Horse Collar Factory

Pennypacker horse collars


One of the most noticeable features in the suburbs of Ottawa is the Horse Collar Factory of Dunavan & Brunk, at Dayton. By close attention to business and the manufacture of a superior collar, they have so extended their trade that it demands an increase of capital. To meet this demand they are about organizing a joint stock company, and now have books open for subscriptions to stock. For persons wishing to invest in a safe, established and well paying business, this is an opportunity seldom met with.1

 The Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Co. is an incorporated company, composed of a body of modest and unassuming men, their modesty being only equaled by the superior quality of their goods, which are widely known from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia on the east, to Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri on the west, to be the best in the world. They use about forty tons of rye straw yearly for filling horse-collars, and the hides of about 2,000 head of cattle are required yearly to supply them with leather.2

A. F. Dunavan & Son
The Celebrated Horse Collar Manufacturers of Dayton, Illinois

The famous Fox River Horse Collar Manufactory, of Dayton, Illinois, is one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the country. It originated in 1865, under the administration of George H. Pennypacker, and has been operated under the present management since 1880. Here collars of all grades and styles are manufactured, and a specialty is made of the celebrated “Pennypacker Collar.” The general mechanical construction of this collar has rendered it the best device of its kind known to the trade. It is so constructed that the draught is close to the horse’s neck instead of back on his shoulders, and thus an easy and comfortable fit is effected. The material used in these collars is of the best quality, and the workmanship of the highest order. The factory has a capacity of turning out 300 dozen collars per month, which are shipped throughout all of the western states and into many of the eastern states. Mr. A. F. Dunavan, the senior member of the firm, has been identified with the business since 1870, while his son, W. J. Dunavan, has been connected with the enterprise for the past six years.3

The horse-collar factory was established in 1865. In ’70 A. F. Dunavan & Son purchased the business, which employs about ten hands. It has a capacity of 12 dozen collars per day, manufacturing 25 different grades, ranging in price from $6 to $25 per dozen. The firm has, piled up in its store rooms, $8,000 worth of horse-collars awaiting shipment. The demand is principally in the spring months, and the collars manufactured here are sold throughout this and adjoining states, and in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. The firm buys for cash, getting inside prices on material, and by strict and honest dealings the firm sends its goods over a wide area of territory, competing in price and quality with any factory in the United States. This the Dunavans are enabled to do, as they make collars a specialty. In the summer season leather fly-nets are manufactured here. The junior member and another agent are on the road in the interest of the business. The firm have $15,000 invested in their manufactory. A. F. Dunavan, a very courteous and obliging person to meet, kindly showed the Free Trader man through the building, where every workman was busy as a nailer in the manufacture of that portion of the collar entrusted to him. This factory was also damaged by the high water, which flooded the basement, tearing up portions of the floor.4

1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, July 19, 1873, p. 1, col. 4
2. Free Trader, July 12, 1879, p. 8, col. 1
3. Free Trader, October 6, 1883, p. 5, col. 1
4. Free Trader, January 17, 1885, p. 5, cols. 1-2

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