‘This company engaged in the manufacture of pneumatic straw
stackers, having acquired the patents from James Buchanan and
others.’ Finally, ‘this company recognizing the importance
of the invention began manufacturing the ‘wind stachers’,
an adjunct to the separator.’(7)
The writer has exercised extreme care and caution in documenting
the fact that the Indiana Manufacturing Company did indeed engage
in manufacturing Wind Stackers and threshing machines. There is
every reason to believe that the primary sources consulted are
impeccable. In the interest of historical accuracy, it is only fair
that the record be set straight since wide credence has been given
to the statement, ‘that the Indiana Manufacturing Company which
owned the patents, but which manufactured nothing, fought several
court battles over infringement charges and won.’(8)
A pursuit of the details of these and other inventions as well as
the lawsuits involved is beyond the limitations of this article. It
is enough to say that Mr. Buchanan’s inventions made
significant contributions to the improvement of the threshing
After introducing their machine the Indiana Manufacturing
Company licensed every manufacturer of threshing machines in the
United States and Canada to build the Wind-Stacker on a royalty in
connection with their machinery. In 1892, the first license was
granted and the first machine was built under this license in 1893.
The almost phenominal growth in the use of the Wind Stacker is
evidenced by the fact that while one machine was built under this
license in 1893, in 1894, there were three hundred fifty licenses
issued, in 1895 seven hundred and in 1896 it was estimated that
three-fourths of the separators built were equipped with Wind
The price of the license for the ‘Farmers Friend’ was
$250.00 ‘payable in two falls or $235.00 cash.’ According
to an announcement of the Heilman Machine Works there were in the
early nineties three kinds of Wind Stackers on the market. They
were the ‘Uncle Tom’s Farmers’ Friend’, the
‘Landis’ and ‘Nethry’s’. The three were very
similar differing chiefly in the location of the fan. Because of
the strong demand, the Heilman Company in 1898 built exclusively
the ‘Uncle Tom’. As may be observed from the cuts of the
Heilman Company, the ‘Uncle Tom’ was located at the rear of
the separator in an upright position. Of course, many of the other
companies placed the fan at the side and rear of the separator.
Eventually this became the more common practice of
It has been said frequently that institutions or organizations
are but the lengthened shadows of men. It is usually true that any
business or industrial enterprise which has enjoyed a reasonable
measure of success owes that success to virile dynamic leadership.
No more fitting example of this statement can be found than in the
instance of the Indiana Manufacturing Company. For this reason a
brief biographical statement concerning its president, Arthur
Albert McKain is appropriate at this point. Many pages would be
required to do justice to this man for merely to list the business
and industrial enterprises with which he was actively concerned
staggers one’s comprehension.
He was the son of a farmer who lived near Troy, Ohio. He left
home at the age of twelve years to make his way in the world. He
worked on farms and at any other work which was available. His
early life experiences taught him the value of hard work. He was
married to Mary P. McClure at West Sonora, Ohio, at the age of
When he was seventeen, he traveled for a New York nursery firm
selling fruit trees. In 1876, he became engaged in the marble and
granite business in Wabash County, Indiana. In 1880, he established
a wholesale marble and granite yard in Chicago and the same year
migrated to Indianapolis and continued in the monument business for
nine years. During this period, he was also instrumental in
organizing the Consumer’s Gas Trust. In fact, he was considered
to be a connoisseur in business.
As previously suggested, he became associated with James
Buchanan in the manufacturing of threshing machines and Wind
Stackers. It was McKain who conceived the idea of introducing the
Wind Stacker to the public and also attaching it to any and all
threshing machines. For this purpose, he secured from Mr. Buchanan
all of the territory east of the Mississippi River. As already
pointed out, it was during this period of experimentation with the
Wind Stacker, that he organized a company and erected a shop so he
might supply new appliances and parts as needed during this stage
of experimentation. After the expenditure of a large sum of money
and patience in perfecting the stacker, McKain was satisfied with
the results obtained and immediately purchased all of the rest of
the territory from Mr. Buchanan. It was at this time that he
proceeded to organize the Indiana Manufacturing Company, the story
of which has already been sketched.
