CO-OP and COCKSHUTT

Tractors Featured at Marion Show
S.G. Baxter
October/November 1988
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1938 Co-Op's #3.
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3203 Norton Road Radnor, Ohio 43066

Bob Schwaderer is an avid collector of Co-op and Cockshutt tractors. He came by his interest naturally. His father, Walter Schwaderer, began selling equipment for the Farm Bureau and ended his forty-five year career selling Oliver equipment. Many times he took young Bob with him when he made calls on customers or prospective buyers. Now Bob, owner and operator of Schwaderer Farm Supply, LaRue, Ohio, handles White farm equipment.

Co-op and Cockshutt tractors were featured at the eleventh annual Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Society Show, Marion, Ohio, June 17-19, 1988, at the Marion County Fairgrounds. The Co-op and Cockshutt tractors were exhibited along with an array of other vintage tractors, steam engines, gas engines, antique farm equipment, an impressive antique motorcycle display, a shingle mill and an operating saw mill. There was a tractor pull, slow race, fiddler's contest, the always popular flea market, and much more.

A member of the Marion County Society, Bob exhibited four Co-op and five Cockshutt tractors paired with Cockshutt implements. His wife, Anna May, who collects antique farm wagons, brought along her Cockshutt wagon.

Bob exhibited Co-Op's 1938 #3, 1940 B2, 1945 C, and the 1948 E3 which his father sold originally and Bob bought back for his mother. He showed Cockshutt's 20, 30, 35, 40, and the 50, which is a diesel.

Many years ago farmers saw the wisdom of forming groups called cooperatives to enhance their buying power. The National Farm Machinery Cooperative, Inc., was started in 1940 and was made up of thirteen regional cooperatives. They bought out the Corn Belt Machinery Company of Shelbyville, Indiana, and the Ohio Cultivator Company of Bellevue, Ohio, which was most famous for the Black Hawk corn planter and the Thomas grain drill.

The first production of the Co-op tractor, built by the Duplex Machinery Company of Battle Creek, Michigan, was distributed by Farmer's Union Central Exchange, Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota, a member of the National Farm Machinery Cooperative. It had a single front wheel and a Waukesha four cycle engine with 3? inch bore and 4 inch stroke.

The cooperatives promised 'fast, courteous service, repair parts always in stock, and to deliver machinery to the farm from the farmer's factory.' This quote is from Bob's extensive collection of Co-op and Cockshutt literature which he will have at the show. Some of this vintage material will be for sale. Bob has been compiling factual material about both companies in a book of his own.

His daughter, Diana Myers, has traced the history of these companies and has created a 'machinery family tree', a visual aid which shows that many companies came together to make possible the development of good farm equipment design.

The Cockshutt Plow Company, Limited, of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, was a pioneer in the early development of farm machinery and equipment.

In 1839 the original company began operations in a 40 x 60 foot, three story building and had only five employees, growing eventually to 1,714,000 square feet of manufacturing space. They made plows, harrows, cultivators, seeders, planters, manure spreaders, haying and harvesting machinery, both self-propelled and tractor drawn harvester combines and swathers, farm wagons, sleighs, truck bodies, semi-trailers, hoists and garbage collecting units. They produced the Cockshutt tractor, the first modern tractor built in Canada.

The company operated for 128 years under the Cockshutt name and under family control, exporting farm equipment and machinery all over the world.

Bob told me, 'Before 1946 the tractors they sold carried the Cockshutt name but were produced in Oliver's Charles City, Iowa plant.

After 1946 Cockshutt began to supply National Farm Machinery with tractors.' In 1952, Cockshutt bought out National Farm Machinery, Inc. Then, in 1962, White Motor Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio, purchased Cockshutt Farm Equipment Company of Canada, Ltd., Brantford, Ontario, as a subsidiary of Oliver Corporation. Most Cockshutt equipment was discontinued at that time, ending a unique era in farm machinery history.

Cockshutt's major contribution to the advancement of farm machinery design was the live power take-off, 'and their transmission and differential were unsurpassed.' Bob maintains.


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