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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Cole Manufacturing Company

by Douglas Helms, 2006A seed planter made by Cole Manufacturing Company, 1920-1940. Image courtesy of North Carolina Museum of History.

Cole Manufacturing Company was founded by brothers E. M. and E. A. Cole in Charlotte in January 1900 to manufacture seed planters invented and patented by E. M. Cole. Brightly painted farm implements bearing the Cole Manufacturing Company label were a common sight on North Carolina farms during the first half of the twentieth century. By the mid-1920s, the company was the world's largest factory devoted solely to making seed planters and fertilizer distributors.

Cole Manufacturing, which operated its own foundry, made the transition from mule-drawn implements to multirow tractor-drawn implements and had sold more than 2 million seed planters, fertilizer distributors, and grain drills in the domestic and export markets by 1961. By the mid-1970s, the company had introduced a line of hand-pushed equipment to capitalize on the interest in home gardening. Jean Cole Hatcher succeeded her father, E. A. Cole, as president of the company, and she was followed by her son John Cole Hatcher. The company ceased operations in the early 1980s.


LeGette Blythe and Charles Raven Brockman, Hornet's Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (1961).

Edgar T. Thompson, Agricultural Mecklenburg and Industrial Charlotte, Social and Economic (1926).

Additional Resources:

Cole Planter Company History:

Image Credit:

A seed planter made by Cole Manufacturing Company, 1920-1940. Image courtesy of North Carolina Museum of History. Available from (accessed June 26, 2012).


Origin - location: 



I Have Two Of These Planters With Plates What Would They Be Worth , Barn Kept Thanks


I love Cole products and avidly collect them. I still use Cole planters today and they are the BEST bar none.


I have a horse pulled plow and I searching for a blue print / instruction. Try to refurbish the plow. I have a picture.


Dear Donald,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and asking a question. Please expect an email from me in regards to your request.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library


I have an antique walk behind planter. Its unusual characteristics: Appears to be a faded blue Cole Manufacturing label; a wooden box that drops seeds into a shoot, has a wooden wheel in front. Can you give me any info on this product. I found it in an old building on my grandfather's farm.


Can you tell me what I have Cole #34 mule drawn with two boxes thanks alot


I would like to know how much this is worth . I have a Cole plow seeder. I have a picture but don't know how to send it. Thank u


Dear Rhonda,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your artifact and question.

Unfortunately, NCpedia doesn’t have any information to help with valuing artifacts. You may want to contact an antiques expert.  Also, the N.C. Museum of History has an “ask an expert” service.  Here is a link to their web page:

I hope ths helps!

Good luck with your search and best wishes,

Kelly Agan


In the early to mid 50's my father purchased a "Cotton Mopper" manufactured by Cole Mfg. Co in Charlotte. Seeking any literature or information on this item.

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