Beaver Fever

| July/August 1997

79 Elm Street, Ansonia, Connecticut 06401

As a young boy my friends and I would watch the freight trains go by from the hill above the tracks. Far below, on the opposite side of the tracks, was the Baird Machine Company. Being an inquisitive child I asked my parents what they made in that factory on the other side of town. 'Tractors,' they answered, along with 'What are you doing so far from home?' Needless to say it was a few years before I saw the Baird Factory again.

My next contact with U.S. Baird was in 1970, in my senior year at Stratford High School. I finally got to see the inside of the Baird Factory along with my industrial arts class. In awe of the overhead cranes and other large machinery, I completely forgot the tale of the tractors from years before. Un-known to me at the time, it had been ten years since the last tractor was made there. A few months later an offer of an apprenticeship followed. I declined and went off to a state technical college.

It would be more than two turbulent decades before Baird and I made contact again. After working at and watching the demise or decline of many factories, such as Bullard Company, Farrel Company, and Consolidated Diesel, it was the collapse of aerospace giant Avco-Ly coming that finally brought me back to U. S. Baird. It was in May of 1993 that I was employed at Baird.

Now being an inquisitive adult, I began to ask about the long history of this company. Founded in Connecticut in 1846, it has become one of the world's largest producers of high production metal forming machinery which includes multiple and four slide machines, multiple transfer presses, horizontal chucking machines and more. And also I was told we used to make tractors here. Bingo!!!

By now you must be wondering where the tractors fit in? It was at the company celebration of 150 years in business (1846-1996) that I displayed two Beaver tractors. Company President Charles Warner, whose great-grandfather, Charles Warner, bought the company from Mr. Baird in the late 1800s, related this story to me about how the Beaver was born.