The story of the growth of the J. I. Case Plow Works from a small, obscure blacksmith shop in the rear of a fanning mill factory to the present large concern occupying over twenty acres of space, is a story of constant progress based upon quality and service. From the beginning the policy of the company has been to make every tool that bore its trademark a little better than any other similar tool and to co-operate to the fullest extent with the dealer handling its products. The business was organized in 1876 by J. I. Case under the name of the Case-Whiting Company, his partner, Mr. Whiting, being the inventor of the center draft walking plow. Two years later Mr. Whiting sold his interest in the concern and the name was changed to the J. I. Case Plow Company, which remained the firm style until 1884, when the business was reorganized, the capital increased and the name changed to the J. I. Case Plow Works. In 1890 J. I. Case withdrew from the business and his son, Jackson I. Case, succeeded him as president of the company and held that office for two Years. In 1892, however, H. M. Wallis, who became general manager of the business in 1885, was made president and treasurer and he is still serving as chief executive of the corporation. The other officers are: William Sobey, vice president; Louis N. Burns, secretary and general sales manager; and William M. La Venture, treasurer. The company is now one of the largest independent implement concerns in the world and its products are sold from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, throughout the Dominion and in other foreign countries. The company employs over six hundred men, all of them skilled mechanics who are expert in their particular work, and there is a system of rigid inspection which begins when the raw material is brought into the factory and which is continued until the completed tool is pronounced worthy of the “Plow in Hand” trademark, which has become associated in the minds of dealers and farmers with the highest quality possible in farm implements. If at any stage of the process of manufacture poor material or faulty workmanship is found the implement is rejected, for the slogan “Quality goes in before the name goes on” is the actual standard of work in the company’s factory.
One of the most important departments of the company is the experimental department, in which expert mechanical engineers are constantly seeking to design more efficient farm machinery. They keep in mind in working out new implements the need of simplicity, light draft and ease of handling and their ideas have been worked out in tools which do the work for which they are intended thoroughly in the shortest time possible and with the least effort and expense on the part of the farmer. The determination of the officials of the company to make its product the last word in up-to-date farm machinery-is further indicated hy the fact that every new implement designed by the engineers is thoroughly tested in actual operation before it is finally adopted. It is recognized that factory forecasts cannot determine the efficiency of a plow or harrow or other farming tool as well as its actual use and therefore a large three hundred acre farm south of Racine is used for experimental purposes. If a machine fails to do efficiently the work for which it was designed it is returned to the factory, where the defects are corrected and it is then tested and re-tested until it gives absolute satisfaction. Practical and experienced men operate the machines and in determining upon their worth nothing is overlooked, the draft, accuracy and durability all being carefully taken into consideration. The performance of the machines in various kinds of soil is also carefully noted and these observations greatly help in designing and adapting implements to the requirements of various localities. The dealer and farmer know that every Case implement has been subjected to repeated field tests before it is placed on the market, whether it be the smallest J. I. Case walking plow or a power lift tractor gang, a cultivator, harrow or planter.
The J. I. Case Plow Works not only takes the greatest care to insure the high quality of its product but has also given a great deal of attention to the problem of aiding its dealers in increasing their sales and has been very successful in securing their hearty co-operation. The company has worked out plans for intensified, direct as well as general advertising campaigns and newspaper cut services which have been very effective in building up the trade even in spite of adverse general business conditions. The corporation gives its dealers the benefit of its wide experience in advertising and supplies them with free movie slides and with signs of various kinds, either free or at a very low figure, and its salesmen are expected to co-operate with the dealers in every way possible.
The factory buildings are up-to-date in construction, are protected from fire loss by a modern sprinkler system and the machinery is adequately guarded so as to prevent accidents. There is also a fully equipped emergency hospital and many minor injuries are cared for there during the year. The factory ranks among the most modern and best conducted industrial plants in the country.
Source: Stone, Fanny S. Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916.