With encouragement from village founder Walter Parce, who was looking for new industries to help develop the recently founded village of Despatch, the Ontario Drill Works purchased the vacant Buchanan Brass buildings on Lincoln Road in 1900 and started to manufacture farm machinery such as high-grade grain drills seeders and planters. Buchanan Brass moved to Washington Street and was renamed Brainerd Brass Company.
The Ontario Grain Drill was designed and built for the farming conditions found in the eastern part of the United States. In early spring, the farmers of many localities brought their red and yellow drills in to be repaired and reconditioned. Made to last, the drills only needed yearly updating. An early brochure describes the implements “property balanced with no neck weight therefore saves horse flesh.”
Up to the mid-‘30s, the drills produced were of the horse-drawn variety. With the development of the tractor, the grain drills were quickly adapted to it. Drills bearing the registration plates of Pennsylvania, Virginia and even Georgia came to the plant to be serviced. After steady growth, the plant contained a foundry, woodshop, assembly shop, a paint shop and an office. The New York Central RR ran a spur to the plant to aid in shipping.
While the industry never became large, employing only 60 men, its products were shipped to all parts of the United States. There was a period when trade with Australia was very brisk. During World War II, subcontracts for the government were completed here. For 60 years, the plant did a thriving business in Despatch and later East Rochester. In addition to the local plant, Ontario Drill Works maintained a factory branch and a separate sales organization in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1961, the company was sold to a Rochester group under the name of The Ontario Corporation. The production facility was moved to Medina, New York, and East Rochester lost another industry.
The village bought the land from the owners of the company in 1962 with a plan to use the site for the erection of a municipal incinerator. When the plan was turned down by the Monroe County Air Pollution Control Department, the village continued to use two of the buildings on the site for vehicle and material storage, as well as a rental to the Town and Country Summer Playhouse. The village finally ordered the remaining Ontario Drill Works buildings burned down and the grounds were leveled off in anticipation of selling the land. Huff Brothers Refuse Collection was first in a short line of future businesses to locate there. Thus ended the residence of another pioneer village business.