Steam & Internal Combustion Engine Tractors

steam-engine-tractorTractors that we now deem as antique were once the norm for those tractors used in farming and other types of job in the early 19th century.  In fact dating back to the 19th century tractors were first powered by steam engines or traction engines. These engines were not powered by belts and pulled plows and threshing machines.  These first steam powered engine tractors were eventually found to be quite bulky and harder to utilize on soft ground. Thus the internal combustion engine was introduced with the first gasoline powered tractor engine made in 1892 by John Froelich. Froelich founded and owned Froelich’s Waterloo Gasoline Tractor Engine Company which was eventually purchased from him by John Deere. I’m sure everyone has heard of John Deere tractors over the years, but what are some of the other first tractor manufacturers to come about during the 19th century?

First Tractor Manufacturers

  • Jerome Increase Case- Case started the J.I. Chase Company which manufactured steam engine tractors and also eventually produced internal combustion engine tractors.
  • John Deere- John Deere first bought Froelich’s tractor company which eventually lead to John Deere Tractor Company, which was once deemed the leading agricultural equipment producer in the U.S.
  • I.H. Farm Tractors- Also known as the International Harvester Company they were an early manufacturer of a very popular internal combustion engine tractor
  • Fordson Tractors- This company was actually founded by Henry Ford the automobile manufacturer and was in direct competition with Farmall Tractors

These early tractor manufacturers helped to not only make farming a lot easier, they also paved internal-combustion-tractorthe way for new age tractors and continued to create and manufacture tractors that were ever changing for framers growing needs as well as ease. You can find some of the first tractors, now antiques, on display at various museums throughout the United States or in Antique Tractor Magazines.  One thing that is for certain is that antique tractors are both a beautiful work of art and some of the greatest machines of all time!