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The Tractor Guys

Time-Line  Encyclopedia  Of  Our
Farmers Tractor's In America
1804 Thru 1959

TTG Pre-1929 Oliver Chilled Plow Tractor
Pre-1929 Oliver Chilled Plow Works Tractor
( Only One Exists Today )

Antique Tractor Trivia and then some . . .

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1804 ~ 1834
1804
    John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont. In 1808 his father left for England, in the hopes of claiming an inheritance, and was presumed to have died at sea and never heard from again. Subsequently John was raised by his mother. After a brief educational period at Middlebury College, at age 17 in 1821, he began an apprenticeship with Captain Benjamin Lawrence, a successful Middlebury blacksmith, and entered the trade for himself in 1826. He married Demarius Lamb in 1827 and fathered nine children.

John Deere settled in Grand Detour, Illinois in 1836. At the time, Deere had no difficulty finding work due to a lack of blacksmiths working in the area. Deere found that cast-iron plows were not working very well in the tough prairie soil of Illinois and came to the conclusion that a plow made out of highly polished steel and a correctly shaped moldboard (the self-scouring steel plow) would be better able to handle the soil conditions of the prairie, especially its sticky clay. In 1868 he incorporated the Deere & Company. In 1886 John Deere died in May at his home (known as Red Cliff) in Moline, Illinois at age 82.

By 1886, the company was deeply engaged in the steam-traction-engine business, becoming America's leading producer of steam-powered platforms from 9 to 110 hp. Several specialty platforms were also produced, including nine 150hp hauling rigs. Steamrollers for road construction could also be ordered. Being the established leader in the field, Case traction engines were noted for their construction, longevity, horsepower, and design.

1809
    Cyrus Hall McCormick was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He was the eldest of eight children born to inventor Robert McCormick Jr. and Mary Ann "Polly" Hall. Cyrus' father Robert saw the potential of the design for a mechanical reaper, he applied for a patent to claim it as his own invention. He worked for 28 years on a horse-drawn mechanical reaper to harvest grain; however, he was never able to reproduce a reliable version.

Cyrus took up the project. He was aided by Jo Anderson, an enslaved African American on the McCormick plantation at the time. The Cyrus McCormick design was pulled by horses and cut the grain to one side of the team. He founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. The McCormick's became one of the wealthiest families in America. In 1884 Cyrus H. McCormick died at home in Chicago at age 75.

1819
    Jerome Increase Case was born to a Williamstown, New York farming family. His father was Caleb Case and mother Deborah Jackson. He was one of seven children. Through his mother he claimed to be related to Andrew Jackson. Jerome was an early American manufacturer of threshing machines and tractors. He was the founder of the J.I. Case Companies. In 1891, J. I. Case died in December at his home in Racine, Wisconsin at age 72.

1823
    Meinrad Rumely was born in Adelsburg, Germany being a son of Joseph Rumely, a farmer and weaver. Meinrad arrived in America in 1848. He founded the M. Rumely Company producing the Rumely Oil Pull steam-powered traction engines among other things. Meinrad died at his home in La Porte, Indiana in March, 1904 at age 81.

    James Oliver was born in Liddesdale, Scotland the youngest of the nine children of Mary Irving and George Oliver. His father was a shepherd but found it difficult to earn an income to support his family. With his family James immigrated to the U.S. in 1835 to a farm in Alloway, New York. He eventually founded the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. James Oliver died at the age of 84 at his home in South Bend, Indiana.

1824
    Edward P. Allis was born in Cazenovia, New York, the son of Jere Allis and Mary White. He was raised in relative comfort and prosperity on his father's farm in upstate New York and a graduate of Union College in 1845. Allis moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1846 and started a leather company with a tannery in Two Rivers. In 1860 he purchased an iron products manufacturing company and later a business that involved making flour mill apparatus in Wisconsin called "Reliance Iron Works". He founded the Edward P. Allis & Company which later merged into the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company in 1901. Edward P. Allis died in April, 1889 at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at age 64.

1834 ~ 1852


1834 C. McCormick 1st Reaper

1834
    Cyrus McCormick patents a horse-drawn mechanical reaper, and eventually forms the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company.

1836
    John Deere with his wife and four children, and a fifth on the way, sold his blacksmith shop in Middlebury, Vermont, to his father-in-law, and moved to Grand Detour, Illinois to escape bankruptcy in Vermont.

1837
    John Deere being a blacksmith, fashions a highly polished cast steel plow mold board for use on the thick prairie soil. Deere had opened a 1,378 square-foot shop in Grand Detour, Illinois which also allowed him to serve as a general repairman in the village. By 1855 his factory was selling more than 10,000 plow units a year.

1838
    John Deere forms the John Deere Manufacturing Company in Grand Detour, Illinois.

    Daniel Best was born in March in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. In 1839, Daniel Best's father, John, moved the family to Missouri. There he built a saw mill and proceeded to cut lumber for the local pioneers. In 1847, the family moved again to Lee County, Iowa. Here they took up farming. In 1859 Daniel, desiring adventure, and wanting to follow his brother, joined a wagon train heading west to Fort Walla Walla, Washington, employed as an ox tender and a sharpshooter.

