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AC Topeka Plant - Proving Grounds

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orangeman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Nov 2016 at 8:09am
Was there a proving grounds associated with the Topeka plant operation where the AC Industrial line was manufactured/assembled?

Thanks in advance for any insights!

Orangeman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Coke-in-MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2016 at 10:43am
Came up with this for the WI site -- article and pictures - 



This site also 




Edited by Coke-in-MN - 07 Dec 2016 at 2:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eric B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2016 at 6:26pm
Very interesting video from the proving grounds...thanks for posting!!!
Currently- WD,WC,3WF's,2 D14's B. Previously- I 600,TL745,200,FL9,FR12,H3,816 LBH. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2016 at 6:45pm
Wow that's interesting. Where did he tested tractors end up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HudCo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2016 at 6:46pm
that would have been some very teadious jobs 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote orangeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 7:06pm
Coke:  Some how you always pull through for us.  Thank you for posting about the Agricultural Testing. 

It sure would be something to find a treasure trove for the testing related to the Construction Machinery Division and the Industrial/Utility Tractors, Wheel Loaders and Crawler/Dozers

Appreciative of all the good efforts!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DiyDave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 8:19pm
Not trying to out-do coke, here, he is the master.... found this one on youtube, you'd be amazed at what searching can find...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Coke-in-MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 9:31pm
Seems when you start looking you come up with many things - sometimes you end up lost in info and the day just spins by . 
 Way off the tractor site sometimes - like last night i found something i was going to post and the next thing 2 hours later I had watched a bunch of stuff on the British Mosquito bomber - made of balsa wood, 1/8" birch plywood and resin glue - all wooden aircraft (except engines and couple castings) that was one of fastest aircraft of WW 2 and could carry 2,000 pounds of bombs over 600 miles 
Faith isn't a jump in the dark. It is a walk in the light. Faith is not guessing; it is knowing something.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Coke-in-MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 9:41pm
A Ill site - some info on that plant .
http://sangamoncountyhistory.org/wp/?p=2646

In the 1962 Illinois Manufacturers Directory ( 50th edition ) it listed the following information about the Springfield, IL. Allis-Chalmers plant:
Allis-Chalmers MFG. CO.
3000 S. 6th St.
Telephone – 544-6431
Gen. Mgr.-A. C. Book
Works Mgr.-H. J. Detjen
Works Pur. Agt.-W. V. Kauffman
Traf. Mgr.-A. J. Bianco
Chief Eng.-F. A. Schick
Products-Tractors (crawler), Graders, Bulldozers, Snow Plows
Employs at this plant-6,500
Other plants at Springfield-1901 S. 11th St.
Other plants-see Deerfield, Harvey, Ill.
Employs in Illinois-9,000
Home Office-West Allis, Wisc.
1126 S. 70th St. (Milwaukee 1)
Telephone-SPring 4-3600
Pres.-Robert S. Stevenson
Exec. Vice-Pres.-W. G. Scholl
Sr. V-P., Tractors-B. S. Oberlink
Sr. V-P., Industries-J. L. Singleton
V-P’s-John Ernst, W. J. Klein, C. W. Schweers, T, D. Lyons, B. E. Smith, A. Van Herckes, W. Yost, P. F. Bauer, E. J. Mercer, W. M. Wallace, R. M. Casper, L. W. Davis
Secy.-A. D. Dennis
Treas.-Asst. Secy.-G. F. Langenohl
Comptroller-W. S. Pierson
Total Employees-38,000
Cap.-over $100,000,000.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eric B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 9:47pm
Good one Dave, thanks for posting it!!!
Currently- WD,WC,3WF's,2 D14's B. Previously- I 600,TL745,200,FL9,FR12,H3,816 LBH. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steve(ill) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 9:58pm
The bulldozers and scrapers were built in Springfield Illinois. The rubber tired loaders were built in Deerfield up by Chicago. The original Proving Ground was in Mechanicsburg Illinois I believe, about 20 miles east of Springfield ........... Probably about 1960 they built a new larger Proving ground for the crawlers / scrapers/ loaders in Bluff City on the Illinois river, about 50 miles west of Springfield. .. There was a third proving ground in Arizona to test tractors more in a hot desert type climate.
-
 
 
The Bluff City facility was a large Morton building with 7 different 20 ft x 20 bay doors. Floor was 12 inch thick reinforced concrete capable of getting multiple 41B -  80 ton crawlers in each. There was a brick one story office building up front (attached) with 15 engineering offices. With tractor operators and mechanics and 3 shift operation, there were up to 100 workers on site during the best years.  The facility closed about 1986 and was sold locally.


