Adams & French Harvester


Augustus Adams started developing binders and reapers in the summer of 1850 while he was still living in Elgin. He was the first to introduce a binder that men were able to ride upon, instead of walking beside the machine. After Adams moved to Sandwich, he continued developing binders and harvesters until 1904, at that point, the company retired the Adams and French harvesting machine, and the Reliance binder in order to increase their corn sheller production.

This article appeared in the Cedar Falls Gazette on May 3rd, 1878 

The Adams and French self-binder in the field

 Harvesting has already commenced in Texas and by the numerous reports in our paper today it will be seen that the Adams and French harvester and self binder is meeting every challenge before it down there.  J.L. Stewart formerly of Cedar Falls, is in Dallas, TX, and telegraphs flattering news of the success of this machine there, in competition with others. The career of the Adams and French machine has been remarkable. A few years ago it was first introduced to the public in a humble way, but today it is one of the most sought after of all the leading harvesters in the country. The company at Sandwich, IL is now running 850 employees in the manufacture of these machines and they are now 100 harvesters short of the amount sold. 

A Field Trial South of Sandwich in 1883

                                                             Thanks  to Gary Moss for the above  picture of the Reliance binder


The following article from the Sandwich Argus in 1883 tells us about a Sandwich farmer that was  testing 2 different binders to see which one would  better suit his needs. Julius Hummel, of Sandwich, owned a large business that sold farm implements, musical instruments, carriages,  Sandwich sewing machines, plus much more.  Mr.  Hummel supplied both binders for this test.  

Mr. A. Otto, living on a farm one mile south of Sandwich was interested in purchasing a self binder. He wanted to see the Sandwich Reliance binder and the Dennett binder at work, agreeing to purchase the machine that did the best work regardless of the price. The Reliance was priced at $80 more than the Dennett machine. So, on Saturday afternoon last, both machines were on hand. Mr. Otto drove both machines with his own team. The oats were heavy and badly lodged in places. He used the Dennett machine for two rounds, but it choked up badly numerous times. The Reliance made it's two rounds without a choke. On the second round a reel slat broke and and a bolt was loose so that the binder rebounded a few bundles, but was soon fixed and it worked like a charm. Mr. Otto was then asked if he was satisfied to make a choice. He said that he was, and he commented that with all the work done, draft and all points considered, he would take the Reliance. Then up went up three cheers for the victor! The Sandwich Reliance fears no competition or grain that grows, say nothing of those that bark at her.  I sold three machines in this week, August Otto, Andrew Gilchrist, and C. H. Christian.

J. M. Hummel


2 Hay Loader Patents - Hartman and Otto

 Charles Hartman of Sandwich was an employee of Sandwich Manufacturing Company for many years.  In 1919 he applied for a patent for improvements to a hay loader. His patent mentions a machine that was  originally patented by August Otto Jr in 1914, and we will provide a link to that patent also.  This picture was taken many years later,  Mr. Hartman is in the front row, sitting on the barrel. 

Below is a link to each patent, containing all the verbiage and illustrations

Hartman Patent

Otto Patent

Early Engines

I received these pictures a few days ago from a long time friend. These early engines are in excellent original condition  and I thought I’d share them with you.  The lettering and pin striping is exceptional. Fine examples!  


Front Page News

 It's nice to see a Sandwich sheller on the front page, even though there is no accompanying story anywhere in this newspaper.  

By the 1890's corn was taking over in many states as the primary grain grown in many Northwestern states, replacing the ever precarious wheat crops.  During this transition, Sandwich Manufacturing was carefully following the changing and growing requirements of the various corn producing states. As fast as new regions became ready, Sandwich was  ready with machinery fully suited to the needs and requirements of these farmers. They had branch houses in key locations in many states, stocked and ready to supply the growing demand for reliable equipment. By the 1890's, Sandwich had been making the celebrated Sandwich - Adams shellers with unparalleled success.  

2 Letterheads from 1878

 Here are two fine examples of Letterheads from Sandwich Manufacturing Company. From the collection of Chris Phillips, thanks for allowing me to share these!

g us to share these two items!

Picture Day at Sandwich Manufacturing Co.

  I'm not sure what the occasion was for this picture, but it's certainly worthy of display.

photo courtesy of the Sandwich Historical Society

Here is a picture of  the office building today

Adams & French Harvester

  Augustus Adams started developing binders and reapers in the summer of 1850 while he was still living in Elgin. He was the first to introd...