Route 1, Elburn, Illinois 60119
A letter in your 1968 Sept-Oct. issue of The Gas Engine Magazine
has an article about two Otto tractors made in 1894. The writer
believed before this time that the Hart-Parr claimed to be the
first successful tractor manufacturing company or the first
manufacturer of a production tractor.
The two tractors that most often claimed to be the first are
tractors made by John Frolich. He later built the famous Waterloo
Boy Tractors and gas engines. The other tractor was built by Wm.
'Bill' Patterson for the J. I. Case Threshing Machine
Company. Both tractors were built in 1892. Two other tractors were
built even before this time. A group of farmers organized a company
and built six tractors in 1889. This tractor is known by the name
Charter. The other tractor, L. F. Burger, was built in South Dakota
in 1889 also. These tractors should get credit for being first.
Some early tractors that should get some credit are: Davis
Gasoline Traction Co., 1895; Wm. Deering Co., 1891; Dissinger 1892;
Kinard Haines (Flour City) 1899; Huber Mfg. Co. 1899; Van Duzen
1894; Sterling (Hockett) 1893-1895; Lambert Gas and Gasoline Co.
1894; McCormick Co.; 1897; Morton Traction Co.; 1899 and Webster
Engine Company 1894.
The honor of the first successful tractor company should go to
either Van Duzen, 1894 or Huber Mfg. Co. which built tractors on
the Van Duzen patents. Huber successful steam traction company beat
Hart-Parr by two good years.