The Plymouth to Silver King Evolution

  1. GPS1504
    In the town of Plymouth, Ohio, a company was formed that began building trucks under the trade name of Plymouth. While this business venture was unsuccessful, the man behind it, J.D. Fate, had other ventures to occupy his time. One of those was building a machine intended for the purpose of moving rail cars per the request of a customer. As a result, Plymouth Locomotives was born at the hands of J.D. Fate.

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    In time J.D. Fate found himself joining forces with a new organization to build clay machinery and yard locomotives under the name of Fate-Root-Heath. As an aside they added sharpening equipment for mowers to their lineup. In time, however, business slowed down when the economy crashed and orders were simply not being placed like they once were. Since the town of Plymouth was located amongst farm land, it made sense to try their hand at an agricultural line of products, and so tractor production began, with the first tractor being dubbed the 'Plymouth.' It offered a Hercules IXA engine capable of high speeds and had a four speed transmission giving it the ability to reach 25 miles per hour. Decked out with silver paint, the Plymouth was ready to hit the market.

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    Plymouth tractors were the first to utilize rubber wheels. Although steel was the standard option, rubber was an upgrade offered for more money. This was all well and good as it enabled these tractors to travel more safely by road, which was fine until the Chrysler Corporation got wind of such a development. Chrysler was making automobiles that bore the Plymouth name and a spat over the moniker ensued. Although Plymouth was ruled to be available for use by Fate-Root-Health, they decided to part ways with the name rather than compete with Chrysler, instead opting to sell the name to Chrysler for one dollar.

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    With the Plymouth name behind them, it was time for a change. Ultimately they went with Silver King, probably due to the paint color of choice and the fact that they felt their tractor was the king of machines. More than 8,000 Silver King tractors were built (mostly 3-wheel row crop and 4-wheel standard) before the company called it quits in 1954. The bulk of these were silver but some were made for road departments and were thus painted in high visibility colors. Several different model numbers were used before Silver King was sold to the Mountain State Fabricating Company. Unfortunately, however, that company was unable to keep the Silver King line alive and it was with them that the king was ultimately dethroned.



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    Silver King tractors are a popular choice for restoration today. Finding parts may be difficult due to the fact that all leftovers from Mountain State Fabricating Company were sent back to Fate-Root-Health who then went on to send them to a junkyard. While those spare parts are no more, the memory of Silver King lives on in the restored versions of the shiny machines that put Plymouth, Ohio on the map.

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