Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Seneca Electric Arc Welder (Cont'd)

From Seneca Courier Tribune, March 9, 1922 (page 4)

New Electric Welder Backed by Seneca Men
Officers and Trustees:

President and General Manager, George J. Griebler
Vice-President, T. E. Rooney
Treasurer, Peter P. Schmitt
Secretary, George C. Britt
Counsel, Charles H. Herold

A low-priced electric arc welding machine that will repair anything from a dishpan to the heaviest engine base, the invention of Seneca men, promises to revolutionize repair work in machine shops and garages and to create an industry in Seneca with unlimited possibilities.

For the Seneca Electric Arc Welder, as the machine has been called, will displace welding by oxy-acetylene process, heretofore the most satisfactory method known to repair men. Acetylene welding requires preheating and expert treatment. The Seneca electric welder is comparatively a simple process and nay mechanic can master its details with little practice. There are other electric welding machines on the market but they are heavy direct current outfits, made by Franklin and general Electric and sell for $1750 up. The Seneca welder uses alternating current and will sell at $350. It has the marked advantage of being light weight and easily moved from place to place. The Seneca inventors have perfect control over the quantity of heat to be applied to the part to be welded. This is accomplished by a step-down process, maintaining voltage from 100 to 110 but reducing the amperage from 170 to 30. Voltage is pressure just as you know it in water systems. Amperage is heat. Voltage times amperage gives terms in Kilowatts. Get this point for it is the secret of the patent that has been applied for by the Seneca Company. No other manufacturer has been able to reduce the heat to a workable point without cutting down the pressure too. That is an exclusive Seneca device adn the thing that makes this light machine practicable. The Seneca welder has 14 heat controls, and the workman applies the heat as he judges the work in had requires.

History of the Machine

There is romance int he development of this comparatively simple little machine just as so often happens when a new idea is given to the world. The credit for its development will go to David C. Brummett, Earl Brummett and george J. Griebler, their brother-in-law. The making of the first successful machine has been a story of one discouragement after another. David Brummett, or "Dee" as he is more popularly known got the germ of his idea while employed in government ship-building and as a welding engineer for the Pennsylvania Salt Co. Working with his brother, Earl, they conceived the idea of building an electric welder and opening up a shop in Seneca to do welding jobs. Earl Brummett sold hi home in order to get money to put into the business. Their idea was good but their machine was crude. Their first machine had but one heat control -- one fixed degree of amperage. Continually experimenting they brought out a machine that was a little more efficient. In this machine they sought to cool the machine with water rheostat. At this stage in their experimentation George J. Griebler became interested. Mr. Griebler then vice president of the Shaefer Rubber Co. He began to study the proposition. He devised the method of stepping down the heat without reducing the pressure. He abandoned the use of water rheostat and substituted and induction coil throughout which is oil cooled.

But Griebler did not meet with immediate success. He put time and money into the job -- he too met wtih discouragements. The first machine cost him $1500. At one stage of the game he saw $600 in the machine vanish in a second. There was a short in the coils. The machine burned out in a flash.

The boys stood around with long faces but Griebler only chuckled. "It doesn't matter," he said, "It's a good thing that happened to us. We know where we made our mistake and it will never happen again.

Organization of the Company

With machine perfected Griebler, the mechanic became Griebler the promoter. His own means were limited. He offered the machine to Sabetha, to  Marysville, to Seneca business men. Here is where Clifford Jerome comes on the scene. It looked good to Jerome. With Jerome the thinking meant the doing. He called in a few of his friends. "We'd better get busy," he told them, "or we are gong to lose something good." George Britt became interested. Britt and Jerome run in Billy Firstenberger. Billy grasped its possibilities and said to Griebler, "You will never leave this town."

The same afternoon Peter Schmitt and Tom Rooney dropped in. Both were enthused. Then Emmet J. Dignan jumped in. it was decided to call a meeting the following Wednesday morning.

At this meeting the inventors, Mr. Griebler and the Brummets were allowed 60 per cent of the stock with 40 per cent being taken by Clifford Jerome, W. P. Firstenberger, E. J. Dignan, C. H. Herold, Dr. J. C. Grindle, Peter Schmitt, T. E. Rooney, Pat Minnehan, George C. Britt and Fred Koelzer. To save red tape of incorporating the Company was organized as a declaration of trust.

