Engelberg Huller Company

The Engelberg Huller Company was established in 1888 in Syracuse, New York, by John R. Montague, to manufacture and distribute the Engelberg Huller machine which was invented by Brazilian mechanical engineer and inventor, Evaristo Conrado Engelberg,[4] and Willard Halstead to remove the husks and shells from rice and coffee during the milling process.[5]

Engelberg Huller Company
Manufacturing of hulling and milling machines
IndustryHulling and milling machine manufacture, later metalworking machinery
GenreMachines for hulling and cleaning coffee, rice and other grain
FateIn 1971 was renamed, Sundstrand-Engelberg, Inc. of Liverpool, New York.
In 1974, the name changed to Sundstrand Syracuse, Inc. of Syracuse, New York,
and Sundstrand Corp. of Rockford, Illinois.[1]
FounderJohn Montague
United States
Area served
United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Central America[2]
Key people
Evaristo Conrado Engelberg (1853–1932), Willard Halstead
ProductsHullers and milling machines; later metalworking tools such as; grinders, belt and disc sanders
Number of employees
35 in 1910[3]


Engelberg Huller Company – Huller and Separator

While working in the C. E. Lipe Machine Shop, located on Geddes Street and considered an early business incubator in Syracuse, Montague began producing a hulling machine invented by the Brazilian, mechanical engineer, Evaristo Conrado Engelberg in 1885.[4] The machine could remove the husks and shells from rice and coffee beans.[2]

From this venture, the Engelberg-Huller Company was formed and Montague manufactured the machines in the building from 1888 to 1897. By then, the company, whose trade largely consisted of exports, required larger quarters and moved to a new plant at West Fayette and Ontario streets.[2]

Brazilian manufacturing backgroundEdit

During 1885, Engelberg, of Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil,[4] received a British patent for a rice-hulling machine.[1]

After strong development of his business, in June 1885, Engelberg partnered with Earl Siciliano to found Engelberg & Siciliano which was headquartered in Piracicaba and originally produced the machines for Brazilian farmers.[6]

Patents for coffee hullerEdit

Three years later, on December 27, 1888, Engelberg, applied for a United States patent for the rice and coffee-hulling machine.[7] U.S. patent (number 424,602) for a rice-hulling machine, was granted on April 1, 1890.[8] With this machine, hulling and polishing, which removes different layers below the husk, could be done in several stages "during the same passage," a process that automated a manual task.[5]

By 1890, Engelberg patented several models of these machines in the United States and Europe. The device was highly successful because the "stripper" did not squeeze the coffee beans, and removed all the straw while maintaining the beans' integrity, producing a higher yield for coffee growers. The maintenance of the machines was also quite simple and inexpensive, which was advantageous, because the main method for cleaning coffee still depended on slave labor in mills.[6]

Charles E. Lipe, mechanical engineer and Syracuse entrepreneur, was the patentee and Engelberg Huller Company was the assignee on two hulling machine patents granted in 1894. These were identified as "hulling and cleaning machine."[8]

U.S. manufacturingEdit

A 1904 advertisement for the Engelberg Huller Company, Syracuse, New York

During 1888, as international demand for his machine increased, Engelberg partnered with José Tibiriçá to create a branch of his company in Syracuse, New York, known as the Engelberg Huller Company, which was organized for the purpose of manufacturing and selling the "Engelberg huller"[7] in North America. The huller was quite successful, and additional patents were granted to the firm for various improvements over the years, including the model with patent number 879,211, patented jointly with Willard Halstead and is shown in the photo on this page.[1]

Production in Brazil was halted in 1890 and by 1922, the machines produced in Syracuse began to be shipped and sold in Brazil, as well as other parts of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America.[2]

Annual meetingsEdit

The ninth annual meeting was held at the principal office of the company at 208 South Geddes Street on May 25, 1897. Company treasurer was A. A. Schenck.[9]

The fourteenth annual meeting of the company was held on February 3, 1902 at the principal office of the company at 831 West Fayette Street at 2:00 pm. A. A. Schenck was secretary.[10]

Grinding millsEdit

During March 1904, the firm had ventured into grinding mills and the Halstead Attrition Mill, invented by brothers Willard and John G. Halstead, a die casting foreman at the H.H. Franklin Automobile factory was awarded several U.S. Patents (#812,737, #874,764 #879,211). It was advertised as the "most perfect and efficient for grinding all kinds of cereals." The mill was especially adapted for grinding corn on the cob or shelled, corn and wheat mixed and rye.[11]

By May 1904, A. A. Schenck had just completed arrangements for the extension of the plant at 831 West Fayette Street, at the corner of Seneca Street. The company owned the property at the rear of their building extending along Seneca Street through to Marcellus Street. The new building was 16 feet (4.9 m) wide by 103 feet (31 m) long and extended to Marcellus Street and was constructed of brick and iron and two stories tall. The establishment used it as a storehouse.[12] That same year, John R. Montague was president of the company.[13]

