Walter Abbott Wood developed the first successful automated grain harvesting machine. His father made plows and wagons in Albany, New York. Walter worked for his father until 21 years old. He then moved to Hoosick Falls (Hosac Falls) where he was employed by Parsons & Wilder. After spending a while in Nashville, Walter returned to Hoosick Falls where he partnered with John White. White & Wood operated a foundry and made plows on a small scale. He partnered with J Russell Parsons in 1852. Wood & Parsons used J H Manny patents for a harvesting machine. The partnership ended in 1853. Walter purchased the Tremont Cotton Mill and began on his own. He refined the reaper and began winning medals in Europe, France, & the United States. Awards totaled over 1200 between 1857 and 1890.
Walter had a brother who mirrored his life. William Anson also worked for their father as well as Parsons & Wilder. William became Walter’s engineer in 1856 and stayed for fifteen years. James S Thayer convinced William to go into business with him. Capitalizing on Walter’s success, the William Anson Wood Reaper & Mower Company was formed in Albany. Poor financial management resulted in failure after two years. A Youngstown, Ohio company bought the failing business and turned it around for a few years. The company was destroyed by fire in 1888 and assets were sold to the Chattanooga Agricultural Works.
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