Henry Synck
Henry Synck, Jr. was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 industrialist who participated in the development of mechanized farming.

In the farming communities of Ohio, fertilization of fields was possible only by the distribution of animal excrement, usually mixed with bedding straw to create a semi-solid mixture of manure. The task of shoveling and distributing the manure was back breaking and there were many attempts made to mechanize this process. One such example was a patent by a Daniel Merrell in 1886 for a mechanized "manure spreader". There were a number of other patent filings prior to the onset of the 20th century. In 1899 John M Kramer, Fred Heckman and Henry Synck, Jr., all of whom lived in the small farming community of Maria Stein, OH filed a patent for a device to spread manure which they named a "manure distributor". Synck subsequently worked with his future father-in-law, Joseph Oppenheim
Joseph Oppenheim
Joseph Oppenheim was an educator who invented the modern widespread manure spreader that made farming less labor intensive and far more efficient in the early 20th century and only he is honored for that invention in the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame in Columbus, Ohio...

, to develop the first practical manure spreader
Manure spreader
A manure spreader or muck spreader or honey wagon is an agricultural machine used to distribute manure over a field as a fertilizer. A typical manure spreader consists of a trailer towed behind a tractor with a rotating mechanism driven by the tractor's power take off...

. Oppenheim's 1900 invention was so successful that it spawned a major manufacturing company, the New Idea Spreader Works, later renamed the New Idea Farm Machinery Company in 1899. New Idea celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999 as a division of AGCO. Synck's role in the evolution of manure spreader and other farm machinery technology is well documented by a steady stream of patents that not only describe improvements to the manure spreader, but also other farm machinery from 1899-1939.

Henry Synck, Jr. was born in Saint Sebastian, Ohio. He married Wilhelmina Oppenheim, the daughter of Joseph Oppenheim, a teacher in Maria Stein, Ohio
Maria Stein, Ohio
Maria Stein is an unincorporated community in central Marion Township, Mercer County, Ohio, United States. The community and the Maria Stein Convent lie at the center of the area known as the Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches, where a missionary priest, Father Francis de Sales Brunner,...

. In 1899 Synck's father-in law, Joseph Oppenheim
Joseph Oppenheim
Joseph Oppenheim was an educator who invented the modern widespread manure spreader that made farming less labor intensive and far more efficient in the early 20th century and only he is honored for that invention in the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame in Columbus, Ohio...

  invented the most important component of the first practical mechanical manure spreader. Oppenheim conceived the idea of a practical manure spreader during a game of paddle ball
Paddle ball
Paddle ball is a one-person game played with an attached ball and paddle. Using a flat paddle with a small rubber ball attached at the center via an elastic string, the player tries to hit the ball with the paddle in succession as many times as possible. The paddle is usually made from either...

. He noted that "when a player held the paddle-shaped bat at an angle, a foul ball resulted, with the ball careening off at the angle dictated by the paddle. Why not, pondered Oppenheim, make manure do the same thing—fly out at an angle from a series of paddles?" Earlier patent ideas, including that described by Kramer, Heckman and Synck (above) had a distributive mechanism that was flawed in that the width of distribution was relatively narrow. Oppenheim subsequently developed a model from a cigar box and demonstrated the feasibility of distributing manure in a "wide spread pattern". Oppenheim's patent clearly describes the distribution mechanism Manure was loaded into the spreader. A mechanism moved the manure to the rear where it was distributed by paddles.

After months of "trial and error it became obvious he (Oppenheim) had solved the problem of manure spreading...... that he had created a "New Idea"......and that a name and an invention had been born!" Oppenheim died in 1901 and was buried in Maria Stein. Following his death, his wife, Mary Ellerbrock Oppenheim, invested in New Idea and made decisions to move the company forward. The "New Idea Spreader Works" was established and built in Maria Stein. The "New Idea" caught on quickly because it relieved farmers of the back-breaking chore of manually distributing manure from a wagon. Mary Oppenheim died in 1907 New Idea continued to grow and in 1908 the company moved to Coldwater, Ohio
Coldwater, Ohio
Coldwater is a village in Mercer County, Ohio, United States. The population was 4,482 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Coldwater is located at ....

, where a railhead existed to ship the completed spreaders. The privately held company was led by BC Oppenheim, Joseph Oppenheim's son. In this closely held family company, Henry Synck remained involved with New Idea as a manager of one of the production units.

By 1918, these children of Joseph and Mary Oppenheim were on record as the persons engaged in the business of the New Idea Spreader Co.: B. C. Oppenheim, J. A. Oppenheim, Theodore Oppenheim (responsible for the development of the two-row corn picker today on display in the Henry Ford Museum), Justin Oppenheim, Wilhelmina Synck (Henry's wife), and Cecilia Selhorst.

Following BC Oppenheim's death, Henry Synck served as President of New Idea. In 1945 the family sold New Idea to Avco
Avco Corporation is a subsidiary of Textron which operates Textron Systems Corporation and Lycoming.-Brief history:The Embry-Riddle Company created the Aviation Corporation in 1928 as a holding company tasked with acquiring small airlines...

, a conglomerate that was subsequently acquired by Textron
Textron is a conglomerate that includes Bell Helicopter, E-Z-GO, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Greenlee, among others. It was founded by Royal Little in 1923 as the Special Yarns Company, and is headquartered at the Textron Tower in Providence, Rhode Island, United States.With total revenues of...

. In a complicated series of transactions, Textron subsequently divested New Idea to Allied Corporation, another conglomerate (White-New Idea) who subsequently divested it to AGCO
AGCO is an agricultural equipment manufacturer based in Duluth, Georgia, USA. As a leading global manufacturer of agricultural equipment, AGCO offers a full line of tractors, combines, hay tools, sprayers, forage and tillage equipment, which are distributed through more than 2,700 independent...

Corporation. New Idea has continued to produce a broad spectrum of farm-related machinery. Unfortunately, the Coldwater, Ohio plant was closed in 1999 as the manufacturer sought to reduce costs and consolidate manufacturing in fewer locations.
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