History of Melroe - Cooperstown Plant

History of Melroe - Cooperstown Plant

The Cooperstown Plant of Melroe Division, Clark Equipment, had a modest beginning in 1938 when Ed Reiten purchased a small welding shop and started his business as a repair shop for area farmers.  By the time the plant was purchased by the former Melroe Company in 1967, the Reiten plant had played its role in the production of more than a dozen agricultural products.  Ed Reiten recognized the needs of area farmers and built products to do the job better than any other available farm equipment.

The first products produced by the Cooperstown plant were steel tanks, but the product most well known prior to 1960 were the steel teeth produced for making haystacks.  There is no question that the world's first automatic reset moldboard plow is the most famous of the many products in Cooperstown plant history.

Besides the steel hay-stacking teeth, which was the primary product produced at Cooperstown for many years, the plant has also made a dozen other products, including swathers, grain augers, aluminum grain boxes, field sprayers, steel buildings, E-Z friction throttles, machinery trailers, snow buckets, a corn and other row crops harvester, grain drill packers and the famous moldboard plow.

The Cooperstown plant has been a major parts supplier to many other companies.  Prior to being acquired by Melroe in 1967, the Cooperstown plant had been producing fabricated parts for the Gwinner, North Dakota plant since 1943.  Parts made at Cooperstown for Melroe's Gwinner, North Dakota plant included sheet metal parts, fabricated parts for the Windrow Pickup and components for the Bobcat loader.

Recent production moves have left only side-tanks and throttles used in Bobcat production, still being produced at Cooperstown for the Gwinner, North Dakota plant.

The agricultural products still produced by the Melroe plant in Cooperstown are the automatic reset plow, Cooperstown packers for the reset plow, steel haystacking teeth and E-Z friction throttles used for tractors and the Bobcat.

Many factors have led to products being discontinued at Cooperstown over the years.  One of the most dramatic reasons was the great Cooperstown plant fire in January of 1954 that destroyed the dies for producing Reiten swathers and grain augers.

The 1960's marked the beginning of a new era for Reiten Manufacturing when the reset plow was introduced as an experimental model in 1961 and full production started in 1962 with 50 reset plows produced.  By 1963, a dealer organization had been established to market Reiten plows.  Also in 1963 the Reiten Manufacturing Company became the first company in the world to offer a pull-type 8-bottom plow, just another of many firsts in farm equipment that have been recorded at the Cooperstown plant.

The latest major development in the reset plow has been the change from the Railroad to the 900 series plow that started in August of 1971.  Currently the Cooperstown plant produces the 902, 903, 911 and 914 Melroe Automatic reset plows.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 47

 
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