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Manufacturers Index - Farrar & Trefts
Last Modified: Apr 5 2015 9:58PM by joelr4
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      Chilion M. Farrar , inventor of a reversible steam engine, much used in boring oil and artesian wells, formed a partnership, in 1864, with John Trefts, and Theodore C. Knight, and the firm established a modest plant that year, on Perry Street, for the manufacture of engines and boilers and for general machine work. Mr. Knight retired from the firm in 1869, and the business, grown large with the years, has continued ever since under the name of Farrar & Trefts. In conjunction with Rood & Brown, manufacturers of car wheels, the firm established also the general foundry business of the East Buffalo Iron Works, on the New York Central Belt Line, near Broadway. In 1869 Knight left the company at which time it became known as Farrar & Trefts. They had seen great potential in the oil business and wanted to build a superior steam engine that would run for 25 years with very little care for the engine. During the course of the buisness many patents were aquired including a patent for the palm link. In 1900, the company was taken over by the Erie Pump & Engine Co.

      At some point in time a boiler shop was opened to supply boilers for their engines. They were able to produce any European or American boiler design and they were of utmost quality. According to The Derrick's Handbook of Petroleum published in 1898 over 25,000 engines and boilers had been produced, sold, and delivered.

      An account of Chilion Farrar's life states that he was born in Detroit, MI in 1829. He married Almira Siver of Buffalo in 1845. At the age of seventeen he moved to Buffalo and started to work as a machinist at the Shepard Iron Works later known as the King Iron Works. He later became a Superintendent.

      After the death of both the partners, George M. Trefts , John Trefts son, has carried on the business.

In a book called Memorial and Family History of Erie County, New York a description of Mr. Farrar's personality is as such: " Mr. Farrar was an industrial leader, never a seeker for public honors, always on the side of honesty and justice in civic affairs, a good citizen, a kindly, estimable man. 'You could not put your finger on an act of his life that would not bear inspection,' said one who knew him. An honorable, well ordered life like this is an answer to much current pessimism. Death reveals what is overlooked in life. Such men as Mr. Farrar exert an influence for good that lives after them, and the world is better for their living in it."

Informational Sources:

  • Cope, Kenneth L., American Steam Engine Builders 1800-1900, Astragal Press, Lakeville, Minnesota, Pg. 87
  • A History of Buffalo by the Progress of the Empire State Co. 1911, page 8
  • Google Books - The Derrick's Handbook of Petroleum, 1898, pg. 899