Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Oliver

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James Oliver (1823-1908) was a Scottish-born American inventor and industrialist, best known for his creation of the South Bend Iron Works, which was reincorporated as the Oliver Farm Equipment Company after his death. After buying a South Bend, Indiana foundry with partner Harvey Little in 1855 he began experimenting with improved farm plough designs. He registered 45 patents on improved plough. He established the Oliver Chilled Plow Works in South Bend.

He was born in Roxburgh on 28 Augut 1823, and emigrated to the USA with his family when hew was 13, initially settling near Geneva, N.Y.[1]

Oliver died on 2 March 1908 in his South Bend mansion. He left the company to his family; his son Joseph D. Oliver had been a manager of the company for several years. He took the company public in 1912. The company went on to develop mechanized farm equipment, and then went through a series of mergers. Today the company is part of the AGCO Allis conglomerate.

The above information is largely condensed from the Wikipedia entry for James Oliver.

For more detailed biographical information, see The History Museum (South Bend) website[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Machinery (USA) April 1908, p.580
  2. [1] The History Museum (South Bend) website: James Oliver