This issue of the Iron-Men Album bring us to the ninth installment of Dr. Bixler's history of the Aultman & Taylor Company, as edited by Dr. Robert T. Rhode. The Album is serializing Dr. Bixler's book. Dr. Bixler, a professor at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, passed away before he could publish the manuscript on which he had labored for many years. This installment continues Dr. Bixler's descriptions of Aultman & Taylor machinery, including intriguing firsthand testimony.
Click here for part I of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part II of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part III of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part IV of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part V of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part VI of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part VII of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
Click here for part VIII of the history of Aultman & Taylor.
To increase efficiency, reduce labor, and accomplish satisfactory work, a number of attachments were added to the Aultman & Taylor separators. The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company manufactured the Galland, Netherly, and Sattley swinging stackers. They also added to their separators wind-stackers, self-feeders, measuring boxes, dust collectors, etc.
One of the auxiliary attachments was the Sattley stacker. It possessed several features that were improvements over the old drag, or web, stacker. One of these was that it could oscillate between two points, so that the straw could be deposited at various places on the straw stack between these two points. The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company presented the following description of the Sattley stacker:
"We have made arrangements with the owners of the patents of the Sattley stacker to manufacture this machine, heretofore we had them manufactured to our order. Threshermen may rest assured that it will be fully up to the high standard of Aultman & Taylor machinery. This machine is so constructed that the discharge at the end of the stacker remains approximately over the center of the stack, thus avoiding the laborious work of pitching back in order to build a good stack.
"The lower section of this stacker is stationary so far as any vertical movement is concerned, and it has two raddles in it, and by reason of these two raddles it is not necessary to use such a wide chute. The straw goes up between these raddles and is delivered to the outer chute in such shape that it is well taken care of and is delivered onto the stack in the best possible condition for handling.
"One peculiarity of this stacker is the fact that the rear of the separator is housed in by a sheet of steel housing, and the aperture which usually exists between such housing and the turn-table of the stacker, is closed up by curtains on each side which are attached to rollers on the separator. The shafts of these rollers are wound on heavy clock springs, and they pay out and take up automatically as the stacker oscillates.
"A very valuable feature of this machine is the straw pressers which are composed of two long strips of wood extending from the lower chute to the outer end of the upper chute. These straw pressers are so arranged that they keep the straw from rolling back when the upper chute is elevated to its highest point, and not only that, but it prevents the straw from being blown off the chute during a heavy side or tail wind.
"The weight of this stacker is so distributed that it does not injure or rack the separator. This is proven by actual experience in the field for the past three or four seasons.
"The stacker builds the stack in the form of an arc of a circle.
"It is the only machine that can be folded over and made ready for the road in ten minutes.
"It does not require much power to run it, and from the fact that it delivers the straw in such splendid condition, there is no objection made by the men on the stack in stacking after it."1
The stackers reduced the amount of labor and the number of men required to build a straw-stack. They never achieved the popularity of the wind stacker and were on the market only a few years when they were superceded by the wind stacker. On Jan. 18, 1900, the president's report included the following statement: "Of the Sattley stackers we have no records of the number built, but the demand for them has been quite good, and, were it not for the fact that our stacker, while the best there is, is very expensive to build, it would be advisable to push it, but I doubt whether at present costs our sales of these stackers give us satisfactory returns." 2 On the surface, this statement appears contradictory. The truth is that the demand was such that it did not warrant the continuation of the building of the stackers.
The patent rights on the wind stacker were owned and controlled by the Indiana Manufacturing Company of Indianapolis, Ind. That control amounted to a virtual monopoly on the wind stacker. While it was necessary for the companies that built wind stackers to secure permission to manufacture the Farmer's Friend and to pay a royalty of $250 on each wind-stacker, yet each company was granted permission to make certain adaptations to satisfy their own peculiar needs. This was true in the case of the Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company. For a number of years they purchased the Russell geared and gearless stackers. That company not to be confused with Russell & Company of Massillon, Ohio was also located in Indianapolis. However, during the later years Aultman & Taylor built their own wind stackers under the patent rights controlled by the Indiana Manufacturing Company.3
The appearance and attractiveness of the threshing machinery varied among the companies and was largely dependent upon the skill of the painters. During well on to a quarter of a century Mr. Walborn was the foreman of the Aultman & Taylor paint shop. His work showed an artistry that was seldom excelled. His daughter, Mrs. John C. Schneider, informed the writer that her father did the striping on the firm's machinery from 1902 to 1923. She stated that he used a small fine brush and did the striping freehand. He used no instruments – no lines or striping wheel. He was a perfectionist and did not tolerate shoddy work on the part of the men who worked with him. In those few instances when the painting did not meet his standards the men were required to do the work again until his standards of workmanship were met.
Many will recall that on the side of the tailings elevator on the separators were pictures of Aultman and Taylor. Similar pictures appeared on the water tanks on the left-hand side of both their bevel gear and spur gear engines. Those pictures were done freehand by Walborn. Schneider states that her father painted those pictures with several sweeps of his brush. The fact that even today after the passing of many years there are Aultman & Taylor separators used at some of the shows upon which the pictures are still visible attests to the talent and great skill of the painters, such as Walborn. They were outstanding artists.4
A product that was added to the company's line in the early 1870s was a clover huller attachment that was appended to the threshing machine. After hulling the clover it was necessary to run the seed through a fanning mill so as to make it fit for the market. Cinder these conditions the thresherman needed a grain thresher, clover huller, and fanning mill. Such an outfit was expensive and inconvenient. The company's clover-huller attachment was patented on May 28, 1878, by Joseph Allonas, who, as already noted, was the first general superintendent of the plant. It became known as the 'Allonas clover-huller Attachment.' That improvement turned out to be a popular one, since it not only contributed to a reduction of inconvenience to the thresherman but also added to his profits.5
Later, David Whiting of Ashland, Ohio, invented a clover huller and on July 23, 1884, filed an application for a patent on that huller. Patent #316,210 was issued to Whiting on April 21, 1885. For a period of almost 10 years it was manufactured under the trade name of Eureka. During those years it established a reputation for superior speed, separation, and thorough work.
In 1893 the Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company gained complete and absolute control of the patent rights to the Eureka clover huller. During that same year the firm began building the huller that they renamed the Matchless clover huller. Following the acquisition of the huller, the company made improvements from time to time.
The huller was built in three sizes, and the sizes of the cylinders were as follows: No. 3, upper 32" and lower 36"; No. 4,upper 36" and lower 42"; and No. 5, upper 40" and lower 49".
An Aultman & Taylor catalog stated: "Here we call your attention to the construction of the matchless huller. In separating the seed from the straw, the Matchless has a system of its own. This consists of a series of rotating troughs with adjustable slatted bottom. There are wires projecting upward from the top of these troughs to prevent the straw passing too rapidly. Under the troughs are galvanized steel cups, which are attached to the bottom of the troughs.
"These cups acting as scrapers form a positive method of conveying the pods and chaff to the lower or Hulling cylinder regardless of whether the clover be wet or dry.
"In other makes of hullers, clover pods an material accumulate and stick to the separator bottom, especially in damp material from the separator bottom.
"Do you realize the advantage of having a sure, steady movement to the hulling cylinder if you want to do fast, clean hulling?"
The catalog continued: "The hulling cylinder and concave are filled with square steel brads. These are driven securely into hardwood staves through a metal covering. The exposed end of the brad is almost square and tapers to the point, which is driven into the wood. These brads are made especially for the purpose that we use them and are of material selected because of its adaptability to our purpose. The wearing qualities of the cylinder and concaves are double those of any other design because of their construction permitting the reversing of the hulling cylinder and concaves end for end."
The catalog took special note of the growing interest in alfalfa: "Much of the alfalfa produced in the west has been hulled with the ordinary grain separator, but as the importance of alfalfa culture is taking hold of the farmer of the irrigated districts of the West, the demand for machines that will save this seed is growing. There is no machine on the American market that is calculated to answer this purpose as well as the Matchless. It is capable of hulling, saving, and cleaning in perfect manner 100 bushels and up in a day of ten hours – almost unlimited capacity."
The company used the Harvey feeder on all of their clover hullers.6
The following is a brief description of Aultman & Taylor's sawmills. A supplement to a company catalog stated: "This mill is calculated for any power from 6 to 30 HP. It will carry saws up to 64 inches. We are prepared to equip this mill with rack as well as cable feed.
"Our patent variable friction feed is the simplest and most perfect on the market. It can be instantly set to any feed to five inches. It has notches in the quadrant for holding the feed in position. It has less parts than any other variable feed."
"Cable feed is novel and simple. It has no drum. The cable runs over a sheaved gear wheel. This arrangement allows a slacker cable than with a drum. Cable is always in a straight line, and the strain never varies. With a drum, the length of feed is limited; with ours it is not. Track may be lengthened any distance by setting out the sheaved wheels and providing a longer cable. Much hard labor of handling logs can be avoided by this feed, as it permits you to run the carriage out to the logs."
