I. J. Neufeld & Co. (Waldheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)

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I. J. Neufeld & Co. was a manufacturer of farm machinery in the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia. It was established in 1890 in Waldheim, Ukraine, with a founding capital of 250,000 Rubles and was incorporated as a public company in 1900. By 1908, I. J. Neufeld & Co. was the fourth largest manufacturer in Russia, with an annual production of 350,000 Rubles and with 200 employees working in the factory. In 1911-1912, the company employed 250 people. 

The founder of I. J. Neufeld & Co. was Isaak Johann Neufeld, son of Johann and Susanna (Reimer) Neufeld, born in Orloff, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, south Russia, on 18 March 1849. In some sources, he is listed at J. J. Neufeld, possibly because of confusion in reading the old German script. In 1870, Isaak married Susanna Friesen, daughter of Isaac Johann and Susanna (Reimer) Friesen, in Waldheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement. The couple had seven children. Isaak died on 15 February 1922 in Tiege, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, and Susanna died on 1 March 1934 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

I. J. Neufeld & Co. was established at a time of increased demand for farm machinery after 1860, when additional farmland became available for residents of the Mennonite settlements. At the same time, the transportation of farm goods became easier with an increase in rail links and the development of the steam engine for river travel. The production of inexpensive iron and steel made it possible to produce farm implements more readily than ever before. These factors prompted growth in the manufacturing industries, especially in the Molotschna and Chortitza Mennonite Settlement of south Russia. The I. J. Neufeld factory was located seven kilometers away from the Stulnevo train station, which allowed for easy access to transporting goods.

By 1905, I. J. Neufeld had transferred much of the company to his son, who renamed the factory I. I. Neufeld & Co. Ten years later, the company had factories in Grimschino, Orenburg and Orekhov, as well as a steam-powered flour mill in Waldheim. The site also included homes for at least two families. The I. I. Neufeld factory was nationalized after the Civil War and later produced tractors, followed by munitions. It closed permanently in 1954 and was dismantled for building materials.

The first Mennonite factory built during this time of expansion was Lepp and Wallmann, owned by Peter Lepp and his son-in-law, Andreas Wallmann. Other manufacturers soon followed with their own factories, including I. J. Neufeld & Co. Altogether, the eight largest factories in the Mennonite settlements produced 6.2% percent of Russia’s total industrial output at a value of over three million Rubles, manufacturing agricultural implements such as winnowers, reapers, threshers, and plows.

Although I. J. Neufeld & Co. was not the largest of the agricultural companies, its production of farm machinery made a significant contribution to the economic output of the south Russian Mennonite settlements.


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Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published March 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Huebert, Susan. "I. J. Neufeld & Co. (Waldheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2013. Web. 6 Jun 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=I._J._Neufeld_%26_Co._(Waldheim,_Molotschna_Mennonite_Settlement,_Zaporizhia_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=167453.

APA style

Huebert, Susan. (March 2013). I. J. Neufeld & Co. (Waldheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 June 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=I._J._Neufeld_%26_Co._(Waldheim,_Molotschna_Mennonite_Settlement,_Zaporizhia_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=167453.

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