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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

What You Don’t Know About Fertilizer

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship.  And because commercial fertilizer had not been invented, large shipments of manure were commonly found on ships.

It was shipped dry, because obviously in dry form it weighed a lot less then when wet, but once at sea the moisture in the sea air increased the moisture in the manure and the process of fermentation began. Methane began to build up below deck and the first time someone came below with a lantern, BOOM! Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening.

In order to rectify the problem, the bundles of manure were stamped with the term “SHIP HIGH IN TRANSIT” on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hull would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

This practice evolved into using the stamp “ship high in transit” as an acronym which unfortunately has become a part of our vocabulary ever since. You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. I had always thought it was a golf term ;)

In the fall of 1947 a small business, Keller Manufacturing, was opened in Rothsay, Minnestoa. Louis Keller was the sole owner/operator until 1953 when his brother Cyril joined him as an equal partner.

One of Kellers’ frequent fabrication customers, Eddie Velo, came to Louis and Cyril with a problem in the summer of 1956. Eddie was one of the pioneers in the turkey industry and was transitioning from small flocks to large production utilizing large two story barns. The problem was that it was difficult to get the manure out of second story. Standard loader tractors couldn’t be used because of their limited maneuverability, plus they were much too heavy to operate on the second story.

The Keller’s worked together and built something that made Velo’s job easier. In the end they invented the first three-wheeled, front-end loader. The light and compact machine, with its rear caster wheel, was able to turn around within its own length, while performing the same tasks as the conventional larger front-end loader.

The Melroe brothers, of Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, N.D., purchased the rights to the Keller loader in 1958 and hired the Kellers to continue refining their invention. As a result of this partnership, the M-200 Melroe self-propelled loader was introduced at the end of 1958.

So today every time you see a Bobcat skid loader (yes that is what became of what the Keller Brothers invented) you will be reminded of yet another example of the never-ending resourcefulness we have here in the United States.


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