SHAW MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Shaw was born on April 21, 1881, on a farm near Galesburg, Kansas. He
demonstrated exceptional mechanical ability, building a human-powered
at age nine, a steam engine at age fourteen, and a gasoline engine at
twentyone. His education was limited to grade school and a
course in mechanics. In 1903,at age twentytwo, he established the Shaw
Company in an old drugstore in Galesburg, where he sold and repaired
the front of the
store and built gasoline
engines in the back.
Shaw patented an air-cooled engine to power a
Either an engine kit or a complete motorbike could be purchased. Within
time, Shaw was building and selling a variety of air-cooled and
engines for home and commercial use.In
1908 Shaw developed and advertised an automobile called the Shaw
simple machine incorporating
wheels and seats for two people. The vehicle had a top speed of
approximately 25 mph. and
gas mileage of 60 to 90 miles-per-gallon. The Speedster was available
as a kit
or as a complete automobile for $150. Shaw engines were used in early
Briggs & Stratton engines were used in later models when the
unable to keep up with demand. Production of the Speedster ended by
1911, Shaw had outgrown his small factory and he purchased the Kokomo
Motorcycle Company of Kokomo, Indiana. However, in order to keep Shaw
Galesburg, his family built him a new factory building and he moved
from Indiana to the Galesburg factory. After improving the engine, Shaw
Kokomo motorcycles for a number of years until automobiles became more
the early 1920's, Shaw began producing tractor conversion kits for
Model T Fords.
In the early 1930's, a complete tractor could be purchased for $335 or
customer could buy
a kit for $160 and
convert his own car. Later, tractor conversion kits were also available
Model A Ford and Chevrolet cars.
new and larger factory was built in 1928.
garden tractors were introduced in the early 1920's. The Shaw Du-All
patented in 1924. The first two models were the T-25 and the T-45.
utilized Shaw's own engines, but his factory was not able to keep up
demand, so he began purchasing Briggs & Stratton engines.
T-25 and T-45 were tested at the University of Nebraska in 1927 (test
and 137). Walk-behind tractors were used to cut brush, saw wood, plow,
cultivate , mow and run implements like pumps, feed mills, shop tools
D Series of walk-behind tractors was released in 1933. Although most
had Briggs & Stratton engines, engines by Harley Davidson,
Nelson Brothers were used on some models.
1940, the Peppy Pal was introduced; it was a small cultivator with a
attachment powered by a Briggs & Stratton 2 hp. Model N engine.
first riding tractors--the RD Series--were offered in 1938. These were
basically D-Series walk-behind tractors with riding sulkies; they
rear-wheel steer and deluxe engine hoods.
Series tractors were issued in 1945. These were riding garden tractors
more conventional designs; they incorporated Ford drive-trains acquired
salvage yards. By 1947, this series included the Model R7, which
pounds and was powered by a 7.75 hp. Briggs & Stratton Model ZZ
the Model HY8, a high-clearance tractor weighing about 1,350 pounds and
9 hp. Wisconsin Model AHH engine. The Model R7was rated for a 10-inch
the HY8 for a 12-inch plow. Both tractors featured three-speed
and Rockwell dry-disk clutches. They were advertised as small farm
tractors or large
garden tractors suitable for plowing, harrowing, cultivating, raking
dirt and snow with front blades.
Shaw Manufacturing Company made parts for airplanes, tanks and airplane
during World War II. The Company also sold plans for $1.00 each that
purchasers to build their own tractors out of used automobile parts
available in local salvage yards. These included a
tractor called the Jiffy
three-wheeled garden tractor called the War Horse, and a row-crop farm
the 1950's, the Shaw Manufacturing Company had the world's largest
producing garden tractors and power mowers. To meet the needs of the
business, offices were established in New York City, Chicago, and
Ohio. Tractors, power mowers and parts were shipped throughout the
States and to a number of foreign countries.
1953--the Shaw Company's golden anniversary--walk-behind tractors were
available with 1.5, 2.5, 3 and 5 hp. engines, variable-speed
adjustable wheel widths, individual gang-tool controls and power-turn
capability. Riding tractors were offered with power-takeoffs (PTOs) and
of 5, 8 and 12 hp.
engines capable of
pulling 10, 12 and 14-inch plows.
Shaw Company started building garden tractors for the Bush Hog
1962. By the end of that year, Bush Hog had purchased the company and
end of 1963, the Shaw name disappeared.
Shaw was revered as a kind employer and a generous
who contributed a great
deal to the well being
of his employees and his community. He died in May,1981, at age 100.