Innovating products since 1800’s

Tom CaltonHistory

While researching my ancestry, a deeply held conviction that, ‘The best innovations happen where the work gets done,” was confirmed…  It also became crystal clear and such a blessing to see that our family has been innovating products since 1800’s.

Ever wondered, ‘What’ll I find if I start digging in the family tree?’ Well, it might be a very good thing…

Soon after we submitted our patent for LiveStock Steel, the guardrail panel created specifically for American agriculture, I discovered my great grandfather, W.T. “Witt” Calton, was a farm product innovator of the 1800’s.

Witt Calton apparently took ideas out of his fields, into his farm shop, and then to the patent office. W.T.’s first US Patent office submission was for, “The Calton Cultivator,” which integrated a worm gear mechanism to dispense seed and other product into the row behind the plow.

My family’s been innovating products since 1800’s for the farm… and we’re still at it today! This confirmed my conviction, that,

‘The one whose hands are ON the plow is best positioned for inspiration and creativity.’

Just like my great grandfather, it’s the folks out there ‘getting it done, who are the first to see what would work if they could turn their idea into a reality. Give those ideas enough attention and cultivation to hatch, and those innovations will often bear fruit that remains.

Having obtained my own patent back in 2009, for our super-strong, re-sectioned, I-beam galvanized steel posts for cattle windbreaks, feedlot fencing and feed bunk construction, when I heard about my great grandfather’s actual patent, it stirred up a genuine sense of connection to my bloodline. When I caught wind that my great-grandfather had created a farm-use machine, after a short search, I was amazed I was to find his actual Patent Office submission!

Patent 596-648: Submitted by, W.T. Calton of Lattimore, NC, on June the 23rd, 1896.

W.T. Calton Cultivator Text





W.T. Calton Cultivator Photo
But the astonishment didn’t stop there. Further investigation revealed that W.T. Calton also filed another patent for a Cotton Press: Patent Number: 652-383 June 26, 1900!


W.T. Calton Patent on Cotton Press Zoomed In


Farm product innovation, I believe, is one of those places where the goodness of the genuine, American Spirit still lives and breathes with vigor. It’s a quality, deeply rooted in solid people who know who they are and where they’ve come from. I believe this spirit of innovation and creativity naturally thrives on the farm, down on the ranch, and out in the fields. It lives in a people who take pride in their work and are the “Can-do” backbone of a town, of a culture, and of a nation. I believe that in the American farmer lives out a true DNA of what our world needs today. I believe the blood that flows in the hearts of American agriculture is one of the best embodiments of the living American spirit. I’m proud to call it my heritage, too.


We’d love to see and hear about where you’ve seen this, too. Feel free to share, post photos and/or videos and stories. Where have you seen the creative spirit of brilliant people bursting out on the farm?