The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co. started in Mansfield in 1867 and continued into the 1920s, but who were the men behind the names Aultman and Taylor?
After these brief biographical sketches are some photographs of The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co.
Cornelius Aultman was born March 20, 1827, in a log home west of what is today East Canton, Ohio. His father, Jacob, died a few years after his birth and his mother, Elizabeth, remarried a farmer named John Miller. Cornelius was first employed at Wise & Ball, a local machine shop, where he met his wife Eliza Wise. This is also where he would begin to experiment with making agricultural equipment more efficient. In 1849 and 1850, Cornelius, along with his wife and financial backer Michael Dillman, headed to Plainfield, Illinois to sell reapers based on a design by Obed Hussey. Upon hearing of their success, Hussey went to Illinois to demand royalties. Soon after, Aultman returned to Ohio.
Aultman returned to Ball & Wise and quickly became partner in the business, which became Ball, Aultman & Co. They would eventually buy property in Canton where they built threshers, reapers and mowers. Ball sold his interest in the company and went out on his own in direct competition against Aultman. By 1865 Ball was out of business and C. Aultman & Co. was selling thousands of pieces of equipment annually.
It was in 1867 when Cornelius Aultman located his new company in Mansfield, the Aultman, Taylor & Co.; this new venture had no relation to his company in Canton other than Aultman’s involvement. Aultman enlisted Michael D. Harter to run the Mansfield plant, which proved successful for many years. On December 26, 1884, Cornelius Aultman died suddenly of apoplexy in his home in Canton. In 1891 Aultman, Taylor & Co. was reincorporated and became the Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co.
Henry Hobart Taylor
Henry Hobart Taylor was born in Durhamsville near Oneida Creek, New York in 1835. When he was 10 years old, his father moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. While there, Taylor worked in his father’s mercantile business as a clerk. In 1854 the family moved to Freeport, Illinois and Taylor made his way to Cincinnati, Ohio to study pharmacy. Two years later, Taylor returned to Freeport. It was upon his return that he first became associated with Cornelius Aultman when he became an agent for C. Aultman& Co.
Taylor made his fortune through real estate in Chicago. He had the foresight to purchase land relatively cheap in a rapidly growing city. With his financial resources, Taylor became involved in many enterprises, including the Commercial National Bank, the American insurance Company and the Elgin Watch Company.
In 1864 Taylor married Adelaide Chatfield, a native of Orriskany, New York. The couple had one child, H. C. Chatfield Taylor, who was an American writer, novelist and biographer and considered a top authority on Molière. Also in 1864, he became associated with the Nichols, Shepard and Company of Battle Creek, Michigan. He then set up an agency in Chicago to sell equipment manufactured by C. Aultman & Co. and Nichols, Shepard and Company throughout the northwestern states.
While individuals like Aultman were mechanics and inventors of many of the devices their companies produced and sold, Taylor was an astute and shrewd business man who made important decisions at opportune times. He saw many of these inventions as business opportunities and that is what brought him to invest and become a cofounder of the Aultman, Taylor & Co. in Mansfield, Ohio.
On November 9, 1875, Henry Hobart Taylor died at the young age of 40. In the “years prior to his death Taylor suffered from a complication of diseases and during the last month of his life became totally blind … with indomitable courage and energy he attended to his business until the day of his death. The cause was kidney failure and Bright’s disease,” a disease involving chronic inflammation of the kidneys.
Images of The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company, Click on Image for a larger view and to see description.
Bixler, L. E. (1967). Cornelius Aultman, C. Aultman & Co., and the Aultman Co. Stemgas Pub. Co. Enola, Pa.