"old" Leahy Famous Incubator's Article

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by HappyHatch'en, May 12, 2009.

  1. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    7
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    I'm doing research for an article and I'm wondering how many of us have and/or use a Leahy Famous Incubator. This company manufactured these wooden incubators for 100 years, ending in 1983.
    They also sold units to SEARS. Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  2. PECULIARPETE

    PECULIARPETE Out Of The Brooder

    35
    3
    24
    Apr 23, 2009
    I just found one that`s an oil burner that heats a small boiler system. Most of its there and in pretty good shape. It`s a drawer style.I`ve been trying to get more info on it and a picture so I can figger out what I gotta do to get it to work. Please let me know if you find out anything? Thanx
     
  3. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    7
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    I have some pictures that have been sent to me, not sure if any include your type, but I also have a few articles I haven't completely read yet. I appreciate any help out here and hope to have my article for proof reading in 30 days.
     
  4. mschickychick

    mschickychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    244
    0
    119
    Jan 2, 2009
    Mississippi
    I just got this one. Can't give you any information on how it works. That's what I was looking for when I found your thread. We plan to clean it up and give it a try. The guy I got it from said it's from the Memphis MidSouth Fairgrounds and years ago you could go watch chicks hatch in it. Here are pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Please let me know if you get any information on this model.
    Thanks.
     
  5. Dirt Road

    Dirt Road Chillin' With My Peeps

    295
    1
    121
    Nov 9, 2008
    Southern Idaho
    Quote:My mother used one of those nearly sixty years ago. I can't help with any info, as I was only in grade school, but I do remember that it worked very well. She hatched a LOT of chickens and ducks in the thing. Good luck getting it up and running. I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.

    Jim
     
  6. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,638
    22
    243
    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    I may have found one marked Brower looks like it's missing a plate but says brower on the original varnish coat, that was sold to Montgomery Ward, same shape/size with a 115V electric element - post 1900, last used in the 1930's.

    It needs a new thermostat - so I should have it up and running by the end of the week LOL I paid 75.... chuckle.
     
  7. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    7
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    Leahy Manufacturing Company
    Higginsville, Missouri
    Established 1883 – 1983

    The Past to the Present – Incubators By: Kevin Roth

    As many of us have found the hobby of raising backyard chickens, certain research has to be done before one starts out. My search has found two valuable resource of gaining knowledge on raising poultry; the magazine Backyard Poultry and the website: backyardchickens forum. My journey of learning raised my interest in incubators and the components used in manufacturing them.

    I also went to craigslist, which caused me more excitement than a room filled with helium party balloons when I found and purchased a Leahy Favorite Incubator Model 1200. I had never owned an incubator and being a backyard cabinet maker, I decided to bring new life to this unit by restoring it. Nothing on today’s incubator market matches the craftsmanship, design and construction that these units have. What incubator manufactured today will last 40 plus years and still produce high incubation rates? This company made thousands of these incubators and many are still in use today. I’ve heard where people have found them in old barns, at auctions and family hand me downs. Some of these people are using them as coffee tables and don’t know what they have or how to use them.

    To learn more about this company, my journey directed me to a man in Minnesota that restores incubators, he called these units the “Cadillac of Incubators” and “nothing on the market today is built so well”. Words like that only added fuel towards my desire to learn more about the company. My research travels directed me towards the “Show Me State – Missouri”, specifically Higginsville where the company was headquartered. Here I linked up with the Higginsville Historical Society and Ms Loberta “Bobbie” Runge. She has provided me with newspaper articles; photo’s and company pamphlets to assist me in writing this article. I also found that Brad Legg of Legg Peafowl Farm located in Kansas City, Mo uses the model 1200 exclusively because of the high hatch rate the 14 incubators give him. On his web site you can down load the original operator’s manual for the incubator.

    Richard B. Leahy in 1867, being raised in New York on the shores of the Atlantic, was a ten year old boy who had earlier lost his mother and now had to deal with loosing his sea captain father to drowning. For the next 11 years he followed his fathers love for the sea, starting out being a cabin boy. Having the opportunity to visit many different countries gave him a diverse education. In 1883 Mr. Leahy headed west, landing in Higginsville to make his home with a new bride. Starting off in a small 14’ x 20’ shop with one foot powered saw, he began manufacturing beehives for a local farmer. The business started to grow and in 1888, with financial help from James E. Gladish, the inventions and product they made where greatly accepted in the bee industry.





