W.D. James

Date in History: 1900’s

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 12/08/2003. One hundred years ago in a small blacksmith shop on a dairy farm in Wales Wisconsin, William James built an adjustable cow stall featuring a rotating stanchion. The stanchion allowed the cow to turn her head and also aligned her with the manure gutter for greater sanitation. The president of Kent Manufacturing in Fort Atkinson recognized the value of this invention and quickly invited Mr. James to join his firm. In 1906 W. D. James moved to Fort Atkinson, a city he described as the “center of the dairy world.”

The stanchion was a great success and Kent’s sales increased nearly 30% every year. Soon their small plant on South Water Street took up the entire block where the Fort Atkinson Fire and Police Departments are today. In 1912 the company changed its name to the James Manufacturing Company and the “James Way” slogan became synonymous with quality farm equipment.

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