Shortly thereafter he then moved to Sutter County, California to work with his brother, Henry Best, on his ranch, where he discovered his calling as an inventor. Over a period of 43 years, Daniel Best received 41 patents, ranging from an improved washing machine to combine harvesters. The C. L. Best Tractor Company was formed which eventually merged into the Caterpillar Tractor Company. In August 1923 Daniel Best died in Oakland, California at age 85.

1842
    Thomas Chalmers was a Scottish immigrant to the U.S. By 1844 he was at Chicago, Illinois and had found work with P.W. Gates, whose foundry and blacksmithing shops produced plows, wagons, and flour-milling equipment. His son William J. Chalmers who was born in 1852, became a founder of the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company in 1901.

    J. I. Case in the spring of 1842, bought six small 'groundhog' threshing machines, on credit, and started for the territory of Wisconsin. He disposed of all his machines, except one, which he operated himself as a thresher man. Over the next couple of years Case made improvements to the one 'groundhog' machine he did not sell and built his own model in 1844. This is unofficially the beginning of the future J. I. Case companies.

    John Deere entered a business partnership with Leonard Andrus and purchased land for the construction of a new, two-story factory along the Rock River in Illinois.

1844
    J. I. Case built his first threshing machine, in Racine, Wisconsin, which embodied many ideas of his own, and in doing so laid the foundation of the largest manufacturing concern of its kind in the world. For a number of years he continued to do business in a small way, at the close of each year finding him a little in advance of the previous year.

1848
    John Deere's partnership with Leonard Andrus ended, and Deere relocated to Moline, Illinois to have access to the railroad and the Mississippi River.

    John Deere in Moline, Illinois, formed a partnership with Robert Tate and John Gould and built a 1,440 square-foot factory.

1849
    Benjamin Leroy Holt was born in January in Concord, New Hampshire. He was the youngest of four brothers and eleven siblings, the children of William Knox Holt and first, Eliza Jane Virgin, and later Harriet Parker Ames. Benjamin Holt went to California in 1883. The Holt brothers formed the Stockton Wheel Company. Benjamin Holt produced his first horse-drawn "Link-Belt Combined Harvester." This machine used flexible chain belts rather than gears to transmit power from the ground wheels to the working mechanism. The Holt Manufacturing Company was formed and later on changed the company name to the "Catterpiller" company in 1892. Benjamin L. Holt died in Stockton, California in December 1920 at the age of 71.

    Gaar-Scott & Company founded in Richmond, Indiana and eventually produced threshing machines and steam traction engines.

    John Deere, formed the Deere, Tate & Gould Company. By now they were producing over 200 plows a month. A two-story addition to the plant in Moline, Illinois was built, allowing further production.

1852 ~ 1876


1957 Oliver Chilled Plow Logo

1852
    William J. Chalmers was born in July in Chicago, the son of Thomas and Janet Tesler Chalmers. Educated in the public school system, at 14 years of age he became an apprentice in the machinist trade. He would remain at the shop for four years learning the details of machinist engineering. He would go on to become a founder of the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company in 1901. Bill Chalmers died in December 1938 at age 86 at his home on Geneva Lake, Collie Point, Illinois.

    John Deere buys out his partners. For the next 16 years, the company is known variously as John Deere, John Deere & Company, Deere & Company, and Moline Plow Manufactory.

1853
    M. & J. Rumely Company formed. Meinrad Rumely immigrates from Germany to La Porte, Indiana at age 25. He starts a repair shop with brother John which eventually becomes the M & J Rumely Oil Pull Company.

    John Deere bought out Tate and Gould's interests in the company and was joined in the business by his son Charles Deere.

1854
    James George Cockshutt birth date is unknown but he was was born in Brantford, Canada and educated there. James was the son of Ignatius Cockshutt a very successful Toronto and Brantford, Ontario merchant. In 1877 he founded the original Cockshutt factory, the Brantford Plow Works at Brantford, Ontario. In 1882, the business was incorporated as the Cockshutt Plow Company, with James G. Cockshutt as president. At that time, he employed about 50 workers. In October 1885, James Cockshutt died as the result of tuberculosis at 34 years of age.

Managers bearing the Cockshutt name continued to operate the company. 1958 was the year that Cockshutt lost control and was bought out by "Corporate Raiders." Large blocks of shares were purchased on the open market. It took less than 3 million to buy a company that had assets exceeding 33 million dollars. What a shame! Another "Wall Street Money Crab" that wrecked a good company along with the loss of many good paying jobs. This was the end of the Cockshutt tractor as it was known for so many years.

The Cockshutt company was subsequently sold to the White Motor Company in January 1962. White used the popular Cockshutt brand name until 1977, although no Cockshutt tractors were made after 1962. Rather, White who also bought Oliver, sold Oliver tractors that were painted red and rebranded as Cockshutt.

1855
    James Oliver moved to South Bend, Indiana where he entered into a partnership with two businessmen to operate a small foundry. His investment gave him a ¼ ownership of the foundry. The company was named the "South Bend Iron Works," and Oliver oversaw its operations.

