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AGM of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Foundry

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by OMC, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Matty Australia

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    I was asked privately about a number of the things I stated in relation to this topic. The person seemed unwilling to accept that ALF was owned by Mr Trow.

    I stated above that I'm not sure if Mr Trow bought ALF when he was installed president or later down the track but buy it he did.

    Hopefully, this article eases doubts as to whether Mr Trow owned ALF. When Mr Trow sold his Queen Stove business Albert Lea Foundry was included in the sale. Well, one can assume it was included in the sale as Queen Stove owned it. Either way, this article shows Mr Trow did own Albert Lea Foundry.

    1950, The Winona Republican-Herald, 7 Sep 1950, Thu, Page 18

    1950ALFQueenTrow.png

     
  2. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    @OMC Here is a link to the patent for the Tourist stove http://www.freepatentsonline.com/1518713.pdf The application is dated 1922. ALF only came into existence under that name in 1921 so that is pretty much the earliest the Tourist stove could have come on the scene.

    @Matty I've been collecting US and British/Commonwealth militaria for over 40 years. In fact collecting military stoves was what got me started on GPAs in general. In all that time I have never seen any mention of or photographic evidence of any type of suitcase stove being used by either the US or British armies. I've got a pretty fair bit of reference material on militaria including copies of quartermaster's catalogs and original manuals. Nowhere does a suitcase stove show up. Primus type stove do show up in pictures from the British trenches but I suspect these were private purchase. British officers were required to purchase their own equipment and uniforms. There was a huge trade during WWI in supplying all types of "absolutely necessary" items for going off to war. The only, even vaguely related, device the US seems to have purchased in quantity is the Stonebridge folding candle lantern. It will take some pretty substantial evidence to convince me of any military related use of a suitcase stove in either WWI or WWII (Coleman 523 type excepted).

    One of my first stove purchases in the early 70s was a Turner single burner because it was khaki brown and being sold by a militaria dealer as a military stove. I bought first then researched second only to find that many of the stoves by AGM, Turner and PW among others produced in the 20s and 30s were painted a similar khaki and had no military association at all.
     
  3. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    First of all @Matty
    Thank you for posting that newspaper article which clearly shows that the owner of the Queen Stoves Company also owned the Albert Lea Foundry Company.

    @cottage hill bill
    Secondly, Matty was only proposing that the suitcase stoves that started to appear 1916/17 may have been first developed for the army then made available to the public.
    Your previous research would seem to contradict Matty's proposal, but you do concede that there are photos of Primus-type stoves being used in the British trenches in WW1.

    I know nothing about this subject and so prefer to see hard document evidence.
    In this case, second best evidence is a lack of any documents confirming the use of US made suitcase stoves by the military at that time.
    However, until there is definite evidence all options should remain open.
     
  4. Matty Australia

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    Trevor,

    I suppose what the article doesn't show is that F A Trow owned Queen Stoves that in turn owned Albert Lea Foundry. I'd be glad to post the factual evidence of Mr Trow owning Queen Stoves if that isn't common knowledge.

    @cottage hill bill @shagratork

    As Trevor mentioned it was only a theory that suitcase stoves were developed for the armies of the First World War. The timeline suits.

    I have seen many articles like this one from 1915 with many manufacturers being given contracts for army stoves. We aren't talking piddling numbers, we are talking 100,000 stoves at a time.

    Like I said, it wasn't the normal manufacturers you associate with stove making of the time, it was foundries etc. I figured it may well have been the same MilSpec stove each contractor had to manufacture. Again, whom knows? I don't.

    1915ArmyStove.png
     
  5. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    GrandPa died when I was too young to know. He was a Captain active duty WW1. Many looked up to him post war, from all walks but men that served with him as well, they had various get togethers over many years (then funerals).
    He lived a very full active life, he was a "people person" and a talker yet WW1, and not uncommon, the little passed down from him was mostly that he didn't want to talk about it.
    My WW2 vet Dad was probably the one person that could have asked for more details but I know, he did not ask. So first hand account was in the family here but nothing passed on really aside from the army record and army mates. Sorry for the drift.
    You can make of it what you want with the interweb pics. There are large stocks of food / containers and I'll note the oft mentioned buckets (of grub). Large stoves... wood fired? & portable. thx omc

    WW1_FieldCooks.jpg

    WW1_FieldCooks2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  6. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    Matty, I see where that article might have led you to think suitcase but I suspect what they are contracting for is something more like this"

    Army Stove.jpg

    This is a very large 8-burner stove. It was in use from before WWI until well after WWII. This would be the kind of thing a furnace company of the period would have been set up to build. In both WWI and to a slightly lesser extant WWII there were pretty much only two places you could be as a soldier, the front or the rear. In the rear food was prepared in large quantities by designated cooks. In the British army cook used depending on locale either constructed kitchen buildings (far rear, training areas), wagon like huge kettles called rolling kitchens, or Soyer stoves shown in the lower picture posted by OMC or kettle trenches cooking in Dixies. The oval shaped containers in OMC's top picture are Dixies. These options would have been used in the immediate rear or reserve trenches. If you were in the front lines hot food was prepared in the rear and carried up by ration parties in Dixies (they have a lid). Troops in the trenches did use Primus type stoves though they would have been purchased by the individual, usually an officer. They sometimes also used a petrol tin with the top cut off and partially filled with sand. The sand would be soaked with gas or kerosene and lit. In WWII pretty much the same thing except that some stoves did get issued notably the British No. 2 and the Coleman 523 and 520. However, these were issued to vehicle crews like tank crews and other who had the means to transport and store such stoves. Granted some GIs did manage to acquire 520s but they were not widely issued to infantry troops, probably at the platoon or squad level.

    What argues against a suitcase stove in the military is that it is neither fish nor fowl. It isn't big enough to be any use to the cooks trying to feed a hundred men at a time and it's too big for a soldier to carry. It just doesn't have a useful place in the line-up, especially in WWI, WWII situations. The little hexamine burners were carried by individual soldiers. They only weigh a few ounces, can stow in a pack and one tablet is enough to heat a ration in a tin can or a cuppa.

    Sorry if my response above was harsh, not intended as such. I've had a few fairly strong conversations with someone holding a khaki PW from the 20s or 30s who was adamant it was a military stove based solely on the color.


    Anyway this is getting us a long way from the AGM-ALF purpose of this thread.
     
  7. Matty Australia

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    @cottage hill bill

    That was really interesting reading what you wrote and also nice to see that army stove.

    I do see what you mean by the suitcase stoves not being very useful to the army. The article did state that 100,000 stoves of the portable kind - I was from there thinking suitcase or smaller.

    @OMC

    In regards to your Albert Lea Foundry research, I have added an article from 1975 that clearly shows Albert Lea Foundry was in operation in 1975. I have seen articles and ads for Albert Lea Foundry all through the decades, 30's, 40's, 50's etc, to satisfy me it was the one and the same company.

    I have also shown cottage hill bill an ad from 1875 showing a company called Albert Lea Foundry was in operation then. It seems to have begun in 1874. What I don't know is, if it is the same Albert Lea Foundry that F A Trow became president of in 1922, meaning the first Albert Lea Foundry company may have gone broke and years later someone else started a company called Albert Lea Foundry. It could be that it was the same foundry for over 100 years.

    1975AlbertLeaFoundry.png
     
  8. Matty Australia

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    @OMC

    Not knowing how much information you have, I thought I'd place this here in case you haven't seen it.

    The date of the patent application is important as it is about the same time Mr Trow became president of Albert Lea Foundry. It's a shame that a business name wasn't used. It may have been for Queen Stove which Mr Trow started in 1921. That is probably most likely.

    Thanks to Anthony.

    1922TrowSuitcase.png
     
  9. Matty Australia

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    Oops, 2nd half.

    1922TrowSuitcase2.png
     
  10. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    There is a fairly common and perfectly legal business construct whereby a person owns the property (or machinery or other assets) where the business he also controls is located. The business pays rent to the individual for the property thereby generating income for the individual and a business expense (tax deduction) for the company.

    In most of the GPA patents there is an inventor and an assignee. Normally one person as inventor and a company as assignee. In the above patent, which pretty clearly represents what we've seen in production as the Tourist stove by ALF, there is no assignee. I have no proof of this but I suspect that Mr. Trow may have been doing something similar. ALF paying royalties to Trow for producing the Tourist. It makes good business sense from his standpoint. As we have gone through this journey it becomes clear that Trow was fully involved in both ALF and QSW. That also explains ALF using the name Queen Stove on some of the kitchen or cabin stoves we've seen here.
     
  11. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    Thank you Matty,
    Those are excellent images, Bill made us aware of patent but excellent to include the images and the excellent quality i'm not sure we've seen.

    Bill, Time crunch here. It's my impression there's ample precedent for patent apps for sure, and granted patents (say pre c1970?) to be attributed to only the inventor including when it is a product in-production or entering production at a company they are part of (or own). Myself for ALF that may be the lion-share of my interest? If it is the janitor, if a product becomes patented (that was not before) that is a win win, what is next step, who benefits and how is secondary to that.