Edited by steve(ill) - 09 Dec 2016 at 10:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Beale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 2:45am
Coke

You need to upgrade your reading on the Mosquito - The Termites Delight

Carried 4000 lb bombs to Berlin

Night fighter over Germany - "4-5 German crew in a night fighter over Germany living in terror of 2 British crew in a Mosquito from Britain"

Extreme range and height photo plane

And, being wood, the first stealth aircraft - from a WW2 radar man

Wikipedia but not so bad

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito

For improvements the DH Hornet

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Hornet#frbanner3

An outfit at Ardmore NZ has built the moulds for rebuilding the fuselage

And have rebuilt the only one flying

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJUR-A0Jih0

More if you look

It was the ultimate badge in wooden glider repair shops




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Beale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 2:52am
Coke

And check out the German TA 154

How to sabotage a wooden aircraft program?

Bomb the glue factory
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DougG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 6:45am
ID would've hated to have been the guy on that crawler the cable was hooked too !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Coke-in-MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 5:31pm
Ian : seems the first design was upgraded a few times of what it could carry , they got it up to carrying a 4,000 blockbuster ordnance to penetrate bombproof bunkers , they also built the plane in Canada and Australia - believe also in the US later. 
 Funny everyone has heard of the Spitfire fighter but few know of the Mosquito .
The dambuster raid with the bouncing bombs to breach the Ruhr valley was by Mosquitos 

the one video i watched attributed to the wrong plane 


Edited by Coke-in-MN - 10 Dec 2016 at 10:21pm
Faith isn't a jump in the dark. It is a walk in the light. Faith is not guessing; it is knowing something.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Coke-in-MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 5:35pm
seems Austin did some research also and has some Publications 

1968

Henry Manufacturing Co.

Topeka, KS

Industrial Tractors




Edited by Coke-in-MN - 10 Dec 2016 at 5:38pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote donoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 8:36pm
The Ruhr valley dams were bombed by Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron with the bouncing bombs
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ian Beale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2016 at 2:49am
Coke

It was a magnificent plane.  And I might say gently it is your side of a couple of puddles and a border that seems to be not in the know.  Wasn't built in US but seems your plane people were well aware of it and there was a possibility. 

And done on a shoe string in spite of official wisdom.

If you look there are more videos on the one rebuilt at Ardmore.

And think positive with cubic money

Now they have the fuselage moulds the wings are standard standard aircraft carpentry - maybe updated as per Hornet. 

Merlins are a bit rare but balancing a couple of turbines seems less of a problem with that configuration.

Maybe

That might let me get this past

Instructor to new Mosquito pilot course

"You will find this aeroplane similar to a virgin.  A little hard to enter but once you're ther - lovely"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2016 at 11:47pm
The crawler video was neat. You couldn't do any of that nowadays with all the regs.
The seeding of the ranch land was interesting to
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ILGLEANER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2016 at 12:08pm
Originally posted by steve(ill) steve(ill) wrote:

The bulldozers and scrapers were built in Springfield Illinois. The rubber tired loaders were built in Deerfield up by Chicago. The original Proving Ground was in Mechanicsburg Illinois I believe, about 20 miles east of Springfield ........... Probably about 1960 they built a new larger Proving ground for the crawlers / scrapers/ loaders in Bluff City on the Illinois river, about 50 miles west of Springfield. .. There was a third proving ground in Arizona to test tractors more in a hot desert type climate.
-
 
 
The Bluff City facility was a large Morton building with 7 different 20 ft x 20 bay doors. Floor was 12 inch thick reinforced concrete capable of getting multiple 41B -  80 ton crawlers in each. There was a brick one story office building up front (attached) with 15 engineering offices. With tractor operators and mechanics and 3 shift operation, there were up to 100 workers on site during the best years.  The facility closed about 1986 and was sold locally.
 Steve I have no Idea where anything was, but Bluff City is south of Springfield by Vandalia. I bet you meant Bluffs, Illinois over by the river.
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There is a Bluffs City on route 100 between Beardstown and Havana. I looked up the buildings on Google maps and found them north of the town. Andy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steve(ill) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2016 at 8:52pm
Yes, AMB.... the town is very small, maybe 100- people.. Look on Google earth and route 100 goes thru the small town.. about 1 miles NORTH , up the hill is the old proving ground building........ in 2015 map, there are cars in the lot for a new business.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveM C/IL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2016 at 1:20pm
Originally posted by steve(ill) steve(ill) wrote:

Yes, AMB.... the town is very small, maybe 100- people.. Look on Google earth and route 100 goes thru the small town.. about 1 miles NORTH , up the hill is the old proving ground building........ in 2015 map, there are cars in the lot for a new business.

