Northwest Thresher Manufacturing

 This is a view south from the bluff north of the Territorial Prison. The year is 1907 and the location is directly across from the prison near Main Street. In the background you can see the pontoon bridge. Photo credit, Mr. John Runk, courtesy Washington County Historical Society.

This is a view south from the bluff north of the Territorial Prison. The year is 1907 and the location is directly across from the prison near Main Street. In the background you can see the pontoon bridge. Photo credit, Mr. John Runk, courtesy Washington County Historical Society.

 

Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company

Written by R. Molenda

Here lies a great mixture of post-Civil War adventure and intrigue, right here in river city, Stillwater, Minnesota.  The story of Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company includes a great offering of products, employment of as many as 1,600 men, the use of convict labor within and outside the prison confines, contracts with the territorial prison, building of huge manufacturing facilities, engine shops, woodworking shops, machine shops, foundries, politics, railroad shipping inside and outside the USA and of course, competition. 

 

 

 
 This is a view to the northeast on Main Street right across the street from the Territorial Prison. The year is 1908. Photo credit is to Mr. John Runk, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

This is a view to the northeast on Main Street right across the street from the Territorial Prison. The year is 1908. Photo credit is to Mr. John Runk, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

 
 
 This animation set of photos come from the north side of Main Street across from the Territorial Prison, now Terra Springs Condominiums. This is also the area now occupied by the Zephyr Theater. The time tunnel goes from 2018 to 1908, just about the time when gasoline engines started to gain on Steam powered traction engines. The Historic Photo is from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library. The rest is from the Lens Flare Stillwater organization. 

This animation set of photos come from the north side of Main Street across from the Territorial Prison, now Terra Springs Condominiums. This is also the area now occupied by the Zephyr Theater. The time tunnel goes from 2018 to 1908, just about the time when gasoline engines started to gain on Steam powered traction engines. The Historic Photo is from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library. The rest is from the Lens Flare Stillwater organization. 

 
 Fire at Northwest Thresher Company in 1909. The view is south on Main Street between the prison and the factory. Photo credit, Mr. John Runk, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

Fire at Northwest Thresher Company in 1909. The view is south on Main Street between the prison and the factory. Photo credit, Mr. John Runk, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

 
 
 
 This "Time Tunnel" goes from 2018 to 1909 for this location. It is the present day location of The Zephyr Theater. In 1909, it was one of the locations of The Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company. It was headed by a partnership between Mr. George Seymour and Dwight Sabin. It parlayed savvy political insight with civilian and prison labor to become the largest corporation in Minnesota and the Region at the time. The scene above is a response to a fire at this location in 1909.

This "Time Tunnel" goes from 2018 to 1909 for this location. It is the present day location of The Zephyr Theater. In 1909, it was one of the locations of The Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company. It was headed by a partnership between Mr. George Seymour and Dwight Sabin. It parlayed savvy political insight with civilian and prison labor to become the largest corporation in Minnesota and the Region at the time. The scene above is a response to a fire at this location in 1909.

 
 This is a promotional photo showing how one tractor can pull ten others in 1909. The location is Main Street, just south of the prison.

This is a promotional photo showing how one tractor can pull ten others in 1909. The location is Main Street, just south of the prison.

 
 
 These were the products of the Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company. In the early 1900's they were regarded as excellent and safe steam engines. The location is just south of the Warden's house on Main Street. Photo credit, Mr. John Runk, Minnesota Historical Society John Runk Collection.

These were the products of the Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company. In the early 1900's they were regarded as excellent and safe steam engines. The location is just south of the Warden's house on Main Street. Photo credit, Mr. John Runk, Minnesota Historical Society John Runk Collection.

 
 
 

The New giant traction engine

 Promotional Literature about The New Giant Traction Engine, ca. 1900.

Promotional Literature about The New Giant Traction Engine, ca. 1900.

 

This is a John Runk photo taken behind the Northwest Thresher Manufacturing Company Building ca.1910. The view is toward the south with the wooden pontoon bridge in the background. Access to the railway was important to Stillwater during and after the lumber era.