Phineas P. Mast arrived in Springfield in 1856 from Urbana, Ohio as a very successful businessman. It seemed that everything he did turned to instant money. The Buckeye Agricultural Works was one of the mammoth manufacturing establishments in the United States. In just a few years, the firm of Thomas and Mast became famous across the nation.
The original proprietors were Phineas Mast and John Thomas, a young lawyer. Together they invented and manufactured the Buckeye Grain Drill, Buckeye Cultivator and the Buckeye Cider Mill. Thomas withdrew from the firm and his interest passed to the hands of Mast, and the P.P. Mast Company was on its way. Mast radically improved his machines to make them the best made and most useful machines than ingenuity could devise. The machines were constructed from wood, iron and steel by cunning and efficient workmen. The company grew from year to year until it became one of the greatest mechanical and manufacturing enterprises of the time. In 1875, the Mast/Foos Company was formed and a factory was built on the west end of Springfield. At the time of its construction, the factory was one of the most modern, well designed buildings in the nation. It was at this massive factory that tubular boilers, portable boilers and wind engines were built. The company even produced a 400 horsepower boiler to make steam at the Industrial Exposition in the Philadelphia Pen in 1876. The company later incorporated as a stock company and manufactured Buckeye Lawnmowers, iron turbine wind machines and Buckeye Force Pumps.
A sixteen-page agricultural / home journal called the Farm and Fireside was first published on October 1, 1877 by P.P. Mast, with no doubt of its success. On June 1, 1879, P.P. Mast, J.S. Crowell and T.J. Kirkpatrick purchased the subscription list and moved to the Republic Building on Main Street in Springfield. The journal contained high-style latest dress patterns, farm machinery and photos printed from stereotyped plates. It had a circulation of 103,000 copies printed twice a month to every state in the Union. Each printing required five tons of paper and bid to surpass any journal in the United Sates.
Along with other ventures, Mast was mayor of Springfield for two years and was president of the Springfield National Bank for a period.