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Root Spring Scraper Company Collection

Identifier: RH-A-4344

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of photographs, price lists, logos, employee records, sales brochures, and other business-related material from the Root Spring Scraper Company located in Kalamazoo Michigan from 1891-2022.

These photographs show various parts sold by the company, vehicles with parts attached, people photographed with the vehicles, shots of the snow and vehicles in the snow. These photos show various viewpoints of Kalamazoo area and the Root Spring Scraper Company team. Included with the photos is photographs attached to boards. Most of these photo boards are from the early twentieth century with the general photographs being both twentieth and twenty-first century.


  • Creation: 1891-2022


Biographical / Historical

The Root Spring Scraper Company was founded by Fred N Root (b.1850, d.1925) began in 1891 and finally closed its doors in 2022. It was located in Kalamazoo at 527 W. North Street. The building is now for sale. The company was run by Fred up until his death in in 1925. Fred was a former ice business operator but also was an entrepreneur and inventor. He began manufacturing life guards in 1981 and these sold worldwide. It was in 1900 that the first snow scraper was built and patented for the company. In 1910 Root, built a new shop on 530 West Ransom St. with the building fronting West North Street. It was not until 1920s that they manufactured scrapers for vehicles not horses which were then sold to Michigan and other surrounding states. The early photographs in the collection document the change for horse to vehicle scrapers. After Fred Roots death his daughter carried on the company. The company fell on harder times and needed updated scrapers. In 1927 the company was associated with Ernest Weeks who helped solved a number of problems including updated to a hydraulic scraper. Weeks retired in 1941 and died in 1944. His son Dan, took on the role of general manager. During World War II they halted productions and built military landing crafts. In 1947 they built an addition onto the building to expand their growing business. In 1948 they bought an adjoining lot on Ransom Street for storage. At some time, the company was contracted for a large V-plow to clear runways which within this collection there is numerous photos of these plows and similar at the air ports in Kalamazoo. In the 1990s Dan retires and Fred Root takes over as president of the company. The company closed in 2022, which by the time it closed it had been in the hands of four generations of Root’s.


3.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was attained through a donation of the company after they had closed. Any artifacts went to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

Physical Description

The collection amounts to 3.5 cubic feet and is composed of photographs of various sizes, business records, metal signs, and a ledger that belonged to Root Spring Scraper Company located in Kalamazoo Michigan from 1891-2022. The large metal sign is made up of steel and is wrapped for storage. The ledger is made of canvas bound together and is also wrapped for storage.

The ledger is made up of 298 pages filled with information on equipment sold to customers. The pages are green in color with blue ink filled in throughout. There is one cubic foot of just photographs. These photographs come in a variety of sizes with a majority of them being large 8” x 10” photos. Most of the photographs are in black and white with a few being in color. There is also photo negatives and a glass photo negative. Included is a photo book bound together with a spiral. There is one cubic foot of document material that is mainly 8-1/2” x 11”. This document material is various key records from the company that helped run the business including manuals, price lists, sales information, advertisements, employee weekly timesheets from 1942-1962 that are various sizes. These timesheets are handwritten stapled in sections. There is also a flash drive with scanned material including photographs and an interview. There are extra-long photographs that are located in a map case.

The collection is in various different conditions and overall, in fair condition. Many of the photographs on the photo boards are faded from age. Some of the photographs are in good condition while some others are faded, scratched, edges worn with tears, discolored. Some of the photos are hole-punched with tears around the hole. Some photographs have visible dirt stains and have dirt residue. Quite of few newer photographs are glossy not matte. Many smaller photographs have jagged edges where they were cut at some point to be put into a scrapbook. Many of the documents like advertisements and sales material are hole-punched as they were once in a binder that is also apart of the collection. Some of the material is worn with a few tears as well as some dirt. The employee weekly timesheets have bent and cracked edges. The later dates have ink smudges and yellowed pages. The wrapped contents are in okay condition just layered in dirt.

Root Spring Scraper Company Collection finding aid
Stephanie Chapman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490