“That has always been the bright spot in my life,” Stahl told Kiwanis members, “to know that these men representing large companies trusted me and had confidence in me. If it had not been for them, I guess there would have been no Ohio Cultivator today.”
When the country began to emerge from the depression in early 1896, Stahl’s competitors resumed production — Stahl, who had gambled during those lean years by continuing production, had his line of Famous Ohio Cultivator implements filled to capacity in numerous warehouses, ready for market.
Trade journals took note of Stahl’s genius and devoted much space in their publications on this upstart company that would soon be the largest independent farm implement manufacturer in the nation.
During 1896, Stahl purchased the John Dodge disc harrow company of Dayton, which he moved to Bellevue. Also in the same year, Stahl had 180 employees working 10 hours per day.
He built Bellevue’s first four-story building in 1898. The brick structure housed the pattern shop and much needed warehouse space.
Stahl purchased the financially plagued Bellevue Plow Company in 1899. The company was the former Logan Plow Works that had located in Bellevue in 1897. He purchased the Ohio Haypress Company in 1900, adding still another line and the Ohio Cultivator became a byword throughout the western states.
In June of that year, railroads inaugurated fast-running schedules between points in the west and New York. Among them was the Big Four which started a train known as the Exposition Flyer that covered the distance between Cleveland and St. Louis, Mo., in 13 hours.
The train made a few stops as allowable but one of them was to pick up H.C. Stahl in Wellington. Stahl joined a group of capitalists en-route to Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. He was among the investors of the Northern Texas Traction Company and the Interurban Electric Railway line that connected Dallas and Fort Worth. A scribe for a Dallas newspaper wrote:
“Mr. Stahl will certainly feel at home among Texans who like all other Americans have learned to appreciate the Famous Ohio line of implements and their manufacturer.”
Stahl’s travels took him to South and Central America and not long after his return to Bellevue, car loads of Famous Ohio implements were shipped to the countries he visited.
In 1901, the manufacturers’ trade journal devoted several pages to one of Stahl’s competitors. The company shipped a 20-car train to points in the west.
It was showtime for H.C. Stahl and the Ohio Cultivator. Stahl put together, not one, but two trains with 40 cars. A large placard was mounted on the front of the engine that read, “Famous Ohio.” Above, on each side, were American flags. Each of the much larger furniture cars had banners with a list of the implements manufactured by the company in large bold letters at the bottom, the signs read, “Ohio Cultivator Company, Bellevue, Ohio, U.S.A.” Attached to the train was a passenger car carrying company officials, members of the press, writers and photographers representing the trade journals.
The train was given a rousing sendoff by hundreds of local citizens and the city band added color to the train’s departure.
As the train moved westward, five minute stops were made in every town. Traveling was done in daylight hours only.
The first train left on Feb. 5 and the second on March 5. The trade journals all featured stories with photographs of the monster train and the genius of H.C. Stahl.