The Richland County – Shelby Chapter
Of The Ohio Genealogical Society

- - - INDUSTRIES - - -

THE SHELBY TRACTOR & TRUCK CO.

 
 
The following is a brief history of the Shelby Tractor & Truck Company told through a series of newspaper articles that originally appeared in the Shelby Daily Globe during the years 1918 through 1922.
 


The Daily Globe, Shelby OH – January 26, 1918
 
SHELBY TRUCK AND MOTOR COMPANY is destined to be
One of the Big Factories of Shelby.
 
W. R. Kerr and Henry Wentz were at Cleveland yesterday where they attended a meeting of the directors of Shelby Truck and Motor Company. At this meeting Mr. Kerr was elected President of the Company and Mr. Wentz was chosed as a member of the board of directors.
 
The affairs and future plans of the company were discussed at length and all directors are enthused with he prspects before the company. The Shelby Truck and Motor Company will get machinery running in the local plant just as quickly as possible and the light motor trucks that are in such demand will be on the market in the near future. The company also expects to have the tractor on the market before spring and the price will be within reach of the average farmer. The light motor trucks and the tractors will be made at the local plant and the company is already contemplating the erection of a new building as large as the present factory. The new structure will go up east of the present building and will doubtless be completed by spring.
 
Look out for the Shelby Truck and Motor Company which is destined to be one of the big factories of Shelby.
 
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby OH – February 18, 1918
 
W. R. Kerr and Henry Wentz went to Cleveland Saturday to attend a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Shelby Motor and Tractor Company, At this meeting one of the Cleveland men resigned from the directorate on account of having been drafted, and D. M. Doty of this city was elected to fill the vacancy. The Board is now made up of mosly Shelby men, all of whom are representative persons. The Company is not doing much at present. Two car loads of supplies arrived here Saturday and two more are expected today. All the assembling will be done in the local factory and the motor trucks will be set up and built here. The company expects to be in shape to commence work shortly, and in a few months a large army of men will be employed at the factory.
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby OH – April 4, 1918
 
BIG WAR ORDER
 
For 150,000 Shrapnel Shells for the U. S. Government
Secured by the The Shelby Tractor & Truck Company.
 
New machines valued at $20,000 being installed to handle Goverment work. Floor space of present plant to be increased by new building 200 X 60. Delivery commences May 1st and continues until January 1st. 40 to 50 men wanted before May 1st. Some skilled mechanics brought here from other cities.
 
The Shelby Tractor & Truck Company through it's General Manager W. R. Kerr, has secured a big war order, which means that their factory will become the busiest institution in Shelby within the next three or four weeks.
 
The contract is a very favorable one for the local company and provides that if it should be canceled by the United States government, the government will pay the local company all expense it has incurred in equipping it's plant for the manufacture of shells, plus 10 per cent. Nothing could be fairer to the Shelby company, as they are absolutely guaranteed from loss by the government.
 
This is the best piece of news from an industrial standpoint that the Globe has been permitted to print for months and it means much for Shelby. The Shelby Tractor & Truck Company must be classed with the big industries in the future, as in the course of three or four weeks they will be running two shifts of men, ten hours each, night and day.
 
The big war order will not interfere with the local concern preparing for the building of new tractors and trucks according to W. R. Kerr. While the shrapnel order is being filled, the tractor and truck departments will be given every attention.
 
Without exaggerating the situation in the least, it is apparent that the Shelby Tractor & Truck Company is on the threshold of one of the greatest periods of prosperity that ever came to any industrial concern. This is due to the persistent efforts of W. R. Kerr, the General Manager, who from the beginning has had confidence in the future of the local company.
 
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby OH – April 12, 1918
 
SHELBY
TRACTOR STOCK

BIDS FAIR TO EQUAL
 
the returns original investors in steel, automobiles and rubber stocks received. It is the new enterprise, those just beginning to climb to success - not those already at the top - that multiply for the investors. Here is your chance. Have the wisdom to take advantage of it.
 
