Connect with us

Downtown

RVA Legends — Watt Plow Company

A look into the history of Richmond places and people that have disappeared from our landscape.

Avatar

Published

on

[RVCJ93] — Sales-Room and Works of the Watt Plow Company, circa 1893

Factory

  • 1518-1520 East Franklin Street
  • Built, unknown
  • Demolished, between 1903-1905

Sales Room

  • 1404 East Main Street
  • Built, unknown
  • Demolished, probably after 1955

A purveyor of plows and other fun machinery.

[RVCJ03] — The Watt Plow Company, circa 1903

[RVCJ03] — The Watt Plow Company, circa 1903

The Watt Plow Company, of 1518 and 1520 Franklin street, occupies there with its foundry, wood-working and smiths’ shops, two acres of ground. It has a carriage and agricultural implement repository at the same place, and a branch store or sales-room at 1410 East Main street. The cut on this page shows both of these places.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 4

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 4

This company is a manufacturer of plows, plow castings, baling presses, farm and market carts, and a dealer in light carriages and road carts, and machinery of all kinds. Its specialties are the Watt plows, which, for fifty years, have been recognized as the best of their class on the market, and are sold in every state in the South (and which have been used with the best results in India, to which country the company makes regular shipments);

(Wisconson Historical Society) — advertisement for the Plano Manufacturing Company

(Wisconson Historical Society) — advertisement for the Plano Manufacturing Company

the “Minnich” baling press, which is sold extensively in South Carolina and Georgia, as well as in Virginia; the celebrated “Peerless” engines and separators; the “Plano” binders and mowers, and the vehicles made by the well-known Staver & Abbott Company of Chicago.

A $25,000 stock is carried by the house, and with twenty-five hands employed and two men on the road in the Virginias and Carolinas, Alabama and Florida, and exportations to foreign parts, it does a business of $60,000 aggregate sales a year.

July 2019 looking towards 1518-1520 East Franklin Street

July 2019 — looking towards 1518-1520 East Franklin Street

The Watt Plow Company is one of the oldest houses of its trade in the South. It was established in 1840. The present proprietors succeeded the firm of Watt & Call in 1888. These proprietors are A. C. Sinton, formerly for fifteen years with the Planters National Bank; S. C. Call, who is represented in the business by M. Call, agent; and R. R. Gwathmey, manager of the drug house of Bodeker Brothers, Richmond.

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 8

(Library of Congress) — Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 8

So it was when Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James (RCVJ) was first published in 1893.

George Watt, born at Springfield Farm in Hanover County, was a man who liked to invent things, and between 1842 and 1880, was granted ten patents for his various agricultural inventions, and became known as the “Plowman of the South.“

(Find A Grave) — inventor George Watt

(Find A Grave) — inventor George Watt

To wit:

  • Plow Patent , No. 2,458, 11 April, 1842
  • Plow Patent , No. 16,218, 9 December 1856
  • Plow Patent, No. 19,321, 9 February 1858
  • Improvement in Seed Planters Patent, No. 23,206, 8 March 1859
  • Plow Patent, No. 56,298, 10 July 1866
  • Whiffletree Patent, No. 72,248, 17 December 1867
  • Plow Patent, No. 92,408 (Broad Throat), 6 July 1869
  • Harrows Improvement, Patent No. 140,563, 1 July 1873
  • Watt Chilled Plow: Plow Patent, No. 224,750, 17 February 1880
  • Fence Patent, No. 286,750, 16 October 1883
(Watt Plow) — advertisement for the Watt Chilled Plow

(Watt Plow) — advertisement for the Watt Chilled Plow

He originally went into business with his brother Hugh A. Watt as George Watt & Company, until Hugh retired from the business in 1867. The following year, Watt formed a new partnership with W. C. Knight as Watt and Knight, which lasted until 1872, when in the month of October, Watt formed a partnership with Manfred Call, who in turn married Watt’s daughter Sara Elizabeth a week later.

July 2019 — looking towards 1404 East Main Street

July 2019 — looking towards 1404 East Main Street

Watt died in 1884, and the management of the company was turned over to others. In the fall of 1888, Watt & Call reorganized as The Watt Plow Co., making way for A. C. Sinton to become President, and R. R. Gwalthmey, Vice-President, by RCVJ‘s 1903 edition. Manfred Call was still involved in the affairs of the business, but to a lesser extent. (Find A Grave) [TFMR] [RVCJ03]

(Watt Plow) — Watt Plow Company mystery location — 1438 East Main?

(Watt Plow) — Watt Plow Company mystery location — 1438 East Main?

