The Frank Bartlow Building

The International Harvester Corporation began the process of creating a uniform appearance for its dealerships following WWII so that the public would instantly recognize any IH dealership. Up until the late 1940's, IH dealerships were frequently housed in non-uniform utilitarian buildings that looked more like service garages and usually lacked new machinery display areas under roof. The newly proposed prototype structures incorporated a large multi-paned roof-to-ground glass showroom facade on the front, flanked centrally by a projecting tall brick colored chimney/signboard structure displaying the "new" IH logo and the dealership's name. The remainder of the front facade of the usually single-story building was sheathed or painted a uniform light color matching the showroom. Large service doors were confined to the side and/or back.

Frank Bartlow, who already had an established IH dealership in Millville, Pa. since 1939, began construction of his prototype IH dealership building on the first day of deer hunting season in 1946. Because the building was sitting on a sloped lot, the prototype design was modified to permit a large basement storage area beneath the showroom, parts department, and office, accessible from one side of the building. Initially, part of the back of the building had a multi-paned glass facade which allowed light into the main service area, but because of the substantial heat losses during the winter months, the back was later covered in insulation and siding. The office and parts department adjacent to the showroom, as well as the showroom, were separated from the service area by a large counter-balanced roll up steel door that was raised and lowered as needed by an electric motor. The interior design of the showroom and parts department down to the signage placement and color were standardized to meet specifications set by IH under the guidance of the chief architect.

Frank Bartlow incorporated some of his own ideas into the building such as the movable platforms inside and outside the showroom windows to assist window cleaning. He also furnished much of the construction lumber from his own sawmill. The large storage area in the basement greatly facilitated indoor storage of equipment and inventory without increasing the surface footprint of the building. The extra space gained allowed generous parking for customers as well and an expanded outdoor display area for large equipment. The dealership sold only agricultural equipment and home appliances.
Our vision is to create a Public Museum that houses exhibits of IH agricultural, industrial and military equipment, home appliances, as well as memorabilia from IHCC Chapter 17 members' collections and the original Frank Bartlow dealership.
But, we need your help to make this vision a reality. Please make your tax-deductible donation today.
Donations for the building can be made out to:
IHC Chapter #17 Building Fund
and mail to:
Shirley M. Bordner, Treas.
142 SCHEETZ LN, Danville PA. 17821
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