Ohio Cultivator (Part 2)

The Black Hawk was one of the standard and most accurate corn planters made anywhere in the world. Many years ago, old timers recalled that Stahl’s purchase of Sechler’s famous Black Hawk line was the Cultivator’s finest acquisition. More importantly, it brought the man who invented the Black Hawk corn planter into the Ohio Cultivator family.

Ernst E. Englund, a longtime Sechler employee, had the patent on the first Black Hawk corn planter in 1897. Englund was born March 24, 1869 in Gokhem Vastergotland, Sweden. He married Augusta Larson in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 12, 1895.

The Englunds settled at 419 N. Sandusky St. after their move to Bellevue. Their eldest son, Lawrence, moved here in 1925. Ernst, a highly skilled implement designer and Lawrence, an excellent machinist with inventive eyes, made many changes to improve the Famous Ohio line of implements.

Between 1923 and 1927, the Ohio Cultivator purchased the Non-Panel Manufacturing Company of Cochrouton, Pa. This gave the local plant its line of lime and fertilizer spreaders. Another purchase brought the Angell Plow Company of Plains, Kan., adding disc plows to the company’s line.

On July 12, 1927, the Ohio Cultivator Company purchased the Thomas Manufacturing Company of Springfield. The acquisition gave the Ohio Cultivator the Thomas single and double disc drills and the hay harvesting machinery that included double speed mowers, tractor and highway mowers, loaders, rakes and tedders.

All of these purchases were negotiated by Stahl’s son-in-law, Daniel Seltzer, than general manager of the company. Seltzer had joined the Ohio Cultivator staff in 1907 as assistant superintendent and was promoted to general manager in July 1908.

H.C. Stahl remained active in company affairs but the everyday operation was left to Seltzer.

During the depression years of the 1930s, the Ohio Cultivator continued production although at times members of the workforce suffered layoffs. At other times, they worked only several days a week.

It was often said that a radical change in the farming industry began to take effect in the late 1930s. However, World War II would intervene.

Stahl’s death occurred (just over a month before war started) on Nov. 4, 1941. His wife of 65 years, Annie, passed away the previous year on May 27, 1940.

In December 1943, Seltzer, who had controlling interest, sold the Ohio Cultivator Company to a cooperative group and the factory name was formally changed to National Farm Machinery on July 1, 1944.

In a Bellevue Gazette interview, Seltzer said, “This will be a big thing for Bellevue. One of the best deals Bellevue has had in many year. It looks as though this plant, which is one of the largest independent farm implement factories in the country, will now continue to grow into a much bigger thing than we might have ever dreamed.”

The National Farm Machinery Coop had two other plants and the acquisition of the Ohio Cultivator gave them their third and largest plant. The coop had over a million members in the U.S. giving them a ready market.

The Farm Bureau group looking for a more complete line in the implement field became associated with the Cockshutt Farm Equipment of Canada. Both companies devised a plan of merchandising where by Cockshutt manufactured implements under the coop name enabling National Farm to present a complete line of modern farm machinery in the U.S. market.

National Farm built a substantial addition adjacent to the New York Central tracks and they put the fabled “Million Dollar Foundry” replacing the antiquated foundry.