A New He for an Old New Era
The shop building today; John Rex's truck in foreground.
P.O. Box6 Wilmington, Vermont 05363
About the year 1880, in Wilmington, Vermont, Henry Adams, a
farmer, maple sugar maker, and carpenter, designed and built a
wooden tank to hold maple sap. A neighbor, Clinton Haynes, provided
money to obtain a patent and start a manufacturing business known
as Adams and Haynes. Other types of tanks for holding liquids were
designed. A tank designed to gather maple sap was called a
The first patent was issued on November 15, 1880, and a second
on July 8, 1884.
Henry Adams, assisted by his two sons, Walter and Leslie, built
the tanks in a shop attached to the farmhouse. The lumber was sawed
and planed at nearby water powered sawmills.
I had the privilege of knowing Leslie Adams, who told me that
his father had a 'boy powered' bench saw that he used to
cut the parts for the tanks. Leslie and Walter would sit on bicycle
seats, and via bicycle pedals, run the saw while Henry made the
About 1900, Walter Adams took over the farm and business from
In 1910, a new shop was built, separate from the house, and new
equipment added. This shop was powered by a two horse treadmill.
The shop with the original equipment, including the attached shed
that housed the treadmill, still stands.
Later, a jointer was added to the shop equipment and a 5 HP
Galloway engine was installed to replace the horse treadmill.
As business increased, the Galloway engine was replaced with a 5
HP New Era engine. Although much effort was used to install this
engine properly, including pumping water from a nearby well for
cooling, mounting the wet cell batteries needed for the ignition on
the wall in the shop, and running the exhaust outside under the
eaves, the engine was a disappointment. It was apparently difficult
The Galloway engine that had been sold was re-purchased and
installed in the shop again. This engine continued to run the shop
until 1928, when a 7 HP electric motor was installed. The shop is
still run by this motor, via the original system of line shafts and
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