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Manufacturers Index - Northwestern Manufacturing & Car Co.

Northwestern Manufacturing & Car Co.
Stillwater, MN, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Sep 22 2013 2:50PM by Jeff_Joslin
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Northwestern Manufacturing & Car Co. was created in 1882 to take over the business of bankrupt agricultural equipment maker Seymour, Sabin & Co. In 1884, Northwestern went into receivership itself, and in late 1884 their assets were acquired by the newly formed Minnesota Thresher Manufacturing Co. Predictably enough, that firm was also short-lived.

During their brief existence, Northwestern manufactured steam engines and portable sawmills. It is a topic of further research to determine if the predecessor or successor companies also made steam engines or sawmills.

Information Sources

  • American Steam Engine Builders: 1800-1900 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2006 page 172
  • Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, 1883, Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, September 1883. "Northwestern Manufacturing & Car Co., Stillwater, Minnesota, exhibited a portable saw mill, strong and compactly built. It can be put in position quickly ready for work, a very good feature in that class of machinery. The setting and re-setting of most saw mills consume too much time, and consequently a loss of time and money is sustained."
  • In 1904 the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court heard the case of "Theodore R. Converse, as receiver of the Minnesota Thresher Manufacturing Company (Plaintiff and Respondent) against John A. Stewart (Defendant and Appellant). The lengthy decision is available through Google Books. Among the facts outlined were that the Minnesota Thresher Manufacturing Co. was incorporated on 1884-11-24 and was created to purchase the capital stock and assets of the Northwestern Manufacturing and Car Company. That company was engaged in "the manufacture and sale of steam engines, and all kinds of farm implements, machinery of all kinds, and the manufacture and sale of all articles, implements and machinery". The company had been incorporated while located in St. Paul and then had moved its headquarters to Stillwater. In 1901 the Thresher Co. owned a bit less than $3000 to the Merchants National Bank of St. Paul; the company was insolvent and had been so for some time. The bank sued the company and judgement was against the company, but no company assets could be located for seizure in payment of the judgement. The company was formally forced into receivership. After all the creditors had filed claims against the company, they totaled nearly $450,000. The defendant and appellant, John A. Stewart, was a stockholder and was expected to assume liability for the debts of the corporation (up to the par value of the stock held). The formal exchange of shares of Northwestern Manufacturing for shares of Minnesota Thresher occurred on 1886-12-10. Stewart's 400 shares in Minnesota Thresher had a par value of $20,000. The court found that the shareholders were liable for 36% of the par value of the shares they held. In the appeal, Stewart argued that he had assigned his shares of Northwestern Manufacturing to a trustee and he was never informed of any exchange of shares for Minnesota Thresher, was unaware of, and was uninformed of, any liability to Minnesota Thresher, was unaware of the court decision until informed of it after the fact in 1903, and had never set foot in Minnesota. Further, he said that the laws of incorporation in Minnesota were changed after the "alleged" exchange of shares and this violated his rights. Apparently his trustees had mailed him a notification of the exchange of stocks, but Stewart had moved his place of business and the notification did not reach him. Stewart never inquired after the stock because he believed that the investment was a total loss. A referee appointed by the Supreme Court compiled a finding of facts and found, as a matter of law, that the defendant was liable for $7200 plus interest and costs. The Court agreed with the referee.
  • From Transcript of Record of the Supreme Court of the United States, October term, 1905, comes the following, which was part of the transcript of the case of Theodore R. Converse, as Receiver of the Minnesota Thresher Manufacturing Company, against Mayer S. Bernheimer and Lorin S. Bernheimer, as Surviving Executors of the Last Will and Testament of Simon Bernheimer, Deceased.

    In September, 1874, a corporation was organized, under the laws of Minnesota by the name of Seymour, Sabin & Co., for the purpose of carrying on the business of general manufacturing, merchandising, and lumber. The corporation acquired and possessed at Stillwater, Washington Co., Minnesota, an extensive manufacturing establishment and plant, consisting of real estate, buildings, machinery, and appliances necessary therefor, and manufactured and sold principally threshing machines and other farm and agricultural machinery and implements, which it sold largely upon credit, taking in many cases in payment mortgages, farmers' notes, or other liens on the property sold. This business of the manufacture and sale of threshing machines and agricultural machinery and implements increased until, in 1882, the company had over one million dollars of bills receivable, and claims for threshing machines, agricultural machinery and implements sold as above set forth.

    In May, 1882, the company sold all its real estate, buildings, manufacturing property and plant used in said manufacturing business, and said bills receivable and claims due from its customers, as above set forth, to the Northwestern Manufacturing and Car Company, a corporation organized for the "manufacture, building, and sale of steam engines of all kinds, and the manufacture, building, and sale of passenger cars, freight cars, Hat cars, cattle cars, and all other kinds of cars, and the fixtures and attachments thereto belonging, and the manufacture and sale of farm implements and machinery of all kinds, and the manufacture and sale of all articles, implements, and machinery of which wood and iron form the principal component parts, and the manufacture of the materials therein used," and which had preferred and common stock.

    Said Northwestern Manufacturing and Car Company continued the manufacturing business at Stillwater, carrying on the same in the manner in which it had been carried on by Seymour, Sabin & Co. so far as it related to the manufacturing of threshing machines, agricultural machinery, and implements, and added thereto the business of manufacturing cars, and as a part thereof realized upon and collected the bills receivable and claims of Seymour, Sabin & Co. upon its customers. Subsequently the Northwestern Manufacturing and Car Company became embarrassed and unable to meet its obligations, and May 10, 1884, a receiver of said corporation and its property was appointed by the District Court of Washington Co., Minn., arid said receiver took possession of the real estate, manufacturing property, plant, bills receivable, and other assets of said Northwestern Manufacturing and Car Company, and carried on the business under the orders of the court.

    [On November 26, 1884, the company was reorganized under the name of Minnesota Thresher Manufacturing Company to continue the business and pay off its debts.]