Ezra Allen Frantz, manufacturer, inventor, and businessman, was born in the Pleasant Hill community, Macoupin County, Illinois, on August 6, 1875, the son of Michael and Barbara (Brubaker) Frantz. In 1896 he married Mary Lavanna Buckley of Parker County, Texas; they became the parents of two sons and three daughters. Frantz and his brother Peter manufactured heavy machinery and chain stay fences in Sterling, Illinois. In 1900 they dissolved the partnership, and Ezra and his wife moved to Texas. Except for three years in the 1920s, when Frantz joined his brother in the real estate business in Miami, Florida, he remained in Texas until his death.
In 1902 Frantz perfected a wire buckle for tying compressed cotton bales; W. C. Ragsdale had patented the device but failed to fix protruding wire ends, which were dangerous for workers handling the bales. Frantz purchased the rights to the buckle and took over the Standard Bale Wire Buckle Company. The buckle made possible high-density compressing and dominated the cotton-buckle market until the close of World War II. Frantz also held about a dozen other patents, including one for an improved piston ring and another for the first successful scratcher for oil drilling rigs. At one time he was president of seven different companies. He spent most of his career in Weatherford, although he maintained his chief manufacturing plant in Memphis, Tennessee. He lived from 1923 to 1932 in Fort Worth, where he reorganized distressed business firms and designed oilfield machinery, particularly an improved pump jack. He served as general superintendent for the American Manufacturing Company during World War II, when it received huge contracts for manufacturing naval shells. Frantz was also active in various philanthropic religious organizations of several denominations. He died in San Angelo on August 31, 1964, and was buried in Weatherford.
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Ezra Allen Frantz Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Parker County Historical Commission, History of Parker County (Dallas: Taylor, 1980).
Oil and Gas Industry
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Frantz, Ezra Allen,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 08, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
January 1, 1995