B.F. Avery Plow Company

The B.F. Avery company was driven to success by one man's vision

| July 1999

"If you can succeed in introducing your plow, you will have fortune enough, but I don't believe you can!" 

That's what B.F. Avery was once told about his plow-manufacturing venture. He would come to disprove the statement.

Understanding how this one plow company came into being can help a collector know and appreciate the state of the nation during the Agricultural Revolution, and how it has changed. In their day, plows were a means to more efficient production in an environment where farming was key to the nation's economic infrastructure.

Entrepreneurs of yesteryear carved a niche for themselves in the development and production of farm equipment. Such equipment created prosperous enterprises that capitalized on the newfound enthusiasm for tillage of the land. One such entrepreneur was B.F. Avery, the founder of one of the largest plow factories in the world.

The sixth of 15 children in his family, Benjamin Franklin Avery had access to both a formal education and full exposure to farm-work on land owned by his father, a member of Congress and large landholder in Aurora, N.Y.

Such labor, however, was distasteful to Benjamin, who begged permission to go to college. His petition was granted, on condition that his expenses be deducted from the $1,000 which would be given him on his coming of age, as was his father's custom. He accepted the condition and enrolled at Hamilton College, but at the end of his first year, transferred to Union College, where he earned a degree in 1822. At his father's suggestion, he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in New York City.