The Owatonna Manufacturing Company’s Production of
Portable Farm Flight-Style Elevators
Brian Wayne Wells
The Owatonna Manufacturing Company was first organized in Owatonna, Minnesota to manufacture farm machinery.
The Dietrich family purchased OMC and in 1928 introduced their flight-style elevator, the “Dietrich” elevator to the line of farm machinery sold by OMC. The improvements of Dietrich elevator over the original elevator manufactured by OMC meant that soon the Dietrich elevator entirely replaced the prior elevators produced under the OMC name.
These elevators were designed as “12-19” flared-style elevators. “12-19 refers to the dimensions of the channel of the elevator. The flights of the elevator that carried the grain or ear corn up to the top of the granary or corn crib operated in the deepest part of the elevator channel which was 12 inches wide. However, 12-19 model elevators are “flared” style elevators. The upper portion of the elevator channel is flared outwards to a width of 19 inches. This flaring of the upper portion of the channel allowed for more grain to be carried upwards in the elevator with less spillage out of the channel onto the ground during operation of the elevator. Such spillage was more common when the elevator was being used for ear corn.
With the start of the corn shelling field demonstration at the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show and especially after the Bruce Freerkson single corn crib was brought to the Pioneer Power grounds in the summer of and later the replacement of the Freerkson single corn crib with the Albert Dozinski double corn crib in the summer of 2012, there arose a need to obtain a means by which the crib on the Pioneer Power grounds could be filled with ear corn in the in the fall to provide ear corn for the corn shelling field demonstration at the Pioneer Power Show in the summer of the following year. Consequently, an elevator was obtained by Tim Krenz and a group of other members.
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One particular galvanized flight-style elevator still in use by the members of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association records this change. This 40 foot elevator clearly has the “Dietrich” name decaled or painted on both sides of the channel of the elevator. However, the elevator has a serial number tag that identifies the elevator as an OMC manufactured elevator and bearing the OMC serial number of #16274. Furthermore, the channel of the elevator also bears a second decal which says “Dietrich manufactured by OMC.”
A short time later OMC dropped the name “Dietrich from the galvanized elevators that were manufactured by OMC. One 44-foot OMC elevator bearing the serial number #16841 was used on the farm of Omar Perron of Cannon City Township on the very western edge of the city limits of the City of Faribault, in Rice County, Minnesota.
Omar Arthur Perron was born on November 18, 1885 to Joseph and Marie (Chapdelaine) Perone, a couple of immigrants to Rice County from the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada. Sometime prior to April 27, 1910, Omar and Florence and their growing family (two sons, Francis, born in 1910 and Lionel Joseph born on February 19, 1911.) moved to the farm in Cannon City Township where Omar would spend the rest of his life. Omar set to work building up his diversified farming operation.
The time the family spent on the farm was a new and exciting time and a happy time until tragedy struck. On February 26, 1911, Florence suddenly died, leaving the family and Omar grief-stricken .
Omar soon realized that his two children (two-year old Francis and 20 month old Lionel ) were in need a mother’s guiding hand. Accordingly, a little over a year after the death of Florence, Omar married Emma Remillard on October 10, 1912. Emma was the daughter of another French-Canadian family from the local Rice County community of Wheatland Township.