    Buford & Tate company was formed to manufacture plows in Rock Island, Illinois. The company was later called Buford & Co. before being renamed Rock Island Plow Co. in 1882.

1857
    James Oliver at the "South Bend Iron Works," received his first patent on his Chilled Plow. It covered a unique chilling process for the plow, which Oliver had developed. This Chilled Plow had a very hard outer skin and was able to scour in heavy, sticky soils in the Midwest. During his lifetime Oliver registered 45 patents on his Chilled Plow. His company grew to become one of the world's largest producers of farm plows during the late 19th Century.

1858
    John Deere, because of a nationwide financial recession, to prevent bankruptcy, the company was reorganized and Deere sold his interests in the business to his son-in-law, Christopher Webber, and his son, Charles Deere. John Deere served as president of the company until 1886.

1859
    M. & J. Rumely Co. won the first prize for threshing, over 12 competitors at the Illinois State Fair in Chicago.

1863
    Henry Ford was born in July on his family's farm in Greenfield Township, Michigan. When Ford was 13 years old, his father gifted him a pocket watch, which the young boy promptly took apart and reassembled. Friends and neighbors were impressed and requested that he fix their timepieces too. Unsatisfied with farm work, Ford left home at the age of 16 to take an apprenticeship as a machinist at a shipbuilding firm in Detroit. In the years that followed, he would learn to skillfully operate and service steam engines and would also study bookkeeping.

In 1888, Henry married Clara Ala Bryant. The couple had a son, Edsel, in 1893. Henry died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, 1947, at the age of 83, near his Dearborn estate, Fair Lane. Its been said that in todays dollars, Henry Ford's net worth would be equal to around $199 Billion.

    J. I. Case & Company was formed in 1863, in Racine, Wisconsin, a co-partnership with Stephen Bull, R. H. Baker and M. B. Erskine. These men formed an ideal combination for the growth and development of the business. From this time forward the business steadily expanded.

1864
    John Deere obtains the company's first actual patent for molds used in casting steel plows. Another follows in a few months and a third the next year.

1865
    J. I. Case & Company history would be incomplete were there failure to make reference to its trademark. Case introduced their new "Eagle Logo" for the first time.

The 'Case Eagle' is far more than merely a trademark. She is a character out of history, a live bird with a personality and a story all her own. The logo is based on a eagle that became the Wisconsin 8th Regiment's Civil War mascot that they named 'Old Abe', after Abe Lincoln who was president at the time.

The story begins when the eaglet had fallen out of its nest in the early spring of 1861 and found by a Chippewa native American who sold the eaglet for a bushel of corn to a settler named Daniel McCann to raise as a pet. The eagle was getting too large for McCann to keep. The Civil War was beginning and soldiers have a weakness for mascots. He sold the eagle for $2.50 to Capt. Perkins, the Wisconsin 8th Regiment's Company 'C' commander and it became their mascot in the war.

Throughout the bitter, unhappy Civil War struggle, 'Old Abe' went through 36 battles and skirmishes, and the 8th Regiment was known as the Eagle Regiment. 'Old Abe' was in her glory during battle. It was then that her eye flashed with uncommon luster. With her wild piercing cry, she was familiar to men on both sides of the fight and gained equal respect as one of the brave and courageous fighters.

After the war the eagle became very famous across the country, appearing at many parades and functions. In 1881 'Old Abe' died at Wisconsin's State Capitol, from smoke inhalation after enduring a fire. She had lived there for many years. 'Old Abe' was 20 years old when she passed. A monument of 'Old Abe' still stands in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol today.

J. I. Case encountered the eagle while on a business trip to Eau Claire where the Wisconsin's 8th Regiment was parading. Over the rumble of drums and the tramp of marching feet, the bird was screaming her battle cry. Case questioned a boy standing along side him, "Where did it come from, the eagle?" The boy told him 'Old Abe's story. Then and there J. I.Case was determined to adopt the eagle 'Old Abe' as the symbol of his business.

In 1969, the J. I. Case Company introduced a new series of agricultural tractors christened the "Agri-King" line. At the same time, after more than 100 years, the 'Old Abe' eagle emblem and trademark were retired and replaced by a new corporate symbol, the Casemark.

    The "Moline Plow Company" was originally started by Henry Candee and R. K. Swan in 1865. Associated with them were Mr. L. E. Hemingway (a relation to Ernest Hemingway), J. B. Wyckoff and others. Initially, they produced fanning mills and hay-racks, and shortly after Andrew Friburg associated himself with the company the manufacture of Moline Plows was taken up.

1868
    Charles H. Parr was born in March in Wisconsin, the son of Martha and John Parr. He had five siblings. He attended high school at Dodgeville, Wisconsin before attaining a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he met his future partner Charles W. Hart which eventually led to the founding of the Hart-Parr company. Charles died June 10, 1941, in Los Angeles, California.

    John Deere after 31 years as a partnership or single proprietorship, is incorporated under the name Deere & Company. There are four shareholders at first, six within a year. Charles and John Deere control 65 percent of the stock.

