THREE ITEMS in this lot of Victorian era advertising: TWO lithographed trade cards and a dealer sales agreement on company stationery from the Walter A. Wood Mowing & Reaping Machine Company of Hoosick Falls, New York. From its small beginning producing only two machines in one year to an annual production of thousands, this internationally famous corporation's machinery allowed American farmers to dramatically increase production.
The three articles include:
DEALER AGREEMENT: This is an original document, apparently for forwarding to a machinery dealer who wanted to purchase Wood machines to sell at his own company. It says in part: "With pleasure we enclose approved agency agreement for the season of 1892, an hope for a season's business satisfactory to both parties. . . . We feel we are placing at your disposal a line of machines which will gratify your customers and give you a decided advantage in your market." The text is mimeographed onto original stationery -- a "form letter," and the date Jan. 2 1892 is stamped on individually at the top (NOTE this date is only 16 days before Walter Wood's death). NO rips or tears or stains. There is graceful age darkening. What a fabulous letterhead design with a wonderful engraving of a farmer using a mower to cut, behind two good looking horses.
TRADE CARD - "SEND FOR A WALTER A. WOOD CATALOGUE" : 3-1/2" x 6" in lovely condition - NO rips or tears. Strong, bright colors with no fading! Just the very slightest "desk drawer grunge" on the surface and extremely hard to see corner bumps. A sweet little girl appears to have been picking fruit - but there is a Wood catalog in her basket ! The card is Copyright 1890 Walter A. Wood, with a tiny Knapp & Co. N.Y. printed in the green about an inch up from the bottom right corner. On the back in orange is advertising for Wood farm machines, and a terrific graphic of a pair of white work horses.
TRADE CARD - "In the Walter A. Wood you get RELIABILITY" : 3-1/2" x 6" in lovely condition - NO rips or tears. Strong, bright colors with no fading! Just the very slightest "desk drawer grunge" on the surface and extremely hard to see corner bumps. The front side top edge of the card is just slightly darker than the lower part (it looks better in real life than in our picture). The colors are very strong and bright with no fading. We don't know who the farmer is, but he appears to be the salt of the earth and a perfect spokesman for "reliability and progress." On the back is essentially the same suggestive advertising language that appears on the other card. The printer mark at the very bottom says G. M. BUEK & CO., LITH., N.Y. (a New York City lithography company).
BACKGROUND (Wikipedia) : Walter A. Wood (1815 - 1892) was an inventor of harvesting equipment that significantly improved agricultural production in the late 1800s, a municipal leader and a U. S. Congressman. In 1835 he moved to Hoosick Falls, New York where after several jobs he partnered with an established company owned by John White that was making cast iron mould-board plows. In 1852 he organized the firm of Wood and Parsons, to manufacture mowing and reaping machines. By invention and improvement, he perfected the Walter A. Wood Mower and Reaper, which he patented. News of the reliable, durable machines spread like wildfire, and production skyrocketed from the manufacture of only two machines in 1852 to more than 8,000 in 1865, gaining world-wide renown. The machine won him more than 1,200 different prizes including gold and silver medals. In 1867 he was decorated by Napoleon III with the Cross of the Legion of Honor; and in Vienna in 1878 he was decorated by the Emperor with the Imperial Order of Franz Joseph. During its heyday, the manufacturing operation burgeoned to approximately 10 acres on the edge of the village. In 1873, Wood built a large mansion on more than 1,000 acres, where he operated a large farm.
Walter Wood served as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1879 - 1883. A Republican, he won two elections for the 46th and 47th Congresses representing the 17th District of New York. Following his departure from office, he returned to Hoosick Falls, New York and resumed his former pursuits. He served as president of the village of Hoosick Falls and as president of the board of education. Walter Wood died in late January, 1892.
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