Shaw Manufacturing Company History

A brief history of the Shaw Manufacturing Company, from the beginning in Galesburg, Kan., to the successful line of Shaw equipment
David Beattie
August/September 1997
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This brief history of Shaw Manufacturing Company of Galesburg, Kansas, is a compilation of information supplied by John Hasty, C. A. Bridgford, Mr. Shaw's family, relatives, former employees, old advertisements and my own info.

1881 Stanley Wilbur Shaw was born on a farm near Galesburg, Kansas.

1895 Built his first steam engine.

1902  Built his first gasoline engine.

1903 Shaw Manufacturing Company established. Mr. Shaw started in a rented space in an old drug store. On one side he had a dealership for Elgin and Waltham watches with workbench and lathe. On the other side he had bike motors and machinery.

1905 Patented small gasoline air-cooled engine to convert bicycle to motorbike. More than 13,000 total production.

1905-1906 (?) Motors of several sizes offered for vehicle, marine and stationary use in air- and water-cooled. The customer could purchase a complete motor ready to run, a kit to assemble, or rough casting kit to machine & assemble.

1908 Built first automobile "Shawmobile." It was six feet long, two-person seating, capable of 25 miles per hour.

1911 Purchased Kokomo Motorcycle Company, Kokomo, Indiana.

1911 Built new factory building and a garage at his home. Used 10 HP Fairbanks-Morse engine to drive line-shafts. Used 5 HP Fairbanks-Morse to drive generator for lighting.

1922  Refined the 1908 "Shawmobile" and produced until 1930 the "Shaw Speedster."

1923  Produced Shaw Tractorized Ford using Model T Ford and cast iron wheel kits. Produced through 1931. Using Model A Ford, Chevy and Dodge. Most were sold as a do-it-yourself wheel kit.

1924   Patented "Shaw Du-All" tractor. The first ones were walk behind models. Company paint color was a dark green.

1924-1928 Opened sales offices in Chicago, New York and Columbus, Ohio.

1928  Produced motorized lawn mower.

1929  Built another factory building.

1930  Shaw ran contest for pictures illustrating the best uses of Shaw equipment. First prize of $175 was a picture of a Shaw Tractorized Model T Ford with Shaw products.

1932  Installed 300 ton press in factory.

1932-1933 The Happy Gardener Du-All was produced in two versions. It was a walk-behind cultivator and garden tractor.

1933  Started production of Shaw Du-All walk-behind D series garden tractor. Included was D2, D3, D4, D5 and 2D5. All models used Briggs & Stratton engines except the 2D5. The number following the letter D indicates the horsepower of the engine.

1930s (early) A Briggs & Stratton representative said they would have gone under if not for Shaw. Shaw bought one boxcar load of engines every week.

1938 The RD series of riding tractors were produced. The series consisted of RD3, RD4, RD5, R2D5, RD6, RD7, RD8. Shaw made many riding tractors on limited basis prior to 1938. These were the first nationally advertised and were produced in quantity.

1940-1948 HY series of Du-All tractors were produced. Consisting of three models HY5, 2HY5, HY8.

1945 R series started, including R7, R7A, R9.

WWII  Produced parts for government contracts.

1948 Riding mowers produced.

1962 Mr. Shaw sold the company to Bush Hog. Bush Hog destroyed serial number lists, records, advertisements and patterns.

1970 Public auction of the former Shaw Manufacturing.

1981 Stanley Shaw dies at 100 years of age.

1996 Public auction by Margaret Shaw (daughter of Stanley) of Shaw literature, records, parts, patterns, etc. stored in family garage built in 1911.

Mr. Shaw was an avid photographer. Every picture in any Shaw advertisement was taken by Mr. Shaw, except the ones with him in the picture.

The serial number of the engine was the serial number for the entire machine. Shaw employed 50-60 people at Galesburg.

Galesburg, Kansas is a town of about 200 population in southeastern Kansas. Galesburg has a convenience store but no motels. The nearest motels are in Parsons (15 miles) and Chanute (20 miles). There are some camper hookups and a dump station in Galesburg.

Galesburg Days is always held on the first weekend after the fourth of July. The Shaw equipment portion of the show has been held on Saturday at the school grounds. The 1996 National Shaw Show held at Galesburg Days was a great success., There were 92 Shaw machines on display. They included motorbikes, Du-Alls (both walk-behind and riding), riding lawn mowers, and my Shaw Tractorized Ford. Many thanks go to John Hasty and Jerry Kramer for organizing this event. Exhibitors were from Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio and New Hampshire that I know of.

The Shaw Du-All Club has over 100 members and 175 pieces of equipment registered. The Shaw Du-All Newsletter is published by Clifford A. Bridgford, 22 Nesenkeag Drive, Litchfield, New Hampshire 03052, phone: 603-424-7003. Galesburg Days is organized by John Hasty, Box 15, Galesburg, Kansas 66740, phone: 316-763-2357. Both men have contributed many hours and much information. I thank both men for the information I used to write this article. I am sorry that I cannot list every model and the years built. The existing records are very incomplete.

At the time of this article, I had heard of 18 Shaw Tractorized cars existing. My father, my wife and I own a Shaw Tractorized Model T Ford, Model R4. It is a factory built unit with serial number 'S 1924 7 KAN' instead of the Ford serial number on the engine block. Ours has a shortened frame with front and rear axle narrowed. I also have a plow #R412. The tractor is shown in February 1986 GEM on page 4.

I have heard of three Shaw speedsters existing. Out of the 13,000 motorbike engines built, an unknown number still exist. I have not heard of any auto, marine, water or air cooled motors existing. I would be interested in buying any if they surface. I would also like to correspond with any owner and share information on the Speedster, Tractorized car, stationary, auto or marine motors.

My father Fayne, my wife Rhonda and I own approximately 50 gas engines and four garden tractors. Included in the collection are a HP Plunket Jr., Paradox Flame Licker, 1906 IHC 6 HP screen-cooled, V/i HP IHC hopper cooled, 4 HP Great Western, IHC Mogul Jr..Galloway Handy Andy, 14 HP Brownwall air cooled, 1 HP Manitoba (Canadian), 4 HP Kewanee, Cushmans, Rock Islands, Galloways, John Deeres, and Maytags.

At the 1976 Shaw auction my father, my wife and I purchased a worn out 1 HP Shaw stationary gas engine. At that time it is the only one known to exist. The engine is 4' bore x 4' stroke. It has four piston rings 4 x 5/16. (Three rings at top and one at the bottom.) It has a brass connecting rod. It is hit and miss four-cycle, water tank cooled. It has no counterbalance or weights on the crank or the flywheels. There is no ID tag or serial number. Probably it had a Shaw decal. Traces of black paint were found. The flywheels are 22' diameter and are square cut edges with no rim. The only casting numbers are '20' on both flywheels and '478' on the cylinder near valve cage. We are restoring the engine and have had it running. It has a Lunkenheimer carb.

In talking to Margaret Shaw (the daughter who is in her 80s), she told us the engine was installed in the garage built in 1911 to pump water. It was probably used to power Shaw's workshop and factory before 1911. All the information I can find indicates that this engine was probably built in 1902-1905 by Mr. Stanley Shaw.


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