    I thought I read (haven't nailed it down) Trow resigned as sales manager at AGM c1921, if so, could be he expected success w/suitcase stove and wanted to break from AGM and "go it alone". IF that happened and if "that's the guy" the opportunist... if in 1925 he got idea his suitcase would net more sales w/Bill in Kansas... he was free to peddle it to Bill, that might be? I AM getting ahead of myself, IF the Tourist and Coleman 1 case is of same design and dimension (I should have already chkd) will hold sway with my hunch here (sorry, I can't let it go, yet).
    In 1910 it was less established, in 2010 typically an employee accepts that such inventions, the company claims all/partial interest in all work-related inventions.
    In fact some of my work has been made clear after the fact it was company property (i was fine w/that, they treated me good as well, win win).
    That binding policy is found in many sectors as I recall. Rapidly expanding business sectors have you sign a non-compete clause included and goes beyond company owns interest in your work related concepts (don't like it?, quit before they document the item/idea... even then they can attempt to claim an interest later).
    gotta run thanks again omc
     
  12. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    I'd be very interested in knowing if Trow had an association with AGM. I've looked through about 200 patents on GPAs. All of the ones I have from Coleman list and inventor and are assigned to Coleman (current version of company name here), even the ones with W.C. Coleman as inventor.

    The patent rights of employees varies widely from company to company and is usually set down in the conditions of employment. For instance I believe that 3M is very good about allowing employees to patent ideas and pays royalties on the ones 3M decides to put in to production. Other companies, as you say , take the stand "You invent it on company time, it belongs to the company. Your paycheck is reward enough."

    I don't see any evidence of Trow's design being used by Coleman. The Tourist we've seen here has the same date on the name plate as the issue date for the patent. The first Coleman suitcase patent I've found was filed March 24, 1923 and is very different than Trow's design. Another was filed on March 30, 1923. Again, very different. They are patent numbers 1,480,598 and 1,483,159 respectively. W. C. Coleman inventor for both. With W.C. being the lead inventor for Coleman at this time, I just don't see him buying designs from outside.

    We've had several cases of folks commenting on this stove looks so much like that one that they must Co. A must have made parts for Co. B. In every case I have found patents from both companies showing similar but different designs. For the most part I don't think there was much cross-trading of parts or designs. The exceptions are usually very early in the game like the Coleman, Yale, Sunshine lamps or badge engineering like AGM, PW and Coleman making stuff for Sears. I would expect to see cross breeding between ALF and QSW since at one point QSW or a portion thereof moved into part of the ALF building. Having a foundry as a tame division in your company just leads to economy of scale.

    I think the simple reason so many stove look like stove from other companies is because there are only so many way to make a folding camp stove.
     
  13. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    as I said haven't nailed it down, as discussed w/Matty not all items are good examples/sources to post, such is the case but Bill you asked, glad to oblidge:

    "Mr. Trow in 1921 resigned his job as sales manager for American Gas Machine Company in Albert Lea and went into the manufacturing of a pressure fuel camp stove under the name of Queen."

    I want to note it says he "went into .... Queen". Queen / ALF are intertwined that tiny piece of his comment/article, writer himself technically may agree it could be restated BUT suffices as stated for his article.

    2014 Albert Lea Tribune newspaper, source:
    http://www.albertleatribune.com/2014/06/the-legacy-of-scotsman-ice-machines/

    As for my own curiousity, I've made no claim that 2 are connected and if disproved that will come as a relief, I'm glad to put it behind me. That said if timelines match (Tourist ended production), design & dimensions match, no evidence to the contrary... for me it remains.

    Myself, I'm reserved w/speculation, but I sure do, we are sharing ideas w/the goal of solving stove myseries. Much has been learned here. I try very hard to be accurate and try not to assume (mistakes happen to the best of us). Note in this thread twas I clarifying (to you & Trevor) AGM/ALF connection was not severed, that ALF becoming AGM was disproved.

    I want to add, i'm neither critical or dismissive of any content above (some cynics, critics, criticism on CCS I wish would just stop ). IF "we" as a group want to maintain position "the online resource for camp stove collectors and enthusiasts" we need to welcome all input as we seek to gain/share more accurate details. Occasional odd/misguided suggestions posted (in a "discussion") should be welcome, it may trigger a thought that indirectly leads to more accurate info.

