The Rise of Adriance, Platt & Co.

Adriance, Platt & Co. is a lesser-known farm machinery maker with ties to Minneapolis-Moline.


| September 2014



Buckeye mower on the road

A Buckeye mower on the road with the cutter bar folded. A drawing of a mower speeding down a dirt road behind two spirited horses was a popular catalog illustration of the era. However, if one cast iron mower wheel hit a rock in the road, it was “goodbye wheel” and the end of mowing until the wheel was repaired or replaced.

Illustration courtesy Sam Moore

One of the lesser-known farm machinery makers, even though it was in business for about 70 years and eventually became part of Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Co., is Adriance, Platt & Co., Poughkeepsie, New York.

John P. Adriance, who was named for his father, was born March 4, 1825, to a Poughkeepsie businessman. John P. was educated in local schools and worked a number of years in various hardware stores before partnering in 1852 with his brother-in-law, Samuel Platt, and Samuel Sears in a New York City wholesale hardware business under the name Sears, Adriance & Platt.

Inspired by Forbush

The senior John Adriance had been dabbling in farm equipment and he and John P. became interested in the newly invented Forbush mower. John P. decided the new mowers and reapers were the wave of the future and, after buying the rights to the Manney mower patent, in 1855 established a factory at Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Forbush-based mowers weren’t all that successful, but at the big mower and reaper trials held in 1857 in Syracuse, New York, Adriance saw the new Aultman mower patented by Lewis Miller that took first prize. Although his partners were reluctant, Adriance bought patent rights and began to build the new mower, which he said was called the “Buckeye” due to its Ohio origins although Miller also called his mower the “Buckeye.”

Business grew and the operation was moved to Poughkeepsie in 1859. Sears left the firm in 1863, taking the hardware business. Thereafter Adriance, Platt & Co. was in the mower and reaper business.

The Buckeye influence

In a catalog put out by the firm in 1904, a reference is made to its first product: “The mower brought out by us at the beginning of our business proved to embody the best and enduring principles which entered finally, more or less, into all mowers.” Those principles included a floating cutter bar that was double-hinged where it joined to the frame, allowing the bar to follow the ground contour. Then too, the cutter bar was mounted in front of the driving wheels (of which there were two instead of one, as had been customary until then) and the front mounting reduced the possibility of the driver being thrown off his seat into the path of the cutter bar, a common occurrence with the usual rear-mounted bars. The cutter bar could be folded back over the frame in front of the driver’s feet for transport.