The Centaur Tractor


| January/February 1990

1364 Eileen Drive, Xenia, Ohio 45385

This history of the Centaur Tractor was put together using information and pictures from many sources, including the author's manuals, advertisement collection and discussions with other Centaur collectors. In the end, it became almost like solving a mystery, since Central Tractor Company and LeRoi Corporation records are long vanished. There are no Greenwich, Ohio, town records for the Central Tractor Co. and the only manufacturing data available are the property deeds in the Huron County Recorder's Office and recollections of retired employees. However, when you put all the clues and pieces together an interesting story emerges.

The tractor was a fairly successful one and played a significant role in the conversion of small farms from horse power to mechanization. The Model 'G' was sold worldwide during the 1920's and 30's. It was simple and easy to run, could be used with a variety of attachments and really did replace horses on small farms. The following Centaur story contains not only facts, but also some of the author's conclusions and estimates. We hope it makes enjoyable reading for a tractor enthusiast.

Acknowledgement: The Author wishes to recognize the contributions of two former Centaur employees, Mr. Richard G. Roscoe and Mr. Vernon Reddick, of Greenwich, OH, both for memorabilia and reminiscences. The story would not be complete without their valuable and generous assistance.

The name 'Centaur' was used for all the tractors manufactured by the Central Tractor Company of Greenwich, Ohio, and was continued for that line after LeRoi purchased the company.

The first Centaur (Model A) was designed and produced in 1919-20. Three acres of land was purchased at the site of the H. L. Hurst Mfg. Co. in February 1921 for the factory. The Model 'A' was powered by a New Way 6 HP air cooled engine with Bosch high tension ignition. The tractor was chain driven through the front wheels and steered using handles like a small garden tractor, although the attachments were hung from a riding sulky. A differential was mounted in the left front wheel drive sprocket. It had a geared transmission with one speed forward and reverse.