A History of the Marvel Tractor Company

Lyle J. Hoffmaster shares the history of the Marvel Tractor Company with Gas Engine Magazine readers.

| November/December 1966

  • 55 Massey Tractor
    Photo courtesy of Carl Fisher, Briercrest, Saskatchewan.
  • Rear wheel hub.
    Photo courtesy of Lyle J. Hoffmaster, Worthington, Ohio.
  • Eagle Tractor
    Photo courtesy of William J. Earl, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

  • 55 Massey Tractor
  • Rear wheel hub.
  • Eagle Tractor

Learn about the history of the Marvel Tractor Company. 

We all like to hear success stories and they ever grow more glamorous with the passing of time. We tend to forget failures and in a generation or two, the efforts of the unsuccessful pass into oblivion. The history of the Marvel Tractor Company is a part of the development of agriculture machinery and is certainly no exception to this.

Not until I had worked with Joe McCloskey nearly 10 years did I learn that he had been apart of one of these "one of a kind" ventures in American tractor history. Joe joined the Marvel Tractor Company in early 1920. They were located in a garage at Duncan and High Streets in Columbus, Ohio. Joe was their only draftsman and along with Earl Wheeler who was chief engineer, constituted the engineering department. The man operating the tractor in the picture was named Dodd and served as their assembler and demonstrator. The officers Joe can recall were: Benson, president, Earl Daniels, secretary and another man by the name of Fox. These men were also stock holders.

Only one of these tractors was built. The company did not have any manufacturing facilities. Standard components were purchased and parts of their own design were made in local shops.

The leveling feature mentioned in the specifications was accomplished by a radius arm carrying the rear right drive wheel axle on its lower end and pivoted about the drive sprocket center at its upper end. The wheel was raised and lowered by a screw and crank arrangement.

The plow was lifted by power through a steel and cast iron cone clutch located just above the frame member and just behind the front gas tank support. This device apparently worked quite well, raising the plow until the beam would nearly strike the seat.