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Monday, October 19, 2015

How An Introverted Old Order Inventor Achieved Fame And Made A Fortune

My brother-in-law Allan Shirk just published a book about Ed Nolt, a modest Old Order Mennonite who perfected the self-tying baler that made the New Holland Machine Company famous. This efficient machine was very much a part of my farm experience growing up in Augusta County.

Here's a part of a column about Nolt by Jack Brubaker of the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal:

"An Old Order Mennonite from Farmersville, Ed Nolt (1910-1992) was a poor student who hated farming. Instead, he enjoyed tinkering with machinery on his father’s farm. Using trial-and-error “blacksmith engineering,” Nolt created the first really useful straw and hay baler in the late 1930s.

"He did it while working alone, and later with Art Young at Kinzers, and then with the men who revived the New Holland Machine Co. in 1940.

"Nolt took out more than 50 patents and became a wealthy man. He established the CRELS Foundation to distribute his fortune to needy organizations. Last year, CRELS gave away nearly $1 million."

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