With this issue we present the final chapter in the
comprehensive history of the Aultman & Taylor Company as
recorded by the late Dr. Lorin E. Bixler. This last installment,
Chapter 16, documents the once-great company’s final slide into
the history books.
If you’ve been following this series since its first
installment almost three years ago in the November/December 2000
issue of Iron-Men Album, you no doubt appreciate the
completeness of Bixler’s research on the company. Hardly a
newcomer to research and writing, Bixler spent his life in
education, and his interests in steaming and history (he once owned
a 16 HP Russell) first combined in the book Cornelius Aultman,
C. Aultman & Co., and the Aultman Co., which was published
by Stemgas Publishing Co. in 1967.
Bixler finished his second manuscript in 1977, but it remained
unpublished (with the exception of a few chapters) until its
discovery by steam enthusiast Robert T. Rhodes, a man well-known to
readers of these pages.
Rhodes, an english professor at Northern Kentucky University in
Highland Hights, Ky., heard rumors of Bixler’s second
manuscript, which prompted his search for Bixler’s final work.
After discovering Bixler’s manuscript in the collection of the
Mansfield (Ohio) Public Libray, Rhodes turned his attention to
getting it published. Rhodes carefully condensed and edited
Bixler’s manuscript, and the resulting story, published over 16
issues, is a thorough and engaging history. Much more than simply
the history of a company, it is also the compelling story of an era
in American history and the forces of change at work in American
society, culture and technology.
It’s thanks to Bob Rhodes and his dogged determination that
Bixler’s manuscript came to light in the first place. Bob’s
interest in the history of American agriculture, and particularly
the age of steam, is a boon to us all. If any of you have yet to
read Bob’s wonderful book The Harvest Story, Recollections
of Old-Time Threshermen, you simply don’t know what
Bixler’s work is now complete, and it’s gratifying to
know the history of Aultman & Taylor has been preserved and
that the steam community played an integral role in that