Wednesday, January 24, 2018

We used to make things in this country. #283: McKee Brothers Ltd., Elmira, Ontario

Field & Stream, Aug 1970

I have a McKee Brothers snowblower which has given good service since I bought it used for my 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor many years ago.  It now performs the same work on my Kubota.

After their father died in a farming accident in 1933, twins Gerald and Russell McKee left school at Grade Eight to help their mom raise all nine children.  By 1939, Russell was learning machining and Gerald welding.  In 1945, they opened a farm machinery repair shop in Elmira.  Approached by a local farmer to design a forage blower, they came up with several by 1949.  Eventually they designed the McKee One Man Harvester, which permitting a farmer with one tractor to single-handedly harvest and store a variety of crops at low cost.  A new factory was built in 1952, expanded in 1958, and a dealer network established across North America.  Over the course of the company's life, more than 10,000 harvesting systems were manufactured.   Other products included an affordable tractor-mounted snow blower, livestock water bowls, the McKee Harvester and Stacker, a cornhead, a chisel plow and the "Insta-Hitch".The McKee name disappeared when investors merged with other companies and the brothers sold their shares. The 1970 ad above lists the company as a division of the Durish Investment Corporation.  Apparently, the snowblower section of the company was purchased separately by John Deere.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

my dad owned a mckee harvester in the 50s and the 60s i really enjoyed watching him use the harvester it just worked every year after year without a problem we even went to elmira to tour the factory i wanted to own one myself but never had the chance he even bought a snowwblower from mckee and it to was a good machine we were from eastern ontario my name is sam taylor i live in edmonton now my phone number is 1 780 884 8587