more about The Wind-Stacher


| May/June 1961



Sketch of Wind-Stacker

Sketch of Wind-Stacker as it appeared on Mr. Buchanan's application for a patent.

It is noteworthy that one intelligent Question or suggestion may lead to the uncovering of a wealth of information hitherto unknown to many readers and which may be of great interest. One such question or suggestion was offered by Charles W. Tadlock(1) when he made a request for someone to write the history or story of the 'Farmers Friend.' In response to this suggestion, Mr. Hasten L. St. Clair(2) called the attention of the readers of the Iron-Men Album Magazine to the story of the Wind-Stacker as related in the book, 'Machines of Plenty' by Holbrook.(3) On the cover page of this same issue appeared a reproduction of the trade mark, the 'Farmers Friend'. A third article by Mr. Hollis Cortel you appeared in the Iron-Men Album Magazine giving valuable first hand information. (4)

These discussions were interesting and informative but there is more to be told. The interest of the present writer was heightened after he purchased a wood Russell separator which left the factory July 16, 1915. Although somewhat faded the original trade mark of the 'Farmers Friend' remains intact on this Russell separator.

Through extended correspondence and visitation the writer began a search for one of these medallions. Unfortunately his efforts at this writing have been unsuccessful, but somewhat like Russell Conway's 'Acres of Diamonds', he discovered additional information which may enrich the 'story of the wind stacker' and lend renewed interest to this fascinating historical development.

Contact was made with all of the libraries and other available sources in Indiana. It should be noted in passing that many of the librarians knew nothing about the Wind Stacker or its inventor, James Buchanan. Finally, however, a considerable wealth of material was found in the Indiana State Library. Grateful acknowledgment is hereby expressed to these librarians for their gracious courtesies and help. A substantial part of the material for this article is drawn from these sources.

The growth and development of our country is due in no small measure to the great contributions and the genius of inventors. It is regrettable but non-the-less true that all too often these men were unheralded and did not receive due and just recognition for their efforts often at great personal sacrifice. Such appears to have been the situation with respect to James Buchanan, the inventor of the Wind-Stacker.

The ancestors of James Buchanan moved from northern Virginia to Kentucky, thence to Tennessee, and finally to Indiana. At the age of eighteen, he entered Waveland Academy which was later named Collegiate Institute of Waveland. Here he completed a full course in mathematics and graduated in 1858 with the highest honors of his class. Following the practice of those days, he studied law with his lawyer uncle, Issac A. Rice and was admitted to the bar in 1861. He was an active member of the Presbyterian Church. One of his biographers describes him as follows: