Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wallace and the Michigan State Fair

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

We have known of and researched Wallace Henry Lashbrook's career in implement sales for some time.  One of our great delights was the discovery that he lived not 45 minutes from our stick built home here in SE Michigan.  You see, Wallace is Man's great grandfather.  He worked for quite a few different companies over his traveling salesman career, including Plano Manufacturing, Wm. Deering Company, the Milwaukee Harvester Company, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Kalamazoo Wagon Company, and the list and the mergers go on and on.

Now and then I find another tidbit on Wallace, one great find was a newspaper report from September 16, 1886 where it is reported he represented Plano at the Michigan State Fair.  There was a page long report in the Jackson Citizen Patriot, which is and was published in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan.  The portion of the article that relates to our Wallace reads thusly:


Never before has there been a greater exhibit of farming implements at a Michigan state fair, and when a machine holds the attention of the multitude, the inference is that its merit is the stronghold. In popularity the Plano harvester and binder has earned an intelligent recognition for its symmetry and lightness of draft, as well as for its durability and beauty in design and finish. Among its many points of excellence we might mention that it balances so perfectly on the main wheel there is no side draft or weight on the horses necks; lodged grain can be picked up and saved; the adjuster will neither work apart, skip or stop; the main wheel is extra wide and strong, etc. The Chicago headquarters of the Plano is corner of Lake and Canal streets. W. H. Lashbrook, general agent of Michigan and northern Indiana, has charge of the exhibit. Brown & Myers are the local agents. Call on them at their office, West Pearl street."

While processing this colorful tidbit, I decided to go searching for any image I could find of the Plano harvester and binder.  Of course, I did not even know what a binder was, but, since when does that stop me?  Never.

I found a newer book, written in 2004, by C H Wendel, ISBN # 0-87349-568-3, "Encyclopedia of American farm implements & antiques", which I found in limited viewing at Google Books. There was an image too! But, due to copyright, I am going to need you go visit the site if you want to see the image.  On the top right hand column of page 179 of that book starts a short discussion of the Plano company and there are several drawings of the equipment.

Back to my GoogleBooks search I found another book, in the public domain, which I downloaded, because it promises to be a great read, "Recollections 1837-1910" by Charles W. Marsh, published 1910 by the Chicago Farm Implement News Company.  I found a drawing between pages 92 and 93 of what they call a "standard harvester and binder", by Deering.

And, so, even tho I have not yet found an image of the Plano machine that Wallace was hocking at the Michigan State Fair in 1886, I now at least have an idea of what it looked like.

* By the way, after speed reading the 9 page Table of Contents of the book by Charles W. Marsh, I find I am going to have to take time to read it at length, seems the first chapter is pretty much a family history, and somewhere in one of the other chapters he refers to arriving in Chicago in 1849.  Richard and Ann Lashbrook, grandparents of Wallace Henry Lashbrook arrived in that area just about 5 to 7 years prior.

**The disclaimers, all product names mentioned are most likely copyrighted by the companies behind same.  I claim no interest.  They pay me nothing to mention them or write my posts here at Reflections.  A huge thanks to GoogleBooks for the books scanned and online that I found during the research of this post.  You will note that I left their water mark on the image I did use, I feel it is within fair use to use one image from a book that was published in 1910 and contains well over 300 pages.  I did not use the image from the book that was published in 2004, but provided you with a link.


Susan Clark said...

I love this! Must be my admiration for traveling salesmen and your mining all the resources for these tidbits. My grandfather used to post announcements in local newspapers the week before he would arrive to sell men's clothing. If I ever get organized I should be able to follow his route over several months. I wonder if your Lashbrook actually hauled the machine around or had a smaller model?

Sharon said...

Wallace Henry Lashbrook must have really enjoyed being a traveling salesman and he apparently knew a little bit about them implements. Probably sold some equipment that wound up on our ancestors farms at some point. Would be nice to find out more.