    James Oliver's South Bend Iron Works was incorporated and changed its name to the "Oliver Chilled Plow Works." It wasn't long before the company grew to 400 employees and produced 300 Oliver plows every day. By the time Oliver died in 1908, his plows were at work in the British Isles, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Greece and several South American countries. The Company advertising bragged that Oliver was "The Plow maker of the World."

1869
    J. I. Case & Company is recognized as the first American producer to bring the power of the steam engine to farming, Case developed his first portable steam engine in 1869 to belt power threshing machines for wheat. Several horse teams pulled the steam units to the threshing sites.

    Charles Deere and Alvah Mansur establish the first John Deere branch, Deere, Mansur & Company, in Kansas City. A semi-independent distributor of Deere products within a certain geographic area, it is the forerunner of the company's current farm and industrial-equipment sales branches and sales regions.

1871
    Candee & Swan an early plow-making competitor of John Deere wins court battle over John Deere to claim name of Moline Plow.

    Moline Plow Company is formed by reorganizing Candee & Swan.

    McCormick Company factory is destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire.

1872
    Charles W. Hart was born near Charles City, Iowa, attended local schools, and worked for his father's lumbering and farming operations in and around Charles City. As a teenager, he recognized the potential of gasoline engines as a labor saver for American farmers. He then attended Elliott Business College in Burlington, Iowa, and Iowa Agricultural College before transferring to the University of Wisconsin in 1892. There he met fellow student Charles H. Parr and they both eventually formed the Hart-Parr company. Charles W. Hart died from a heart attack in Missoula, Montana in 1937.

    M. Rumely introduced a portable steam engine which was added to the product line.

1876 ~ 1899


Case 1st Steam Traction Engine

1876
    John Deere registered their first trademark using the leaping deer.

    J. I. Case & Company produced the first steam powered traction engine in 1876. The huge self propelled platforms utilized steam power with a gear driven mechanism for forward mobility but still required horses to steer the engine platforms. The Case steam engine was awarded a gold medal of excellence at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

    Candee & Swan becomes Moline Plow Company, adopts 'Flying Dutchman' trademark.

    James George Cockshutt founded the original Cockshutt factory and the Brantford Plow Works at Brantford, Ontario.

1879
    McCormick Harvesting Machine Company incorporated.

    William Deering becomes sole owner of Deering Harvester Company

1880
    J.P. Morgan helps work out integration of McCormick Harvesting Machine, Deering Harvester, Plano Mfg. Company.

    J. I. Case & Company co-partnership, organized in 1863, is dissolved and the "J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company" is incorporated in Racine, Wisconsin. The company operated under this name for 48 years until in 1928, the name changes again to, the J. I. Case Company.

1881
    McCormick Company introduced the first of many twine binder machines.

1882
    James George Cockshutt changes the Brantford Plow Works name to the Cockshutt Plow Company incorporated in Brantford, Ontario.

    The Buford & Company changed its name to the "Rock Island Plow Company."

1884
    Cyrus Hall McCormick founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company died at home in Chicago at age 75.

1885
    James George Cockshutt (Cockshutt tractors) died as the result of tuberculosis on October 23, at age 34.

1886
    M. Rumbly introduced a new straw burning steam engine.

    John Deere died in May at his home (known as Red Cliff) in Moline, Illinois at age 82.
John later in his life focused most of his attention on civil and political affairs. He served as President of the National Bank of Moline, a director of the Moline Free Public Library, and was a trustee of the First Congregational Church. Deere also served as Moline's mayor for two years but due to chest pains and dysentery Deere refused to run for a second term.

    J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company by 1886, was deeply engaged in the steam traction engine business, becoming America's leading producer of steam powered platforms from 9 to 110 hp. Several specialty platforms were also produced, including nine 150hp hauling rigs. Steamrollers for road construction could also be ordered. Being the established leader in the field, Case traction engines were noted for their construction, longevity, horsepower, and design.

1887
    M. Rumely Company incorporated. Just prior to this Meinrad had bought out his brother John's portion of the business.

    J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company in 1897, to further to meet modern conditions, an entire change in the management of the company was effected, younger men, many of whom had been trained for years in the modern school of business, assuming active control of the management of its affairs. The wisdom and wise business policy of the new management is evidenced by the development of the many other machines invented and manufactured by the company, including Case steam, kerosene and gasoline engines, threshing machines, etc.

1889
    Edward P. Allis died in April at his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at age 64. At the time of Allis' death, the E. P. Allis Company employed more than 1,200 workers and earned over $3 million dollars a year. Long after his death, the company merged into the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company in 1901.

1890
    J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company saw the company expanding into other countries, with South America targeted first. A manufacturing plant was built to supply this market in Argentina. Company founder J.I. Case lived just long enough to see this expansion before he passed away in 1891.

1891
    Wallis Tractor Company manufactures the Wallis Bear gas tractor.

    Jerome Increase Case (Case tractors) died in December at his home in Racine, Wisconsin at age 72.

