A 4-H Boy and His Mill


| March/April 1995



Fair ribbons

Troy Jones with Iowa State Fair ribbons.

1408 N. Van Buren, Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Troy Jones is a 4-H'er with a desire to enjoy the antiques found on the farms of southeastern Iowa. 4-H is the organization that takes boys and girls along the way to making them men and women. Troy is 14 years old. His picture is on page 20 of the October 1993 GEM in the article, entitled 'Caterpillar 30.' 

Troy has shown livestock at the County Fair, and this last year displayed a sweep mill, made by the Dain Hay Tool plant in Ottumwa, Iowa. Troy's father, Max Jones, found this mill at a farm sale in a pile of junk. After removing some of the dirt from the mill, they found the words Ottumwa, Iowa, on one of the castings. They thought it was made by Janney Manufacturing of Ottumwa but, after cleaning the mill, they found the words Dain Manufacturing.

Joseph Dain was a part of the history of hay tools in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. With this beginning and the insistence of some business men in Ottumwa, he left Carrolton, Missouri, in 1900 to establish the factory that became a part of the John Deere Company in 1910.

Janney Manufacturing made a sweep mill in Ottumwa that was patented in 1892 and this was thought to be one of their mills. When the grease and dirt were cleaned off the castings, the words 'Dain Manufacturing, Ottumwa, Iowa', with a patent date of December 26, 1899, were found.

Max Jones works at the John Deere plant in Ottumwa. He contacted Bonnie Glosser of the Human Resources Department asking her for some information on this mill. She could find nothing, but contacted the archives at the corporate offices in Moline, Illinois. They said Dain did not make such a mill. Ms. Glosser told Troy to take a picture of the mill to send to Moline. After a few weeks Troy received a copy of the original owner's manual and a parts book, along with a letter stating they could not believe a mill of this age still existed.