The Seymour Manufacturing Company of Seymour, Jackson County, Indiana, was organized for manufacturing grain cradles, buggy and wagon wheel spokes and hubs, scythes, and snaths.
The Company began as a corporation in 1872 with principal offices in Wilmington, Delaware; Seymour, Indiana; and St. Louis, Missouri. This organization took place only one year after a group of local businessmen purchased a snath, grain cradle, and wagon spoke factory that had been operating in the old Indiana State Prison located in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The original group consisted of Julius C. Birge, Walter W. Birge, Ernest N. Birge, Arthur B. Birge, Lynn Faulkconer (whom later built the Lynn Hotel), Charlton A. Swope (whom donated the Art Gallery to the library building), and William M. Ayer.
Julius C. Birge (seen above), of St. Louis, Missouri, who headed the group of local businessmen, purchased stock in the local corporation to diversify his services in the West. After several years of operation, Julius assumed control of the company through stock purchases, and the local industry has been in the hands of the Birge family since that time.
The Company expanded its operation through the years, at first continuing the manufacture of snaths, grain cradles, and wagon spokes, but in the early part of the 20th Century, the Hall Manufacturing Company of northern Indiana was purchased which added posthole diggers and earth augers to a growing line of products.
In 1922, the Company purchased the Dunn Edge Tool Company of Oakland, Maine, and moved that operation to Seymour, Indiana. Shortly after this move, Stanley J. Birge, the son of the founder, joined the Company. A year later, the North Indianapolis Cradle Works was purchased and was moved to Seymour, Indiana.
In 1940, during the years of World War II, Seymour Manufacturing again expanded its production capabilities by adding hog rings and ringers, barnyard tools and other agricultural tools to its offerings that the public demanded. To help with the war effort, Seymour Manufacturing produced starter cartridges for airplanes, and wooden wheelbarrows that required minimal metal for assembly.
During the next few decades, the Company continued to expand products and facilities to include cattle dehorners, a snow sled for children called the “Flying Cloud” and other digging tools. The Company also began shipping product to all parts of the United States, Canada, and many foreign countries, which continues today.
In 1956, the Company started its fireplace accessory business with the addition of the “Seymour Classic” fire set that is still manufactured with the same quality and good old-fashioned craftsmanship, for which the Company has become famous. During the next thirty years, the Company continued to acquire other tool manufacturers and continued expanding the operational facilities.
In 1995, Seymour Manufacturing Company acquired the Structron Corporation of San Marcos, California. Structron is the premier manufacturer of pultruded fiberglass composite plastics. Although the Structron Corporation produced many different profiles for customers around the world, it is perhaps best known for manufacturing handles for stronger, lighter-weight, and more durable hand tools
In 2004, Seymour Manufacturing Company acquired the O.P. Link Corporation, which included the O.P. Link Company of Salem, Indiana, the Sequatchie Handle Works of Sequatchie, Tennessee, the Bruner-Ivory Company of Hope, Arkansas, and the Turner-Day Handle Company of Crossville, Tennessee.
For over one hundred forty years, Seymour Manufacturing Company has continued to add new products and product lines until today; with over 3000 different products available for shipment, the Seymour Manufacturing Companies are able to offer World-Class service to thousands of customers worldwide.
In 2012, Seymour Manufacturing Company was purchased by Midwest Rake Company LLC, a family-owned and also Indiana based manufacturer of specialty tools serving a variety of markets worldwide. Midwest Rake products are sold under the Midwest Rake®, Kenyon, Northstar and Toolite® labels. Midwest Rake is also known for its OEM and private label capabilities. The combined breadth and diversity of the Seymour and Midwest Rake product lines will afford customers of both companies many new and meaningful opportunities going forward.