1892
    Rudolph Diesel develops new engine while still a student.

    Holt Manufacturing Company, Stockton, California was the first company to successfully manufacture a continuous track tractor. By the early 20th century, Holt Manufacturing Company was the leading manufacturer of combine harvesters in the US, and the leading California-based manufacturer of steam traction engines. Holt changed the name of the company to Holt Caterpillar Company, although he did not trademark the name Caterpillar until 1910.

    Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr meet as mechanical engineering students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They both are interested in internal combustion engines and begin to research and design various models.

    J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company began experimenting with gasoline engines in 1892. The motorized unit, dubbed the Paterson Tractor, was not successful and the company did not prototype gasoline powered units again until 1911.

1893
    Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company formed.

1895
    J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company had begun to produce gasoline engines.

1896
    Charles Hart and Charles Parr graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in mechanical engineering in June. They received special honors for their thesis on internal combustion engines for which they had designed, and built, five successful gas engines. Following graduation, they built a small factory in Madison, Wisconsin, and Hart-Parr started manufacturing gasoline engines.

A few years later, Hart-Parr was recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as the builder of the 'first' commercially successful tractor with an "internal combustion engine."

    Milwaukee Harvester Company and Champion Reaper Works merge into International Harvester.

    Massey Mfg. Company and A. Harris, Son & Company, merge in Ontario to become Massey-Hassis, Canada's largest agricultural firm.

1899
    J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company entered the Russian market.

1900 ~ 1909


1st Hart-Parr Gas Traction Eng.

1900
The Rock Island Plow Company by this time was manufacturing corn planters, walking cultivators, tedder rakes, plows, side delivery rakes, Windrow loaders and other products, like the Great Western cream separator, feed mills, Linstroth wagons and potato machinery, at their plant in Rock Island, Illinois.

1901
Hart-Parr produces its first gas traction engine and was assembled during the winter, a Type L (30 hp) 9-inch bore stationary engine was mounted on a pipe frame chassis, using steam engine wheels.

Hart-Parr produces its first gas-traction engine (17-30) and builds the first factory for producing farm tractors "Exclusively." Plant was built in Charles City, Iowa.

E. P. Allis & Company merged with Gates Iron Works and Fraser & Chalmers Company to create "Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company."

1902
Hart-Parr in July sold their first tractor, Type L (30 hp), to David Jennings of Clear Lake, Iowa.

J.P. Morgan helps work out integration of McCormick Harvesting Machine, Deering Harvester, Plano Mfg. Company, Milwaukee Harvester Company and Champion Reaper Works, merge into International Harvester.

Hart-Parr developed valve-in-head principle for tractor engines.

1903
Hart-Parr first standardized type of tractors completed on the 22-45 size.

1904
Meinrad Rumely (Rumbly Oil Pull) died at his home in La Porte, Indiana in March at age 81.
Previous to his illness he devoted much of his time to the management of the large plant and every day found him at the Rumely Company carefully noting all that transpired and giving directions. No change or improvement was undertaken excepting under the direction of the president, whose heart was in the institution that he had watched grow as a father would a child, giving it every care and attention that would be to its up building and future good. At his death the Rumely Company had 300 employees. He was granted at least five U. S. patents related to agricultural equipment.

Hart-Parr invented a double carburetor that metered kerosene through one side and water through the other side. This was the first known use of water injection in an IC engine to control combustion knock.

Hart-Parr installs the first magneto ignition on tractor engines.

1905
Hart-Parr develops the first force-fed lubrication on tractor engines.

1906
Holt Mfg. Company sells first steam powered tracked tractor.

1907
Hart-Parr determined to find a shorter name for their "Traction Engines" eventually hit on the word, "Tractor," meaning a machine for pulling or hauling. They coined the word and from that time on all manufacturers began using the term "Farm Tractors."

Holt makes 1st gas-powered tracked tractor. Holt was the first company to successfully manufacture a continuous track tractor.

Deere & Company president Charles Deere dies.

1908
James Oliver died at the age of 84 in South Bend, Indiana. His son, Joseph Doty Oliver (J.D.), replaced him as President of Oliver Chilled Plow Works and J.D.'s son, James II, became Director.

Hart-Parr trade contracts were entered into "Internationally," at a time when most of its competitors were just entering the U. S. Market.

Holt buys Daniel Best's Tractor Company.

Heider Manufacturing Company manufactures first tractor.

1909
M. Rumely Company introduced its first Oil Pull tractor.

Cockshutt buys shares in Frost & Wood Company, gains exclusive selling rights to F & W implements west of Peterborough. Ontario.

Avery Company enters licensing arrangement to sell "Cockshutt-Avery Engine Gang Plows" in USA, Mexico and Cuba.

1910 ~ 1919


Rumely Oil Pull Traction Engine

1910
M. Rumely Oilpull begins production.

Holt registers 'Caterpillar' trademark for continuous track tractor line.

Best forms C. L. Best Gas Traction Company.

Massey Harris purchases Johnston Harvester Company, of Batavia, New York, enters U.S. market.

Hart-Parr developes early types of small tractors.

Cockshutt Plow Company Ltd., is reorganized as a public company.

