A Starline is born
HARVARD - Orrin Kinney isn’t sure how an old industrial building with a caved-in roof and a top floor painted in pigeon poop became an economic catalyst, but that is what happened at Starline Factory building along the tracks in Harvard.
In 1883, Henry L. Ferris invented and patented a hay carrier while working at his dairy, the Cold Spring Creamery, near Alden. Charles E. Hunt, an associate of his father-in-law, and local hardware store owner Nathan B. Helm soon became business partners in the new venture dubbed Hunt, Helm, Ferris & Co. – which soon outgrew its meager accommodations in the basement of the hardware store. In 1888 the company built a larger manufacturing facility on the south side of Front Street, followed by additional buildings alongside the railroad tracks.
Incorporated in 1902, the Hunt, Helm, Ferris & Co. manufactured more than 50 products and acquired over 250 patents on equipment designed to streamline farm work; everything from a windmill regulator to to a barbed wire stretcher, water heaters for livestock to cattle feeders. After farmers started referring to the company’s merchandise as the “star” line of farmstead equipment, they renamed the corporation Starline in 1931.
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