B.F. Avery Plow Company
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The fledgling business started with one ton of metal. Averse to debt and credit, the partners were industrious and enthusiastic, lived frugally, and soon began to see success. When their land lease was not renewed, they moved their operation to Milton, N.C. After cancellation of yet another lease, they moved to Meadville, Va., where they bought land. Avery was the business manager, dabbling in some of the hands-on work; Richmond operated the foundry.
In 1842, on the death of his father, Avery sold his Virginia property and business to a younger brother, and returned to Aurora to settle his father's estate.
While there, he became acquainted with a nephew, Daniel Humphrey Avery. Impressed by the young man's interest and aptitude, he returned to plow manufacturing. In 1846, B.F. Avery sent his nephew off with plow patterns and an open commission to select the best location in the south or southwest for plow manufacturing.
Showing good judgment, the young man selected Louisville, Ky., as the site for the new venture. The next spring, the business opened at Jabez Baldwin's foundry on Main Street in Louisville. Daniel Avery established the business while his uncle remained in the North.
Soon, however, he realized the need for his uncle's experience, and urged Avery to make an extended visit. The elder Avery arrived in Louisville on Dec. 25, 1847, intending to stay only a few weeks. But as he immersed himself in the young company's business, Benjamin Avery stayed on, at first just for the winters, but ultimately, permanently.
B.F. Avery was sure he could produce plows that were better made and less expensive than those in general use. But there was a resistance to cast iron plows, and sales were slow. For months, orders came so slowly that the sale of even a single plow was a major event. Friends offered little encouragement. "My friend," wrote Jas. Hewitt of Rock Hill near Louisville, "if you can succeed in introducing your plow, you will have fortune enough, but I don't believe you can!"