1911
J. I. Case produces its first gasoline tractor.

Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company develops its line of gas tractors.

Cockshutt buys out Frost & Wood, Adams Wagon, and Branford Carriage.

M. Rumley acquires Garr-Scott & Company, Richmond, Indiana, which produced threshing machines and steam traction engines.

1912
Hart-Parr brought out the world's largest tractor 100 horsepower, the model 60-100. This was a 4-cylinder model, but it never went into production. It is believed there were only one or two built.

Emerson-Brantingham Company purchases Gas Traction Company.

Minnesota Steel & Machinery contracts to build Case 30/60 tractors for Case Threshing Machine Company.

Deere & Company president William Butterworth (Charles Deere son-in-law), who had replaced Charles Deere after his death in 1907, began the company's expansion into the tractor business.

Wallis Tractor Co. was organized and founded, operating from a factory in Cleveland, Ohio until one could be built in Racine, Wisconsin. Wallis tractors are an outgrowth of J.I. Case Plow Works, Racine, Wisconsin, after J. I. Case's son-in-law, Henry M. Wallis Sr., took over presidency of J.I. Case Plow Works in 1891.

1914
Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company entered into the farm equipment business and introduced its first tractor, the Allis-Chalmers 10-18. As the result of a series of mergers and divestments over the years, the remnants of Allis Chalmers are part of AGCO Corp. today.

Hart-Parr standardized tractor production on four wheel construction.

Rock Island Plow Company begins selling Heider Model B tractors.

Minnesota Steel & Machinery develops its line of Twin City tractors.

1915
M. Rumley Company went through bankruptcy and the Company was reorganized as the Advance-Rumely Company. Advance-Rumely Company was formed from Gaar-Scott & Company, Advance Thresher Company, and Northwest Thresher Company.

In 1913, the "Moline Plow Company" was also looking to get into the 'Tractor Business', and tested a design that had been built for them by IHC. This machine proved unsatisfactory, so in November of 1915, Moline Plow Co. bought the rights to "Universal Tractor Company" of Columbus's motor cultivator for $150,000. Moline had previously been providing a plow built specifically for the Universal Tractor since it was introduced in 1914, making this a tractor the Moline Plow Co was familiar with.

The initial 2 cylinder "Universal Tractor" model was quickly replaced by a larger model built solely by Moline, along with special implements for use with the tractor, such as a two-row cultivator, two-bottom plow, disc-harrows, grain drills, a corn planter and a 10-foot grain binder.

1916
Ford Tractor Company was incorporated by W. Baer Ewing and Paul W. Ford. This company has nothing to do with Henry Ford. Prior to founding the company, Ewing worked in the insurance business. The choice of name has been assessed as deceptive because Ewing named the company after one Paul Ford, a local hardware clerk Ewing had hired, allegedly to leverage the Ford name to take advantage of customer confusion with Henry Ford. The company was dissolved in 1917.

Rock Island Plow buys Heider Tractor Company.

Rollin and Clarence White turned their design prowess toward development of a motor plow and "Cleveland Motor Plow Company" is formed and developed a crawler tractor. The White's had originally started the White Sewing Machine Company in Cleveland in 1866.

1917
Henry Ford incorporates "Henry Ford & Son Tractor Company," and begins manufacture of Fordson tractors.

Hart-Parr developed modem Hart-Parr "30" tractors.

Cleveland Motor Plow Company changes name to Cleveland Tractor Company.

1918
Hart-Parr perfected principle of outside counterweights on tractor engines.

Hart-Parr brought out first kerosene fuelizer.

John Deere buys Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company.

1919
J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company buys Grand Detour Plow, an early John Deere competitor.

Wallis Tractor Company merged into Case Plow Works.

J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company during World War I saw further expansion in Europe. Greater food production was needed and Case motorized machinery filled this need. At war's end in 1918, other competitive tractor and implement producers grew with a variety of mergers and buyouts and created a tough market. Case kept ahead of the competition by introducing the "Motorized Power Take Off" (PTO) in 1919.

1920 ~ 1929


1923 J.D. 'D' Johnny Popper

1920
Hart-Parr Alemite system of force-fed lubrication adapted to tractors.

University of Nebraska begins tractor testing with John Deere Waterloo Boy Model N.

Benjamin L. Holt (Catterpiller company) died in Stockton, California in December at the age of 71.

1921
Era of 'Price Wars,' especially between Ford and IH. Tractor prices slashed dramatically.

McCormick-Deering 15/30 Gear Drive tractor replaces Titan tractor.

1922
International Harvester buys Parlin & Orendorf Plow Company, throws in free plow with every new tractor to bolster 'Price War' sales.

1923
John Deere production of Model D 'Johnny Popper' begins.

Moline Plow Company discontinues Moline Universal Tractor, a casualty of tractor 'Price Wars' of the 1920's.

Daniel Best (C. L. Best Tractor Company) died in August in Oakland, California at age 85.

1924
Advance-Rumely buys Aultman & Taylor Machinery Company, who were noted for there steam engines, threshing machines and other agricultural machinery.

International Harvester introduces Farmall tractor.

