Edward Huber’s Marion Legacy

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The Huber Machinery Museum at Marion County Fairgrounds takes visitors on a journey from the 1800s, when hay was cut by hand with a scythe, through more than 150 years of Marion history, change and innovation. Visitors see how a local inventor sparked the creation of tractors, steam shovels, threshers, and ultimately the space exploration robot that took NASA shuttles to the launch pad and then to the moon.

“Things have changed so much in agriculture, construction and industry. It’s important to preserve it and show future generations how it was born,” said volunteer Don Kiel, former chairman of the Huber Machinery Museum board.

The museum recently hosted a tour for a group of engineering students, faculty and staff from Marion Technical College, inspiring the inventors of the future.

Volunteer tour guide Karen Zucker described how Edward Huber revolutionized farming in 1863. His rotating hay rake allowed one person to do in three hours what normally took three people a full day to do by hand. His cousins ​​convinced the 28-year-old to come to Marion in 1865 to produce the hay rakes because of the abundance of local hardwood.

The Huber Machinery Museum is open Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. through November and for private viewings by appointment.  They recently hosted a tour for faculty, staff, and engineering technology students at Marion Technical College.  Front row left to right: Josh Dunn, Michelle Bannister, Professor Jeremy Fryman.  Back row: Cameron McClaskey, Mike Augenstein.

Huber continued to invent, receiving over 100 patents. He founded the Huber Manufacturing Company in 1874. He manufactured the first working steam tractor engine as well as construction equipment. He helped found the Marion Steam Shovel Company in 1884. The museum shows everything from drawings and models to full-size threshers, steam shovels and power shovels. A piece of the NASA crawler that was built in Marion stands outside the museum. A video shows how the crawler works bringing Artemis I to the launch pad.

” It’s really unbelievable. When it comes to engineering stuff, I’m like a kid in a candy store! said student Josh Dunn of Marion. The museum invites visitors to see, touch and even sit in some of the local inventions.

“Everything in this museum is MarionMade!” cried Kiel. “When you look at a machine, you have to visualize it. How many hours were spent, how many hand-drawn drawings, before each one was finally put together? »

Don Kiel is a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Huber Machinery Museum.  He worked for Marion Power Shovel in logistics and supply chain.  He helped create many of the museum's machines.  Kiel is proud that everything inside the museum is MarionMade!

The Marion Power Shovel company made agricultural equipment until World War II when the government told them to focus on road equipment to be sent overseas to make airstrips.

A retired engineer and museum volunteer, Dan Stull worked for Marion Power Shovel for 13 years and then for Fairfield Engineering for 30 years. Stull remembers doing live tests on machines in the 1960s.

“We didn’t have any safety equipment back then. We put test equipment on the excavator while it was running. Today, OSHA [Occupational Health and Safety Administration] would shut that down,” Stull said.

Walking through the museum is also walking through the history of Marion.

“Mr. Huber was responsible for starting and bringing many businesses to Marion and growing Marion,” Zucker said.

The Huber family brought a steam wagon to Marion. They founded a bank so that employees could save and obtain mortgages. They also founded the Opera, Marion Milling Company and Huber Milk. Prospect and West Center were known as the Huber Block.

“I think Huber did Marion,” Zucker said.

The Huber Machinery Museum features inventions ranging from hay rakes to space races.

A century before electric cars took off, Ms. Huber owned a two-seater electric car. Mr. Huber had several farms for research and development. Some have been sold and now house the Tri-Rivers Career Center.

The Huber Machinery Museum at 220 East Fairground Street is open Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. through November and by appointment. Tours are free but donations are welcome. Volunteers built the museum, donated the exhibits and volunteered their time to bring Marion’s story to life. For more details, visit the Huber Machinery Museum Facebook page or call 740-387-9233. Please be patient as the museum is run solely by volunteers.

The public is also invited to local historian Dave Claborn’s Made In Marion industrial preview at 7 p.m. Thursday at Tri-Rivers.

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