A Brief History of The Nordyke & Marmon Company

By Staff
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Chesterton, Indiana 46304

That great wheat flour and corn meal ground at our
Association’s activities is ground on Wayne Scott’s Nordyke
and Marmon mill. This mill has 18′ French stone buhrs mounted
in a heavy cast iron frame. It sold for $172 in the 1900’s. The
patent date on it is August 1, 1871. Wayne obtained the mill from
Warren Bachtel of White Pigeon, Michigan, who got it from a mill in
Eau Claire, Michigan.

The company was founded in 1851 by Ellis Nordyke, who for many
years previously was a prominent millwright engaged in building
flour  mills, the machine being made by hand in the building
in which it was to be used.

In 1851 under the name of Nordyke, Ham & Company, the
manufacture of milling machinery was first begun in a small shop in
Richmond, Indiana. In 1858, Addison H. Nordyke was taken into the
business which was carried on as E. & A. H. Nordyke until 1866.
At that time Daniel W. Marmon entered the firm, which then became
Nordyke Marmon & Company. By 1871, it had become one of the
most prominent concerns in its field and occupied substantial brick
factory buildings constituting what was then considered quite a
large plant. Amos K. Hallowell entered the company in 1875 and
continued with it in an unofficial capacity until 1895. Addison H.
Nordyke remained with the company in an active official capacity
until 1899 and as a stockholder and director until 1904. Daniel W.
Marmon continued his active official connection with the company
until his death in 1909.

In 1875, owing to the growth of the business and in order to
obtain better manufacturing and shipping facilities than was
afforded in Richmond, it was decided to move to Indianapolis. The
‘Quaker City Works’, located in West Indianapolis adjoining
the I. & V. and Belt Railroads, was purchased in 1876. The firm
grew in this location to what was then considered pretentious
proportions and became known as ‘America’s Leading Mill
Builders’

 Now the kids entertain the adults for a change. We have
had several hundred young pullers participate from ages two to ten.
The climbing weight box holds up to 50 pounds of lead. Ethan
Magill, age five, from R.D., Butler, makes a practice pull before
the big event. Wayne Cooper, R.D. #2, Fombell, Pennsylvania is in
charge of the PEDAL POWER TRACTOR PULL.

The products of the company enjoyed a world-wide reputation for
mechanical excellence, durability and efficiency and exported
machinery to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and to
nearly every country of the Eastern Hemisphere.

They could furnish complete machinery equipment for flour mills,
corn mills, cereal mills, starch and rice mills and elevators. They
made roller mills, bolting machines, packers, blending machinery,
rice, corn and starch mill machinery and numerous special machines.
Much of their equipment is still used in present day mills,
especially the N. & M. roller mills.

The company was bought out by Allis Chalmers in the 1920’s
and has since discontinued making mills.

The Nordyke and Marmon Company got into the automobile business
in a unique way. The Marmon sons, Howard and Walter, were
dissatisfied with the automobiles of the day, and in 1902 built a
luxury car to satisfy their own demands. Being a very good
engineering company, they built a very unusual and innovative
vehicle. In response to an unanticipated market clamor, they went
into the automobile business. Howard Marmon went on to develop the
Marmon Motor Car Company and build a high quality and dependable
car.

The depression caught up with the Marmon Motor Car Company in
1933. The $5,000 price tag was beyond the reach of most everyone at
that time and the company went into bankruptcy. Walter Marmon
continued to run the Nordyke and Marmon Company until they sold to
Allis Chalmers. He then got into the military truck business with
A. W. S. Herrington Company. This company is still in business and
manufactures commercial and military vehicles. Clessie Cummins,
father of the Cummins diesel engine, worked for the Marmons for a
time.

The Nordyke and Marmon Company was considered one of the finest
engineering houses of its time and it is a credit to the company,
its founders and their descendants that they have continued
designing and making quality products for almost 130 years.

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