1912 Rotary Rod Weeder / Cheney Weeder Co.
The Rotary Rod Weeder Manufacturing Company, better known as the Cheney Weeder Company, opened in 1912. Invented by brothers, Henry Kyle and Cleve Wolfe, the Rotary Rod Weeder pulled out weeds in farm fields leaving the foliage on the surface to hold the soil and add nutrients. The weeders were sold throughout the country.
Backstory and Context
Invented by brothers Henry Kyle and Grover Cleveland Wolfe, the Rotary Rod Weeder was patented in 1911.
In 1912, the Rotary Rod Weeder and Manufacturing Company incorporated with older brother Garnett H. Wolfe, President; Henry Kyle Wolfe, Vice President; J.S. Hull, Secretary; and Grover Cleveland Wolfe, General Manager. Soon after the company formed, Cleve left to pursue other interests and Louis Van Patten was hired as manager.
The weeder was pulled by horse or tractor through fields with a revolving rod that ran under the soil surface uprooting weeds and leaving the debris on the surface to hold the topsoil and add nutrients.
Disaster struck on the night of August 8, 1926 when the factory was destroyed by fire. Located south of the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks where today the Cheney-Plaza road enters town, the company was badly damaged and a number of weeders awaiting shipment were destroyed. With a backlog of orders, workers were back manufacturing weeders within a few days using salvaged machinery. Soon after the company moved to a new location on the Cheney-Spangle Road with a new name, where their story continued.
Cheney Free Press.