Succeed Where Others Fail: Emerson-Brantingham-Osborne Implements

This 1922 wall calendar advertised the supposed superiority of Emerson-Brantingham-Osborne equipment.


| June 2015


This poster, promoting a French-based branch of Emerson-Brantingham-Osborne Co., Rockford, Illinois, is part of an elaborate 1922 wall calendar. The light-hearted scene shows a farmer operating a reaper in the field, while gendarmes make quick work of ruffians who may have been hiding in the field and were discovered by the farmer.

Text in the lower left corner (next to a depiction of David Osborne, founder of D.M. Osborne & Co.) identifies Emerson-Brantingham-Osborne as manufacturer of “implements that succeed where others fail.”

In the background, the number 1878 is set against the rays of a rising sun, popular imagery in the 1920s. The third Paris World’s Fair was held in 1878; the exposition’s theme celebrated France’s recovery following the Franco-Prussion War of 1870.

Emerson-Brantingham Co. was established in 1909, but the company’s roots stretch back to the 1850s. J.H. Manny & Co. (which later became Emerson Mfg. Co., and then Emerson-Brantingham Co.) was one of the largest reaper manufacturers in the world in 1855, when competitor Cyrus McCormick filed suit against Manny for patent infringement. Manny’s legal team included a self-taught country lawyer from Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln played almost no role in the legal maneuvers that led to a decision in Manny’s favor, but a generous retainer did help ease Lincoln’s debt load.

Emerson-Brantingham essentially vanished in 1928 when it was taken over by J.I. Case Co., Racine, Wisconsin. 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.






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