Vienna Rake and Harrow Factory

The Vienna Rake and Harrow Factory, owned and operated by James Henry Humason and his wife Juliette A. (Betts) Humason, produced several types of farm implements, including revolving horse rakes, from 1878 to 1895. The factory, including a sawmill, blacksmith shop, and other buildings, was located on property (3 15/100 acres in Lot #28) located just north of the Vienna Presbyterian Church.

Vienna entrepreneur Ira B. Mackey, Sr., had purchased this lot in 1847 and had erected on it a sawmill and a planing mill. In 1872 the Humason and Woodford families owned the property. The mills were remodeled and combined into one factory building. An 1882 history offers two stories about the business. The first dates the business to September 2, 1872, when it was founded as Woodford, Humason & Co., then purchased in February 1873 by Juliette A. Humason. The second story has the factory established in 1879. In 1882, the company was employing “from ten to fifteen hands.” Some 3,000 rakes were manufactured in 1880 and the factory could produce 4,000 per year. The author noted:

The rake manufactured by the Vienna Rake company is of superior quality and excellent finish, being manufactured from the best of slack lumber. One of the most important features of this rake is the substitute of the steel spring by which the rake is completely under the control of the operator.[1]

This Humason "flip-flop" rake was manufactured at the Vienna Rake and Harrow Factory.The rake was likely produced in the 1880s.It is on display at the Trumbull County Antique Tractor Club of Vienna.Image courtesy of the Trumbull County Antique Tractor Club, 2021.

According to available tax records, the Vienna Rake and Harrow Factory sold annually between $8,000 and $10,000 of revolving hay rakes, harrows, and pulverizers. The metal-and-wood rakes were used in gathering dried hay from fields. Harrows were used to till and fit soil in preparation for planting. These rakes and harrows were manufactured to be drawn by teams of horse or mules.

In 1886 the Cleveland Plain Dealer carried an advertisement for the sale of the property, offered by Juliette A. Humason. The advertisement details the buildings, equipment, and resources located on the property, offering a vivid description of one aspect of Vienna Center.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 23, 1886.

After James Henry Humason's death in 1891, his wife Juliette managed the factory. In 1895, she sold the business to Vienna resident John W. Munson. He took possession of the land but did not continue the factory's operation, probably taking the equipment to his father's farm. After the retirement of John's father William C. Munson, John and his brother Jesse farmed and operated a mill on this farm.

Updated 6/10/2021
This article is adapted from Fred L. Martin and James Bradley, "A Genealogical History of Vienna," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live":Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 61-63. Additional research by Shirley T. Wajda, February and March 2012.
[1] History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches (Cleveland, Ohio: H. Z. Williams & Bros., 1882), Volume 2, pp. 453-454, 456.