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Manufacturers Index - Gaar, Scott & Co.

Gaar, Scott & Co.
Richmond, IN, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Sep 14 2017 9:30PM by joelr4
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      The factory of Gaar, Scott & Co. had its beginning in 1836, in what was known to Richmond's pioneers as the Spring Foundry, located on the site of the present large plant, and removed in 1836 to make room for the machine shop. Spring Foundry was so named because the water supply that furnished the motive power for this primitive enterprise was obtained from springs. The first proprietor of Spring Foundry was Isaac E. Jones, who used the building principally for a stove foundry.

      In 1839 it passed into the hands of Jesse M. and John H. Hutton. Among the operatives were Jonas Gaar, machinist; Abram Gaar, carpenter and millwright; J. M. Gaar, machinist; and Wm. G. Scott, molder. These mechanics assisted in bringing out the first thresher ever built in Indiana. This machine was known as a "chaff piler" or "groundhog" thresher, which simply threshed the wheat and was operated by horse power. These machines were first put on the market in 1841 and continued to be the principal product of the factory up to 1848, at which time they developed an improved grain separator which threshed the wheat from the shock and separated it from the straw which was deposited on the ground to be "bucked" away.

      In 1849 these pioneers in the threshing machine industry bought the factory from the Huttons and organized the firm of A. Gaar & Co. Under this able management this infant industry soon outgrew its swaddling clothes. In 1870, twenty-one years after the Gaars took control, its majority was celebrated by incorporation under the name of Gaar, Scott & Co., with Abram Gaar, president; J. M. Gaar, vice president; and Wm. G. Scott, secretary and treasurer. On the death of Abram Gaar, in 1894, J. At. Gaar succeeded to the presidency of the company. The present officers are, Howard Campbell, president and general manager, who succeeded J. M. Gaar at his death in 1900; S. S. Strattan, Jr., secretary, who succeeded Wm. G. Scott, deceased, in 1897; Frank Land, first vice-president; Wm. H. Campbell, second vice-president; and Chas. FI. Land, treasurer.

      The early captains of industry who founded this successful manufacturing enterprise, and their successors of the modern school of business, have always kept it at the head of Richmond's splendid manufactories, and among the very first in its line in the United States.

      Over six hundred men find steady employment in their well-equipped factory, and their total annual payroll is about $450,000.00.

      Threshers, traction and portable engines are their principal product, including large steam plowing engines, but they also build clover hullers, saw mills, and straw bruisers, the last for export only. Their trade, which was at first local and amounted to only a few thousand dollars a year, has expanded until, as their announcements say, "Gaar-Scott threshing machinery goes wherever straw grain grows." In the wheat belts of Canada and Mexico, their machinery is as well-known as in the United States, and they enjoy a growing export trade in South America, Egypt, Russia and other European countries.

      This company was founded by Jonas Gaar and his sons, Abram and John Milton Gaar, and Jonas' son-in-law, William G. Scott. The company was active 1842 through 1911. They specialized in farm machinery, such as threshing machines, grain separators, and steam engines, but they also made circular sawmills. In 1911 they were taken over by the Advance Rumely Co.

Information Sources

  • Pictorial history of the city of Richmond, Indiana, 1906, pg. 12
  • 1906 price list, 1909 catalog.
  • Listed in C. H. Wendel's The Circular Sawmill.
  • Abram Gaar, of Richmond, IN, was granted an 1860 patent for a grain cleaner; the patent was assigned to himself, John M. Gaar, and William G. Scott. He also received an 1870 patent for a grain separator. That same year, Abraham Gaar of Richmond patented a horse-power.
  • 1910 Gaar Scott Steam Engine Catalogue
  • From 1876 International Exhibition Official Catalogue: "Gaar, Scott,& Co., Richmond, Ind. Grain thresher, separator, and cleaner. Portable farm-engine."
  • A page on the Abram Gaar mansion provides the years of operation of this company, and the names of the founders.
  • American Steam Engine Builders: 1800-1900 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2006 page 99
  • Steam Power on the American Farm by Reynold M. Wik, 1953 pages 252 & 254
  • The Steam Tractor Encyclopedia by John F. Spalding & Robert T. Rhode, 2011 pages 162-168