HISTORY OF Weaver Fodder Shredder

3001 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601

Jacob C. Weaver born 1852, was a machinist of top quality. At
the age of sixteen years he entered the well known machine shop of
Valentine Andes at Mechanicsburg (now Leola) Pennsylvania as an
apprentice. Jacob C. Weaver was my maternal grandfather, and many
times in my youth I heard him describe his apprenticeship at the
Andes Shop.

He described the shop as being the shape of a horse shoe, where
the young apprentice started at the one end of the ‘shoe’
and four years later he came out the other end as a qualified
mechanic. He was then a blacksmith, machinist, patternmaker,
cabinetmaker, wheelwright, cylinder builder, and anything else
which pertained to a first class machine shop in those days.

In 1876 he married Hattie A. Weaver (no relation) and they went
to the Centennial at Philadelphia on their honeymoon.

Upon their return they settled south of Strasburg, PA, where he
was employed at the Valley Spring Machine Shop and Foundry at
Bunker Hill. The shop and foundry were powered by a water wheel on
Little Beaver Creek and were operated by another Jacob Weaver (no
relation) who was a brother-in-law of the Captains Jefferson and
Aldus Neff, both killed in the Civil War.

After Grandfather Jake spent several years here at the Valley
Spring shop, he moved one mile East near the White Oak Community
and built a three story shop. It was powered by a Geiser steam
engine, which was later discarded for an 8 H.P. Springfield
gasoline engine. Here he built the Weaver Thresher and did all
kinds of machine and repair work.

(I wrote the history of the Weaver Thresher about fifteen years
ago which was published in IMA.)

In this area it was popular for the farmers to shred their corn
fodder, and put it in their barn, but there was no proper machine
to do the shredding. Some farmers used the cylinder and frame of an
old thresher, but this was too cumbersome to do the job.

Jacob C. Weaver decided to build a fodder shredder. At the
request of Enos Eshleman a local farmer, the first one was built in
1907. It consisted of a wood frame with feed table, a spike
cylinder with two feed rolls, one smooth roll on the bottom and a
crimp roll on the top which moved up and down to accommodate the
size of the fodder bundle as it was pulled into the cylinder. This
became a very popular machine which was built in three sizes to
accommodate the size engine it would be belted to. The width of the
feed rolls and cylinder also determined the machine size which was
manufactured in 12′, 18′ and 24′ rolls, the latter had
large capacity. The last fodder shredder was built in 1923 as Jacob
suffered a stroke and closed the shop. The machinery was auctioned.
Jacob C. Weaver died in 1938. The shop was razed in 1986.

Harry K. Smith of Strasburg bought the patterns and rights and
built several machines, but the end of the fodder shredder was at
hand, as the silo and forage harvester moved in and changed the
method of Agriculture.

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