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William Chester Ruth was an African American known greatly for his achievements and inventions. He was the son of Samuel and Maria Louisa Pinn-Ruth with his father being a former slave and his mother being born free. Ruth was born right on the family farm which led him to inventing a great deal of farming equipment/machinery later on as he got older. Samuel, Ruth's father, was the one that taught Ruth farming and Blacksmithing. Later on in his life after Ruth got married, they moved to Gap, PA where he opened up his own manufacturing business called "Ruth's Ironworks Shop" where he invented the machinery that he is known for to this day. He invented things from when he was just a child, like a wagon jack, to inventions as he got older like the combination baler feeder in 1924, which was a great success. As we move on, we will go into further detail about more of Ruth's famous inventions, as well as his work and family life.

William Chester Ruth's Baling-press feeder design, December 8, 1925.

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William Chester Ruth with his self-raising farm elevator model, powered by a vacuum cleaner motor.

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Chester County Farm with family members gathered on the front porch.

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To start off with William Chester Ruth's childhood and family life, Ruth was the son of Samuel, who was a former slave, and Maria, who was born free and was born right on the family farm on July 19th, 1882. He also has eleven siblings within this family. Growing up, Ruth's father, Samuel, taught him everything he needs to know about farming and Blacksmithing. This would later on help Ruth to achieve the many accomplishments that he did. William Chester Ruth was always into the idea of inventing things since he was a kid, so as he grew up, he made his dreams become a reality. On June 6th, 1906, Ruth married Gertrude Miller and they had a son together named Joseph. The family then moved to Gap, Pennsylvania in 1917 and 6 years later was where as mentioned above, Ruth opened up his very own manufacturing business called "Ruth's Ironworks Shop". As stated in, "Ruth designed and patented numerous agricultural devices from 1924 to 1950" (1) at his own shop. Along with all of this, Samuel had organized a church in 1868 called Church of Christ that later, Ruth would take over.

Now, moving into Ruth's inventions throughout his years, it all started when Ruth was just a child. He had the idea to try and invent a wagon jack out of a bicycle tire pump. The result of attempting this invention led to "The stressed pump ejected from under the weight and struck him in the head"(2), but although some of his inventions caused injuries like this one did and although he dealt with punishments from his father when an invention would not succeed, Ruth never once lost his motivation. This truly was his key to success later on in the future as he continued to push himself. One of Ruth's very first inventions he created that turned out to be a big success was the Combination Baler Feeder in 1924. After designing this and showing what can be accomplished with it, "He sold over 5,000 Baler-Feeder machines across the U.S."(1). Near that same timeframe, Ruth also invented the farming elevator that is used to transfer hay to silos. This invention was also another big hit, as both are a big benefit to the farming industry. They allow farmers to get the work they need to get done more easily and efficiently. Even with these huge accomplishments, William Chester Ruth was also given the chance to help during World War II by designing secret wartime devices. The U.S. government was the one to hire him when he was about in his 60s due to his great achievements and the success that was brought by them. This really helped to spread his fame all over.

Getting into Ruth's overall work and success, he has been a huge help within his family's farm and other companies along with his own. Growing up, William Chester Ruth has always been a big help to his family on and off the farm. Before opening his own business, Ruth worked at "Luken's Steel Company", which helped him to get more experience in the industry before going about his own way. Going into his own business, "Ruth's Ironworks Shop", he even had family members that contributed and helped his to work/run the business. On April 3rd, 1971 William Chester Ruth passed away due to an automobile accident at the age of 89.

William Chester Ruth has been an extremely big contributor to the farming and agricultural industry. He has helped many all over to get the work they need to get done successfully and more efficiently. Farming has always been a big part of the world as it provides us with food. Ruth's inventions have helped to progress and advance farming as we know of it today. The shop where William Chester Ruth has designed his many inventions is no longer existing, but the PHMC Historical Marker shows his many accomplishments.

Espacenet. Accessed December 15, 2021. 

(2) “The Inventor from Ercildoun: William Chester Ruth.” Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, December 3, 2020. 

“William Chester Ruth Historical Marker.” Historical Marker, January 3, 2021. 

(1) Wills, Anita. “William Chester Ruth (1882-1971) •.” •, February 26, 2020. 

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