Swailes Rd., P. 0. Box  400 Troy, Ohio 45373

As veteran subscribers to your magazine my brother Clem, and I,
are amazed by the articles in two of your recent issues presenting
power log splitters as something of novelty and originality. As a
matter of fact power log splitters of varying crudeness and utility
have been built and used for many years. However the era of the
modern hydraulic log splitter had its beginning when, in 1959, I
personally designed and patented the Lickity Log Splitter during
the thirty-fifth year of my service as Head of the Waco Aircraft
Company of Troy, Ohio. Thousands of these machines are now in the
hands of enthusiastic owners from six years of production by my
company and a similar period by Piqua Engineering Co. of Piqua,
Ohio, which acquired the business after I retired, and entered into
a royalty license agreement with me.

My patents cover such features as an inner and outer cylinder
giving two speeds with inversely corresponding forces, and
employing automatic shifting to supply the varying force required
in log splitting. The wheels are also retracted by the log
splitting cylinder. I introduced the stationary wedge and moving
platen, although my wedge is shiftable on the frame to accommodate
logs of various lengths. My aircraft engineering background taught
me to employ properly heat treated alloy steels in the design of
this machine, with the result that a machine weighing slightly over
500 lbs. is capable of a 36,000 lb. force if you can find a log
that will require it. I will enclose a piece of sales literature
for your information, and would be pleased to furnish glossy photos
if you are interested. However, 1 assume that you would not accept
an ad from one whose interest is confined to patent royalties.

At around the turn of the century our father sold Advance
threshing machinery along with hardware and farm implements in
Buffalo County, Nebraska, and in 1907 moved the family to Battle
Creek, Michigan, and worked in the production of both engines and
separators. As boys we roamed the plants of both Advance and
Nichols & Shepard and took an interest in the methods of
manufacturing every part, as well as the assembly process. At an
early age Clem studied internal combustion engines and qualified as
a testing operator on the first gas tractor Nichols & Shepard
ever built. My own interest shifted to airplanes and by 1917 I was
foreman of an assembly department at the Curtiss Buffalo plant
where the famous Jenny was manufactured. By means of study and
experience I and Elwood James Junkin were able to found our own
aircraft manufacturing enterprise right after the First World War.
It was originally known as the Advance Aircraft Company, the name
being changed to Waco Aircraft Company in 1928. Elwood’s father
was the famed threshing machine and gas tractor designer of the
early days, John C. Junkin. ll of this has little bearing on the
hydraulic log splitter industry, un-less t is interesting to note
that a boy-hood interest in threshing machinery manufacture
developed into the successful pioneering of the personal airplane,
and eventually triggered another industry which has taken the
drudgery out of log splitting and perhaps saved the open fireplace
from oblivion.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment