Farm Collector

WATERLOO Manufacturing Company Limited

Norbeck Research117 Ruch Street Coplay, Pennsylvania 18037

Watertloo 20 HP stream traction engine built in 1918 by the
Waterloo Mfg. Co., Waterloo Ontario and owned by Hurass of

Jacob Bricker was born in 1818 in Waterloo, Ontario, and learned
the trade of blacksmith and wagon-maker in a neighboring village.
Returning to Waterloo in 1850, he built a shop and began the
manufacture of pioneer tools and implements. Gradually his shop and
his output included threshing machines.

Bricker’s machines were of the canvas or apron type and his
idea of mounting them on two wheels made them quite popular. The
demand soon caused him to concentrate solely on threshing machines,
tread mills and horsepowers. In the early 1880’s he began to
experiment with steam power, and equipped his plant to build
portable steam engines of the return flue type.

In 1880, E.W.B. Snider, who had been born in the nearby village
of St. Jacobs and became a well-to-do miller, saw the possibilities
of the fast growing threshing machine industry. He purchased the
plant operated by Jacob Bricker and the close-by foundry where
Sammuel Mermer had him making plows and other agricultural
implements. Combining the two under the name of Waterloo
Manufacturing Company, he began the almost exclusive manufacture of
threshing machinery which he marketed under the trademark ‘Lion
Brand’. The face of a lion was cast on the smoke box door of
all engines built after the turn of the century.

For a few years the new firm continued to build return flue
portable engines, but public interest in the locomotive type of
boiler soon caused a switch to this style. The open bottom firebox
type was chosen, the popular diamond top smokestack was adopted and
the belt wheel was moved over to the right side. About this time
workmen experienced in building traction engines were secured as a
result of the closing down of the Haggard Bros. Foundry at
Brampton, Ontario. Thus, the production of traction engines was
commenced at Waterloo, Ontario, Canada without delay.

These early traction engines were rated at 14 HP. They were
side-mounted, with the boiler resting on springs and the counter
shaft mounted on a strong angle steel frame extending around the
front of the firebox from one rear wheel bracket to the other. The
engines were of the side crank type mounted with the cylinder at
the smoke box end.

In 1925 the last new steam traction engine was built, and three
years later the Snider family, which had controlled the fortunes of
the firm for 40 years, sold out their interest to the H.V. McKay
Company of Australia, who chose Waterloo, Ontario, as the place to
manufacture and distribute its self-propelled combine on this

The new owners continued to operate as the Waterloo
Manufacturing Company Limited but the depression years forced them
to abandon the manufacture of com-, bines. Some construction
machinery and various agricultural implements, including garden and
orchard power cultivators were produced. Separators in the smaller
sizes were produced until the firm became Canadian distributors of
the U.S. built ‘Belle City’ threshers and
Minneapolis-Moline farm tractors.

This article was taken from Encyclopedia of American Steam
Traction Engines.

  • Published on Mar 1, 1989
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