Been up n down 100 more times than can count...never seen the building on the hill,but wasn't looking. Don't travel that route anymore.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chopperhopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2017 at 1:16pm
Howdy all. I spose the reason Orangeman's thread devolved into a discussion about ww2 mosquito's is because nobody had anything to offer on the original question. Which I believe started with an inquiry as to the possibility of an Allis Chalmers proving grounds in or near Topeka Kansas. Now then, what I'm going to do is shake this thing up to a level not previously known on this thread. . & hopefully rekindle enough interest to shake some more info loose!
I'll try my best to explain my angle/interest/ & role in this matter while at the same time releasing all I know up to now. I'm confident that I will dig up more to share, & share I will. However, the trail is extremely cold & my leads so far consist of 3rd party info that are living now on or near the original proving grounds site.
My interest in this began around Thanksgiving 2016,& only initially as a secondary, anecdotal point after the fact. Where it probably will remain on my priority list. About time to ramp this up a few notches. ...
This all began with a friend that wouldn't take no for an answer, overcoming my uninterested & reluctant hesitation to follow him out, in the middle of the night, to look at a place his brother (& wife) recently purchased at an estate auction. It was really close by my place & he was going to live there for a few years,until his brother retired ect. Once we arrived & I had taken the tour. .. I was really amazed. It’s very nice & I was unprepared really for how nice. By then we're talking the wee wee hours of the night, but my buddy had a surprise yet,& despite my feeble protests. .. Ok then, let's take a look at the pond. Being an avid fisherman, it wasn't long before I knew my friend had lucked into magnificent fortune, an unparalleled opportunity that I too hoped to experience. A couple of visits later confirmed my original impressions. This isn't your "grandfather's" pond... I'm going to call it the 9th Wonder of the World or just the Ponderosa. A real behemoth, surreally deep, unbelievably clear, with many extras not typically seen. Thus began the slow intermittent need to understand who created this masterpiece. And the answer, are you ready? Allis Chalmers proving grounds equipment based next door @ the corner of NW 62nd & Leedy road. Holy crapp, right? Apparently a couple of the old equipment barns are still standing. .. & this just last night. . my friend says that inside one of the sheds is a metal sign that reads "Allis Chalmers proving grounds"! And yes, I certainly intend on a picture which I will pass along when I get it. Let's recap the highlights. The old Topeka Allis Chalmers proving grounds facility @ 62nd & Leedy built this pond with they're test equipment. Here's a little more. . my friend age 49 remembers fishing there as a kid living close by & so getting more curious as to the age of the pond, we closely examined the average size of the cottonwoods on the dam slopes & determined a minimum of 60,more likely 70 years old. Which seems to me the prime window of possibility that lines all this up.... I'll be back with more. .. when & if I can shake it loose. I've got a few pictures I'd like to add... but beings this is my 1st time here. .. & don't want to destroy my lengthy tale,I'll look into it with a short followup post if they go thru....
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Pictures
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SPECULATIONS & CONJECTURE::
Let's assume my earlier ballpark estimate of 70yrs is good enough to place the Topeka proving grounds open for business. That would make a 20 year old equipment operator at least 90yrs now. Is it realistic that a few former employees are still alive? Did AC hire local or bring in special labor?
I literally fell into this quest for info totally by accident but now that I'm all in I intend on pursuing any reasonable means available to growing the info base. So far anything I tried online rates a zero. .. well it did lead me here. I'm going to talk with the 2 people I know that have given me what I know up to now & see if they can think of anyone who may have been a kid @ the time but old enough to remember something that may still live close by. . Also I'll see if I can sweet talk my way into a good personal look see @ the actual AC location for any signs or clues linked to the original proving grounds. .. Perhaps a small chance of finding something buried @ the Kansas Historical Society. .. ughh.. not my specialty. All in all it appears to be an unlikely remote possibility that any further efforts to shed more light on the brief existence of this AC facility will bear fruit. .. meanwhile. .. was that WD-40... or WD-45?
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Chopper   Thank you for your continued interest in this. We are hoping you are successful in your quest for more information. Would love to see pictures of the old buildings, even of its just the outsides.    
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I ran into a man last June that lives in Fremont Nebr. that worked for Allis on the 8550 at the Arizona proving grounds. May be I'll see him again this year. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lonn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2017 at 8:32am
Man chopperhopper, if you aren't a narrator for documentary films, you should be. I don't visit the construction equipment forum often but now I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for more info.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lonn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2017 at 8:34am
Here's one on Oliver worth watching

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