| May/June 1955

In 1917 the Davis Manufacturing Co. engine plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was purchased, becoming Avery Co. Plant No. 3. They were then prepared to build all of their own engines.

The Glide automobile plant in Peoria Heights, Illinois was a side enterprise of J. B. Bartholomew's. He manufactured the Glide automobile for several years and in 1920 decided to bring the plant into the Avery Co. fold as plant No. 4 for the manufacture of trucks.

With four plants comprising the Avery Co. and an employment of four thousand people, it appeared that David McCullough's prophecy was well on the way towards realization.

Times were changing, however, as new developments were given impetus by World War I and competition was becoming a greater challenge in manufacturing industries. In the earlier years new inventions could be incorporated into machines for production as saleable products without any appreciable amount of engineering and development work. The time was now approaching when products had to be built better in order to compete for the customers dollar and to stay sold. An inventor with a few draftsmen could not accomplish this task alone; it required a program of engineering, research and training of young men to execute the program.

The company realized that competition and product obsolescence were challenging their products. Two major developments in the far West were beginning to be felt in the Mid-Western area. The track type tractor and the combine-harvester were challenging the large steel tire wheel tractor and the stationary threshing machine. Mr. Bartholomew was quite capable of conceiving new and advanced ideas for products to create new markets. Here are some of the later developments. In 1917 the small motor cultivator appeared featuring a friction drive transmission with infinitely variable speeds. Later when the power was increased with the use of a six cylinder engine the friction drive was not adequate and a conventional clutch and sliding gear transmission was adopted. They built as high as fifteen hundred units a year. Here was a machine that the farmers were eager to own, but lack of proper engineering follow up in the field left these machines in need of de-bugging and then popularity was retarded as a result.

A blade attachment was made for the motor cultivator and it was sold under the trade name of Road Razer. This one-unit grader idea was later carried further with the development of a larger machine permitting the blade to be placed between the axles. The blade assembly was mounted on a ball bearing slide rail which permitted quick side shifting of the blade.