At Wheeler Equipment, we are proud of our knowledge of the many models of Washington Yarders that were manufactured over the decades and are also proud of our connection to a company with such a storied history in the timber industry.
A little Washington history
Washington Iron Works, founded in 1882, was an active player in the timber industry for more than 100 years. Established in Seattle, which was an ever-growing town at the time, the business was formed to address the needs of the railway, steamship, and milling industries, which were exploding at the time and continued to grow for many decades.
Early in its life, Washington Iron Works employed 18 men, but by its second year of business, the company grew to 50 employees. During that year alone, the rapidly growing company’s machine shop finished three mill engines, one logging locomotive, eight steamboat engines and a large amount of custom work, according to an account of the company’s history.
Though the original plant burnt to the ground in the Seattle fire of 1889, the company was profitable enough to rebuild quickly and continued to keep pace with the growth of the city, eventually becoming one of the largest and most well-equipped plants in the Pacific Northwestern United States. The plant manufactured a wide array of heavy machinery, operated by both steam and electricity.
Washington Iron Works and the logging industry
J.M. Frink, who was one of the founders and also served as the head of Washington Iron Works for many, many years, was not only an upstanding, philanthropic Seattle resident and business owner but became known as the father of the modern logging engine. Frink, a native Pennsylvanian who actually had a background in education, was both a teacher and an astute businessman, and had long recognized the logging/timber industry as an exceptional business opportunity. So, he dedicated himself to producing superior equipment for loggers.
Frick and his employees continued to improve on his design until the Washington Logging Engine and the Washington Yarder became the recognized standards in the industry. Though the Washington Iron Works finally shut its doors in 1986 after more than a century, Washington yarders are still used throughout Washington, Oregon, Alaska, British Columbia, and in foreign countries such as India and the Philippines, according to past company data.
Washington Yarders and Wheeler Equipment
At Wheeler Equipment, we have long recognized that Washington Yarders are among the best available. That’s why we’ve collected complete drawings for every Washington yarder ever made and have assembled a team of professionals who can repair and rebuild these magnificent machines to their original working condition.
We are proud of the work we do on these machines and are also working to make them even better. Our recent success with the development of prototype WS88 (our modern take on the legendary Washington 88) positions Wheeler as THE source for 21st century Washington Yarders. Just ask our customers or give us a call to learn more about our Washington products, both old and new.