1925
Hart-Parr set world's non-stop drawbar record.

The C. L. Best Tractor Company and the Holt Manufacturing Company, who also manufactured tractors and had trademarked the Caterpillar brand, merged to form the "Caterpillar Tractor Company." Clarence Leo Best ("Leo"), became the chairman of the board of this new company, a position he held until 1951, overseeing its growth into the largest manufacturer of heavy machinery and farm equipment worldwide.

1926
The Oliver Chilled Plow Tractor: Around this time, the "Oliver Chilled Plow Works" lost a lucrative contract with Henry Ford's Fordson tractor, which Oliver was supplying many parts for, because Henry built a Fordson plant in Ireland and began moving everything over there.

The Plow Works needed to make up the revenue loss from Ford so it started to experiment with the creation of a tractor of their own. The tractor they produced was called the "Oliver Chilled Plow Tractor." There were only about 20 manufactured and distributed throughout the U.S., where it was well received. Only one is known to exit today. The Oliver Chilled Plow Tractor had its demise in 1929 with the company's merger into the Oliver Farm Equipment Company.

1927
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) was created by 33 students from 18 states who gathered in Kansas City, Missouri. The roots of FFA originate from a time when boys were losing interest and leaving the farm. Forming an organization that offered farm boys "a greater opportunity for self-expression and for the development of leadership." In this way they will develop confidence in their own ability and pride in the fact that they are farm boys.

By April 1927, there were 1,251,186 "Radios on Farms" in the United States, an increase of 128 per cent over the number on farms in July, 1925.

1928
Allis-Chalmers acquired the Monarch Tractor Company of Springfield, Illinois, thus adding a line of crawler tractors.

Henry Ford's innovative Fordson tractor had become obsolete in the American market. But the Ford Motor company recognized a continuing need for a small, affordable tractor in the British Isles and consolidated Fordson production at its Cork, Ireland plant. The Fordson tractor was assembled here until 1932, when production moved to England.

Case purchases Emerson-Brantingham Company, drops E-B tractor lines.

Rock Island Plow Company renames Heider tractor line to Rock Island.

Massey-Harris buys J. I. Case Plow Works, including the Wallis Tractor line.

J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company becomes the J. I. Case Company.

Cockshutt makes deal with Allis Chalmers to sell A-C and United tractors in western Canada.

1929
The "Oliver Farm Equipment Company" is formed from the Hart-Parr Company, Oliver Chilled Plow Company, Nichols & Shepard Company and the American Seeding Company.

Allis-Chalmers changes tractor colors from Green to Persian Orange paint.

Massey-Harris sells name rights to the J. I. Case Company.

Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Company is formed in Hopkins, Minnesota was the product of a merger between three companies: Minneapolis Steel & Machinery (Twin City tractors), Minneapolis Threshing Machine, and Moline Plow.

1930 ~ 1939


Oliver Hart-Parr 18-27 Row Crop

1930
Under the new "Oliver Farm Equipment Company" name, Oliver Hart-Parr introduces the first (18-27) Row Crop tractor, a general-purpose tractor, which went into production in February. This was the "First Row Crop Tractor" ever built. Also, Hart-Parr in 1901, was credited for being the first company to successfully mass produce a gasoline traction engine and in 1907 Hart-Parr, is credited with introducing the word "Tractor" into the English language.

Minneapolis-Moline sells both Twin City & Minneapolis-Moline brand names.

Cockshutt begins selling tractors from the Oliver Farm Equipment Company under the name "Cockshutt Hart-Parr" in the U.S.

1931
Allis-Chalmers Company acquires the Advance-Rumely Thresher Company business.

Cockshutt invents Tiller Combine, which minimizes tillage by planting and plowing in one pass.

1932
Allis-Chalmers shows Model U equipped with rubber pneumatic tires developed with Harvey Firestone. Allis-Chalmers' Model U was not a particularly advanced tractor. Nor did the U make such a huge impact for Allis-Chalmers or on agriculture that it was considered great. Instead, it was a component of the U - "the pneumatic tires" - that helped the tractor make history. It was the first tractor to have rubber tires as standard equipment.

1933
Henry Ford moves Fordson Tractor production from "Ireland to England."

John Deere's business is almost at a standstill. Sales plunge to $8.7 million. Though it is losing money, the company decides to carry debtor farmers as long as necessary, building and strengthening greater farmer loyalty for generations.

Cockshutt buys remaining shares of Frost & Wood Company, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary.

1934
International Harvester introduces the W-40 and WD-40, the first 6-cylinder IH tractor (W-40) and the first wheel-type tractor to be powered by a diesel. (WD-40)

1935
Rock Island discontinues tractor production.

The Oliver Farm Equipment Company begins selling Cockshutt farm implements through its dealers.

1936
The "Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act," was enacted in February, a United States federal law that allowed the government to pay farmers to reduce production so as to conserve soil and prevent erosion. The result, three years after the Act was adopted, soil erosion (soil being raised by winds) had dropped 21.7%.

1937
The Oliver Farm Equipment Company drops the Hart-Parr name from all its tractors.

Case buys Rock Island Plow Company.