    I want to add yet again 1 more thing, Ross rarely dictates or discourages ANY comment anywhere on the site (so his example is noted, do what ya want, keep it fun maybe) BUT for me the site is well designed , this is a category for discussion, all comments welcome here.
    vs. Stove examples in reference gallery, those posts per site description are for posting examples of stoves (chat discussion, by description, not suggested, there). That said later posts adding relevant addl content helps
    thx omc

    PS fyi still time crunch here, 1 service call done, next one is "hurry up and wait" I might need to run or may be done for the day, it's slooo ow in winter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  14. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    To all involved: this has been (and may continue to be) a very interesting thread and a lesson in "collective research".

    As a disinterested (not uninterested!) reader I have found the progress to the conclusions so far extremely illuminating.

    As an aside, I use the filter of scepticism when reading news articles: reading news reports of things you actually know a lot about makes you realise how much of what appears in print has been "lost in translation".

    A great piece of work, folks.

    Very best regards

    Tony
     
  15. Matty Australia

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    That is an interesting comment. I'm not sure exactly what it means though to this topic or research in general.

    Are you suggesting that finding news articles of the day stating Mr Trow owned Queen Stove or Queen Stove bought AGM etc, shouldn't be considered factual? What scepticism should be used when reading the articles in relation to this topic and to what part of the articles. For instance can you believe some of the article - none of the article? If you have multiple articles written by multiple reporters all saying the same thing, should scepticism still be used?

    Have you ever considered that "things you actually know a lot about" may have been "lost in translation" by the various sources you have used to gain your knowledge? I can assure you, reading forum posts even by the most astute of collectors can lead you to not know what you now think you know. Mr Neil McRae makes mistakes, Dr Terry Marsh makes mistakes and I certainly make mistakes. I don't put myself in the league of Mr McRae nor Dr Marsh but the fact is, all three of us research.

    I have long been told my newspaper advertisements can be taken with a grain of salt, there are mistakes in them and they shouldn't be considered accurate enough for research. It amuses me that company catalogues are taken as gospel. If it's in a catalogue it must be correct.

    The funny thing is, I, even today in the age of computers, see many catalogues that have mistakes in them. Companies will issue apologies for their catalogue that had the wrong product/price/item shown. Catalogues are not and never have been immune to mistakes, simple as that.

    I respect your 40 plus years as a researcher. If you can explain just what I/we should be sceptical of in the articles published in this topic, I'm sure that will be of great benefit.
     
  16. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @Matty

    My apologies - I was not intending to say anything like what you have said in the immediate above post.

    Nor, was I commenting on anything you said earlier except to imply that all the participants in this thread contributed useful information dispassionately and the end result is extremely good and useful.

    As you rightly point out, multiple sources of evidence is better than a single par in an old newspaper . My aside about "scepticism" was simply about that - one comment by a hassled journo on a busy beat is not necessarily 100% accurate: I know that from experience.

    Best regards

    Tony
     
  17. Matty Australia

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    @Tony Press

    I'm glad that was sorted out quickly and easily. To me, there are no doubts about anything stated in this topic gleaned from articles. I've been wrong before - not this time.
     
  18. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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  19. scouterjan

    scouterjan Canada Subscriber

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    a great thread, been and are still under the weather, Phnemonia,but slowly on the mend. Matty, a good friend has a lot of very valuable imformation, I wish he would share it here with us
    regards
    Jan
     
  20. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    @OMC @Matty @Tony Press ,

    OMC- Thanks for the Trow article and especially thanks for providing the link to the article. Oddly enough I have another version of the same article in a different publication, I think one of the historical societies (at work, so no access to link). That version omits the paragraph on Trow at AGM.

    I think the variance in the two articles shows us the need for finding at least a couple of sources for anything we want to declare as gospel. That's just good basic research. Providing links or at least the names and dates of sources is also important. Not just so the source can be evaluated but because knowing who was writing about the events and when can often lead us to other sources.

    I think we've seen from this discussion and others on several of the various GPA forums that ads can be somewhat suspect because of the fact that they often used semi-generic or outdated models as pictures. I'm not saying that they should be totally discounted, but we should be aware of their shortcomings.

    Catalogs somewhat the same because models not yet quite in production were sometimes listed, so dating by catalog may need a good knowledge of the particular company and their practices.

    Patents can tell us a bit. If the GPA badge says Patent Pending I think we can fell sure It was made between the application date and not long after the issuing date.

    I know that some of the members here who are much more experienced researchers and have been at this game a lot longer than I have done work on AGM and perhaps ALF/QSW as well. I too would like to hear from them and see if we've added any light to the subject or just produced a lot of heat.

    My thanks to everyone here for keeping this discussion collegial rather than adversarial. All too often these types of threads turn into a shouting match. I am very thankful to have avoided that here.

    The hunt continues ...
     

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