A Brief History of The Nordyke & Marmon Company

A tractor pull for kids

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Chesterton, Indiana 46304

That great wheat flour and corn meal ground at our Association's activities is ground on Wayne Scott's Nordyke and Marmon mill. This mill has 18' French stone buhrs mounted in a heavy cast iron frame. It sold for $172 in the 1900's. The patent date on it is August 1, 1871. Wayne obtained the mill from Warren Bachtel of White Pigeon, Michigan, who got it from a mill in Eau Claire, Michigan.

The company was founded in 1851 by Ellis Nordyke, who for many years previously was a prominent millwright engaged in building flour  mills, the machine being made by hand in the building in which it was to be used.

In 1851 under the name of Nordyke, Ham & Company, the manufacture of milling machinery was first begun in a small shop in Richmond, Indiana. In 1858, Addison H. Nordyke was taken into the business which was carried on as E. & A. H. Nordyke until 1866. At that time Daniel W. Marmon entered the firm, which then became Nordyke Marmon & Company. By 1871, it had become one of the most prominent concerns in its field and occupied substantial brick factory buildings constituting what was then considered quite a large plant. Amos K. Hallowell entered the company in 1875 and continued with it in an unofficial capacity until 1895. Addison H. Nordyke remained with the company in an active official capacity until 1899 and as a stockholder and director until 1904. Daniel W. Marmon continued his active official connection with the company until his death in 1909.

In 1875, owing to the growth of the business and in order to obtain better manufacturing and shipping facilities than was afforded in Richmond, it was decided to move to Indianapolis. The 'Quaker City Works', located in West Indianapolis adjoining the I. & V. and Belt Railroads, was purchased in 1876. The firm grew in this location to what was then considered pretentious proportions and became known as 'America's Leading Mill Builders'

 Now the kids entertain the adults for a change. We have had several hundred young pullers participate from ages two to ten. The climbing weight box holds up to 50 pounds of lead. Ethan Magill, age five, from R.D., Butler, makes a practice pull before the big event. Wayne Cooper, R.D. #2, Fombell, Pennsylvania is in charge of the PEDAL POWER TRACTOR PULL.

The products of the company enjoyed a world-wide reputation for mechanical excellence, durability and efficiency and exported machinery to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and to nearly every country of the Eastern Hemisphere.

They could furnish complete machinery equipment for flour mills, corn mills, cereal mills, starch and rice mills and elevators. They made roller mills, bolting machines, packers, blending machinery, rice, corn and starch mill machinery and numerous special machines. Much of their equipment is still used in present day mills, especially the N. & M. roller mills.

The company was bought out by Allis Chalmers in the 1920's and has since discontinued making mills.

The Nordyke and Marmon Company got into the automobile business in a unique way. The Marmon sons, Howard and Walter, were dissatisfied with the automobiles of the day, and in 1902 built a luxury car to satisfy their own demands. Being a very good engineering company, they built a very unusual and innovative vehicle. In response to an unanticipated market clamor, they went into the automobile business. Howard Marmon went on to develop the Marmon Motor Car Company and build a high quality and dependable car.

The depression caught up with the Marmon Motor Car Company in 1933. The $5,000 price tag was beyond the reach of most everyone at that time and the company went into bankruptcy. Walter Marmon continued to run the Nordyke and Marmon Company until they sold to Allis Chalmers. He then got into the military truck business with A. W. S. Herrington Company. This company is still in business and manufactures commercial and military vehicles. Clessie Cummins, father of the Cummins diesel engine, worked for the Marmons for a time.

The Nordyke and Marmon Company was considered one of the finest engineering houses of its time and it is a credit to the company, its founders and their descendants that they have continued designing and making quality products for almost 130 years.