Further Information on the Utilitor Garden Tractor Company

Four wheel tractor

Arthur H. Beard, Jr.

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3007 E. Malapai Drive Phoenix, Arizona 85028

Although it appeared in the' July 1989 issue of Gas Engine Magazine, I have just recently read the interesting article entitled 'Midwest Utilitor.' The article closes with the statement that the Indianapolis Star of June 12, 1922, announced that Midwest's assets were sold for $312,500, and management was taken over by a reorganization committee. The plan called for a name change to Midwest Engine Corporation.

There is a paperback hook entitled Garden Tractors,1920-1956 by Alan C. King which shows advertisements for all garden tractors from 1920 to 1956, and the date of the advertisement. A copy of which is enclosed, there is an ad dated 1923, advertising 'The New Utilitor,' Indianapolis, Indiana.

The following account is based on memory about events my father, Arthur H. Beard, told me through the years.

My father moved the family from Chicago Heights, Illinois, to Indianapolis, early in 1924. I was six years old. How many trips he made between the two cities in 1923 I do not know. He took over the operation of the Utilitor Tractor Company. In what position I do not know, or what percent of ownership, if any, he had in the company. Business must have been good, because in 1926 my father built a nice home on the east side of Indianapolis across the street from the Pleasant Run Golf Course, and we lived there until about a year after my mother died in 1930. I think it was also in 1926, or maybe 1927, that Vincent Bendix wanted the Utilitor Company, and as my father did not have the financial resources necessary to fight him, my father lost the Utilitor Company.

In the 'Utilitor Update' in the October 1989 issue of Gas Engine Magazine, it states that William D. Costie of Auburn, New York, sent a Utilitor catalog, which seems to be about 1926 vintage, and gives the firm (The Utilitor Company) address as Dayton, Ohio. Presumably Bendix moved the company to Dayton, Ohio.

I am enclosing photographs of a four wheel tractor which were in my father's file. I do not think that it is a Utilitor as I think all Utilitors were two wheel. A professional photographer could not enlarge the original photo to get the clarity necessary to discern the name on the radiator. I do know that the pictures were taken in Indianapolis because the man in the dark suit is Claude McCoy, my uncle, who had an insurance agency in Indianapolis.

Inasmuch as I am writing about tractors, I am enclosing a photo of a watch fob my father gave me. It has a parrot on the front, and around the periphery on the back it has the inscription 'Compliments of the Parrett Tractor Company, Chicago, Illinois'. My father told me that he knew Dent Parrett. However, his association with him and the Parrett Tractor Company occurred several years before the Utilitor episode.

Well, I have rambled on for quite a spell. I intend to write to some of the men mentioned in the 'Utilitor Update' to try to tie down some dates a little closer. If you receive any more information on the Utilitor, I would appreciate hearing about it.