AS I SAW IT Part VI


| March/April 1972



Moline Universal tractor

Courtesy of Rolland E. Maxwell, Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750.

Rolland E. Maxwell

Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750

In about 1925 The Farm Equipment Institute said a total of 593 companies had made, or were listed as having made tractors, or component parts, such as engines, transmissions, wheels, etc. Now this may seem high to some. I have been working on a list of tractors manufactured or listed as having been manufactured at some time or other, and were advertised for sale. So far I have over four hundred and fourteen companies and am still finding more. Now let it be understood that a good percentage of these were small outfits. Maybe a black-smith or a mechanically-minded farmer built several with the intention of making many more, but for the lack of money, material etc., just made a few. On the other hand there were some who were merely stock promotion schemes and made a few samples, and never intended to go any farther. Lack of finances was usually the limiting factor.

In 1916 The Farm Implement News listed ninety six active tractor manufacturers with one hundred and thirty de-signs. In 1917 the production of tractors was doubled as over seventy five new companies showed up, bringing the total number of companies to around one hundred and fifty. 62,742 tractors were made in 1917, of which over 15,000 were exported.

In 1918, 132,790 tractors were made by 142 companies. Tractors were going through big changes in sizes and designs. The day of the real large tractor was about over except in the west and north-west for the wheat farmers for plowing and belt work. The tendency was for small two and three plow outfits. Up to now a good number of two cylinder opposed engines had been used. Now the trend was for four cylinder engines, but still set in every direction, length ways, cross ways, vertical, horizontal, etc. Everyone had his own ideas. Automotive steering was coming, as was tubular radiators, and kerosene was becoming more popular as fuel.

By 1921 there were 186 companies making tractors. In 1929 but 47 companies were listed but 229,000 tractors were made.

Tractors with new faces besides the Fordson, were Huber Light Four 12-25, at $985, Mogul 10-20, Sandusky Model J 12-20. Parrett 12-25, Avery 8-16, Peoria 8-20, 4 cyl. 2 plow at $685. This was a three wheeler and looked like a Bull tractor. ALL WORK in two sizes, 8-16 Int. 4 cyl. vert. engine two plow. It had removable cylinder sleeves, over-head valves, and the first tractor out with power take-off. In 1918 came Case 9-18, Massey Harris 12-25 made on the order of the Parrett. I might add that there were five tractors being made on the same pattern or style. They were the Frick, Huber, Parrett, Besser and the Massey Harris. They were all 12-25, had high rear wheels, and higher than usual front wheels, vertical four cyl., engines set crossways, and narrow radiators set length ways. I understand that Parrett made the ones for Massey Harris, and possibly for Besser. 1916 Parrett 12-25 Buda engine sold for 1000 dollars. 1917 Besser 15-30. Besser Mfg. Co. Alpena, Mich. 1916 Huber 12-25 Waukesha engine. 1919 Frick 12-25. 1918 Massey Harris 12-25 Buda engine.