Russell & Company (manufacturer)

Russell & Company of Massillon, Ohio, are best known for manufacturing farm and railroad machinery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most notably 18,000 Steam tractors and Stationary engines, plus 22,000 Threshing machines.

In 1838 Nahum and Clement Russell started a general carpentry business in Massillon, Ohio. They used a two-story frame building, and drove the machinery by horse-power. They made ploughs (plows) and agricultural implements, plus building houses, furniture, coffins, and more. The carpentry shop burned down in 1840.

Charles M, Nahum and Clement - formed C.M. Russell & Co. on Jan. 1, 1842, based in an old whitewashed building called the "White Shop". On seeing Hiram and John Pitts' Buffalo Pitts Separator (Thresher) they understood its short-comings such that their improved version took the honours at the Ohio State Fair at Columbus in 1845.

The Russells purchased stock in the Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad, urged it to come through Massillon, and in 1852 they began producing handcars and stock cars for the railroad company. The business flourished, three more brothers joined and in 1864 it was incorporated as "Russell & Co".

In 1871 the company divided; C. Russell & Co. moved to Canton, Ohio to make agricultural reapers and mowers.

On May 17, 1878, a fire did $150,000 of damage to machinery, wagon stock and 36 years of patterns. Insurance covered only $53,100, a third of the total. Two-thirds of the main building was saved and new machinery was ordered, but 250 men were 'out of work'. A new 250 foot long four-story brick warehouse was built.

Russell & Co reportedly started building Steam Traction Engines after their 1878 incorporation, and by 1880, they employed 425 people on a seven acre site, with their own railroad sidetrack.

By 1884, they had become one of the largest producers of steam traction engines, plus building industrial, railroad and agricultural equipment.

By 1909, the 21 acre plant had produced 18,000 farm, traction and stationary engines, plus 22,000 threshing machines. They also made sawmills, pneumatic stackers, feeders and road rollers.

By 1912, the company was in decline, and it merged with "Griscom-Spencer" Company of New Jersey. They created parts for Naval vessels during World War I, and earned an Army-Navy “E” for excellence during World War II.

In 1962, the company was purchased by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Company and the Massillon plant closed, laying off 800 employees).

Russell steam traction engines ranged from 6 HP to 150 HP.

The first Russell steam roller was introduced about 1910, as a combination of a road roller and a hauling engine. The detachable rear wheel cleats enabled rolling use.

The 1901 catalogue offered static engines for factory /machine shop work. Listed as 4-Valve Automatic Engines.

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