time workmen experienced in building traction engines were secured as a result of the closing down of the Haggard Bros. Foundry at Brampton, Ontario. Thus, the production of traction engines was commenced at Waterloo, Ontario, Canada without delay.

These early traction engines were rated at 14 HP. They were side-mounted, with the boiler resting on springs and the counter shaft mounted on a strong angle steel frame extending around the front of the firebox from one rear wheel bracket to the other. The engines were of the side crank type mounted with the cylinder at the smoke box end.

In 1925 the last new steam traction engine was built, and three years later the Snider family, which had controlled the fortunes of the firm for 40 years, sold out their interest to the H.V. McKay Company of Australia, who chose Waterloo, Ontario, as the place to manufacture and distribute its self-propelled combine on this continent.

The new owners continued to operate as the Waterloo Manufacturing Company Limited but the depression years forced them to abandon the manufacture of com-, bines. Some construction machinery and various agricultural implements, including garden and orchard power cultivators were produced. Separators in the smaller sizes were produced until the firm became Canadian distributors of the U.S. built 'Belle City' threshers and Minneapolis-Moline farm tractors.

This article was taken from Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines.