HISTORY of the AVERY COMPANY


| May/June 1955



Avery Straight Flue Traction

Avery Straight Flue Traction, discontinued 1917. Courtesy of Vic Wintermantel.

VicWintermantel

Caterpillar Tractor Company

REPRINT This paper was presented at a meeting of the Central Illinois Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers on December 17, 1951. Subject to revision. Permission to publish this paper, in full or in part, after its presentation and with credit to the author and the society, may be obtained upon request. The Society is not responsible for statements or opinions advanced in papers or discussions at its meetings.

(Mr. R. D. Yoder, of Yoder, Kansas, has gotten the permission for us to use this material and we give full credit to all concerned. Ed.)

We engineers are primarily concerned with current and future problems; however, an occasional look at history helps us to do a better job of evaluating the present and planning for the future. I think the Avery story will be interesting to you because the Avery Co. was Peoria's largest manufacturing industry in the early '20s and its demise presents a case for engineering, research and training programs.

The idea responsible for the founding of the Avery enterprise had its inception in the Andersonville Confederate Prison when a captive Union soldier named R. H. Avery spent his prison time sketching a design for a corn planter in the sand. At the close of the war Mr. Avery returned to his farm home in Kansas and by 1874 he had a full size working model of his corn planter built. The original planter is now in the Edison Institute Museum at Ford's Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.

In 1877 R. H. Avery and his brother C. M. Avery established a company bearing their names, in Galesburg, Illinois. R. H. had the inventive ability and C. M. excelled in the business end of the enterprise. They engaged in the manufacture of corn planters, stalk cutters and cultivators. Success was immediately theirs as their products met with wide acceptance among the farmers in the area.