F. H. HOLLAR Single Wheel Cultivator

| September/October 1999

Russell Myers

Russell Myers, who is 83 years young and son of Jacob Myers, with a Myers cultivator also manufactured in Singers Glen, VA.

5380 Jones Mill Road Crozet, Virginia 22932

Nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, north of Harrisonburg, Virginia, is the community of Singers Glen. Although not often on tourist maps and guides, Singers Glen has distinguished itself as the birthplace of sacred music singing in America, and as a local manufacturing center of gardening equipment. Generally, the latter claim is known only by local folks unless you have been fortunate to see a 'Hollar' or 'Myers' garden cultivator at a steam and gas show or local auction.

In the early 1940s, Forrest H. Hollar designed and manufactured a powered steel, single-wheel cultivator for home gardens. In June 1998 I visited the steam and gas show at Singers Glen and had the opportunity to talk with his son, Leonard Hollar. This was a most enjoyable visit, since Leonard worked with his father daily and can recount many stories and memories of the Hollar cultivator business. This story is one of an entrepreneur who created a business out of family necessity and provided his customers a powered gardening cultivator of lasting engineering excellence. Forrest Hollar passed away in 1965 at age 69.

World War II provided America and its people the opportunity to flex its industrial capabilities and move toward industrialization at a rapid pace. In the South this growth was somewhat slow, due to its historically agricultural base and significant population movement from rural farms to industrialized centers. Only in later years would the South's agriculture economy impact the rise and growth of the modern farm equipment industry. For about 15 years, from 1940 to 1955, two neighbors, Forrest Hollar and Jacob Myers, manufactured powered steel single-wheel garden cultivators in Singers Glen for their neighbors, friends, and local farmers.

The Hollar cultivator exemplifies the truism, 'Necessity is the Mother of Invention,' in that it was 'invented' out of the need for a powered cultivator to support a large family garden. Demographics which are available today indicate that throughout the nineteen-forties and early fifties, manufacturing and marketing of small powered garden equipment was regionally based, especially in the Midwest and Northeast, and this equipment was often not readily available nor affordable to gardeners and farmers in the South.

F. H. Hollar lived his entire life in the Singers Glen community. He could repair and make almost anything, and his shop still stands near his family homeplace. Years ago he would have been called a blacksmith or a backyard mechanic, but today he would be a designer, engineer, production worker, shop manager, and salesman all in one. Over the years, this family-operated shop produced almost 1,000 units with an average price of $145-$165.