John Deere gross sales reach $100 million.

Minneapolis-Moline adopts Prairie Gold color.

Charles W. Hart (Hart-Parr tractors) died from a heart attack in Missoula, Montana at age 64.

1938
Minneapolis-Moline drops Twin City brand name, introduces Comfort Tractor with enclosed cab.

William J. Chalmers died in December at age 86 at his home on Geneva Lake, Collie Point, Illinois. Bill Chalmers was the retired chairman of the Allis-Chalmers Company.

1939
Ford introduces Model 9N, first tractor with Ferguson hydraulically-operated 3-point hitch system.

Industrial designer Raymond Loewy restyles new streamlined IH Farmall tractor line.

Cockshutt shifts to "Wartime Production", including plywood fuselages on planes for Mosquito bite protection.

1940 ~ 1949


Massey Harris 81 Tractor

1940
Massey Harris 81 tractor sees wartime service towing airplanes for Royal Canadian Air Force.

1941
World War II puts most tractor production on the back burner.

Minneapolis-Moline introduces first LPG-powered tractors.

Cockshutt develops technology for processing flax fibers needed for linen aircraft fabric components.

Charles H. Parr (Hart-Parr tractors), died June 10, in Los Angeles, California at age 73.

1942
The International Harvester Corporation Farmall Model H. tractor saw World War II service. The war claimed all industrial copper and rubber so the tractors quickly returned to steel wheels and crank starting. The Model H tractor production remained high during the war years. IHC produced 34,987 in 1942, 21,375 in 1943, and 37,265 in 1944.

1943
During the early 1940's, the American farmer couldn't get a new tractor for love or money - but the Army could, and did. J.I. Case Company was among several manufacturers that built tractors for wartime use, converting its popular Model SC into the Case SI Airborne tractor.

The Case SI was a leaner version of the popular Case SC designed to fit into WACO gliders and were used to maintain and repair aircraft runways and perform other construction jobs in battle zones.

1944
The Oliver Farm Equipment Company changes its name to become the "Oliver Corporation."

The Oliver Corporation acquires the "Cleveland Tractor Company" which was formed in 1917, and adds Cletrac tracked models to its line-up.

1945
During World War II, the U.S. military used lots of diesel engines. Most pre-war diesel manufacturers saw their entire production output dedicated to military use. They were used in trucks, tanks, ships and submarines. There were so many diesels that the Army had to train a host of mechanics to service them. After the war, some of those engines found their way onto farms as irrigation power units and generators. Others showed up in tractors and many of the G.I. diesel mechanics became mechanics in their hometowns. The diesel industry took off.

Also during World War II (1939-45) the American farming community gained more from the wartime economy than any other segment of the U.S. population. The more acreage a farmer owned and cultivated, the more he profited. Prior to World War II American agriculture had suffered through twenty years of depressed farm prices.

Although World War II ultimately raised the income and social status of America's farmers, the early 1940's were still difficult. During that period about five million small farmers who were barely making a living left their farms and sought work in the newly expanding war industries.

1946
The Oliver Corporation introduces live PTO, an industry first developed by Cockshutt.

Cockshutt introduces its first "Built in Canada" line of farm tractors, the Model 30, first tractor to feature a 'Live' PTO.

1947
Ferguson sues Ford for patent infringement and royalties because no payments were made. Ferguson sued Ford for $25 1 million, claiming infringement and damages that impacted there business.

Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, at the age of 83, near his Dearborn estate, Fair Lane. Its been said that in todays dollars, Henry Ford's net worth would be equal to around $199 Billion.

Caterpillar moves from farm to construction equipment.

1948
Still Re-Search'n . . .

1949
Still Re-Search'n . . .

1950 ~ 1959


Cockshutt 40 Tractor

1950
Cockshutt introduces its Model 40 tractor.

1951
Still Re-Search'n . . .

1952
Cockshutt buys manufacturing facilities of National Farm Machinery Company in Ohio. Opens sales branches in US Midwest, introduces Model 20 tractor.

1953
Massey Hassis merges with Harry Ferguson to become Massey-Harris-Ferguson.

Cockshutt introduces Model 50 tractor.

1954
Last year of production of John Deere Model D 'Johnny Popper' tractor.

1955
Still Re-Search'n . . .

1956
John Deere purchased Lanz (Bulldog) tractors a German Company, and started using the name "John Deere-Lanz" for the Lanz product line. A few years after the Bulldog was discontinued and the Lanz name fell into disuse.

1957
John Deere expands into Mexico and Germany to become multinational.

Cockshutt introduces four new models in its "500 Series" tractor line.

1958
John Deere Credit Company established.

Cockshutt is taken over by 'Corporate Raiders' from New York, who bought up controlling interest and replaced the Board of Directors.

1959
Massey Ferguson buys diesel engine maker F. Perkins of Peterborough, Ontario.

Minneapolis-Moline ends the production of Minnie-Mo's U series tractor.

Our Research Source
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Charles City, Iowa
Sunnybrook Farm Museum, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
The Tractor Guys, Research Div., Western,
Connecticut, USA


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