Old Ads - A Blast From the Past

Illinois tractor ad

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Most of us love old equipment ads, and digging through the GEM archives the other day we came across the ads shown here. At right is an ad for an Illinois Super-Drive tractor from 1919. Rated as an 18-30, these tractors used a 4-cylinder Climax engine. The Illinois Tractor Co. of Bloomington, Ill., started building tractors around 1918, but by the mid 1920s the company, like so many other small manufacturers of the time, disappeared.

In the ad shown at left, also from 1919, the virtues of the Rex spark plug are touted. At one time there were literally hundreds of spark plug manufacturers, each trying to grab a slice of the gas engine market. The Rex spark plug show here is of very conventional design, but during the boom of manufacturers that flooded the market a multitude of interesting designs were offered in hopes of grabbing market share. Most of these manufacturers, as we know now, failed to survive.