Menomonie, Wisconsin History/LoganDennison

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The leading innovators that have come from the Menomonie area have impacted the U.S. in some way. A brief description of some, not all leading innovators follow. Jeremiah Burnham Tainter was a head stone in Menomonie history. Jeremiah and his family had their foot in almost everything in Menomonie when they were alive. Harry Miller was an automotive genius and innovator between the two world wars who had ingenious ideas for the racing scene at the time; even now his ideas are still being implemented in racing. An inventor from Menomonie which there is not much information on, had creative idea for a submersible electric motor designed for multiple uses. Many ideas have come out the University of Stout but one that stands out is the adjustable workstation. Innovators of the past and the present have changed and advanced our technology to what it is today.

Jeremiah B. Tainter[edit]

Tainter gate example.jpg

Jeremiah Burnham Tainter is the draftsman and inventor of the infamous Tainter Gate[1]. When Jeremiah first moved to Menomonie he was 26 years old and came to work in the Knapp-Stout mills in 1862. Jeremiah Tainter has been described as a undeniably talented engineer and draftsman. In 1886 the Knapp-Stout mills were in need of a water control device that could open quickly, to release enough water from the mill pond to allow the “Red River Strings” of lumber to reach Dunnville and the larger Chippewa River. By this time Jeremiah Tainter was quiet talented at designing water control devices for the mill and this was his biggest achievement by this time. Although it was a redesign of someone else’s gate, Jeremiah's proved to be way more effective and efficient. Six gates were installed at the mill holding pond and it proved to work as it rushed the river strings to the market. Jeremiah Tainter's gate was effective because it was well designed and thought of as it took little man power to open and close the gates; as the water helped open the gate as it pushing through. The Tainter Gate[2] can be seen as a technological marvel as now, over 100 years later his design is used throughout the Midwest. Today there are 321 Tainter Gates from Minneapolis to St. Louis. There are also 195 Tainter Gates in the Columbia River. Jeremiah lived to be quite old for the time he was alive, as he was 84 when he passed. 

Harold A. Miller[edit]

1925 Miller 122

Harry Miller[3] was only in Menomonie for the first twenty or so years of his life, Harry Miller changed the racing scene not just in the US but the world and it all started in Menomonie Wisconsin. Harry Miller developed an original design for a carburetor and had it patented in 1909. With this new design and tweaked designs coming out his business took off and was purchased by the sons of Charles Fairbanks; then moved to Indianapolis. As Harry Miller was still coming out with new ideas and filing patents one after another he incorporated the Master Carburetor Company. By this time Harry Miller's work was heard of all over the US and was successful in passenger cars, aeronautical, and the marine fields. At this time in 1913 Harry Miller had a fantastic machine shop that could duplicate anything out there and this became known as the Harry A. Miller Manufacturing Company, and was the west coast mecca for everyone with interests on land, water or by air as he could make it all have more power. Now to his most dramatic and known for concept was the Golden Submarine[4] or also known as the “Harry Miller Special.” With an abnormal look and closed cabin design, light weight body, frame and powered by a 289-ci engine single overhead camshaft 16 valve four cylinder engine constructed of his Alloyanum, a mixture of aluminum, nickel, and copper. On a sister car to the Golden Submarine, it was also equipped with hydraulic front brakes in 1919, which in fact is the first known appearance of these types of brakes on a race car. Harry Miller's TNT car with a 183-ci four cylinder engine was the first twin cam engine to use a light-alloy construction along with wet cylinder liners. The patents show that it had flat spoke wheels which was five years before Bugatti, four wheel brakes and lightened brake drums. The whole car itself was what would be known for the classic shape of the oval track race cars for the next couple decades.

Tracy B. Hatch[edit]

Tracey B. Hatch a resident of Menomonie from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s created a submersible compact electric motor[5] that could be used for a wide variety of places, such as mines, laundries, breweries. This electric motor when completely finished wouldn't let anything in or out besides the electricity to run it. Although it wasn’t the first it was much more effective than others as he filled it with a hydrocarbon oil which cooled the motor and prevented sparking between commutator and its brushes. The hydrocarbon oil also acted as a water sealer as it adhered to the moving parts and bearings. The motor was patented March 4, 1902[6] and proved to be functional. 

UW-Stout Workstations[edit]

In 2010 UW Stout specialist and some alumnus could change the learning and research spectrum. At this time a prototype table[7] standing 5 feet 6 inches long and 2 feet 7 inches wide was primarily design to help people with disabilities; as its mobile and height adjustable. It’s so versatile it can be used by children to adults in many different situations from schools to industry and much more. It has been stated that the workstation reflects the applied and adaptive technologies[8] at UW Stout and brings work station technology into the modern age. The table can measure from 24 inches to 50 inches off the ground by a push of a button, and is completely customization with a digital display. The work station also has many other features as it displays images on both sides, can be used by four people at once, has a pull out table, two movable gantry arms with led lights to hold tools or research items, and is completely mobile with locking castor wheels. The workstation was a marvel and can change the learning experience for the better.

External Link[edit] (A biography and some more background on Harry Miller) (List and pictures of Jeremiah Tainter's other patents)


  4. Where the Wild Rice Grows