Toy Tractors: The Allis Chalmers Model B

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    In 1937, the tractor was destined to replace the horse, according to Allis Chalmers. With a new creation dubbed the Allis Chalmers Model B for sale, the pitch was one of putting the horses back in the barn. Claiming that the tractor required less maintenance than horses in order to sway farmer opinion along with using research and statistics, Allis Chalmers set forth to woo the public with their new machine. Priced at just under $500.00 each and being billed as a small farm tractor that worked best on farms of 100 acres or less, the Model B was also said to be lightweight and simple. Although it weighed in at a mere ton and boasted minimal parts, the Model B was outfitted with rubber tires and a padded seat to give it that extra appeal. Although farmers were initially skeptical of the pneumatic tire, the sales pitch seemed to work and 120,000 Model B tractors were sold.

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    When the Model B was built, outsourced engines were still the way to go. As a result, the Waukesha Motor Company was given the job. Located in the town of Waukesha, Wisconsin, the Waukesha Motor Company was close enough to the Allis Chalmers factory that combined efforts were made easy. With only a 12 mile journey between them, sharing information and resources led the to the development and success of many tractor endeavors. In time, however, the Model B was given an Allis Chalmers engine. This engine was a four cylinder with overhead valves that promised thousands of hours of work with only routine maintenance.

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    While the standard Model B was effective when it came to tackling most farm jobs without breaking the bank, there was some room for improvement. These improvements came in the form of special equipment that enabled the Model B to step to another level of work. Tractors manufactured with such improvements were dubbed the Model B Special. Some of the features on the Special were a muffler, radiator shutter, self-starter, and electric lights. The tires were also beefed up to an oversize 9-24. If you hungered for more on top of that, you could purchase a rear mounted belt pulley along with a PTO shaft for an additional $35.00. Also available was an adjustable front axle that could take the place of the standard axle; this cost an extra $19.75 to acquire. The standard axle was not adjustable but was arched for added clearance; two adjustable axles were ultimately available in widths of 38, 43, and 48 inches on one and 50, 55, and 60 inches on the other.

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    Although the Allis-Chalmers model B was one of the tractors produced for the longest amount of time, from 1937-1957, its reign did eventually end. With several varieties ultimately coming under the Model B umbrella, such as the Asparagus B, Potato Special, and the IB Industrial, it was not destined to forever hold the title of Allis Chamler\'s smallest row-crop tractor. Its successor, the Model G which was producted from 1948 to 1955, takes that title. Even though the Model B was not officially the smallest, it does exist in an even smaller form, that being the toy that it inspired, which lends one to believe the maybe size doesn\'t matter much after all.

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