Collectors of B.F. Avery equipment, especially those of us interested in the older or horse drawn types can usually distinguish the genuine item by a faint raised cast cross with an “A” in the center and each of the letters V-E-R-Y on the four points . This was the company’s original trademark.
Avery’s cross symbol is a version of the Maltese Cross—which goes back to the First Crusade—the sign of Christian warriors, and is said to represent “honor, courage, and dedication.” No one knows exactly when Benjamin Franklin Avery, a deeply religious man, started adding this emblem this to the casting of his implements. The symbol became widely recognized throughout the world in the last half of the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth century as a sign of quality in plows and other farm equipment.
In doing the research for my book, B.F. Avery & Sons, Pioneer Plowmakers of America, I reviewed the records of the U.S. Patent Office. The original Avery trademark above was registered June 13, 1905, and the notation was made that it had been in use by the company for at least ten years. Consistent with trademark law, the company again registered this trademark in 1920, claiming that it had been in use since about June 1, 1869.
A newer and more modern company trademark with a slightly different look was registered by the company in 1932–the new trademark continued to use a form of the Maltese Cross as the basic emblem but with the letters placed differently:
About the same time of its transition to tractors and mechanized farming, in 1941, Avery filed an application with the Patent Office to register a new trademark—Tru-Draft. In two applications, the company registered the name “Tru-Draft” as well as the the symbol of a right-pointing arrow containing the words “Tru-Draft”.
B.F. Avery & Sons had a worldwide reputation as a quality manufacturer of agricultural implements. By having a recognized corporate symbol on its implements, farmers could rely that a plow or other tool was one that had been made in Louisville by the world’s largest manufacturer of plows. The company’s advertising including pocket calendars in the late 1800s and early 1900s contained the original trademark symbol with the caption “Always look for this casting on Avery’s Plows, Castings and Steel Parts. None are genuine without it.”