As to the locations, the Franklin Street address was demolished in some relation to the construction of Main Street Station. The timing is quite perplexing. An image is shown of the Franklin Street factory in RVCJ’s 1903 edition, but the station opened in 1901. It is definitely not on the 1905 Sanborn maps, so if it did exist, it was gone by then.

The Sales building lay on the north side of East Main Street, just past the Fourteenth Street intersection. Of course, that would have been in the pre-Richmond-Petersburg-Turnpike era, and what is now Old Fourteenth Street, or would be, although it no longer extends all the way to Main. In any event, it seems logical that any this block would have been razed to appease the interstate gods, in the realignment of the roads.

As to the location of 1438 directly above, this could be East Main Street. 1905 & 1924 versions of Sanborn do show building of that number, on the other side of Locust Alley. Maybe.

(Watt Plow Company is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.
  • [RVCJ93] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1893.
  • [TFMR] The Farmer: Devoted to Agriculture, Horticulture, Mechanic Arts, and Household Economy, Volume 2. Elliott & Shields. November, 1867.

rocket_werks

Comments

comments

Combining protean forces from the forbidden Zero Serum with the unbridled power of atomic fusion, to better probe the Wisdom of the Ancients and their Forgotten Culture.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Arts & Entertainment

Maymont Garden Glow Cancelled Tonight Due to Weather

Mother Nature is bringing the rain and the wind today so the folks at Maymont want to keep everyone safe and dry.

Avatar

Published

on

Due to the forecast for severe weather during Garden Glow at Maymont tonight, we have decided to cancel the event for 10/29. We hope that you can join us on a different night through Nov. 8. If you have already purchased tickets, please check your email. bit.ly/30oc6ci

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Crime

Four charged for throwing objects at restaurant patrons, rocks at police car, and assaulting officer Tuesday night

On Tuesday night a group of individuals walked through Richmond, eventually damaging vehicles and buildings in several areas in the city and causing unrest. Four were arrested.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

On Tuesday night a group of individuals walked through Richmond, eventually damaging vehicles and buildings in several areas in the city and causing unrest. Four were arrested.

After leaving Monroe Park, the group headed west along West Main Street. At approximately 9:54 p.m., individuals in the group were observed throwing objects at patrons at a restaurant. Soon after, officers observed an individual throw a large stone and damage an RPD K-9 vehicle. A photo of the stone that was recovered is attached. Later, that same individual was seen throwing an object against a business. As officers moved to arrest this individual, a group member assaulted an officer.

An unlawful assembly was not declared and no chemical agents were deployed.

The Department consulted with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney on possible charges and charged four individuals. Their photos are attached.

Paxton Chapman was charged with obstruction of justice, carrying a concealed weapon, and pedestrian in the roadway.

Saraswati Rowe was charged with obstructing free passage.

Harrison Sellers was charged with inciting a riot and throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle.

Michael Toney was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Downtown

Become a Richmond tourism ambassador from the comfort of your own home

The free I Am Tourism workshops help participants gain a visitor’s perspective of the region and an understanding of tourism offerings.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

Richmonders have a new way to learn about the region – from home.

Richmond Region Tourism is launching a virtual version of its popular I Am Tourism ambassador workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 9-11 a.m., with a second session on Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 9-11 a.m. New classes will be held monthly.

The free I Am Tourism workshops help participants gain a visitor’s perspective of the region and an understanding of tourism products and offerings.

The Oct. 28 session includes information about the economic impact of tourism and an overview of the attractions, events and activities in the Richmond region. A virtual tour led by Bill Martin, The Valentine executive director, will guide the class on a custom visit to some of his favorite places.

“The I Am Tourism program is an exciting opportunity for everyone in our community to become knowledgeable and influential representatives of the region,” said Jack Berry, Richmond Region Tourism CEO and president.

The primary reason people travel to the Richmond Region is to visit friends and family. National travel data points to this trend continuing as people continue with more car-based trips during the pandemic. The I Am Tourism classes provided an opportunity for residents to become knowledgeable ambassadors when guests visit.

“Richmond’s hospitality industry hasn’t escaped the devastating financial impact of the pandemic, but we’re seeing signs of growth and progress. The new virtual sessions are an opportunity for the entire community to help the tourism industry and the region’s economic rebound,” Berry said.

Participants must register for the Oct. 28 class by Oct. 27 at noon.

Since the I Am Tourism program launched in 2015, more than 2,600 Ambassadors have gone through the program. Richmond Region Tourism also creates custom classes for employee engagement activities for local businesses.

For more information on upcoming I Am Tourism ambassador trainings and to register, visit visitrichmondva.com.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather