A photo of the Aultman Taylor tractor in Boise, Idaho.

Weekly Gem #285, How to grow a skinny chicken

Published 4/15/2023

Location:  This 'hidden gem' is located in the parking ramp of Jack’s Urban Meeting Place in Boise, ID. 

In the 1860’s the Aultman-Taylor company invented a new type of vibrating thresher. For the urbanites among us, a quick tutorial. A thresher separates grain from the chaff. The farmer would cut wheat (or other grain) and throw the whole stalk into the thresher. The thresher beat the stalks until the grain came loose and fell through a screen. The stalks were thrown by the thresher onto the ground. The grain was diverted into the wagon.

The problem was that a lot of the grain wound up going out onto the ground with the stalks. It was great for the chickens, but not for the farmer.

So, Aultman-Taylor designed a fantastic vibrating thresher. To run the thresher, they needed a tractor, so they developed this steam tractor, and also manufactured the steam engines to run the tractor. By the 1870s they were one of the largest producers of threshing machinery in the country.

Please note the image of a skinny rooster on this machine.

A farmer so pleased with how well his thresher worked, sent the company a skinny rooster that was no longer able to find wheat in the piles of chaff. The farmer sent a note joking about how the rooster had been "fattened up" on the grain left behind by his Aultman-Taylor thresher! The rooster was such a hit that the company made their logo a starving rooster with the words “fattened on an Aultman-Taylor straw stack.”

In another great triumph, Cornelius Aultman put his daughter, Elizabeth, on the board of directors. She was only 19 years old, yet guided the company to remarkable success. One of her greatest contributions was outside the company, as a silent benefactor in Canton, Ohio, where she paid the tuition to put many low-income men through college. Ironically, as a woman, most colleges in the U.S. would not allow her to enroll.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


A gaunt and lanky fowl


The Aultman Taylor Tractor

Why It's Interesting

Their logo was mailed to them in a box.

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