We are offering to the public $300,000.00 of our Preferred Stock, par value $10.00 per share, fully paid and non-assessible, the holder of which is entitled to cumulative dividends each year at the rate of 7 per cent per annum, payable out of the net earnings of the company in preference to all common stockholders.
 
Figure it out: 3 times 7 equals 21 ; 21 plus 7 equals 28; 28 divided by 3 equals 9 1/3, 9 1/3 per cent on the investment each year if redeemed at the end of three years.
 
The Preferred Stock is being sold at par and with each share of Preferred the purchaser is given as a bonus one - half share of the Common free.
 
TERMS -- 25 per cent cash with subscription; balance 30, 60, and 90-day notes with interest at 6 per cent after maturity.
 
In order to make it convenient for those wishing to subscribe we have arranged with H. K. Beck, 45 West Main Street, to take subscriptions.
 
We reserve the right to withdraw any part or all of the bonus without notice.
 
 

Detailed Information on
SHELBY TRACTOR & TRUCK CO.
ISSUE FURNISHED ON REQUEST
 
THE SHELBY TRACTOR & TRUCK CO. Shelby, Ohio
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – April 13, 1918
 
 
 
Today at 11 o'clock the big factory building and grounds that were for years the home of the Shelby Electric Company became the property of the Shelby Tractor & Truck Company.
 
 
 
The deal has been under advisement for weeks and was comsumated today by W. R. Kerr, president and general manager of the local company, and D. M. Doty and Hnery Wentz, directors, representing Shelby interests of the firm. ..... It means that a big modern factory building, absolutely worth $300, 000, which has been standing idle, will soon be teeming with life and action, turning out motortrucks and tractors and employing labor, which means more business for Shelby and a big start toward the 10,000 mark which we hope to reach. It means further that the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. will in a short time be the second largest factory in Shelby.
 
The Standard and Electric factories and grounds are now consolidated in one mammoth factory. In addition to these buildings it will be necessary to erect another adjoining the present Standard building in which the tractor department will operate. The big United States government order for shells will be handled in the present Standard building. The Shelby Electric factory will be entirely utilized for the manufacture of trucks and the offices will be moved to this building.
 
 
Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. - 1919 Sanborn Map
 
 
The first delivery of shells to the United States government is to be made May 1. The first motor truck has already been made and delivered. W. R. Kerr has correspondence from the government assuring the local company such an enormous order for trucks that it almost staggers one to think of the great future ahead for the local concern.
 
W. R. Kerr was connected with the Weston-Mott Co. at Flint, Mich., a branch of the General Motor Co., which is a $200,000,000 corporation. The Weston-Mott Co. employed 3, 000 people.
 
Wonderful possibilities are just ahead of the local company. Never has the motor truck or tractor demanded such widespread attention as at present. The motor truck is the solution of the delivery and transportation problems, and the tractor solves the farm problem. No man can estimate with any exactness the extent to which the tractor will modify the existing methods of farming. It is apparent to all that methods are changing from animal power to mechanical just as fast as manufacturers can turn out machines. The Shelby Tractor & Truck Co., with a mammoth factory building and equipment and with a tractor and truck, is stepping into a the field to assist in suplying this enormous demand which is going up all over the country for tractors and trucks.
(extensive article with much more)
 
 

The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – January 22, 1920
 
DIRECTOR OF SALES
 
J. R. Manning of Kansas City Becomes Sales Head
of Shelby Tractor & Truck Co.
 
J. R. Manning of Kansas City, is the new director of sales for the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. This announcement was made today by W. R. Kerr, general manager of the company. Mr. Manning was formerly manager of the Sweeney Automobile & Tractor School at Kansas City and then the head of the Coleman Tractor Co. of the same city. Mr. Kerr became acquainted with Mr. Manning at the National Tractor show a year ago which resulted in Mr. Manning coming to Shelby in November for a conference.
 
