Hail the Champion!

This chromolithograph from harvesting machinery manufacturer Champion Machine Works advertised “The Champion” combined reaper and mower.


| May 2016


Born in 1824 in Philadelphia, Benjamin H. Warder moved to Springfield, Ohio, with his family at age 6. In 1850, Warder co-founded Warder, Brokaw & Child Co. and paid $30,000 for patent rights to “The Champion,” a combined reaper and mower invented by William N. Whiteley.

By 1860, Brokaw had departed the Springfield firm. In 1866, it was reorganized as Warder, Mitchell & Co., with John J. Glessner and Asa S. Bushnell as junior partners. Senior partner Ross Mitchell retired in 1880, and the firm regrouped as Warder, Bushnell & Glessner Co.

 The company manufactured harvesting machinery – reapers, binders, mowers and hay rakes – under the Champion brand name. By 1886, Warder, Bushnell & Glessner employed more than 1,000, and was exporting goods to foreign countries. In 1908, the company marked a major milestone: sale of its 2,000,000th Champion machine.

That proud heritage lives on in Springfield, Ohio, long nicknamed, “The Champion City,” for a line of farm equipment manufactured there more than a century ago.  FC

Grateful acknowledgement is given to David Schnakenberg, who contributed this image from his collection of pre-1910 chromolithographs of farm machinery advertising. For more information, contact him at 10108 Tamarack Dr., Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 938-8606; dschnakenberg@verizon.net; view the Schnakenberg Collection.

To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email: editor@farmcollector.com.