Joseph Oppenheim (1859-1901), a schoolmaster in Maria Stein, Ohio invented the first modern “widespreading” manure spreader. Locally, it was referred to as “Oppenheim’s new idea.” The name was adopted and the New Idea Spreader Company was born.
Oppenheim died in 1901. His wife, Maria, took charge and aided in this by her eldest son, B.C. Oppenheim, and one of the company’s original employees, and co-inventor, Henry Synck ensured the success of the company. By 1916, the New Idea Spreader had branches in eight states as well as a factory or assembly plant in Guelph.