A little About Ohio Valley Agricultural Works
(Page 2 of 2)
Mr. Spence also made portable steam engines -6, 8 and 10 horse
power. The description of them says they are graceful and
attractive. There is one shown on the preceding page. We shall give
you the privilege of that statement. It is stated that the boiler
is made of the best charcoal iron. Most of us know that these early
boilers were good ones.
The above two pictures show a patch being installed on a Baker
boiler. The patch was 28 inches wide by 99 inches long. As you can
see the boiler now has two butt strap seams. This was done at the
Solomon Boiler Works, Moberly, Missouri, and is the courtesy of L.
D. Solomon. As most of you know they make new boilers and repair
old ones. Boilers is their business and they do a good job.
(I wrote Mr. Emery C. Forman of Tacoma, Ohio, concerning the
Spence history. Following is a part of his reply we thought would
be of interest to you.)
'Regarding the Spence of Martin's Perry, this county,
our old farm was some 12 miles east of Tacoma where one could see
the smoke rolling off his vast plant at that time. He had a
wonderful future ahead had he lived to see it, but he died. His
younger generation wanted to see how quickly they could use it. So
the outcome of a wonderful plant of a wonderfully honest man in
workmanship and dealings ended.
'Back in 1879 or 80 he made his first portable engine. I
well remember it. The first one to replace Horse Powers. The
engineer neglected to tighten the set screw on the beam and weight
used as a safety valve. Everything went fine until the pressure
threw up the weight which flew off the beam where the steam
escaped. Everybody run for their lives thinking it an
'I have quite a history of Spence concerning his start with
building machines in Martin's Ferry in 1840 and building
Threshers for the Pitt Bros., on royalty when
their plant was in Winthrop, Minn. If I am informed right I
think Spence, who came from Switzerland, worked for Pitts before
going to Martins Ferry. The Russells of Massilon, Ohio, had a
similar contract with O. S. Kelly of Springfield, Ohio. The Chicago
Pitts and H. H. Taylor of Aultman Taylor, who worked for Chicago
Pitts, used Pitts Patents and, it seems to me, the Leader of
Marion, Ohio. Then the last of the Pitts was the wonderful Buffalo
Pitts Plant at Buffalo, N. Y.
'I believe it is on record that Pitts Bros, started a plant
at Schenectady, N. Y., later taken over by Westinghouse.
'What a wonderful past all the Thresher Manufacturers had -
confined mostly to nine states (Ohio had the most plants of any,
thirteen or fourteen different makes).'
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