The Baker Manufacturing Company, founded in Springfield in 1908, was a predecessor of Springfield’s Allis-Chalmers (later Fiatallis) construction equipment plant.
Baker Manufacturing produced a wide range of road construction and maintenance products, in its later years specializing in crawler tractor attachments, primarily for Allis-Chalmers. Allis-Chalmers acquired the company in 1955. Baker Manufacturing’s plant was at 503 Stanford Ave., on the north end of the A-C/Fiatallis campus.
Baker’s major innovations included creation of the first front-mounted fixed backfill blade for wheel tractors, in 1918; the first bulldozer for crawler tractors in 1924; and the first engine frame-mounted bulldozer cylinders, in 1946, on the Allis-Chalmers HD19 bulldozer. It also sold snowplows to city and county road authorities.
One of Baker Manufacturing’s earlier products was the Baker Dustless Pick-up Sweeper, a horse-drawn street sweeper that in one pass sprinkled water on a street (to keep down dust), swept dirt into the gutter and then piled the gutter accumulations into convenient piles. Promotional materials touted the advantages of the Pick-up Sweeper: “It is clear how relatively enormous is the saving in time, labor and equipment with one or more machines of such capabilities, especially in cities of any size.”
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