A Plymouth By Any Other Name May Be A Silver King

| May/June 1994

  • Plymouth tractor
    Fate-Root-Heath's Plymouth tractor.

  • Plymouth tractor

3203 Norton Road Radnor, Ohio 43066

In 1884 J- D. Fate formed a company and named it for himself. This company manufactured extrusion machinery used to form drainage tile and bricks and some other types of machinery. In 1888 this company merged with the Freeze Company of Galion, Ohio, to become the Fate-Freeze Company, which in 1894 merged with the Gunsallus Company and took the name the Fate-Gunsallus Company. Two years later, in 1896, the Fate-Gunsallus Company reverted to the J. D. Fate Company name once again. By 1900 this company began to build gasoline powered trucks and buses.

In 1909 the company merged with the Plymouth Truck Company, retaining the J. D. Fate name, and began development of the Plymouth car. One year later they brought out the first Plymouth car. It was powered with a four cycle engine and had a double-disc truck transmission with a chain drive to the axle.

In 1910 the J.D. Fate Company built its first locomotive using some of the engineering from the Plymouth truck, and when this avenue of trade outdistanced the sales of the Plymouth car and truck these were dropped.

This constant merging and absorption of lesser companies has been common in the history of most of today's farm and heavy equipment manufacturers. In 1919, the J. D. Fate Company (manufactures of clay extrusion and other machinery), the Root Brothers Company (Cobbler Suppliers) and the Heath Foundry (metal castings manufacturers) merged to become the Fate-Root-Heath Company. This company formed by J. D. Fate, Percy Root and Charley Heath produced locomotives and clay extruding and processing machinery.

Unveiled on November 10,1933 was the company's first Plymouth tractor. Two hundred and thirty two of these tractors were produced before the Chrysler Corporation came down hard on Fate-Root-Heath for infringement on the use of the name Plymouth.


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