Fairbanks, Morse and Company was an American manufacturing company in the late 19th and early 20th century. Originally a weighing scale manufacturer, it later diversified into pumps, engines, windmills, coffee grinders, radios, farm tractors, feed mills, locomotives, and industrial supplies until it was purchased by Penn Texas in 1958.
There are three separate corporate entities that could be considered successors to the company, none of which is a complete and direct descendant of the original company. All claim the heritage of Fairbanks Morse and Company:
Fairbanks Morse and Company began in 1823 when inventor Thaddeus Fairbanks opened an ironworks in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to manufacture two of his patented inventions: a cast iron plow and a heating stove. In 1829 he started a hemp dressing business for which he built the machinery. Though unsuccessful in fabricating for fiber factories, another invention by Thaddeus, the platform scale, formed the basis for a great enterprise. That device was patented in June 1832, and a generation later, with his brother Erastus Fairbanks, the E. & T. Fairbanks & Company was selling thousands of scales, first in the United States, later in Europe, South America, and even Imperial China. Fairbanks scales won 63 medals over the years in international competition. It became the leading manufacturer in the US, and the best-known company the world over until Henry Ford and the Ford Corporation assumed this title in the 1920s.