| October/November 1999

Miss Helen Lehn was secretary for the Flinchbaugh Company for 18 years and gives us this history of Mr. Flinchbaugh and the company. She is also a niece of Mr. Flinchbaugh and knew all the men in the plant. She is quite an interesting person and talks very conversantly about these tractors.--Elmer Ritzman, 1959.

Frederick T. Flinchbaugh, a York County, Pennsylvania Dutch farmer boy, was always busy making attachments to his father's farm machinery, plows, cultivators, harvesting equipment and hay threshing equipment and his mother's household equipment. His parents, realizing the need for mechanical training, encouraged him to become a machinist.

He finally got a job with a local manufacturing company and served an apprenticeship. Those days, to become a machinist required four years. The start was cleaning castings and doing errands. Next, operating a hack saw or small machine lathe, drill press, shaper, planer, boring mill for about two years. Next, bench work, erecting and finally tool room.

There was no diploma to be had, but a good Master Mechanic was always known and in great demand; in fact, he could get a job in any factory.

It is interesting to know that apprentices had to work without pay until they could earn about one to two dollars per week and finish up the fourth year at about $4.00 a week; 10 hours or more a day and six days per week.

Fred made rapid progress at the trade and was outstanding. He was willing, energetic and ambitious. He was always in the front line when there was an opponent for service. While serving his apprenticeship with A.B. Farquhar Company, the valve mechanism on the engine that furnished power for the plant became loose. The men familiar with the valve mechanism were not on the job at that time and while several other men failed to make the adjustment, Fred suggested he could do it, and of course, Fred, an apprentice, was not given much consideration for such an important adjustment. Finally, the boss said, 'Men, stand back, give this boy a chance.'


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