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The Aultman Companies -A Short History

| July/August 2004

From 1876 to l905, C. Aultman & Co. and later The Aultman Co. manufactured portable and traction steam engines. The first were the Canton Monitor vertical-boiler portable and traction engines, followed by the return-flue Phoenix and the single-cylinder, top-mounted Star and Mogul (return-flue) traction engines, which were the ceompany's mainstay. At the very end of the company's life, Aultman introduced the double-cylinder, under-mounted Double Star and Double Mogul engines.

Without the proper research, the history of the Aultman companies and their engines can be quite confusing, since Cornelius Aultman founded many companies in his lifetime and presided over many more.

In 1859, he founded C. Aultman & Co., Canton, Ohio, and in 1867 he founded Aultman, Taylor & Co., Mansfield, Ohio. The two companies had no relationship other than Cornelius Aultman's involvement in their creation.

In 1891, Aultman, Taylor & Co. reincorporated, becoming the Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co. In 1893, C. Aultman & Co. went into receivership and re-organized as The Aultman Co. Interestingly, when Cornelius Aultman died in 1884, his involvement with C. Aultman & Co. had ended nine years prior, having left the company in 1875. Yet, when he died he was the president of at least five companies, including Aultman, Taylor & Co. and Nichols & Shepard Co. of Battle Creek, Mich.

It's not known who came up with the idea for the under-mounted engine. While it was a good idea, management and labor difficulties plagued The Aultman Co., which had gained an unenviable reputation for poor quality and bad service. It seems the company would have better spent its time, money and resources improving its quality and service rather than developing a radically new traction engine. This is evident in the fact that the very year the new engine went into production, The Aultman Co. was forced into bankruptcy. The new Double Star engine was first advertised in a special catalog in early 1904, yet the company was declared bankrupt on Sept. 22, 1904.

On May 9, 1905, the plant property, buildings, contents and inventory, as well as all other company assets, were sold to a Mr. Tillotson, an agent for a group of The Aultman Co.'s creditors, for the sum of $262,500. Upon purchasing the company's assets, these creditors formed the Aultman Engine & Thresher Co. to liquidate the company's assets. Aultman Engine & Thresher Co. never intended to continue the manufacture of Aultman equipment. The company goals were:
Filling uncompleted orders for customers of the former Aultman company.
Selling all remaining engines, threshers and other machinery in stock.
Assembling as much machinery as possible to exhaust all stocks of parts and material on hand.
Selling all other assets of The Aultman Co., including patents, buildings and other property of The Aultman Co.


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