"A friction cone feed of great strength, capable of holding any size log, may be had in place of the variable."7
With respect to the Aultman & Taylor pony "E" and "F" mills, company literature stated, "It would lead too far to describe our line, but suffice it to say that we can supply our customers with anything from a pony up to a mammoth mill ranging in capacity from 3,000 to 20,000 and more lumber per day."
With the purchase of the Mansfield Machine Works, Aultman & Taylor acquired control of the Mansfield mill. It was popular among a number of users. The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company continued to build that mill to satisfy those customers who were partial to it.
A company catalog described the mill: "The Husk, or frame, is seven feet, 10 inches long by three feet seven inches wide, made of seasoned timber, 11 inches by three inches, double tendoned, and held together firmly by rods and nuts instead of bolts."
"The mandrel is steel, 2-11/16 inches in diameter, wrought collar and nut; saw bearing standard, two inches in diameter by 10 inches face." This size can be changed if desired. All pulleys on this mill are turned and perfectly balanced.
"The mandrel boxes are lined with the best metal. Box next to saw is adjustable; nut on frame next to main pulley is pivoted and adjusts to any position on the mandrel, relieving the mandrel of all liability to bind and heat."8
During the 1880s and 1890s the picket fence was used on many farms to enclose fields in which stock was pastured. Such fence was constructed by nailing the pickets or stakes to horizontal boards, or the more common practice was to run several strands of wire horizontally. The wires were twisted around the pickets to hold them in place. With the wide use of the picket fence a demand arose for picket mills, but that demand was of short duration. After a few years of exposure to the weather – and subject to strong winds – the wires rusted, and the fences deteriorated and fell apart. Disgruntled farmers patched them, but in the end they proved to be unsatisfactory for fencing in cattle and other stock.
The company built a relatively small number of picket mills. In 1891 they produced ten. With the decrease in the use of the picket fences the company discontinued manufacture of the mills.9
During the early part of the twentieth century the corn huskers and ensilage cutters were introduced. Like flies descending upon a spilled jar of honey, the companies scrambled to market such machines. The mention of such names as Appleton, Blizzard, McCormick, Ohio, Rosenthal, Tornado, and many others indicates that it was deemed a profitable field of manufacture. With so many companies rushing into the production of those machines one can understand the reasons that impelled Aultman & Taylor to make a careful survey of the pros and cons of building a corn husker and shredder.
At the directors meeting on Feb. 7, 1906, the subject of the manufacture of a corn husker-shredder was discussed. On that occasion it was the consensus that the subject under consideration should be explored and studied thoroughly. The Van Ness proposition that had been presented to the board was laid over until the next season. The minutes give no clue as to the nature or content of that proposition. However, it may be assumed that it concerned patents pertaining to a corn husker-shredder that would have been granted to the company upon the payment of a certain stipend. No action was ever taken on it. The president was instructed to explore the matter fully with the company's managers and to present a report at the next meeting of the board.
At a special meeting of the board of directors held on July 1, 1906, the corn husker-shredder topic again came up for consideration. During the intervening months the idea had been examined thoroughly with a view to adding the manufacture of a corn husker-shredder to the Aultman & Taylor line. After a lengthy discussion the directors voiced the opinion that the production of such a machine would not prove a desirable and profitable addition to their line. So while it is clear that the company contemplated building a corn husker-shredder, yet it never manufactured such a machine.10
That was in all probability a wise decision. Frequently in the manufacture of agricultural machinery, when a new product emerged, it was viewed as an opportunity to make a good profit. As a result the market was often flooded with machines that remained in the warehouses or in the dealers' hands. With the rivalry and competition between the companies becoming ever keener, in due time many of them dropped out of the game. With the introduction of new machines for harvesting corn, the market changed, and there was no longer a strong demand for corn husker-shredders.
1. Record Book, Minutes of the Meetings of the Stockholders and Directors of the Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company.
3. For additional information on the windstacker the following references are suggested: Bixler, Lorin E., 'More about the Windstacker.' The Iron-Men Album Magazine (July/August 1961), 3-4; Holbrook, Stewart. Machines of Plenty. New York: MacMillan, 1955. 106-107; Wik, Reynold. Steam Power on the American Farm. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Pa., 1953. 88-91.
4. Interview with Mrs. John C. Schneider.
5. Dr. Rhode moved this paragraph from a later chapter to this location, where it logically belongs.
7. Supplement to Aultman & Taylor catalog, 1907.
8. Aultman & Taylor catalog, 1915.
9. Record Book.