Mr. Manning is a thorough tractor man and is conversant with every make and type of tractor on the market. A tractor company with millions behind it was a competitor for his services but after a thorough investigation of the Shelby tractor Mr. Manning came to Shelby for the reason that the Shelby company has a real tractor that far out does anything on the market, and will back up any representation made by it's salesmen.
 
Watch the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. grow in the next year. The company is going over the top in production and distribution.
(Large article)
 

 
 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – April 16, 1920
 
TRACTOR RUNS FACTORY
 
When the municipal electric light plant ran short of coal and had to notify power users to discontinue in order that they might continue to light business places and residences, the management took it up with the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co., and they solved the problem of power for them.
 
 
 
Post Card courtesy of the Shelby Museum
 
 
A tractor was soon in motion and pulled up to the door of the Metal Products company. The door was opened and a belt was thrown over the shafting and attached to the tractor. The wheels began to turn and the employees of the Metal Products company were called to work. While other power users are closed down, the wheels at the plant of the Shelby Metal Products Co., are humming merrily thanks to the Shelby Tractor.
 
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – November 22, 1920
 
SHELBY TRACTOR
Included in Select List Favored and Handled by
Twelve Hundred and Fifty Dealers.
 
The Implement Age, which is a Farm Tractor and Implement Dealer magazine, published at Springfield. Ohio recently sent out a questionaire to twelve hundred and fifty of it's subscribers, who are of course tractor and implement dealers. The questions pertaining to tractors were as follows:
No. 1 Do you sell tractors?
No. 3 What makes ?
No. 14 What tractors are favored in your territory - two plow or three plow?
No. 15 What design is favored - two wheel - four wheel or crawler type?
No. 16 What makes of tractors are favored?
The replies show that a large majority of those interested in tractors favored the four wheel type and in the two plow size. In reply to question three, there were only twenty-five tractors named as being handled. In reply to question sixteen, there were only twenty-three tractors named and being handled and favored.
 
It will be gratifying to Shelby people to know that the "Shelby" tractor is of the four wheel type and made in both two and three plow sizes (the popular type and size) and that the "Shelby" was in the list of twnty-five tractors named as being favored and handled in the replies to the questions sent out to twelve hundred and fifty dealers.
 
It is quite true that business in general is quite lack at present, but the potential market for farm tractors is constantly increasing and we have every reason to feel very optimistic as to the future of the tractor industry.
 
The officers and directors are doing everything within their power to put the company forward and make the "Shelby" the leader in the tractor industry.
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – April 5, 1921
 
A. A. McCORMICK
 
Resigns as Secretary-Treasurer of Shelby Tractor and Truck Co.:
Will Move to California.
 
At the next meeting of the board of directors of the Shelby Tractor & TruckCo., A. A. McCormick, who has been serving as the secretary and treasurer of the company for the past three years, will present his resignation.
 
Mr. and Mrs. McCormick, who have made many warm friends who will regret to hear of their intentionto leave the city. Mr. McCormick has accepted a position with the Union Oil Co. of California and will move from Shelby to Fullerton, Cal. a city of about Shelby's size located 25 miles from Los Angeles. Mrs. McCormicks people are residents of that community and they formerly lived in Fullerton for five years.
 
Mr. McCormick was connected with the Maxwell Moter Co., at Detroit, previous to taking up his duties in Shelby with the tractor company. He will have served in his present capacity at the tractor factory three years the coming May. While their many friends regret to see them leave Shelby, they join in wishing them the greatest success and happiness in their former home. Mr. McCormick's successor has not yet been selected at the tractor company and he will remain with them until the company selects some one to fill the position.
 

 
 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – April 7, 1921
 
TRACTOR BUILDING
Inspected by Representatives of Manufaturing
Concern, Who Were Pleased With It.
 
Yesterday the representative of a manufacturing company came to Shelby and looked over the mammoth building of the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. He was much pleased with it and stated that it could easily be adapted to the needs of his growing company. The concern is at the present time located in a small town and employing 40 people. Within a year he stated that they would be employing 100 people and that if his company moved to Shelby they would bring 25 families with them. This would be mostly skilled labor. The remainder of the force would be employed locally. Besides he gave local men the information that if his company located here a foundry would also come to Shelby as the foundry company does all their casting and would want to be located in the same town.
 