One other enterprise in which Mr. McKain was active should be
mentioned, again illustrating the business acumen of the man. He
organized the American Buncher Manufacturing Company in 1895. This
company manufactured a device which was attached to the cutter bar
of a mowing machine and which was used when cutting second growth
clover prior to hulling. The writer recalls that this device was
designed to save the clover seeds and some labor. The usual
practice was to mow the clover, permit it to dry, then rake it in
windrows and stack in piles so that it could be pitched and loaded
on wagons. This dry clover was then hauled to the barn and stored
to await the coming of the huller. Occasionally it was hulled in
the field. In the process of handling clover in this way some
clover seed was lost. The buncher made possible the mowing of the
clover and bunching in one operation, thus eliminating the raking
of the clover and also saving some of the seed. There was a strong
demand for this product over a period of years. (11)
While this article has not been concerned primarily with the
trade mark ‘The Farmer’s Friend’, since this subject
has been fully explored by other writers, yet there awaits the
interesting and challenging task for someone to continue the
exploration of trade marks on farm machinery. Many of us are
familiar with the origin and significance of the Eagle which became
the symbol of the J. I. Case Company and its machinery. The Maple
Wreath was the trade mark of the M. Rumley Company, a brief account
and picture of which appeared in the 1959 May-June issue of the
Iron-Men Album. (12) It is common knowledge that the
‘Boss’ was the trade mark of the Russell and Company, the
starved rooster for the Aultman-Taylor Company with the caption,
‘Fattened on an Aultman-Taylor Strawstack’, the Star for
the Aultman Company, the picture of Ruth gleaning in the fields of
Boas for the Ruth feeder and the picture of the farmer with his
foot on the plow beam of an Imperial plow saying to the agent,
‘I tell you, Sir, the Imperial is the best plow in the world,
make no mistake about it’. These are only a few examples
typical of many others, which illustrate a significant and
interesting aspect in the development of farm machinery. This could
be a story well worth telling.
(1)Tadlock, Charles W.: ‘Wanted Wind-Stacker
Story’, Iron-Men Album Magazine, 14:32, Sept.-Oct., 1959.
(2)St. Clair, Haston L.: ‘Wind-Stacker
Story’, Iron-Men Album Magazine, 14:3, Nov.-Dec, 1959.
(3)Holbrook, Stewart: MACHINES OF PLENTY, pp.
105-108, Macmillan Co.
(4)Cortelyou, Hollis: ‘Turning a Page of
History’, Iron-Men Album Magazine, 14:27, March-April,
(5) Hyman, Max R.: The Journal of Indianapolis, An
Outline of History, 1902, pp. 281-282; Biographical History of
Iminent and Self-Made Men of the State of Indiana. Western Biog.
Publishing Co., 1880, pp. 14-15; Nowland, John H.: Sketches of
Prominent Citizens of 1876, Tilford and Carlton, 1877, pp.
(6)Cumback, Will and Maynard, J. P. editors, Men of
Progress, Indiana. Sentinel Co. 1899, pp. 157-519; Hyman, Max R.
editor, The Journal Handbook of Indianapolis, An Outline of
History, pp. 281-282.
(7)Indian apolis of Today. Consolidated Ills.
Company, 1896, p. 8.
(8)Holbrook, Stewart H.: Machines of Plenty, p. 107,
also Wik, Reynold: Steam Power on the American Farm, pp. 89-90.
(9)Indianapolis Today. Consolidated Illus. Co., 1896,
(10)Heilman Machine Works, Descriptive Catalogue, pp.
(11)Nowland, Op, Cit. pp. 545-547; Cumback, Will and
Maynard, J. P. editors, Men of Progress, Indiana. Sentinel Co.
1899, pp. 517-519; Reed, George Irving, Ed. Encyclopedia of
Biography of Indiana. Century Co., 1899, Vol II pp. 260-262.
(12)See ton-Men Album Magazine, 13, p. 3, May-June,