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Manufacturers Index - Vaughan Motor Works

Vaughan Motor Works
Portland, OR, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Dec 22 2014 11:12AM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Starting in 1908 or a little after, Eldbridge Vaughan had a sideline business making drag saws of his own design. In 1913 he opened up his own shop as Vaughan Motor Works, at East Seventh and Main streets. In 1917 the shop moved to East Ninth and Main, and then in 1922 the company incorporated as Vaughan Motor Works, Inc. We have also seen the names Vaughan Motor Co. and Vaughan Products Co. but we do not know how these names relate. By 1944 the Vaughan product lines were being made by Harsch Manufacturing Co.

Besides drag saws, Vaughan Motor Works made gasoline engines.

Information Sources

  • Thanks to several participants in the Smokstak engine forum for pointing us to this maker.
  • A web page on hit-and-miss engines lists this firm, misspelled as "Vaughn Motor Works".
  • A search of patents from 1920 onwards did not turn up any patents assigned to this company.
  • History of the Columbia River Valley, From The Dalles to the Sea, by Fred Lockley, 1928, and obtained from a rootsweb page.

    Elbert Vaughan, whose name introduces this review, was in 1878 taken by his parents to Newberg, Yamhill county, where he acquired his education. Subsequently he made his way to Hood River, Oregon, where for a number of years he engaged in farming and fruit growing. During the period from 1901 until about 1908 he experimented with drag saw equipment, gradually working out a number of improvements and developing the present drag saw machine. When the opportunity presented itself he came to Portland and engaged in business, his first machines being built in job shops. In the fall of 1913 he opened his own shop at East Seventh and Main streets, where under the name of the Vaughan Motor Works he began the manufacture of drag saws, employing only three or four men and at this time designing all of the articles of manufacture. Later the firm transferred its activities to the east end of Hawthorne bridge, securing larger quarters and increasing the shop equipment. In 1917, additional space being necessary, the plant was moved to East Ninth and Main streets, where a shop and foundry were erected which, with the additions which have been built from time to time, now cover the entire block. In 1922 the business was incorporated as the Vaughan Motor Works, Inc., with the following officers:

    Elbert Vaughan, president, treasurer and general manager; Samuel Weiss, vice president; and E. S. Anderson, secretary. At this time extra equipment was installed, including an electric steel furnace for the making of cast steel. The company at that time was manufacturing drag saws and ice machines, and doing a regular line of jobbing, employing from sixty to eighty men. In 1923 and 1924 Mr. Vaughan designed a small garden tractor which, with the assistance of his associates, he perfected into the present garden tractor that is known under the trade-mark as the FLEX-TRED and is being exported as well as used locally. The company is still engaged in the manufacture of draw saws and ice machines and doing general jobbing, including gear and sprocket cutting, in addition to the building of the garden tractors, employing from sixty to one hundred workmen as the season warrants. The Vaughan Motor Works, Inc., is the largest manufacturer of light weight drag saws in the world. The development of this industry to its present extensive proportions has been due to the business acumen and executive force of Mr. Vaughan. Strong and purposeful, he has directed his efforts along steadily broadening lines of greater usefulness, and what he has accomplished represents the fit utilization of his innate powers and talents.