La Salle County IL
Mendota Illinois Pioneers


 J. D. Tower & Sons Company

Taken from the History of La Salle County, Illinois. O'Byrne, M. C.. Chicago. Lewis Pub. Co.. 1924.  Pages 273-276

It is doubtful if any other state in the Union has made so large a contribution to the advancing of the standards of agricultural industry in America as has Illinois and worthy in every respect of consideration as a factor in gaining this prestige is the concern whose corporate title initiates this paragraph. This company, exponent of mechanical theories translated into practical service, is continently to be classed with other great Illinois manufacturers of agricultural machinery, such as McCormicks and the Deerings. Aside from this, the company has long continued as the most important industrial corporation in the City of Mendota, La Salle County, and its principles have been signally loyal and liberal in advancing the general interests of this community.

What the name McCormick has represented to the wheat industry, that of Tower has in connection with the advancement of the great corn-producing enterprise of the country. From a treatise on modern corn culture issued by J. D. Tower a& Sons Company are taken, with slight modification , the following interesting statements concerning J. D. Tower, founder of this great industrial enterprise:

"Mr. J. D. Tower was born in Cortland County, New York, and came to Illinois in 1838. Upon coming to mature years he was clearly that "corn in king, and that he who would be a prince of the realm must cultivate it most scientifically". He alone remained steadfast in the courage of his convictions, even when others grew faint-hearted and utterly discouraged, and by his indomitable pluck he justly earned the everlasting gratitude of the intelligent farmers in the corn belt by perfecting and widely introducing the celebrated Tower system of surface cultivation.

"The Tower factories of today are operated by the Tower Brothers, with their main factory in Mendota and transfer or distributing branches in all corn-growing states. Aggressive implement dealers in practically every state of the corn belt and in some of the provinces of Canada handle Tower cultivators and pulverizers, which are used not only for corn but also in properly preparing the seed bed for cotton, beans and mint, as well as other products which require an "ideal seed bed: and cultivation.

The Tower is the original or pioneer system of surface cultivation. Other manufacturers, in imitating it, have served only to affirm the great value and supremacy of this system to the farmer. The farmers know that the Tower leads, and shows the way for all others."

It is not within the province of this publication to enter into details concerning the admirable machinery manufactured by the J. D. Tower & Sons Company, nor is such indulgence demanded, for the Tower machines have proved their sceintific and practical value, and adequate description of their mechanical superiority and efficiency is given in literature issued in a direct way by the company itself.

J. D. Tower and his sons have made this one of the great manufacturing concerns of Illinois and the nation, and have incidentally contributed in generous measure to the growth and prosperity of Mendota. In the extensive manufacturing plant at Mendota are to be found loyal and appreciative employees who have been with the concern more than forty years.

The business of the J. D. Tower & Sons Company was founded in 1872, by J. D. Tower and his brother A. C., and the original factory, a most modest one, was on the site of the present great manufacturing plant of the company, the initial output having been about two dozen of the Tower cultivators. The sons of J. D. Tower became actively identified with the enterprise as they attained to adult age, and the family name has been perpetuated in the general control of the industry throughout the entire period of it history. In 1901 the business was incorporated under the title of J. D. Tower & Sons, J. D. Tower, the founder, becoming president of the corporation and retaining this office until his death, in 1903, he having been executive head of the business from its inception to the close of his life, though his active work was virtually terminated when the company was incorporated, in 1901, his associates in the incorporation being his four sons, George D., Andrew J., Henry and Daniel C. The operations of the company are now based on a capital stock of $200,000 and the modern manufacturing plant covers two city blocks. While in the war the output of the factory had reached an annual aggregate of fully 13,000 machines, industrial conditions of the present day have somewhat curtailed production at this great establishment, which now averages an output of about 5,000 machines annually, with the business on a most substantial basis. The son, George D., became general manager of the business in 1884, succeeded his father as president, and continued as the executive head until his death, in 1918. Andrew J. Tower continued as vice president until failing health lad to his retirement from active association with the manufacturing, but he maintained his interest and continued to reside at Mendota until his death, on November 6, 1923. Henry Tower was manager of the companyís business in Central Illinois at the time of his death, in 1918. Daniel C. Tower, now president of the company and general manager of the business, succeeded his brother George D., in this dual office at the time of the latterís death. He began work in the Tower factory in 1888, when a youth, and for twenty years he gave his attention to the sales department of the business by selling products in a direct way and by assisting dealers in advancing their sales of the Tower machines.


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