BOOK Reviews

New Book on Allis Chalmers

| September/October 1988

Richard A. Day, Jr. has published two more books on Palmer engines.

Once again, the team of Charles Wendel and Crestline Publishing have taken on an extensive corporate history-this time the firm is Allis Chalmers and the emphasis is on the farming products.

Because of the nature of the corporation (which is one that ultimately involves a conglomeration of over fifty separate companies) is so complex, and diverse it has been a challenge to organize the various products manufactured between 1847 and today. Wendel has met this challenge by treating both the products and the individual company histories all as entries in one long alphabetically organized series. A one-page diagram of the companies with their years of acquisition and history of their own acquisitions is of great assistance to the reader.

Thus, we have significant histories of such A-C components as Advance -Rumely Thresher Co. (which had acquired such notables as Gaar-Scott, Aultman-Taylor and Universal Tractor Co. among others) as well as shorter entries on firms such as Fraser & Chalmers, a 1901 acquisition which manufactured mining equipment and was best known for its development of the frue vanner, a machine designed for concentrating high grade fine material.

As for the products, their diversity goes far beyond farm machinery and includes such major endeavors as the hydraulics division (major installations of A-C turbine installations include Hoover Dam and the Tennessee Valley Authority) and minor products such as the post hole digger made during the 1960s. There are a-bout 66 pages devoted to the A-C tractor line-not including those associated with the Rumely acquisition, which are covered separately. At the end of the 372-page volume are 24 pages of serial number lists.

Allis-Chalmers began in 1847 with the establishment of a firm called Decker &. Seville (and known as the Reliance Works), manufacturers of saw mills and other products. In 1861, the Milwaukee firm was purchased by Edward P. Allis. What followed is a very interesting history including the 1901 merger with Fraser & Chalmers, numerous acquisitions including the 1931 purchase of Advance Rumely Thresher Co. and Birdsell Co., and ultimately the sale on March 25, 1985 to Kockner-Humboldt-Deutz AG of West Germany.