Global businessEdit

The firm was exporting machinery to Central America, South America, India, the Philippines, China, Japan, Russia and Africa by May 1910. There had been an increase in orders for machines from India and Brazil.[14]

Leo Griffith Meldram, son of Attorney and Mrs. Charles J. Meldram, started on June 16, 1912, on a trip around the world for the Engelberg Huller Company. He had been employed for the establishment a little more than a year. Meldram was one of the youngest men who ever started out from Syracuse on a similar trip. He was only 24 years old and intended on being gone three years, possibly five.[15]

Meldram sailed from New York City on the steamship Campania for Liverpool, England and from there to Bombay, India by way of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea and Arabian Sea. Later, he traveled to Burma, China, the Philippines, Japan and returned by way of San Francisco.[15]

President of the company, John R. Montague, said that this was the first time in several years that the company had sent a representative around the world.[15]

Chittenango plantEdit

In July 1948, the Engelberg Huller company, whose main office and plant were in Syracuse, acquired the "modern" one-story factory building formerly occupied by Churchill Corporation in Chittenango, New York. The plant was "thoroughly retrofitted" with a wide range of modern machine tools and an active machine jobbing business was established. The principal activity was the manufacture of precision machined aircraft parts, an activity which the main plant in Syracuse conducted almost exclusively during World War II.[16]

The firm was also engaged in the production of parts for several other large manufacturing concerns in the area and employed a number of Chittenango's machinists and other skilled workers. The main activity in the Syracuse factory was still the production of rice and coffee processing machinery. Since it was founded in 1889, the company was considered the leader in this type of equipment in the world and the bulk of its output was exported to "far away places where coffee and rice are grown."[16]

Metalworking and woodworking toolsEdit

During the twentieth century, the Engelberg Huller Company began to make grinders plus belt and disk sanders, all intended primarily for metalworking and woodworking. On March 23, 1953, Leo Schaller, patentee, and Engelberg Huller Co., Inc. as assignee, applied for U.S. Patent 2,791,070 which was granted on May 7, 1957 for an Abrading machine (woodworking or sanding machine).[17]

By August 1953, John T. Schenck was president of Engelberg Huller Co., Inc.[18] Between 1957 and 1971, the company name was shortened to Engelberg, Inc. and by 1971 the name had changed again, to Sundstrand-Engelberg, Inc. of Liverpool, New York. During 1974, the name changed to Sundstrand Syracuse, Inc. of Syracuse, New York, and Sundstrand Corp. of Rockford, Illinois.[1]

The Engelberg Huller Company was sold to an agricultural equipment manufacturer located in Nicholson, Pennsylvania, in 1976. The CEO and owner in 1976 was James Solon. Engelberg Huller Co., INC is still operating a manufacturing plant in Nicholson, PA, exporting Engelberg spare parts and equipment.

Huller still in use todayEdit

By 1990, Engelberg hullers were still widely used in small mills for milling rice for local markets.[5] The hullers are still in use in many parts of the world.[1] As of 2011, the Syracuse-based branch of what was the Engelberg Huller Company continues to produce hullers and associated parts.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Engelberg, Inc". Vintage Machinery, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "Inventions Built Industries Here". Syracuse Journal. Syracuse, New York. March 20, 1939.
  3. ^ "Christmas Tree Party". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. December 24, 1910.
  4. ^ a b c "Rua Evaristo Conrado Enbelberg". História das Ruas de São Paulo, 1991. Retrieved July 17, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c Peter R. Lawrence; K. Lawrence; J. T. Dijkmann; P. H. Starkey. Research for development of animal traction in West Africa. Nigeria: West Animal Traction Network, July 1990. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Um piracicabano na Academia de Paris". A Provincia, October 11, 2009. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "A Coffee Chronology". Webbooks, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Patents for Engelberg Huller Co". Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "Notice". Syracuse Journal. Syracuse, New York. May 18, 1897.
  10. ^ "Notice". Syracuse Journal. Syracuse, New York. January 10, 1902.
  11. ^ Dun's Review. R. G. Dun & Company, New York City, March, 1904 p. 537. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Plant to Have Large Addition". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. May 1, 1904.
  13. ^ "Mortuary Notes". The Syracuse Journal. Syracuse, New York. June 27, 1903.
  14. ^ "Big Demand for Syracuse Goods". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. May 14, 1910.
  15. ^ a b c "L. G. Meldrum, Syracuse, Begins Circle of Globe". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. April 18, 1912.
  16. ^ a b "New Industry in Chittenango". The Madison County Times. Oneida, New York. September 2, 1949.
  17. ^ "US Patent: 2,791,070 – Abrading machine". Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  18. ^ "Red Feather Division Leaders". The Marcellus Observer. Marcellus, New York. August 21, 1953.

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