The gentleman who came to inspect the tractor building was given a price on the building which was very satisfactory. He was confident that within one year the company would be occupying every foot of available space.The company is financially sound, has not missed a dividend and their object in moving is to secure a factory building large enough and be able to secure sufficient labor to operate their factory.
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – April 21, 1921
 
SHELBY INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION
Purchase Big Tractor Building and Will Transform
It Into Beehive of Industry.
 
The Shelby Industrial Association, which is composed of ten representative business men of Shelby, purchased the factory building of the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. The newly formed company purchased that portion of the company's property which was previously known as the General Electric Co.'s factory. The deal was amde under an option whichthe Shelby Industrial Assocation has held for sometime and which had not yet expired.
 
The ten who make up the company acquired the ownership of the building for one purposeonly and that is to have available manufacturing space for meritorious enterprises to locate in Shelby. This civic spirit on the partof the members of the company is to be commended and before the snow flies next winter the big factory building will be occupied by several small manufacturing companies giving employment to many of our people.
 
The tractor company for several months has been occupying its own original plant built south of Franklin avenue and east of the B & O. The big building as been unoccupied since the automobile show. The present quarters of the tractor company are sufficient for their manufacturing purposes and W. R. Kerr, general manager of the company, gave the local group of men who make up the Shelby Industrial Association an option on the plant.
 
One section of the building has already been leased to the Beswick Round Fabric Belting Co. This promises to be one of Shelby's hustling industries in the near future. The machinery was ordered some weeks ago and is expected to arrive in Shelby most any day. The company hopes to install the machinery the first part of May. Mr. Beswick, the general manager of the company will move to Shelby from Little Silver, New Jersey about July 1st as he desires to remain in his present home until school closes. The belting company will occupy one section of the lower floor and the remainder of the building will shortly be the home of five or six active industries.
 
The new company can not make flowers grow in your garden but they are positively going to fill the big factory building with humming machines and make it a bee hive of industry. Get behind them and help. Shelby is alright, and by the eternal if we work together we will yet boost Shelby over the 10,000 mark.
 

 
The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – March 8, 1922
 
TRACTOR & TRUCK DIRECTORS
 
The directors for the Shelby Tractor & Truck Co. met yesterday afternoon at the company's offices on High School avenue in their regular business session.
 
The usual business was transacted. Messrs. Brady, Ott, and Ramsey of Toledo, who are members on the board of the Shelby concern, were present.
 

The Daily Globe, Shelby, OH – November 2, 1922
 
INDEBTEDNESS
Of Tractor Company About $13,000, With
Little Left to Distribute.
 
The Shelby Tractor & Truck Company building is now being advertised for sale and the affairs of the company will be closed up. At the annual meeting Walter Cook, Dr. Brady of Cleveland and W. R. Kerr, of Shelby, were appointed a committee to close up the company's affairs, to sell the equipment and buildings and pay off the indebtedness.
 
Mr. Cook, one of the members of the committee, has inserted an ad in The Globe and three or four trade papers in which the local equipment and buildings are being offered for sale until December 1st. The factory building is a modern fireproof brick building 60 X 180 feet and desirably located. Bids will be received for the plant as a whole and bids will be received for them property exclusive of machinery. Bids will also be received for the machinery as a whole. Full particlars are given in the company's advertisement which appears in this issue.
 
 
Daily Globe Ad. - Nov 2, 1922
 
The company's indebtedness is something like $13,000 and when the property is sold this will be paid and the balance if any remaining, will be apportioned among the stock holders. There is little prospect however that there will be a sum of any proportion to distribute.
 
It is hoped that the company will be enabled to sell the plant to a good going concern that is in need of such a factory site and that employment will be given to additional people in our city.
 
 

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