    Page 2

    Leahy Manufacturing Company By: Kevin Roth
    Higginsville, Missouri



    Mr. Gladish wife was very fond of Leghorn Chickens and it was probably her interest and persuasiveness that directed the company to diversify and start manufacturing redwood incubators in 1905. Their employee’s where all master cabinet makers with strong work ethics and it showed in the quality and craftsmanship in their products.

    The incubator was made using 2 layers of tongue and groove. The outside was Redwood, divided by an air space and Celotex moisture barrier. By utilizing redwood in both the bee hives and incubators required the company to receive by rail, 65 carloads of lumber per year. Rapid growth found it necessary to incorporate the business in 1890 as the Leahy manufacturing Company, with capital investment of $12,500.00, employing 25 men and in busier months running two shifts with 150 men. During those months, it was never a question if they would receive orders, rather if the orders could be filled in a timely manner. The large safe in the office was testimony of the required cash on hand and at times held more money than all the banks in Higginsville. It was a good thing the bank robbers, Bonnie and Clyde, never caught wind of this loot.

    Over time, Mr. Leahy became the authority of Bee Keeping in the United States, capturing 90% of the beekeeping business. They shipped bee supplies and incubators worldwide. Leahy Incubators where shipped to Australia, Cuba, India, Peru and thru the United Nations. They had contracts to provide both Sears and Montgomery Wards with incubators thru catalog sales. In 1927 Sears Roebuck was shipping 30,000 incubators each year and the company expanded with a new two story, 30 x 80, equipped with Grinnell Sprinkler System

    In 1905 Mr. James E. Gladish bought Mt. Leahy’s interest in the company. Mr. Leahy died in 1906 at the age of 49.

    Although the company bares the Leahy name, it was the four generations of the Gladish family that provide the capital, managerial skills, longevity and vision for the company to prosper over the years. And let us not to forget, behind every good man there is a greater woman, Margaret Gladish was the company bookkeeper in 1908 and held the position for 64 years.







    Page 3

    Leahy Manufacturing Company By: Kevin Roth
    Higginsville, Missouri




    The company converted their machinery from steam power to electricity in 1912. The plant produced its own electricity from a diesel powered generator; it was the first electricity to be used in Higginsville.

    The business was sold in 1978 to James Sopczyk (pronounced “subject”) who already had been selling bee keeping supplies in Minnesota. His enthusiastic attitude inspired the now failing company to make a last stand at producing a quality products. Retired employee’s came back to offer their expertise, rekindling the spark for success for the first few years under the new ownership. But know one could have anticipated that the commercial beekeepers would sell out their equipment at bargain prices; half of the company was now starting to die. By 1981 the incubators were keeping the business afloat, showing $80,000 in gross profits in 1983. Mr. Sopczyk believed the incubators alone would have made a good business, but the bank wouldn’t sell it separately. The end result being the doors closed for the last time December 1983, falling just months short of 100 years in business. The bank scheduled the auction of the machinery and anything else that wasn’t nailed down in July of 1984. The old building sat vacant, a monument to the past, dedicated to talented employees over the past 100 years, demolition of this building however was in 1993.

    These are well crafted incubators that have withstood the test of time, with all components still readily available today. OK, I hear you folks that are talking about electronic controlled thermostats apposed to the wafer. Allow me to ask, how many chickens have been hatched using the wafer thermostat in the past 100 years? Today’s hobbyist seem to be looking for the “set and leave it alone” incubators, not the tried and true. These jewels are really a beautiful piece of furniture with the capabilities to bring new live into this world.
     
  8. Chotii

    Chotii Chillin' With My Peeps

  9. gamebirdsonly

    gamebirdsonly Overrun With Chickens

    6,408
    140
    321
    Mar 5, 2007
    UTAH
    I bought one Of those about 3 years ago but I could never get it going right. It had never been used when I bought from this guy that had had in storage for a few years and had lost the info on how to run it. They are very well built and heavy buggers.
     
  10. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    7
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    Leahy made the Wards incubator as well...it is not hard to rebuild these as all components are readily available today yet. The smaller models are very popular.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by