Biography of Robert Shedenhelm
Iowa County, IA Biographies





Robert Shedenhelm is an automobile dealer of Ladora, handling a number of well known cars, and is also the inventor of a self loading manure spreader and excavator which has proved an unusually efficient implement. He was born in Hartford township, Iowa county, on the 9th of August, 1871, of the marriage of John N. and Ann C. (Shaull) Shedenhelm, both natives of Seneca county, Ohio. The paternal grandparents removed to Iowa in 1853 and the Shaull family located here about the same time. Levi Shedenhelm, the grandfather of our subject, entered government land and acquired title to other land, owning in all some eight hundred acres in Hartford township. Mr. and Mrs. John N. Shedenhelm were married in this county and located upon a farm, a part of which he received from his father. He subsequently gave one of his sons an eighty acre tract, but purchased other land and at the time of his demise, which occurred on the 25th of January, 1909, owned three hundred acres of valuable land. He was a stanch republican in politics and served for twelve years as township assessor. He was a fifer in Company E, Twenty fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry for three years during the Civil war. He belonged to the Methodist Protestant church, as does his widow, who is residing in Ladora.

Robert Shedenhelm attended the district schools and also the Ladora schools and subsequently entered the Iowa State University, from which he was graduated in law with the class of 1894. It was never his intention to devote his life to the legal profession, but he recognized the value of thorough training in law to a business man and has never regretted taking the course. For a year after his graduation he devoted his time to farming and then went to Des Moines, where he became one of the organizers' of a company for the manufacture of a self feeder for a threshing machine, of which he was the inventor. For three years he superintended the manufacturing plant and then went to Sterling, Illinois, where the feeder was manufactured for a year and a half. At the end of that time Mr. Shedenhelm returned to Des Moines and for a year and a half devoted his attention to the manufacture of gas engines. In 1905 he returned to Ladora and concentrated his attention largely upon the perfection of his last invention, a self loading manure spreader and excavator, which is now being manufactured and placed upon the market.

For the last eight years the self loading manure spreader and excavator has been thoroughly tried out and tested and where there were any signs of breaking or indications of weakness cast steel and machine steel were substituted for cast iron and wood, making the machine very strong and durable. All operating parts are controlled by the driver and he can throw any part in or out of gear without leaving the seat, simplicity of operation being one of the strong points of the machine. Although it has been loaded in nine seconds, doing work in that time which it took three men nine minutes to do, Mr. Shedenhelm advertises it on the basis of loading in a minute on the average, or while the horses are walking eighty feet. It is so arranged that the cutting edge may be adjusted deeper or shallower, as is desired, and it may be unloaded gradually with or without the spreader attachment or the load can all be dumped at once. It is not only excellently adapted to loading and spreading manure, but it has also proved superior to the ordinary scrapers in grading roads, as the grade is built evenly and will wear evenly without depressions and ridges. It has been noticed that in building grades with the self spreader, passing automobiles do not even slow down to pass over the grade, which is conclusive proof that the work is done smoothly. It can also be used for making shallow drainage ditches, filling up low places on low ground, filling in yards, leveling up streets and roads and hauling rich loam and depositing it on unproductive soil. Many of the farmers in this county have given the self loading manure spreader and excavator a thorough trial and all are much pleased with the work that it does, while the town council of Ladora has found it unusually economical and satisfactory in keeping the streets in good condition. Simplicity, durability and utility are the outstanding qualities of the machine and in its construction standard materials have been used as far as possible, thus facilitating its repair. The invention gives promise of becoming a source of good income to Mr. Shedenhelm and of proving of great value to farmers and those connected with the upkeep of the public highways. Mr. Shedenhelm is also a successful automobile dealer, holding the agency for the Maxwell, the Empire and the Case cars, and has built up a profitable business in that connection.

Mr. Shedenhelm casts his ballot in support of the republican ticket and takes the interest in public affairs that is incumbent upon every good citizen. He is known in fraternal circles of Iowa county as a member of Ladora Lodge, No. 226, I. O. O. F., and he likewise belongs to the encampment and the Rebekahs. All who have been associated with him hold him in high esteem, not only because of his undoubted ability but also because of his strict adherence to highest standards of honor.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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