Farm Equipment Brands
Allis-Chalmers started out as a small burr millstone maker in 1847. By 1979 they had grown into a $2 billion corporation and were one of the important machinery manufacturers in the United States. The original company, known as "Edward P. Allis & Company" was built by E. P. Allis of New York after acquiring a shop called "The Reliance Works". The Reliance Works' list of products included French burr millstones, portable mills, water wheels, shafting, hoisting screws and much more.
In 1869 the company expanded into steam power and soon after followed the first Allis steam engine. The company line-up grew to include steam pumps including the largest centrifugal pump in America in 1884 and the first triple expansion pumping engine two years later.
In 1901, the "Allis-Chalmers" company was formed by merging the Edward P. Allis Co., Fraser and Chalmers Company and Gates Iron Works. Shortly after, a large chunk of land was purchased in what became West Allis, Wisconsin. Wanting to diversify, Allis-Chalmers built its first farm tractor in 1914. The tractor business grew, and in 1928 a line of crawler tractors was started. The acquistion of several additional companies in the upcoming years, such as the LaCrosse Plow Company and Advance-Rumely added an extensive line of tillage implements, threshers and combines to the line-up.
Benjamin Holt was one of the first men to experiment the construction of steam tractors for farming use. Once he managed to build these steam-powered vehicles, he started selling them throughout California until the mid-'10s. In 1904, due to most of the tractors 'planting' themselves in the soft soil of California state because of their immense weight, Holt thought about adding wooden block-linked treads around idlers. After his experimental Holt No. 77, the Californian manufacturer introduced the much acclaimed Caterpillar 30 and Caterpillar 60 models.
It was soon very clear that Holt needed a factory in order to enter the American tractor market and rationalize his production. Therefore, in 1909, he purchased a manufacturing plant in Peoria, Illinois. Two years later, the Caterpillar factory had no less than 625 people on the payroll and the company was starting to go international (exporting tractors in Argentina, Mexico and Canada).
In 1925, Holt Manufacturing Company and C.L. Best Gas Traction Company (San Leandro, California) merged to form the new Caterpillar Company. The new line of production brought in 13 million dollars worth of sales, with the company's profits quadrupling in the following 4 years. Also, during The Great Depression, Caterpillar began introducing diesel engines on their tractor assembly line. As a result of that, the new Diesel Sixty Tractor was launched in East Peoria, Illinois.
During WWII, Caterpillar extended their production line and started manufacturing from motor graders, blade graders and elevating graders to terracers and electrical generating sets. Most of these new products were designed to help the US Army in their war operations throughout the early '40s.
About Ford Tractors
Henry Ford was born in 1863 in Dearborn, Michigan and began experimenting with gas engines around 1890. These experiments led to the building of his first gas automobile in 1896. After much more experimenting, the first official Ford car (Model A) came out in 1903.
In 1907 Henry built his first experimental tractor. He spent many years and more than $600,000 dollars in the development of a good, cheap tractor. When he was finally ready to show his tractor to the public, he found that he could not used the "Ford" name for his tractor because it was already being used by the "Ford Tractor Company". So he adopted the name of "Fordson". A new company, "Henry Ford & Son" was created to mass produce the tractors.
By 1920, the distribution of the Fordson was shifted to the Ford Motor Company. Over the years Ford has produced many models of tractors and continues to this day to be a leading manufacturer in the industry.
About John Deere
John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont in 1804. In 1837 he built the first steel plow, using steel from an old sawmill blade. By 1842 more than 100 plows were built. By 1852, Deere & Co. were located in Moline, Illinois and was producing 4000 plows per year. John Deere passed away in 1886 and the company was taken over by his son.
In 1918 Deere & Co. acquired the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company and were instantly in the tractor business.
Deere's most popular tractor, the Model A, began production in 1934. This spawned a popular line of two-cylinder tractors including the B, G, L, LA, H, and M.
Deere continues to produce tractors today and is one of the leading manufacturers in the modern industry.
In 1953 Massey-Harris and Harry Ferguson merged to form Massey-Harris-Ferguson Limited. Later this was changed to "Massey-Ferguson". In 1958 the company acquired F. Perkins Ltd of England who was the leading diesel engine producer at that time. This gave the MF company a ready source for diesel engines.
The MF-35 was first built in 1960 and was available in a gas or diesel version. Follow-on tractors were the MF-50, MF65 and MF-85. Massey-Ferguson went on to make many models of popular tractors and continues today.