From Hay-Powered Horses to Gas-Powered Tractors
Tractors revolutionized agriculture in the early 1900s; the word tractor comes from the Latin trahere, which means “to pull.” Most historians credit Hart-Parr sales manager W.H. Williams, who combined the words “traction” and “motor” and wrote “tractor” in an advertisement.
First Tractors were Steam-Powered Engines on Wheels
The first steam engines were portable engines mounted on wheels or skids, and later models used the steam engine’s power to power a drive train. These early steam-powered engines were monstrous machines weighing up to 20 tons.
John Froelich Invents First Gas-Powered, One-Cylinder, Tractor in 1892
Between 1896 and 1914, his Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company sold only 20 tractors, and Hart-Parr’s Model 22-45 was an updated version of their first design, built in 1902.
Hart-Parr Company Built First Successful Tractor using a 2-Cyclinder Engine in 1903
The first commercially successful “tractor” with a 2-cylinder gasoline engine was built by Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr, weighing in at 14,000 pounds and providing ideal power for threshing, hauling, and road grading.
Lightweight, Mass-Produced, Affordable Tractors Available to Farmers
After 1910, gasoline-powered tractors were almost exclusively used in farming, with Ford and International Harvester edging out the competition by mass-producing cheaper, lighter, and more versatile tractors.
WWI is a Turning Point: Transition from Horsepower to Mechanical Horsepower
In 1917, Ford introduced the Fordson, a contraction of the company’s original name, Henry Ford, as a popular mass-produced tractor.
John Deere releases its 1918 Waterloo Boy Tractor which ran on Kerosene
John Deere introduced the $1,150 Waterloo Boy tractor in 1918, which was the company’s first tractor.
International Harvester Markets Power Take-Off (PTO) and the Farmall Tractor
In 1927, Deere introduced a power lift, which allowed the implement to be raised by lever, and rubber tires replaced steel wheels in 1932. In 1939, Minneapolis-Moline introduced an all-steel cab on a tractor.
Tractors on Farms Exceed the Number of Horses and Mules
By 1932, over a million GP tractors had been sold, with only three companies accounting for half of the market: International Harvester, John Deere, and Allis-Chalmers. This was a significant turning point for farmers, as they were able to harvest more crops and increase production dramatically.
Today’s Tractors Have Come a Long Way
Tractors have come a long way in the last 100 years, with self-driving models, GPS, and luxury cabs among the latest features. Used tractors can be difficult to value due to the variety of options available. Use IronAppraiser.com to get an estimate that considers model year, options, and hours of use.
Who built the first gasoline tractor?
The inventor John Froelich, who lived in a small Iowa village named after his father and invented the first gas-powered traction engine in 1892, should be credited with the invention of the tractor.
Who built the first gasoline tractor in 1892?
John Froelich, an American inventor who lived in Froelich, Iowa, a small village in northeast Iowa, invented the first stable gasoline/petrol-powered tractor with forward and reverse gears, as seen in the photos.
What company invented the first tractor?
The first tractor for which records exist was built in 1889 by John Charter’s Charter Gas Engine Co, which used the wheels and transmission from a steam traction engine and was powered by a single-cylinder Otto petrol engine.
What was the first tractor called?
The men were so impressed that they immediately formed the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company, with Froelich as president, to manufacture and produce these engines. The new machine was dubbed the “Froelich tractor” after its inventor.