Faribault Company History

By Staff

The Faribault Mfg. Co. was a 1904 consolidation of Winnebago
Machine & Foundry Co. and Winnebago Gas Engine &
Construction Co., both of Faribault, and Polar Star Electric Co.,
to “manufacture, sell and dispose of motors both gasoline and
electric, gas, gasoline engines, electric generators and all
machinery used about them,” said a March 16, 1904, newspaper
article. One workman could supervise two or three machines, and
everything in the engine except steel axles was produced at the
plant. “Sixteen men are employed, and all engines are sold. It is
impossible to keep up with orders.”

Other newspaper articles state where larger engines were sold
and used: “The Fortune Mining Co. of Sumpter, Ore., has received a
12 HP engine and has ordered another. A launch, ‘The Neptune,’
built of cypress and oak for use on French Lake by Sam Grant is
fitted with an 8 HP Faribault engine. A 10 HP Faribault is
installed at Carleton College. A motor car is built for the
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. It has a 12-foot platform
which was provided with seats for the workmen. Leach and Sons
Lumber Co. and Sash and Window Co. use several 40 HP engines.”

In 1907, the company was re-incorporated as Faribault Engine Co.
In 1909, a newspaper article said, “Five engines were sold in two
days. It is impossible to keep up with the demand.” Numerous other
mentions were made of people who came from 700 miles to see the
engines and the company’s work, engines put in railway cars and
inspection cars, and the like. On Feb. 15, 1916, the plant was
destroyed by a fire. On April 28, 1916, Daily News
headlines said, “Kerosene Engine Ready for Market.”

The company would build its engines under patents of the Gas
Corliss Co., and the name changed to Kerosene Power Co. The
newspaper also reported, “a Mrs. Eckland will be the mechanical
expert and superintendent of the factory.” Later, a newspaper
reporter said, “That a woman would be hired as a mechanical expert
and supervisor does not seem very likely, and we must wonder if
this was a typographical error.” After 1916, nothing more was heard
of the company.

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