The roots of Wayne Works go back to Dublin, Indiana in the 1830s when Caleb Witt, James Witt, and John Whippo started a foundry to manufacture farming implements. The business grew quickly until it was incorporated as the Wayne Agricultural Works in 1868.
In 1875 the up-and-coming city of Richmond lured the company to a site near its railyards. By the 1890s, in addition to making farm implements, it was making wagons and steel road carts, and soon after the turn of the century it started making horse drawn “kid hacks,” or early school buses.
From 1906-1916 Wayne Works manufactured the Richmond automobile, and in 1914, it built its first motorized school bus. For most of the rest of the century, it was known internationally as a major producer of buses.
In the 1920s, Wayne Works make some “touring homes” or what we might call campers or RVs. During World War II it manufactured ambulance bodies for the military.
In 1956 Wayne Works merged with the Divco corporation of Detroit and became Divco-Wayne. When the company threatened to leave in 1964, the community launched a drive to build a new plant, which was opened in 1966 and was a $5 million, state-of-the-art facility. Wayne Works stayed in Richmond, but by 1993 it could no longer compete in the market and closed.