Great American Tractors .com

Minneapolis Moline

Unlike most of the other tractor company histories, the Minneapolis Moline story is not about a single famous pioneering inventor-entrepreneur, whose name became the name of the company.

The Minneapolis Moline Power Implement Company came about in 1929 with the merger of three companies, each with its own history and range of products.

One of the three, The Moline Plow Company had been producing plows since the 1800’s. It started as an agricultural supply company in Moline, Illinois in the 1850’s. Out of that grew the Candee, Swan & Company which made and marketed the Moline Plow which competed with plows made by John Deere and a Rock Island company named Buford & Tate. After winning a trademark court case with Deere, the company incorporated in 1870 as the Moline Plow Company.

Over the next few decades, the Moline Plow Company grew with the acquisition of other companies, and by 1913 had become the 5th largest farm implement company in the world.

In 1916, having purchased tractor design, rights, and patents from Universal Tractor Manufacturing Company of Columbus, OH, Moline Plow introduced its own tractor.

The company struggled during the recession that followed World War I and morphed into the Moline Implement Company before merging in 1929 with two other companies.

The Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company produced structural steel starting in the late 1800's. The company also made a stationary steam engine for flour mills. In 1908 they introduced a tractor they called The Twin City 40. By the outbreak of World War One, Minneapolis Steel and Machinery was one of the larger producers of tractors.

Starting in 1889, the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company was best known for its steam traction engines. In 1893, the company won several medals at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. By the early 1900's the company was building large tractors that worked well in sod breaking but were not as well suited for row crop farming. By the time of its merger with two other companies in 1929, it had started to produce a row-crop tractor under the name Minneapolis 17-30 Type A and B and continued to build these tractors after the merger.

Note: Despite a sincere effort to get the history right, it is nearly impossible for a summary of tractor history as brief as this one to be accurate in every detail. My hope in creating this web site is to at least convey some appreciation for how important tractor history is to American history. American tractor history was a key player in the Industrial Revolution as was as vital to westward expansion and America becoming the breadbasket of the world. One of the best online resources I found and recommend for anyone who wants to read more is a web site devoted to the history of the Moline Plow Company:

Another source to check out:
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The Moline Plow Company as featured in an 1873 lithograph by A. Hageboeck of Davenport, Iowa. Click on image to enlarge.
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Minneapolis Moline Model UB shown by Lee Kreplie of Reedsville, WI. Photo credit: Markus Hagenlocher / Wiki / Creative Commons.
Click on image to enlarge.
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Above: Carol Highsmith Photo.
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A Minneapolis Moline parked outside the factory in Minneapolis, September, 1939. Photo by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration.
Click on image to enlarge.
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Driving a Minneapolis Moline in Grundy County, Iowa, April, 1940. Photo by John Vachon. .Click on image to enlarge.
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A farmer unhooks a disc from a Minneapolis Moline tractor in Grundy County, Iowa. April, 1940. Photo by John Vachon. Click on image to enlarge.
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A Minneapolis Moline tractor in Grundy County, Iowa, April, 1940. Note the unusual tread on the drive tire. Photo by John Vachon.
Click on image to enlarge.


© 2019 Phil Dickinson
Middletown, RI 401-847-2020

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