Distribution of Machines

Mr. Griebler said today that the Company expects to get into quantity production at an early date. He believes that the output for a start will be about forty machines per month. In a few weeks Fred Koelzer will take the road as salesman and in all ten salesmen and ten Demonstrators will be working out of Seneca within a year. These agents will carry the light machine with them, doing repair work right on the job before the eyes of the prospect. The Company's territory is the world, but it will make a modest start int his vicinity, southern Nebraska, the oil fields and adjacent Missouri cities. The Company also is western distributor for the Quasi-arc weltrode, the electrode used with the machine. The Company may sell county and state rights on the machine. That part is undecided.

Possibilities of Machine

Electric arc welding is something comparatively new. In all Kansas City there are but two electric machines, one owned by the Butler Mfg. Co., the other by the Kansas City Street Railway Co. These are heavy machines using only direct current. There is no other low-priced machine on the market today and Griebler swears that he can do anything with his machine that the big, heavy ones will do. The Butler CO., Kansas City has asked for a demonstration. If they are satisfied they will at once place an order for 12 machines. Without a line of advertising, except by word of mouth through traveling salesmen, the Company has already orders for 15 machines. The publicity campaign now will get under way and the orders are expected to multiply rapidly. Clifford Jerome says that he believes that 75 per cent of the Ford dealers will stock the machine. The Sweeney Auto school, Kansas City, using 20 oxy-acetylene welders, will be in the market for twenty of the electric machines if the demonstration is satisfactory. General Electric Co., makers of the big machines, are referring orders for light machines to the Seneca organization. They get many inquiries for outfits selling form $250 to $300. The manager of the Kansas City branch of General Electric Co. told Mr. Griebler that he always believed that some time a light machine would be brought out. In every city in the United States where there is electric current there is a market for one or more of the Seneca Electric Arc Welders. That is the reason why the Seneca organization believes that it has a wonderful future. Up to this time the Company has been loath to put out information about its business. Now that the department has filed its application for a patent it is time to tell the world about it.

Doing Practical Work Here

"This machine is a fact," said one of the trustees, "we can see what it is doing." No One knows this any better than Clifford Jerome in whose Ford shop the machine is now repairing on an average of eight to ten jobs a day. In the hundreds of jobs that have been turned out just two have come back. They were jobs difficult to get at and not properly done in the first place. The other morning Mrs. Jerome was washing. A mop handle flew up and broke a cog in the machine. In another hour she resumed her work. Cliff had mended the broken part with the welder. Ole Nelson, formerly of Seneca, doing machine work at Marysville, paid for a machine in 24 days. One concern at Frankfort has a machine and is getting so much work that another will be ordered. August Kramer broke the cylinder block in his Overland car. Oxy-acetylene people said that they would fix it for $25 or 430. Welded on the electric machine, Bill $4.00 . Traveling men are talking about he machine and developing a great deal of interest form outside sources. In fact the traveling men have been the only way that advertising has been put out.


In manufacturing the machines the Company is forced to develop its own tools and appliances. A device was needed for wrapping the copper wire coils. Henry Woltkamp, "Dee" Brummett and Fred Koelzer got busy and built a heavy frame winder with which one man can wrap a coil every three minutes. It took three men an hour to wrap four coils by hand. A device was needed on this machine to keep an equal tension on the three wires that mark up the coil. Griebler took Ford brake bands and presto, there was the means. It is a cross between a Ford, a Chevrolet and Joe Butler's scrap pile, but man, she works. Henry Woltkamp is building the wooden frames, Glenn Fisher is making the galvanized tanks that hold the coils and oil. In all six people are now employed on regular work. At least 12 or 15 people will be needed here when quantity production starts. Then there will be ten demonstrators and ten salesmen on the road, making in all about 35 people. Nice sizable little industry. A lusty young fellow with a good chance to grow big and strong.

