By Thomas Berry
Title: The John F. Byers Machine Company, 1896-1929 and n. d.
Creator: Byers Machine Company (1880-1954)
Extent: 0.1 Linear Feet
Arrangement: Group 1, Machinery Records, is arranged by record format, record type, subseries, machine class, machine model, and publication date (where known).
Scope and Contents of the Materials
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This collection consists of sales and service literature and photographic media discussing the company’s products, and business records discussing its operations. Records from this company in addition to those listed in this finding aid are not yet cataloged online.
The John F. Byers Machine Shop was founded in Ravenna, Ohio, in 1874 as a machinery repair business. Mr. Byers also designed machinery, including the steam engine that supplied power to the shop. He held 13 patents for various machines and mechanical devices; in Feb. 1879 he received a patent for improvement in oatmeal grinding machinery, and Mr. Byers sold this patent to the Quaker Oats Mill in Ravenna. This mill combined with four other mills (around 1901) to form the Quaker Oats Company.
The John F. Byers Machine Company was founded in Ravenna in 1880 and incorporated in 1891. It became The Byers Machine Company by 1929, and ceased operations in 1954.
Byers used the following trade names for its products:
• Bear Cat – half-swing cable excavator.
Major patents and innovations:
1926 – Bear Cat half-swing cable excavator.
There are no restrictions on this collection.
Physical Access Note:
Some records in this collection are in poor physical condition.
This is an artificial collection comprised of records from multiple accessions. Initial records in this collection were found in files. Additional records have been added from:
• Judd Griffith Collection, Accession 2000-0113 (received Sep 22 2000)
• Donald W. Frantz Collection, Accession 2005-0150 (received Dec 31, 2005). Filed with his collection per his request.
Box and Folder Listing Browse by Group:
[Group 1: Machinery records, 1896-1929 and n. d.],
- Group 1: Machinery records, 1896-1929 and n. d.
- Series 1: Sales literature, 1896-1929 and n. d.
- Subseries 1: Judd Griffith Collection, 1896-1929 and n. d.
- Item 1: Catalog 21, n. d.
- Byers sales literature: Catalog discusses steam hoist on skids and wagon; swinger; vertical tube boiler; vertical steam engine; hand winch; bull wheel; guy derrick; stiffleg derrick; 328 Traveling Excavator and Self Propelling Derrick Car and Excavator rail-mounted stiffleg derrick with clamshell bucket; 331 Baby Portable Excavator and Loader half-swing traction steam clamshell crane; material elevator; wire rope; and friction clutch. Photograph subjects include pile driver powered by 44 and 115 hoist, used by Hunkin-Conkey Company at Corrigan-McKinney Company steel mill, Cleveland, Ohio (page 7 and 23); 110 hoist, used by the City of New York to build Catskill Aqueduct, New York Water Supply System (page 15); Byers plant and yard (page 32); 1909 model 328 Traveling Excavator, used by The Reaugh Construction Company at future White Motor Company plant, Cleveland, Ohio; and 331 Baby Portable Excavator and Loader. Includes artist’s rendition of plant. 68 pages, damaged, with preservation photocopy.
- Item 2: Byers Bulldog 1/2 Yard, Jan 1929
- Byers sales literature: Catalog and spec sheet discusses Bulldog 1/2 yard cable shovel, crawler crane, crawler dragline, skimmer and cable backhoe. Also shows Master cable shovel and clamshell crane, and Bear Cat half-swing skimmer and cable backhoe. 36 pages.
- Item 3: Clipping, Jul 16 1896
- Byers sales literature: Article photocopied from Jul 16 1896 issue of Engineering News discusses machine that appears to be a 328 Traveling Excavator or Self Propelling Derrick Car and Excavator rail-mounted stiffleg derrick.
- Item 4: Form 244 Spec, 1944?
- Byers sales literature: Crane rating chart discusses unidentified wagon shovel, wagon crane and wagon dragline.