M. F. Bates


| June/July 2001



M. F. Bates

12234 Harris Carleton, Michigan 48117

M. F. Bates, organizer of the Bates & Edmonds Motor Company and of the Bates Automobile Company, as well as an inventor of note in the specialty of gas and gasoline engines, is a native of Calhoun County, Michigan, and was born in the year 1869. He is the son of B. D. and Betsy A. Bates, his father being also a Wolverinite, and, by trade, a blacksmith. He is still living a proud witness of his son's marked success in the industrial field, which he and his boy commenced to cultivate nearly twenty years ago.

Our subject was brought up in Calhoun County, Michigan, where he received his early education, and, where, while yet a boy, he was granted a patent on an improved land roller in 1887, and at once he and his father began the manufacture of the device, placing several hundred of the machines on the market. The ambitious boy realized, however, that to make the most of himself and his inventions, he must obtain a practical training as a mechanic. He therefore entered the machine shop of the Olds Works, at Lansing. From the first day of his employment there he was thoroughly in earnest. He had a definite object in view, and he never rested, night or day, or holidays, until he had become a thorough machinist. More than that, he became an expert draftsman, making patterns and drawings, especially for gasoline engines.

Mr. Bates finally invented the first gasoline engine used by the company, trading his invention for stock in the P. F. Olds & Son. He is also the inventor of a two-cycle boat engine, which is manufactured by the Smalley Motor Company of Bay City, Michigan.

After remaining with the Olds Company for six years Mr. Bates severed his connection with the firm, and, in April 1899, organized the Bates & Edmonds Motor Company, of which he is the president and with Mr. Edmonds is the real power behind the large and rapidly growing industry. When the company was first organized it employed only three men, and the capacity of the works was only four engines monthly: it now employs 100 men and its output is 200 monthly. To keep up with orders the factory is in operation night and day, turning out the up-to-date gas and gasoline engines, which are the result of the president's ingenuity, and upon which he has been granted patents by the Government.

He is also vice-president of Bates Automobile Company, which is in the general manufacturing business in that line.