Ad from Seneca Courier Tribune, Thursday, April 20, 1922 (page 2)

From Seneca Courier Tribune, Thursday, March 30, 1922 (page 5)

Welder Company Getting into Quantity Output

It's full steam ahead at the plant of the Seneca Electric Arc Welder Co., east Main Street, Seneca. The shop is being prepared to take care of twenty workmen, each with his own special piece to do in assembling the machines. Dee Brummett is welding engineer for the company, Earl Brummett is shop superintendent, Ralph is in charge of the varnishing department.

There is a system in the assembling of the machines as now planned. It is the distinctive American method of manufacturing as contrasted with shop methods overseas. It was the automobile manufacturers who brought the method to its high state of perfection. In the plant of the Seneca Welder Company three men will operate the machine that wraps the cotton covered copper wire on the coils. Then the coil will be passed down a long table where seven other workers each will have a task to perform. Then the coil toes to four men who will assemble the coils in frames. When assembled and dipped in varnish the coils go to the bake oven where the varnish is thoroughly dried. By this time the coils are ready to be placed in the boxes that have been constructed by two men in the carpenter shop and by the tinner. Then the machine is ready for the man who will put on the brass fittings and terminal parts. One man will be employed as a utility had, to fill in odd jobs and vacant places in the force.

George J. Greibler, general manager of the company, was a little too conservative when he said that a coil could be wound in three minutes. By actual test it has been found that twenty-two coils can be wrapped in twenty minutes.

The system of individual piece work that will be used int he plant makes sure of a steady stream of coils from the raw material to the bake oven. If it is found that somebody along the line cannot keep up with his share of the work or has too much to do, his piece of work will be balanced off against that of some other person.

There has been some delay in securing wire and materials but that has been relieved with the arrival of 7,000 lbs of cotton covered copper wire. An order for alike amount already has been given. Officials of the company have no fear that the machines are not going to sell. Three distributors have been selected and traveling men will take the road within a few days for the company. Fred C. Koelzer was the first of these to start. He left Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Arc Welder

The Nemaha County Historical Society received a piece of Seneca history recently with the gift of an electric arc welder. This arc welder was patented in 1925. David Charles Brummett along with George Earl Brummett and John Greibler applied for the patent in 1922. [ "Patent US1551974 - Electric Metallic-arc-welding Machine." Google Books. 1925. (http://www.google.com/patents/US1551974 : accessed 24 May 2016.]

According to the patent application, the Brummett's and John Greibler were assignors of the Seneca Electric Arc Welder Company of Seneca, Kansas. In 1921, the Seneca Electric Arc Welder Company employed a total of 12 people, 10 men and 2 women. [Kansas Court of Industrial Relations. "Inspection of Factories and Workshops," Annual Report of the Court of Industrial Relations, State of Kansas, 1920. (https://books.google.com/books : accessed 24 May 2016.]

A patent fight evidently ensued as the Leavenworth Times published an article stating that Seneca lawyer, Charles Herold had found no evidence of an infringement. Thus the interests of Great Western Manufacturing were projected as they were the jobbers for the electric arc welder.

"No Infringement: Local Concern Can Job Arc Welders," The Leavenworth Times (Leavenworth, Kansas), 6 Aug 1922, p. 3, col. 1; digital image, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/76621686/ : Accessed 25 May 2016).

One of these electric welders was installed in the Olberding Brothers shop in Iola, Kansas.  The welder was purchased from the Seneca Electric Arc Welder company in Seneca, Kansas. To protect their eyes, the Olberding brothers built a tin enclosure for the arc welder.

"Install Electric Welder," The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas), 15 Aug 1923, p. 8, col. 1; digital image, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/1292361/ :accessed 25 May 2016).

In trying to learn more about the patent holders, several genealogy sites were searched. A possible match was found on Find a Grave for David Charles Brummett. According to memorial number 141481103, David Brummett was born in Seneca, Kansas prior to 1900. If this is the same person as the patent holder, then he likely moved to California sometime after being awarded the patent since he is reported to have died in Long Beach, California in 1944. 

Find a Grave, database and images, Find a Grave (http://findagrave.org : accessed 25 May 2016), Find A Grave Memorial No. 141481103, created by David Alan Grierson.

If you can contribute more information about this electric arc welder, the Seneca Electric Arc Welder Company or the holders of the patent (David & George Brummett or John Greibler, please add a comment, or contact Marcia Philbrick or contact the Nemaha County Historical Society.

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