Chapter 16: Aultman & Taylor Financial Status and Liquidation of the Company

| May/June 2003

  • Old paint shop
    Part of the old paint shop of the once-great Aultman & Taylor firm.
  • # Picture 01
    The repair and parts department of Aultman & Taylor.

  • Old paint shop
  • # Picture 01

This issue of Steam Traction contains the 16th, and final, installment of the late Dr. Bixler's chronicle of the Aultman & Taylor Company, as edited by Dr. Robert T. Rhode. Chapters 1-13 appeared in Iron-Men Album. During his lifetime, Dr. Bixler, a professor at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, published a few of his chapters as separate articles in this magazine and others, but the bulk of his book remained unpublished until now. Dr. Bixler's manuscript offers rare insights into a significant manufacturing firm and the people who made it famous.


One of the problems that plagued the thresher companies was the collection of money that their customers owed on machinery, much of which was bought and sold on time. It was common practice to execute promissory notes covering the cost of machinery that were made payable to the company. Frequently those notes extended over a period of years. Following the close of the threshing season representatives of the firm made their rounds to collect money. On those trips it was not uncommon for them to encounter difficulties, even to the extent of being threatened with bodily harm. Sometimes, especially during a poor season, threshermen had trouble collecting money from the farmers. Then there were always a few customers who were negligent and did not meet their financial obligations. On many occasions the company was compelled to institute foreclosure proceedings that always entailed additional expenses. The collection of money due involved such costs as salaries and travel expenses for the collectors.1

The number of foreclosures for six years follows: 148 in 1897, 132 in 1898, 98 in 1899, 82 in 1900, 56 in 1901 and 84 in 1902, for a total of 600 foreclosures.

During the same six years, the amount of money paid out for collections was as follows: $19,690.83 for 1897, $20,463,93 for 1898, $22,183.44 for 1899, $23,012.53 for 1900, $11,208,90 for 1901 and $8,836.35 for 1902, for a total of $105,395.98. Discrepancies with respect to the number of foreclosures compared to the expenses involved may be attributable to the number of collectors employed each year, as well as the fluctuation in the costs of travel, meals, lodging, etc. Greater effort to collect outstanding debts may have been exerted during some years than was true of others to avoid as many foreclosures as possible.

The annual collections made for eight years for the Aultman & Taylor Company follows: $81,832 in 1895, $116,263 in 1896, $51,011.15 in 1897, $42,583.94 in 1898, $42,843.34 in 1899, $27,872.96 in 1900, $22,453.69 in 1901 and $15,649.32 in 1902, for a total of $400,509.40. The money for the liquidation of those debts continued to dribble in for another eight to 10 years.

The amount of collections made for the eight years for the Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company follows: $300,621.12 for 1895, $349,020.73 for 1896, $522,196.27 for 1897, $558,953.58 for 1898, $533,899.98 for 1899, $537,759.07 for 1900, $488,759.07 for 1901 and $511,311.94 for 1902, for a total of $3,802,521.76. The total collections for the two companies during the eight years amounted to $4,203,031.16.


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