Tractor Stories and History

This category covers all tractor stories.

  • Christmas Gifts for Tractor Enthusiasts

    It's that time of year again, the time for St. Nick to squeeze down your chimney for a sampling of cookies and milk, and, if you're lucky, he will leave something behind for you to enjoy. Poor ol' St. Nick has a tough job when it comes to some of us though. Even if we were good all year and deserve the very best, surely he struggles with what to place under our trees and in our stockings. Inevitably, as we grow older, we become responsible and our need for things such as G. I. Joe is...
  • Tractor History: Dent Parrett

    Dent Parrett, born in 1886, hailed from the town of Wenona, Illinois. It was there that he entered the farm implement field of work under the wing of Harry Von Horn, the owner of a store that sold such implements. During this time, Parrett worked on steam threshing machines owned by Van Horn as well as the steam plowing engines of customers. After a year at the University of Illinois, Parrett took this invaluable experience and set out on his own, opening a machine shop in 1908.

    In the...
  • Empire Tractors

    The Empire Tractor Corporation began in 1946 in the state of Delaware. Although they are said to have had offices in New York City and facility for manufacturing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it was in Delaware that Empire Tractor was incorporated. From there two models were built to the tune of about 6,587 tractors in all.

    The first tractor built by Empire was the Model 88. This tractor featured four cylinder engines with 134 cubic inches in the form of Willys war surplus engines. This...
  • Rock Island and Heider Tractor History

    What began as Buford & Tate of Rock Island, Illinois, in 1855 eventually went on to call themselves Buford & Co. before a much more significant name change occurred in 1882. It was at that time that they became known as The Rock Island Plow Company. With this name change also came a change in the type of machines they manufactured with a move from only creating plows to eventually incorporating implements that were horse drawn. As even more time progressed, more designs were introduced....
  1. Rock Island and Heider Tractor History

    What began as Buford & Tate of Rock Island, Illinois, in 1855 eventually went on to call themselves Buford & Co. before a much more significant name change occurred in 1882. It was at that time that they became known as The Rock Island Plow Company. With this name change also came a change in the type of machines they manufactured with a move from only creating plows to eventually incorporating implements that were horse drawn. As even more time progressed, more designs were introduced....
  2. The Big and Little Bull Tractors

    In the period of time surrounding WWI, large tractors were commonly seen on farms. These tractors were expensive to use, however, and modest farm owners were looking for something smaller that could still fill their needs but at less expense. Seeing the need for a smaller yet equally affective machine, the Bull Tractor Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota opened its doors in 1914. With a design by D.M. Hartsough introduced that same year, it initially seemed that the need for smaller tractors...
  3. Tractor History: Dent Parrett

    Dent Parrett, born in 1886, hailed from the town of Wenona, Illinois. It was there that he entered the farm implement field of work under the wing of Harry Von Horn, the owner of a store that sold such implements. During this time, Parrett worked on steam threshing machines owned by Van Horn as well as the steam plowing engines of customers. After a year at the University of Illinois, Parrett took this invaluable experience and set out on his own, opening a machine shop in 1908. In the...
  4. A Pioneer by Many Names

    What started as the Pioneer Tractor Co. in 1909 went on to become the Pioneer Tractor Mfg. Co. in 1910 after only about a year under their original name. With not only a change in name but also a change in location from Minneapolis to Winona under their belts, it was time to see what else these folks might change, specifically in the tractor world. When production began at their new location in Winona, Pioneer initially was able to make one tractor per week. In a short period of time they...
  5. Empire Tractors

    The Empire Tractor Corporation began in 1946 in the state of Delaware. Although they are said to have had offices in New York City and facility for manufacturing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it was in Delaware that Empire Tractor was incorporated. From there two models were built to the tune of about 6,587 tractors in all. The first tractor built by Empire was the Model 88. This tractor featured four cylinder engines with 134 cubic inches in the form of Willys war surplus engines. This...
  6. The Tractors & Other Creations of David Friday

    Armed with a degree in horticulture from Michigan State University, David Friday moved to a farm belonging to his father. In time he bought this farm and converted two different workshops on the property. It was in those workshops that his tinkering began. This started small as he took a transformer and rebuilt it to make a welder. In time, however, he realized a need to own more farm equipment that he was unable to afford. The solution was to make that as well. By taking parts and...
  7. The Merging of Massey-Harris and the Resulting Pony

    About 60 years ago in the year 1953, a merger was conducted between two companies. The participants in this merger were Massey Harris and the Ferguson Company. This merger resulted in what went on to become Massey Harris Ferguson until 1958 when the name was shortened to Massey Ferguson. Massey Harris itself was founded in 1847 by Daniel Massey. Born in Ontario, Canada and originally known as the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory, the company got its start by building mechanical...
  8. The Popularity of Vintage Tractor Seats

    Two very popular movements these days are repurposing and upcycling. They are very similar in their goals, which are to reuse and breathe new life into items otherwise destined for a landfill or trash heap. There have been a lot of very interesting items subjected to repurposing and upcycling which have resulted in some really neat, fascinating, and unusual items being born of creativity. These movements have taken on all sorts of things to make new again, one of which is tractor tires,...
  9. Tractors & Hurricanes

    For many years, I saw tractors only as farm equipment. Sure, in the back of my head somewhere, I knew they also served purposes on road crews, but it was primarily on the farm that I envisioned them. Perhaps it is due to what I always saw-bush hogging, sub-soiling, moving hay bales, and the like-that I never thought of heavy equipment being anywhere else but a farm. With time and age comes wisdom, however, and I soon saw that I was wrong in my assumptions. In the year 2005, catastrophe...
  10. Hart-Parr Number 1

    In 1892 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, two engineering students who were destined for agricultural greatness crossed paths. The names of these two students were names Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr. During their schooling, they took on an extra credit project with the goal of creating an internal combustion engine. Being that this was a mutual interest of theirs, it should come as no surprise that they completed this project, doing so a total of five times before...
  11. The Cletrac Model R

    The Cletrac Model R was the brain child of a man from Cleveland, Ohio, who went by the name of Rollin H. White. This man was born to the owner of the White Sewing Machine Company, which later operated alongside the White Motor Car Company then ultimately became the White Motors Corporation. Under this umbrella, brothers Rollin H. and Clarence G. White set their sights on manufacturing tractors. The name under which they operated again changed, this time to the Cleveland Motor Plow Company in...
  12. Repurposing a Tractor into a Motorcyle

    Repurposing is all the rage these days. Old, nearly lifeless items are often born again as something else entirely, brought back from the brink to do a new job. It is really interesting to see the capabilities of both people and machinery when it comes to such transformations. Giving items second chances keeps them out of landfills and enriches our lives, filling them with appreciation for things nearly from this world gone. I truly enjoy seeing items take unexpected new shapes and...
  13. Keeping Animals Safe Around Farm Equipment

    Often overlooked is the safety of livestock and other farm animals around tractors and other farm equipment. It is important to take precautions with animals of all shapes, sizes, and intelligence levels to keep them safe from harm. Animals are often given too much credit and expected to know to stay away from farm implements, but the fact is, animals are curious. They like to check things out, especially things that smell like food. Several years ago I bore witness to the aftermath of a...
  14. Unusual Uses for Tractors

    It is common knowledge that tractors are useful in agriculture, serving many farming purposes. You can use a tractor for tilling, disking, plowing, planting, or harrowing. Another way to use your tractor is to attach a box blade and bush hog your pastures. By loading up the bucket or front loader, you can transport materials to different locations around the farm. To say tractors are versatile, multi-purpose vehicles is to speak the truth. So versatile are tractors, in fact, that they have...
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