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.