The product line of the Challenge Company, founded in 1867 was
similar to that of the Appleton, including
the most famous of their products, the windmill. These products
found their way to all parts of the world.
By 1869, thirty or forty men were getting weekly pay envelopes
at the Challenge pay window.
In 1872, the factory burned but was soon rebuilt. Before long
the company was turning out 2000 windmills a year in addition to
other farm equipment.
Salesmen carried samples of windmills as they toured the west by
train, wagon, and later trucks, visiting farmers and extolling the
virtues of windmills made in Batavia. The salesman took an order
and telegraphed it back to Batavia. After the mill was manufactured,
it was shipped in pieces by train to the customer. It would have
to be assembled on the farmer's land.
During World War II, the old plant was used by Batavia
Metal Products for the manufacture of war armaments. Today the
building on River Street is partially filled with various, small