Courtesy of Rolland Maxwell, Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750.
Route 4, Huntington, Indiana 46750
No doubt the one tiling that stimulated the tractor industry more than anything else, was the tractor demonstrations that were held in various places during the years 1915, 1916, and 1917. A few of the places these were held were Fremont, Nebr., Hutehinson, Kan., Wichita, Kan., Enid, Okla., St Louis, Mo., Fargo, N. Dak., Blomington, Ill., Champaign, Ill., Madison, Wis., and Indianapolis, Ind.
The first one my father took us to was Champaign, Ill. in 1915. It was held just west of town on one of the Mattis farms, which was five miles from our home farm. For a fourteen year old boy it was a thrill to see the works and I never missed a thing. I still have the catalogs and circulars that I collected there. We attended the Blomington Meet also.
There would be a field covered with tents which was the headquarters for the different companies during the four day event. There, they had their displays and an array of high powered salesmen and company officials. Somewhere of about thirty companies were present and each had two or three models and sizes. The crowds were large, and representatives from foreign countries were there getting all the information to take back home. A few years later the foreign countries were to import a great number of U.S. tractors. These were the war years, prices of agricultural products were high due to the export demand. Labor was scarce due to many being employed in war industries, therefore tractor sales were up, and the demand for tractors was on the increase.
In a couple of fields adjoining the headquarters field would be where they plowed. It would be laid off in lands for each tractor and the size would depend on how much land was available. Naturally because there would not be enough land, they could not plow stead-y. Every now and then a tractor would make a round and every one would rush out to see it perform. Now to those of us who saw that then, and are still interested in old tractors, it was a sight to see. A one cylinder Mogul booming its way across the field. A 10-20 Titan with furrow guide, plowing at a little over two miles per hour. Various kinds of lugs on the rear wheels. I so well remember the Hart-Parr Little Devil. It was a two cylinder, two cycle, and sure made a lot of noise when it was being pulled. It was the fastest tractor in the field.
Tractors that were shown in 1916: Elgin 17-27, Elgin Tractor Co., Piqua, Ohio; All Work, Electric Wheel Co., Quincy, Ill.; Waite 8-10, Waite Tractor Co., Chicago, Ill; E B 12-20 and 16-32, Emmerson-Brantingham Co., Rockford, Ill; Huber 12-25, Huber Mfg. Co., Marion, Ohio; Minneapolis 12-25, Minn. Threshing Machine Co., Minneapolis, Minn.; Moline Universal 6-12, Moline plow Co., Moline, Ill; Peoria 8-20, 725 Peoria Tractor Co., Peoria, Ill; Parrett 12-25, Parrett Tractor Co., Chicago, Ill; Heider C 12-20, Rock Island Plow Co., Rock Island, Ill; Wetmore 12-25, Wetmore Tractor Co., Sioux City, Iowa; Hume, Hume Tractor Co., Hume, Ill; Sandusky, Dausch Mfg. Co., Sandusky, Ohio; Bull, Bull Tractor Co., Minneapolis, Minn.; Denning, Denning Tractor Co., Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Mogul 8-16, 15-30, 12-25, I. H. C, Chicago, Ill; Titan 10-20, 12-25, 1. H. C, Chicago, Ill; Waterloo Boy 12-25, Waterloo Gas Eng. Co., Waterloo, Ia.; Wallis Cub 12-25, Wallis Tractor Co., Racine, Wis.; Oil Pull Three sines, Rumely Co., La Porte, Ind.; Avery 8-l6, 12-25,25-50, Avery Co., Peoria, Ill; Case 9-18, 10-20, Case Co., Racine, Wis.; Hart Parr '60' and Little Devil '22', Hart Parr Tractor Co., Charles City, Ia.; Bates Steel Mule '30' 1195 Bates Tractor Co., Joliet, Ill; La Crosse 'Happy Farmer' 12-25, La Crosse Tractor Co., La Crosse, Wis.: Plow Companies represented in 1916: J. I. Case, Grand Detour Co., Grand Detour, Ill; Deereand Co., Moline, Ill; La Crosse, La Crosse Plow Co., La Crosse, Wis.; Moline Plow Co., Moline, Ill; Oliver Plow Co., S. Bend, Ind.; Parlin and Orendorff, (later became I. H. C); Vulcan Plow Co., Evansville, Ind.; Janesville Plow Co., Janesville, Wis.
25-50 Reeves Tractor.
There was a number of other companies selling such accessories as wheel lugs, air cleaners, furrow guides, tractor hitches, oils, greases, threshing machine supplies, etc. I've been told in Kan., Nebr. and the Dakotas that showed much larger sized tractors more in keeping with their larger grain farms. Every State Fair had big displays, but of course no plowing. After this died out in about 1917, several cities like Fargo and Kansas City had winter shows but that too died out during the depression of 1921.
The trend in the corn belt was toward smaller and lighter weight tractors. Canada was being opened up and the big fellows went there. In 1912 Hart-Parr shipped three train loads to Canada. That year two train loads of Oil Pulls were shipped to Canada.
After much deliberation, my father bought his first tractor in 1917, at the Champaign, Ill. show. It was a 12-25 Titan 4 cyl. horiz. engine with a cab and a three bottom Oliver plow. Also a 28' Avery separator. We kept this outfit two years and traded for a 25-50 Avery tractor and 32' Yellow Fellow separator. This was a fine outfit and was used until the combines took over. The 12-25 Titan was a good outfit, but our ring needed a larger separator and that was the reason for trading. There were four 12-25 Titans sold at the Champaign show in 1917.
Happy Farmer tractor.