AS I Saw It

Content Tools

Route 4, Huntington, Maryland 46750

The question often comes up as to what became of all the companies who made our heavy machinery and what was the cause of their downfall-that is a good question! We all remember the Oil Pulls, Avery, Emerson and Brantingham, Gas Traction, Reeves, Frick, Ault-man and Taylor, Hart Parr, Wallis, Garr Scott and others. These individual companies all made good machinery and lots of it, but what happened to them and why? Mergers accounted for most of them and lack of finances and poor management, the rest. Some companies were getting bigger and in some cases, too big for their britches. We'll take Emerson and Brantingham of Rockford, Ill., for one. In about 1912 they absorbed Gas Tracton of Mpls, Gieser of Waynesboro, Pa., Reeves of Columbus, Ind., and Rockford Gas Eng., works of Rockford Ill. They went over big for awhile, but sold out to Case in 1928; the result of too much expansion. The depression of the early twenties hurt them. The Rumley Co. of La Port, Ind. began to grow. In 1911 they took over the Garr Scott Co. of Richmond, Ind., The Advance Co. of Lansing, Mich., and The Northwest Mach. Co. of Stillwater, Minn. In 1912 they took the selling rights for the Universal made by the Northwest Thr. Co. In 1915 they got the Wolfe Tr. Co. of Laporte; their tractor was called the Hoosier. This absorption didn't help them any. In 1927 they got the Toro Mfg. Co. of Mpls. In 1915 Rumley got into financial difficulties, went into receivership and was reorganized as The Advance Rumley Co. In 1923 they bought out Aultman Taylor of Mansfield, Ohio. In 1932 Allis Chalmers took over Rumley and there went one of the Grand old companies.

In 1929 The Oliver Corp. was incorporated which was a combination of Oliver Plow Co. Hart Parr, Nichols and Shepherd and the American Seeding Mach. Co. In 1962 White Motor Co. took over Oliver as well as Minn. Moline line. The White Motor is still in business and producing these lines today.

The Huber Mfg. Co. of Marion, Ohio was engaged in making steam engines and threshing machinery. In 1897 they started making tractors and were successful. In the early 1950's they changed over to heavy road machinery, which they are still making today under the name of Huber Warco. It is commendable that without benefit of purchase or merger that this company had been so successful.

The Avery Co. of Peoria, Ill., not to be confused with the B.F. Avery Co. of Louisville, Ky., were making farm machinery such as wagons, planters and cultivators before 1891. In 1891 they started making steam engines, being a return flue and later, standard locomotive type and under mounted for which they became most noted. They got in the tractor business in 1909, their first being a Tractor Truck and later a whole line of all sizes of real good tractors. In their advertising they claimed from 1910 to 1930 they had the largest tractor factory in the world and were making 2, 3, and 5 ton trucks along with the Glide automobile.

A very went broke in 1924, and were organized in 1926 as Avery Power Mach. Co. In 1931 they tumbled again and in 1938 became Avery Farm Mach. Co., closed in 1941 and the R.G. Tournaew now owns the old factory and makes earth moving machinery.

During their term in business, they made a complete line of tractors with the Draft Horse motor, and their threshing separators were known as The Yellow Fellow line. They also made combines, tractor plows, two and four row motor cultivators and a light road grader.

Now why did they stop??

Rumley gave as an excuse, that low grade fuels were out of style, but were using more than ever. They also said that two cylinders were enough for any tractor. So much for that!

One reason for Avery and Rumley was that they made so many models so near the same size and changed models so often. In addition to the duplication of models and the excessive of inventories of parts because of that. Besides we had a few poor crops years and poor collections.

Probably the worst thing was the inability of the companies to come out with a small row crop tractor that the farmers would have accepted. Also these companies did not make a full line of implements for row crop use. They did not accept the fact that threshing was on its way out. They did make combines in the large sizes, but failed to come out with a small power machine for the family farm use. I've been told there was too much friction between the higher ups and they couldn't agree on policies and advancements. I personally know more than I shall put in print. It's a dirty shame that men got in the way of advancement and all is gone now. I am glad we have so many of these tractors to be seen at our shows today.