This new section is for information related to very old artifacts from the Buffalo Pitts Company, as well as all the company names that preceded it (i.e., John A. Pitts Company; Pitts & Brayley; Brayley & Pitts; Pitts Agricultural Works). It also includes any items from the Pitts subsidiary, the Buffalo Steamroller Company. The webmaster asks that anyone who has an old artifact from the Buffalo Pitts Company et al to please e-mail the webmaster so that your artifact may be shared with everyone who views this website. Thank you in advance!
Cast-Iron Nameplate from a
Sweep Horse Power
manufactured by the J. A. Pitts Company
The first artifact photo was donated by a family in Texas who wishes to remain anonymous. This item is from an original Horse Power Sweep produced by the John Pitts Company (the first company name used by the firm that would one day be called Buffalo Pitts). John A. Pitts was the founder, and twin brother of Hiram A. Pitts (who would eventually settle in Chicago and manufacture farm implements under the name "Chicago Pitts" and others). The company name "John A. Pitts" was used from the company's founding in 1851 until the founder's death in 1859. So, this artifact is likely from some time before 1860. If anyone has information on this item, such as were it was located on the Sweep Horse Power apparatus, please e-mail the webmaster. Thx!
The first photo in this three-photo series is of the artifact itself. After that are patents related to the Sweep Horse Power. After the patents are the second & third images, which are of a Pitts Sweep Horse Power from the 1905 Buffalo Pitts catalog (a reproduction copy bought on eBay for less than $20).
First, here are the specifications of the artifact itself (all are approximate, and metric equivalents are in parenthesis):
Weight: 26 pounds (11.8 Kg)
Thickness: 0.5 inch (1¼ cm)
Width across flats: 15 inches (38 cm)
The Carey Pitts Horse Power
There is an interesting story behind this Horse Power (two words - a type of animal power - a device to convert horse power to rotating shaft power). Daniel Carey worked for John A. Pitts Company when it was still in Rochester, NY in the early 1840's. Daniel Carey developed an improved two-pinion Horse Power. Go to the "Early Patents" webpage herein and read the patent documents (more than one) for this Horse Power. The Carey Pitts Horse Power was an early design and was replaced with better designs afterward.
Even into the 1900's Horse Powers were sold in large numbers to farmers who had horses (and mules, etc.) that were used elsewhere on the farm (e.g., for plowing, etc.) so they thought it wise to allow the horses to pay for their keep by putting them to work year 'round. After all, there were many new appliances being developed in the early 1900's to be powered by the stationary gasoline engines which were being sold to famers. Why not have your horses run a power to operate a washing machine or hay lift, etc. (rhetorical question).